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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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WHY I GIVE

We asked donors what inspires their gifts to Texas A&M.

With the public launch of the Lead by Example campaign in 2015, Texas A&M University’s four fundraising institutions pledged to meet an unprecedented goal of raising $4 billion by 2020 to further establish Texas A&M as a world-class institution boldly committed to the betterment of the state, nation and world. Today, donors have given more than $3.24 billion toward this goal, affirming their commitment to Texas A&M and the values it stands for.

For this special campaign update, we conducted a poll asking donors who have given to the Texas A&M Foundation during the campaign why they’ve given and—in some cases—continue to give to Texas A&M. The number of powerful responses we received is astounding. Taken on their own, each donor’s submission tells a distinct story about Texas A&M’s individual impact. Taken together, the collected responses speak to the awe-inspiring scope of lives that have been shaped, enhanced and inspired by the Aggie Spirit.

HERE ARE A FEW OF THEIR STORIES

SUSAN '74 & JACKIE BINKS '74

We want to help young men and women experience the life-changing education of Texas A&M.

Unsure of what to expect from Texas A&M upon accepting its offer to play baseball, Jackie Binks ’74 never dreamed of how the university would impact him. “I fell in love with Texas A&M,” Binks said. “My blood turned from red to maroon, and my experience at the university had a profound effect on the rest of my life.”

In addition to opening personal and professional doors for him, Texas A&M has provided a place for Binks and his family to flourish. His wife Susan ’74 and the couple’s two daughters are also Aggie graduates. “I firmly believe the opportunity Texas A&M extended to me opened the door for my entire family to become Aggies and enjoy the university’s unique spirit,” he said.

Noting the significant role Texas A&M played in their lives, the couple established a $100,000 President’s Endowed Scholarship to afford students in the College of Education and Human Development the same opportunity to experience Texas A&M. Because their daughter, Dr. Emily Cantrell ’02, serves as a faculty leader for freshmen in the college’s Lohman Learning Community, the Binks host events for these students in their home.

“We have witnessed firsthand their passion for teaching,” Binks said. “The future of our country depends upon good educators, and we want to provide the tools for them to be successful.

Patricia Gilmore-Hunter

I wanted to make a difference and give my beloved border collie’s life a purpose. Texas A&M was the best place for me to achieve that goal.

T. J., a border collie with a family tree full of Great Britain sheep herding champions, was the smartest dog Patricia Gilmore-Hunter had ever known. For 13 years, T. J. was loved and cared for by Gilmore-Hunter before passing away unexpectedly.

“T. J. suddenly developed enlarged lymph nodes and stopped eating,” she said. Veterinarians conducted a needle biopsy that came back inconclusive and before T.J. could receive an open biopsy, she passed away from cancer. “All of this happened within one week,” added Gilmore-Hunter.

Devastated by her sudden loss, she established the T. J. Hunter Oncology Endowment at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences to promote canine cancer research. She chose Texas A&M as the recipient of her donation based not on her dedication to the university—in fact she never attended Texas A&M—but because of its exceptional veterinary school.

“Texas A&M’s excellent education and research programs allowed for the greatest impact of my philanthropic dollars,” she said. Gilmore-Hunter hopes that her donation may help keep other pet owners and pets alike from suffering through a circumstance like T. J.’s.

Elise & Vance Fairchild '89

Because Aggies help Aggies.

As a first-generation Aggie, Vance Fairchild ’89 knew next to nothing about Texas A&M University before attending Fish Camp in 1985. He’d only heard what his math teacher told him: that Texas A&M had a good engineering school and he should apply. “After attending Fish Camp, I was hooked,” he said.

In 1989, Vance graduated with honors from the College of Engineering. After solidifying his education with experience in an established energy operating company, he went on to build and then later sell three separate professional engineering and risk management startup companies. He attributes much of his success to the Aggie Network. “I can’t even tell you how many Aggies helped me along the way,” he said. In recognition, he and Elise hope to show their gratitude and offer various support to other Aggies.

