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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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The Road to $4 Billion

Take a journey down the path of the Lead by Example campaign, from 2012 to the present.

While Texas A&M’s third comprehensive campaign, Lead by Example, publicly launched in November 2015, the university began counting gifts toward the campaign on Jan. 1, 2012.

Donations of any size to the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation count toward the campaign total, which stands at $2.79 billion as of Oct. 31. This represents 70 percent of the $4 billion goal by 2020. More than 177,000 former students, corporations, foundations and other friends of the university have contributed for a total of more than 580,000 gifts.

The path that follows illustrates some major campaign highlights thus far. Over the course of the last five years, positive changes have grown out of donors’ generosity and vision: existing programs have been endowed, new buildings are under construction and innovative initiatives are underway. Together, former students and friends of the university have increased Texas A&M’s ability to support its students, faculty, athletic programs, college-based activities and student organizations. Your continued support will propel Texas A&M farther down the road to $4 billion.

Campaign Highlights

2012

  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

2012May

Zoe and Tony Buzbee ’90 commit a lead $3 million gift toward the Corps of Cadets’ Quad renovation project. Their gift names the Quad’s first Leadership Learning Center, while multimillion-dollar contributions from Susan and Michael J. Plank ’83, Stephen C. Ash ’87 and H. Grady Ash Jr. ’58 later support the construction and naming of three more learning centers. The renovations—the largest since the Quad’s construction in 1939—have transformed the space into a modern living-learning environment.

2012June

Professors and husband-and-wife pair John Gladysz and Janet Bluemel make substantial provisions in their estate to create two endowed faculty chairs and an unrestricted fund in chemistry. Texas A&M faculty have given more than $28 million toward the campaign.

2012August

Reta Haynes establishes the Haynes Scholars Program, which provides four-year scholarships equal to 50 percent or more of the cost of attending Texas A&M to outstanding students. Later gifts from Mrs. Haynes during the campaign support additional scholarships; enhance the Harold J. Haynes Dean’s Chair in the College of Engineering; and establish the Reta Haynes Dean’s Chair in the College of Education and Human Development. With these commitments, Mrs. Haynes becomes one of Texas A&M’s most generous supporters.

2012August

Thanks to a $2 million gift from the Galveston-based Abe and Annie Seibel Foundation, Texas A&M University at Galveston receives funding for construction of a proposed Seibel Student Learning Center on campus. The center supports student achievement and excellence.

2012November

The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation continues to grow Texas A&M’s physics and astronomy department with a $19.5 million gift supporting the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy. The Mitchells’ total commitments to Texas A&M exceed $95 million, including more than $88 million that helped build two new physics buildings and establish a world-class astronomy program.

2013January

Chevron Corp. gives $750,000 to create the Chevron Center of Research Excellence Basin Modeling Program in the College of Geosciences’ Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems. Focused on petroleum exploration and production, the program provides state-of-the-art educational training for earth science students and facilitates research in basin modeling to help geoscientists identify possible oil and gas reserves. Chevron renewed its support of the center in 2016.

2013May

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approves a $485 million expansion of Kyle Field. Former students and friends of Texas A&M rallied to contribute more than $229 million in private funds toward the cause through the 12th Man Foundation. Kyle Field is now the largest college football stadium in the Southeastern Conference and the fourth largest in the nation.

2013May

SuSu and Mark Fischer ’72 give $12 million toward construction of a new Engineering Education Complex, set to open in fall 2018. The 525,000-square-foot facility, dedicated to undergraduate engineering education, will be the largest academic building on campus. Construction is later supplemented by other multimillion-dollar gifts, including $10 million from Amy ’84 and Tim Leach ’82 and $15 million from the Zachry Group to name the facility the Zachry Engineering Education Complex. More than $65 million has been raised toward the project thus far.

2013August

Thanks to an $850,000 gift from the Corpus Christi-based Ed Rachal Foundation, Texas A&M University at Galveston cadets gain more opportunities to learn by doing—on ship simulators. The organization’s gift funds two new ship simulators, which train cadets by reproducing real-life scenarios such as weather hazards, ship accidents and traffic control situations.

