No matter what, how or with whom we celebrate, to some extent, we all experience a similar lead-up to the holidays: “Jingle Bells” playing in the grocery store, lights twinkling across town and a universal encouragement to gather with those we love.
These annual rituals and traditions we use to celebrate faith and family have the unintended effect of providing a landmark for our lives, reminding us that one year is about to pass and another will soon begin. Every Christmas, I notice how much has changed and how much hasn’t. My wife, Christi ’98, and I reflect on how much our daughters have grown and how much we have, too, and we feel even more compelled to invest our time and effort into helping build the world we want them to inherit.
Though Texas A&M University is known for its storied past, I’ve come to especially cherish Aggies’ passionate, proactive optimism for the future. As much as our current and former students care about how things are or how they used to be, they care even more about how things should be and what they can do to improve themselves and help those around them. Our core value of selfless service, our community’s defining trait, encourages us not only toward charitable works but also calls us to appreciate the power we hold to change lives around us every day.
The holidays, with all their opportunities to give back, bring that power into sharp focus. Those of us fortunate enough to celebrate in warm and loving homes with our friends and family would do well to remember those who, for whatever reason, cannot. As cheerful as the Yuletide season may be for many, it can also be stressful or even painful for others. Whether they’re grappling with poverty, loneliness or the quiet struggle of managing family expectations, there are plenty of people in dire need of simple kindness.
That’s why I was delighted to read our story about the Maroon Santa program in the Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource & Support Center, which you’ll find on this issue’s inside back cover. Seeing current students find ways to help their veteran peers grew my already-overflowing pride in the Aggie community. As we look back each year and make plans for the next, let us take after their example and remember to include others in our intentions. Through prayer, our words and, most importantly, our actions, we can positively impact others in meaningful ways. We’ll all need someone’s kindness someday; why not lead the charge today?
Thanks for all you do.
Tyson Voelkel ’96
President & CEO
Texas A&M Foundation