Since 2015, the couple has contributed three gifts to the Texas A&M Foundation in support of Texas A&M. In addition to current endowed scholarships for Aggie engineers, they also designated that a significant portion of their estate be used to fund additional scholarships to further expand the Fairchild Scholars Program and support the 12th Man Foundation. The Fairchild Scholars Program scholarships will be awarded to engineering students who graduated from Brazoria, Fort Bend or Matagorda counties. Their third and most recent donation was a gift toward the new Zachry Engineering Education Complex. “We’re trying to leave the world, including Texas A&M, a better place than we found it,” said Elise.

“Education is an eternal gift,” Vance added. “Many students in our community seek better lives and desire employment opportunities that can break the poverty cycle. These capable youngsters just need a helping hand. A Texas A&M education opens up doors and the phenomenal Aggie Network keeps them open full swing.”

Dr. Andrew Reichert '90

I feel Texas A&M is true to its core values.

On a night he would never forget, Dr. Andrew Reichert ’90 walked into Texas A&M’s band hall and saw 12 silver bugles resting on a table. He was a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, and the new silver bugle rank members were being announced.

“One by one, each new drum major picked up a bugle and started talking about its new owner without actually naming the person,” Reichert said. “As it became more evident that one of the drum majors was talking about me, heads and smiles began to turn my way. And then he called my name: ‘Andy Reichert, come on down and get your bugle.’”

Reichert, now a practicing psychologist in Port Aransas, Texas, embraces the influential role Texas A&M has played in his life. He’s given two Sul Ross Corps Scholarships for Aggie Band members and supported Texas A&M’s GLBT Resource Center.

“One of my Sul Ross scholars told me that my scholarship was the only financial aid any university offered him and was the deciding reason he chose Texas A&M and the Aggie Band,” Reichert said. Interestingly, that student recipient followed in Reichert’s footsteps: He was also elected to the band's bugle rank.

Dr. Deshae E. Lott '94 '99

I can help make graduate education more affordable for students with severe physical disabilities.

Dr. Deshae E. Lott ’94 ’99 remembers first visiting Texas A&M University while considering graduate school programs and immediately feeling at home. She credits the accessible campus, talented student body and inviting English department leadership as the main draws to Aggieland. “I wanted to be an Aggie immediately after my in-person introduction to Texas A&M,” Lott said, “and I have been unwaveringly glad to be part of the Aggie family ever since.”

Lott earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in English from Texas A&M and pursued an academic life. Having lived with a form of muscular dystrophy from a young age, Lott works to better the lives of other people with disabilities. Between her teaching, writing and research endeavors, she raises funds to give quality-of-life grants and scholarships to persons with disabilities. In 2017, Lott established the Lott-Sadow-Cleveland Scholarship with her husband to support students registered with disability services pursuing a graduate or professional degree at Texas A&M.

“Graduate students with severe physical disabilities have few merit scholarship options,” she said. “A scholarship for such students can help make graduate education more affordable and their quality of life more comfortable.”

Elizabeth & Jon-Marc Baird '86

Texas A&M embodies the honor and sacrifices that our veterans make.

Jon-Marc “Jon” Baird ’86 grew up in a military family. His dad, Gary Baird Sr., served in the United States Navy for 21 years before achieving the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. “My dad has an intense devotion to the U.S. Navy and to Texas A&M University,” said Jon. “While I was a student, my dad developed a strong admiration for Texas A&M’s rich military tradition and a deep connection with the Aggie family.”

It was this devotion that inspired Jon and his wife Elizabeth to establish an Aggie Veteran Scholarship in honor of his father. “We felt it was important that his legacy as a devoted Navy man and a member of the Aggie faithful live on in this scholarship,” Jon said.

Even with the assistance of the GI Bill and Hazelwood benefits, many veteran students struggle financially with basic living expenses. An Aggie Veteran Scholarship allows the Bairds to support veteran students while honoring Gary’s service to his country. “We hope that this scholarship eases some of the financial burden for veterans pursing their education at Texas A&M,” said Jon.