2014May

Construction of the Thomas G. Hildebrand DVM ’56 Equine Complex concludes. The state-of-the-art facility provides a new, on-campus home for equine teaching, research and outreach as well as a dedicated space for Texas A&M’s Equestrian Team. More than $32 million from donors, including a lead $30 million gift-in-kind, supported construction. Additionally, a $2.5 million grant from the Burnett Foundation was matched by other funds to establish the $5 million Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair supporting the director of the equine initiative in perpetuity. Together, these gifts help establish a premier equine program at Texas A&M.

2014June

Robert Aragona ’71 makes a planned gift of life insurance to benefit the College of Medicine. His gift will provide funding for research opportunities in pediatric cardiology and oncology.

2014August

After a project is initiated in 2011 to transform a 40-acre area of West Campus into The Gardens at Texas A&M University, Amy ’84 and Tim Leach ’82 contribute a lead $3 million gift. Currently under development, The Gardens will be both a beautiful campus attraction and an outdoor teaching laboratory where faculty and staff can educate students and the public on valuable concepts about food production, water conservation, landscape beauty and environmental sustainability. More than $10.9 million has been raised toward Phase 1 of the project.

2014September

Anne and Hank Paup ’70 contribute the first $125,000 endowed Dean’s Scholarship for the School of Law. The couple’s commitment to the law school has encouraged other former students and friends of Texas A&M to fund 19 more of these scholarships to attract bright minds and distinctive students to the school.

2015January

The Halliburton Foundation endows the Halliburton Engineering Global Program Fund with a $5 million gift. The contribution boosts the College of Engineering’s global study programs and ensures that more engineers have the chance to work, study and research abroad.

2015April

A gift from the Zachry Group establishes a new leadership program in the College of Engineering. Through exposure to business, leadership and citizenship perspectives, the five-semester program annually gives 32 competitively-selected engineering students deeper insight into their individual potential and career possibilities.

2015October

Two Aggie engineers and their wives, April and Jay Graham ’92 and Gina and Anthony Bahr ’91, finance a $12 million unprecedented collaboration between the colleges of business and engineering to ensure that Texas A&M graduates remain leaders in the energy sector. The new Petroleum Ventures Program not only serves petroleum engineers who want to delve into private equity and new venture opportunities, but also business majors who aspire to jobs as oil industry analysts or energy investment bankers.

2015November

Elizabeth and Drayton McLane complete payments on a $1 million endowed gift for fellowships and internships for graduate students at The Bush School of Government and Public Service, maximizing the school’s ability to prepare future leaders in all levels of government. The couple later funds another fellowship for international affairs students in honor of Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and former Bush School dean.

2016February

Lead $100,000 gifts from Joe Sprague ’70 and Ronald Skaggs ’65 initiate a campaign to name a $1 million faculty chair in the College of Architecture after George Mann, founder of Texas A&M’s architecture program in health facility design. Since then, many more former students of Professor Mann have contributed to the cause. Once completely funded, the chair will support the director of the Center for Health Systems and Design and advance Texas A&M’s prowess in this critical specialty.

2016February

The Ed Rachal Foundation brings the proposed Music Activities Center one step closer to breaking ground with a $10 million gift to name the facility in honor of John D. White ’70 and Robert L. Walker ’58. The new center celebrated an official groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 8 and will open in fall 2019 as the new home for Texas A&M’s choirs, bands and orchestras. To date, more than $19.4 million in private funds have brought the project to fruition.

2016April

Don and Ellie Knauss create one of the first Aggie Veteran Freedom Scholarships, the largest of three levels of scholarship support for Texas A&M veterans and their spouses. Since the Division of Student Affairs’ campaign to raise more veteran scholarships began in November 2015, 52 endowed scholarships amounting to more than $2.9 million have been raised. The couple increased their commitment in 2017, contributing more than $2 million for both endowed and non-endowed veteran scholarships.

