Sam Barshop was a graduate of Texas Military Institute, The University of Texas at Austin (BBA International Trade, class of 1951), and joined the United Stated Air Force – ranking as 2nd Lieutenant 1951-1954. Mr. Barshop was the founder and retired Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of La Quinta Inns, Inc.
He had an idea for a mid-priced hotel that would combine the styling of a country inn with the facilities of an urban establishment the kind that would be emulated by Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn, among others. Brothers Sam and Philip Barshop used $45,000 in borrowed money to launch their first two La Quintas in 1968— some of the first motels to target corporate travelers — in time for HemisFair ’68. The chain’s business model of eschewing such upscale amenities as bellboys, restaurants, room service and bars was so successful that competitors imitated the approach.
By the time the company went public in 1974, it had grown to 200 properties. Barshop retired as founding chairman in 1994, but the momentum behind the brand drove its expansion to more than 880 properties across North America today.
In September 1995, he combined Barshop Enterprises of San Antonio and C.P. Oles Company of Austin to form Barshop & Oles Company in partnership with Pat Oles. He served as Chairman and later Chairman Emeritus of Barshop & Oles Company, a privately owned, Texas-based, full-service commercial real estate development and management company which has owned, developed or managed more than 5 million square feet of shopping centers, industrial and office properties, limited service hotels, and highly acclaimed master-planned, mixed-use projects located in major Texas markets. Barshop also served for many years as a director of Southwest Airlines.
He was a former director of Southwest Airlines and former chairman of the Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council and the San Antonio Free Trade Alliance. A proud graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Mr. Barshop served on the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System.
Mr. Barshop was the recipient of a number of prestigious awards from The University of Texas at Austin including the Ex-Student’s Association Distinguished Alumni Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Hall of Fame Award in the College of Business Administration. He has also been recognized as a San Antonio Business Hall of Fame Laureate and named to the Texas Philanthropy Hall of Fame. Mr. Barshop also earned the notable Americas Lodging Investment Summit Lifetime Achievement Award.
As an emeritus member of the UT Health Science Center Development Board and former trustee of the San Antonio Medical Foundation, Sam Barshop had long been interested in biomedical research.
Perhaps one of Barshop’s most far-reaching investments will be in the establishment of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies in the Texas Research Park. Established in 2001, in part with a gift of $4 million from the Barshop family, the institute is today the No. 1 recipient of funds from the National Institute on Aging, a division of the federal National Institutes of Health. Until the Fall of 2005, Sam Barshop held the Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Chair in Entrepreneurship Studies at Texas State University.