  • SUSAN '74 & JACKIE BINKS '74
  • PATRICIA GILMORE-HUNTER
  • ELISE & VANCE FAIRCHILD '89
  • DR. ANDREW REICHERT '90
  • DR. DESHAE E. LOTT '94 '99
  • ELIZABETH & JON-MARC BAIRD '86

My gifts to Texas A&M are inspired by my love of the school, its purpose to develop leaders of character and its adherence to a strict set of core values. I am proud to give my time and resources to help support the school and all that it stands for. I know, without a doubt, that my gifts to Texas A&M make a tangible difference in someone’s life.

WILLIAM E. DEUPREE '83

Bryan, Texas

Petroleum Engineering Donor

Attending Texas A&M was a life-changing experience. I learned a lot about engineering and more about life. I wanted to give something back. Money given to the university is well-managed and put to great use.

HENRY ALAN JOHNSON '75

MIDWAY, UTAH

Regents’ Scholars Awards for engineering majors

Contributing to Texas A&M gives me special satisfaction, because I know I'm helping some young person gain the education and personal development that I experienced as a member of the Corps of Cadets.

MICHAEL HUNN '59

THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS

Jo and Mike Hunn ’59 Scholarship for mechanical or civil engineering students in the Corps

I believe in enabling people through education.

JOSE CORLETO MENA '81

AUSTIN, TEXAS

Foundation Excellence Award Donor

Texas A&M not only provides a very good education but also helps build well-rounded citizens.

CRAIG BOWEN YOUNG '66

HIGHLANDS RANCH, COLORADO

Planned Giving Donor

Texas A&M reflects our feelings and love of the United States of America.

ANGELA & BOB KNAUSS

BURTON, TEXAS

Angela and Bob Knauss Endowment to enhance research in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

We feel that our best return is investing in tomorrow’s leaders. Texas A&M has an unparalleled track record of students representing the highest character and leadership skills needed upon graduation.

ELLEN '03 & JARROD SNIDER '99

WAXAHACHIE, TEXAS

Ellen '03 and Jarrod '99 Snider Scholarship Endowment for the Department of Agricultural Economics

Texas A&M is a special place, and I want to ensure that those in need have the ability to gain a great education.

ERIC WYLIE '93

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS

Eric R. Wylie '93 Student Council Leadership Endowed Scholarship and General Rudder Corps Scholarship

My experience at Texas A&M has been one of the touchstones of my life. Being a part of the Aggie family, I know the values of the organization that I am contributing to.

MAJ. AL WHITE USAF (RETIRED) '86

AUSTIN, TEXAS

Judith Dietz and Al White '86 Scholarship for the Department of Computer Science

I give to Texas A&M because of the difference it makes in the lives of those who attend, teach and work there as well as the world community with its discoveries and outreach.

CELIA ROSS GOODE-HADDOCK '72

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS

Captain William Sherwood Council Memorial Aggie Veteran Honor Scholarship

Texas A&M is clearly the best option for educating the bold leaders our country needs now and for all our tomorrows.

BEE & TERRENCE GOSSETT '62

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS

Bee and Terry Gossett '62 Sul Ross and Corps 21 Scholarships

WHY DO YOU GIVE?

We'd love to hear all about your story!

CAMPAIGN PROGRESS REPORT

Campaign Gifts and Commitments
(Jan. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2018)

$3.24 BILLION

81% OF OUR $4 BILLION GOAL

22,660

Corporate & Foundation Donors

173,836

Individual Donors

676,059

Gifts Contributed

316

Donors have contributed $1 Million or More

DURING THE CAMPAIGN, DONORS HAVE ESTABLISHED THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF ENDOWMENTS:

97

Faculty Chairs, Professorships, & Fellowships

1,918

Scholarships & Graduate Fellowships

386

Other Endowments

Contact:

Dunae Crenwelge '15

Marketing Communications Manager/Spirit Editor