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Spirit is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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Opportunity

Aggies Lead by Example

By Michael K. Young

President, Texas A&M University
President Michael K. Young

Serving as president of Texas A&M University is an extraordinary honor and privilege. Early on, many of you phoned or emailed Marti and me to welcome us and congratulate us on this opportunity, and we greatly appreciate your hospitality.

Everywhere we go, we hear a single message: The world is paying attention to Texas A&M like never before.

More young people than ever want to attend Texas A&M, and they come from more diverse backgrounds. Our faculty have propelled many of our academic programs to rankings among the best in the country and world. We are experiencing a new era of construction and enhancements to existing facilities. We continue to be recognized by our peer institutions and key national publications for providing an excellent education at a reasonable cost, and employers continue to seek out our graduates in record numbers.

Our profound impact to date is a result of people like you—former students and other friends whose support over nearly 140 years has made Texas A&M one of the nation’s truly great public land-grant institutions.

Poised for Greater Global Impact

And now, the time is right for Texas A&M to have an even greater impact across the state, nation and world.

From now through 2020, members of the Aggie family are uniting with faculty, staff and other supporters to increase our momentum through a new, comprehensive campaign called Lead by Example—a bold effort not just by our standards, but one of the largest the nation has ever seen.

On Nov. 6, we publicly announced our fundraising goal of $4 billion by 2020. We’re off to a great start, thanks to those who have made campaign commitments.

This campaign applies a new, strategic focus to our historic strengths in teaching, discovery and outreach. It emphasizes innovation and flexibility as we powerfully and meaningfully address the great, global challenges of the 21st century.

Our faculty and students will work together in such areas as developing more effective treatments and cures for diseases affecting humans, animals and plants; helping the world prepare to feed more than nine billion people by 2050; improving methods for energy production, storage and conservation; and developing a deep understanding of, and appreciation for, our vibrant, interconnected society through art, culture and the humanities.

And through it all, our work will be infused with the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, respect, leadership, loyalty and selfless service—values that for us are a shared way of life, not mere slogans.

I believe that our future has never been brighter. If you agree, I urge you to get involved.

To learn more about the Lead by Example campaign, visit leadbyexample.tamu.edu.

Debbie ’76 & John Bethancourt ’74

The Bethancourts’ multimillion-dollar giving history spans disciplines and pairs personal interests with student, faculty and college-level needs. The couple supports multiple petroleum engineering and horticulture scholarships, a professorship, a President’s Endowed Scholarship and athletics. They also contributed a major gift toward the Memorial Student Center renovation to name the Bethancourt Family Grand Ballroom. John, a petroleum engineering graduate of Texas A&M, is a retired Chevron Corp. executive vice president. Debbie, who studied floriculture at Texas A&M, is a member of The Gardens at Texas A&M University project task force.

Amy ’84 & Timothy Leach ’82

A petroleum engineering graduate, Tim is chairman, CEO and president of oil and gas producer Concho Resources Inc. in Midland, Texas. Amy, who studied education at Texas A&M, leads numerous social, charitable and faith-based projects in Midland. In addition to supporting multiple campus projects, the Leaches direct many of their gifts to engineering because of its diverse industry impact. They were the first to contribute a multimillion dollar gift to support construction of the Engineering Education Complex, a key component of Texas A&M’s 25 by 25 Initiative, and they also contributed to The Gardens at Texas A&M University project.

SuSu & Mark Fischer ’72

Though they live in Edmond, Oklahoma, Mark and Susan “SuSu” Fischer call Texas home. The Fischers made substantial contributions to support construction of the Engineering Education Complex and the renovation of Kyle Field. Mark’s Texas A&M aerospace engineering degree led to his advancement as chairman, CEO and president of Chaparral Energy Inc., an independent oil and gas producer. SuSu graduated from Texas State University with a degree in elementary education. She taught elementary and middle school for years before becoming a full-time caregiver of their two children.