President Ed Davis '67
Twenty-two years ago, I made the second best decision of my life. (Of course, marrying Jo Ann takes the top spot.) On August 2, 1993, I was appointed president of the Texas A&M University Development Foundation. After I determined that you couldn’t fit the organization’s name on a check—a rather debilitating problem for a fundraising organization—we shortened the name to Texas A&M Foundation.
I can only describe this experience of supporting our alma mater through philanthropy as magnificent. It has given me the great honor of associating with the best people in the world, including extraordinary trustees, an extremely talented and devoted staff, amazingly generous donors and friends, and an array of university leaders and faculty who, each in their own way, have wanted the best for this special place.
They say all good things must come to an end. Perhaps. But—mark my words—the good that the Foundation does for Texas A&M is only beginning. To ensure that progress continues as it should, it’s time for me to pass the presidency to a new leader. I’ll work closely with our trustees as they identify the best candidates with the help of a national search firm, targeting January 2016 for the transition.
My departure will be bittersweet. This work is so psychically rewarding that it seems I should be able to continue forever. Father Time, however, disagrees. But the thousands of donors who have given sacrificially during my time leave me confident that Texas A&M will be well cared for.
For example, 20 years ago I asked Jon Hagler ’58 to help me modernize the Foundation’s endowment portfolio. During a meeting, I described an investment I thought we should make in a physical presence for the Foundation on campus. Jon came to me after that meeting and told me he wanted to help build the Foundation’s portfolio—and that building: the Hagler Center. Jon has continued to give through his contributions to Vision 2020, multiple Foundation Excellence Awards and many other gifts, always to invest in and build Texas A&M. He, along with all of you, remains my hero.
I plan to stay on for a while in a principal gifts role to ensure that the Lead by Example campaign—Texas A&M’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign and among the largest in the nation—establishes a solid footing. Extending my stay for a bit will also give me the opportunity to wrap up outstanding gift plans already in the works by many old friends so their dreams for Texas A&M will be fulfilled.
After that, it’s more time for Jo Momma and the grandkids, friends, Aggie students, a few places in the world unexplored and sharpening my golf game. I won’t play every day…the course is closed on Mondays. Not sure I’ll write “the book.” For many of you, I will take modest bribes to ensure your stories are never told. For the most part, I’ll be around, and advice and counsel will be available and cheap.
I’ve always thought true Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s poignant words in his last speech to the cadets at West Point: “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”
Per Unitatem Vis.