The Warrior Spirit

The Warrior National Foundation supports special operations veterans mastering business at Texas McCombs.

Ike Blackmore, Army Ranger

Growing up, Ike Blackmore rode the city bus from his house in South Austin through the University of Texas at Austin campus, dreaming about his future. “I’d always wanted to go to UT,” he says.

But as a high schooler, Ike visited Texas A&M University and “fell in love” with the Aggies’ Corps of Cadets. At A&M he enlisted in the National Guard, and after graduating with a degree in engineering, he was commissioned into the U.S. Army as an infantry officer. Following his initial assignment as a platoon leader in an arctic warfare company, he became an officer in the 75th Ranger Regiment, where he led a 40-Ranger platoon through two deployments to Afghanistan.

Collage IkeBlackmore

MBA/JD candidate Ike Blackmore is fulfilling his childhood dream of attending UT after a distinguished military career as an Army Ranger, which included two tours in Afghanistan.

“Ranger Regiment isn’t filled with supermen,” he says. “It’s filled with ordinary people bound by a belief in the power of extraordinary standards and discipline. They show up with grit, big dreams and a devotion to the team, and they leave with a zero-excuse mentality, dead set on solving problems and ready to do well in their next chapter.”

As Ike approached the end of his service, he realized that he was ready to go back to school. His lifelong interest in history and politics — including a fondness for presidential biographies — had put law school on his radar, but other special operations veterans had encouraged him to consider business school as a next step that would build on the discipline and leadership he’d developed as an Army Ranger.

Finally, the time was right for Blackmore to enroll at UT. He began the university’s dual-degree MBA/JD program in the McCombs School of Business and School of Law last fall. He also entered UT as the inaugural recipient of the Warrior National Foundation Scholarship — the university’s first scholarship dedicated especially to special operations veterans pursuing a Texas McCombs MBA.

“Special ops veterans have such a unique perspective … When people notice that, make a connection and support their transition, everybody benefits.”
– Dave Hinkle

“Special ops veterans have such a unique perspective — they have so much ability to contribute,” says Dave Hinkle, founder and president of Warrior National Foundation. “When people notice that, make a connection, and support their transition, everybody benefits.”

Hinkle, who grew up in Dallas, attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and went on to have a successful, two-decade career in investment management. His mentor, George A. Weiss, encouraged not only his professional growth, but also his engagement as a philanthropist.

Inspired by organizations like the SEAL Legacy Foundation and Folds of Honor, Hinkle launched Warrior National Foundation with an Austin golf tournament in 2014. His network of more than 100 Texas and national business leaders has invested in the foundation’s vision for providing special operations veterans with scholarships to encourage their pursuit of an MBA. Hinkle established the first scholarship at Penn, his alma mater, and in 2022 established one at UT, where his younger daughter Landry is a first-year social work major and member of Texas Cheer’s pom squad.

Collage DaveHinkle

Top: Dave Hinkle (right) was inspired to create the Warrior National Foundation after meeting veterans and philanthropists like Mark McGinnis (left), founder of the SEAL Legacy Foundation.

Bottom: Dave Hinkle, with his wife, Monica (center), established the second Warrior National Foundation Scholarship at UT, where their daughter Landry (right) is a first-year social work major and member of Texas Cheer’s pom squad.

“Special ops veterans are very entrepreneurial,” he says. “And McCombs gives them the network and the polish for when they start their business or go to work for a private equity group or big company.”

For Ike Blackmore, a first-generation graduate student, the Warrior National Foundation Scholarship is allowing him the freedom and support to immerse himself in law, economics and internships in business and energy.

“This scholarship enabled me to truly become an explorer and take advantage of all the opportunities at UT, and not just treat it as a trade school or a box to be checked,” Ike says. “Education means a lot to me. This scholarship means a lot to me. I’m doing my damnedest to really learn, so I’ll be able to give back someday.”


Lead the Way

You can help special operations veterans get one of the world’s best business educations from Texas McCombs.

To learn more about contributing to the Warrior National Foundation Scholarship, contact Paige Marcus Madden, director of principal gifts, at

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