Cut-A-Thon raises funds

Francisco Salon raises more than $2,000 at cut-a-thon in honor of the late Dr. Robertson and his legacy

KINGSVILLE, Texas — More than $2,000 was raised at a “cut-a-thon” fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy.  All proceeds benefit the Dr. James Robertson Jr. Memorial Fund. 

Francisco Villa, owner of Corpus Christi-based Francisco’s Salon, wanted to give back in honor of someone who gave to others. He said it was a successful day. “I expected to raise at least $1,000, but we doubled that.”

Robertson, Ph.D., who was associate dean for student affairs for the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, died Nov. 21, 2012, in Corpus Christi after complications from pneumonia. More than 800 people celebrated his life at his Jan. 12 memorial service in the Edward N. Jones Auditorium on the campus of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

“Being at the memorial service, I was very honored,” Villa said. “Everyone who shared at the service was sharing from the heart. He touched everyone on a personal level. It made me realize and appreciate our relationship. We have to find the good things out of the bad. He touched a lot of people.”

Robertson was referred to the salon in 2005. Villa and Robertson became friends, right off the bat. “He was a people person and I am a people person,” Villa said.

Robertson would get his hair cut at the salon but he would have coffee and chat with the owner and his family as well.

“The manager would call him ‘My James,’ ” said Erica Rios, who works at the salon and was a longtime personal friend of Robertson. “They would constantly have personable conversations about life, religion and anything that came to mind. He never looked down on anybody and I loved that about him. He was such a wonderful person.”

Villa wanted to give back in honor of Robertson, who raised millions in grants and scholarships for disadvantaged students throughout his years, so he discussed it with the crew. “I sat with my tribe and asked them what we could do for him because he had such an impact. We learned about the scholarship fund and so we decided to do this for him — for his legacy. It was beautiful to have him in our lives, he supported us,” Villa said.

“It goes to show you how revered he was here because so many turned out to support the cause,” said Mary Lou Villa, Francisco’s wife and a longtime friend of Robertson’s. “We would sit around the salon, drink coffee and talk when he had the time,” she said.

The Villa family wanted to give back in honor of Robertson – who raised millions in grants and scholarships for students throughout his years – so he discussed it with his crew.

“I sat with my tribe and asked them what we could do for him because he had such an impact,” Villa said. “We learned about the scholarship fund, so we decided to do this for him — for his legacy. It was beautiful to have him in our lives; he supported us.”

More than six stylists were on hand to trim hair. Students with the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy provided snacks and volunteered their time.

Villa, who has salons in Corpus Christi and Austin, has sponsored many charitable cut-a-thons benefiting various nonprofit organizations. In 2012, he sponsored a cut-a-thon to help raise funds for The Aids Services of Austin. 

“We’ve been in business for more than 15 years, and we are very involved in charities in the community,” Villa said. “We are all about the community, and being a local business owner in the community, I like to give back.” 

It was such a success Francisco said he would like to do it again next year.

“I have never participated in an event like this before, but I am very excited about it,” said Amber M. Bacak, a third-year professional student pharmacist from Lake Jackson, Texas. “I know many of the students are delaying getting a haircut, so that they may participate in the cut-a-thon. We look a bit scruffier than usual around the College of Pharmacy right now.”

Robertson was known for his clean-cut, professional dress at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. He instituted dress-up Thursday, where men and women are expected to dress to impress.

“I think the cut-a-thon is a wonderful way to honor Dr. Robertson, since he was known for his impeccable style. Starting a scholarship was the first thing I thought about when I heard about Dr. Robertson passing away,” said Bacak, who is the president of Phi Lambda Sigma, a student organization volunteering for the event.

“Words really cannot express what Dr. Robertson meant to the students, faculty, and staff of the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy,” said Christine Carney, third-year professional student pharmacist from Katy, Texas. “Being able to help build his memorial fund through this cut-a-thon with Francisco’s Salon is an amazing opportunity. I know his legacy of professionalism and excellence will always continue on at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. Thank you, Francisco's Salon, for joining with us in honoring such a great man.”

For more information on James Robertson Jr. or the memorial fund, please go to