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One hundred years ago, Sterling C. Evans ’21 graduated from Texas A&M University and faced a troubling economic landscape. After World War I, low demand sunk America’s agricultural production as farmers struggled to acquire the capital to invest in their land. When Evans took the reins of the Houston Bank for Cooperatives, he made it easier for farmers to secure loans with collateral—a radical policy that shot production through the roof. Evans would lead even greater charges in business and in Aggieland, but in his first grand success, I see a dedication to building relationships and creating solutions that this university seeks to instill in all Aggies.

Tyson Voelkel ’96, president and CEO of the Texas A&M Foundation

Today, the Texas A&M Foundation honors those who demonstrate a lifelong commitment to Texas A&M with the esteemed Sterling C. Evans Medal, bestowed on just over 50 individuals and organizations since its creation in 1998.

This issue of Spirit features the 2021 recipients, three outstanding couples who carried the banner for Texas A&M’s future as co-chairs of the nine-year, $4.25 billion Lead by Example campaign. Each couple embodies Evans’ selfless example not just through their impactful contributions to our university community but also through their actions beyond Aggieland. After all, no single tradition encapsulates the Aggie Spirit more than leading a life by the timeless values for which this university stands. Without those values, we are a fan club. With them, we are a family.

At the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, alumni and students refer to themselves as “The Long Gray Line.” This moniker speaks to the academy’s centuries-old history and the continuity of experience that binds all cadets who graduate from its prestigious ranks. Though we do not dare copy such a storied tradition from another great institution, Aggies everywhere can and should remember the power behind our own common bond as current and former students. Our “long maroon line” transcends mere school spirit—it connects us through our innermost beliefs about who we should be and the world toward which we strive.

This university has not thrived on individual accomplishment alone but on a collective willingness to fulfill the promises of past generations. We cherish sharing the stories of extraordinary Aggies like Evans and those who follow in his footsteps, as those stories are well worth telling. But we would be remiss to forget the vision these Aggies work toward: a university built on unshakable values strong enough to carry the state, nation and world into an ambitious vision for tomorrow.

Thanks for all you do.

Tyson Voelkel ’96
President & CEO
Texas A&M Foundation
  • Tyson Voelkel '96

  • President & Chief Executive Officer
  • Call: 979.845.8161

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