2016July

Letty ’88 and John Spicer ’83 express their belief in education through a planned gift to create multiple Foundation Excellence Awards (FEA) and Endowed Opportunity Awards (EOA) for future Aggies in Mays Business School and the College of Engineering. While FEAs typically support students from underrepresented groups, EOAs are awarded based on students’ academic record, leadership abilities and evidence of financial need. During the campaign, donors have funded 70 FEAs and 67 EOAs totaling more than $11.8 million.

2016August

A $20 million gift from Jon Hagler ’58 names the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study and fuels Texas A&M’s brightest thinkers. The institute, a major catalyst for bringing world-renowned scholars to Texas A&M to collaborate on groundbreaking research, now enjoys a permanent source of funding due to Hagler’s generosity.

2016August

The Humanities Visualization Space in the College of Liberal Arts receives touchscreen upgrades thanks to a gift from Chris ’86 and Sally Gavras ’86. The space is a high-tech facility aimed at improving humanities research through technology. Students can now analyze and compare digitized works of art and literature with ease.

2016November

To ensure Texas A&M’s ability to help veterans gain economic freedom, Reynolds and Reynolds gives a $2 million gift to support and name the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities in Mays Business School. The camp has helped more than 200 veterans with service-related disabilities learn how to create and sustain entrepreneurial ventures.

2017March

The Mays Family Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation partner on a multimillion-dollar gift to establish an Innovation Research Center in Mays Business School. Drawing from academic disciplines across the Texas A&M campus, the research-oriented center will engage in the study of innovation to advance knowledge in the field.

2017April

Mays Business School receives its largest single commitment in school history from the Mays Family Foundation, headed by Peggy and Lowry Mays ’57. The $25 million contribution will support the proposed expansion of the school’s headquarters, the Wehner Building, as well as boost entrepreneurial and innovation initiatives and Mays branding opportunities.

2017May

Before his passing in August 2017, the late Arthur “Artie” McFerrin Jr. ’65 and his wife Dorothy give $10 million to name the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship in Mays Business School. The funding provides a boost for the center’s 28 programs and positions Texas A&M as one of the nation’s leading schools for aspiring entrepreneurs.

2017May

Two lead gifts totaling $4 million from Denise and David Baggett ’81 and Ernst & Young kick off a $10 million campaign to name the Department of Accounting after longtime department head James J. Benjamin in Mays Business School. Nearly $7.5 million has been contributed to the cause.

2017August

More than 20,000 donors to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation contributed nearly $18 million toward the campaign thus far.

2017August

Since 1879, The Association of Former Students has supported and strengthened the Aggie Network, made up of current and former students, faculty, staff, Aggie parents and friends of Texas A&M. The Association uses gifts of all types and sizes to foster academic excellence at Texas A&M, further the cultivation of Aggie experiences and help connect generations of Aggies, ensuring the core values and traditions that make Texas A&M unique are passed on from generation to generation. As of August, more than 102,000 former students and friends contributed more than $78 million to the campaign through The Association.

Campaign Numbers

Jan. 2012 to Oct. 2017

New Endowments

1,606

Scholarships and Graduate Fellowships

34

Faculty Chairs

29

Faculty Fellowships

27

Professorships

312

Other Endowments*

*Includes those supporting student organizations, college-based programs and excellence funds, study abroad initiatives and the university libraries, among others.

Breakdown of Endowed-Level Gifts Below $1 Million to the Lead by Example Campaign

Jan. 2012 to Oct. 2017

Planned gifts during the lead by example campaign

700

Number of planned gifts booked

$632,428,722

Total value of planned gifts booked

$89,058,277

Total value of realized planned gifts

Colleges that have raised the most
planned gifts during the campaign

$91.1 million

Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Studies

$60.1 million

College of Engineering

$34.3 million

Agriculture and Life Sciences

$33.6 million

Mays Business School

Campaign Videos

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