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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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Also In This Issue

New Gifts: Recent Gifts to the Foundation

Naval Officer Supports Corps

Only four years after graduating, Kyle Bolton ’11 gave back to Texas A&M University and the Corps of Cadets through a $25,000 endowed Sul Ross Scholarship that will support cadets in Squadron 20.

“My experiences with my upperclassmen and buddies in Squadron 20 shaped my core values and taught me to be a professional leader,” Bolton said. “I wanted to provide a similar opportunity to an incoming freshman.”

Bolton served as first sergeant and commanding officer of Squadron 20. After he graduated and commissioned in 2011, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he serves as a reactor controls division officer aboard the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego. He supervises the maintenance and operation of one of two nuclear reactors that provide power and propulsion to the ship.

Cadets are awarded Sul Ross Scholarships based on academic performance and leadership. Bolton hopes his scholarship provides financial stability to cadets so that they can immerse themselves in academics, the Corps and student organizations.

$1 Million for Medicine

A planned gift of life insurance marks the first $1 million gift from former students to the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. Established by Ana ’80 and Jay Olen Franklin ’78, the gift will fund scholarships for medical students who completed their undergraduate education at Texas A&M.

Jay Franklin, a doctor in cardiac electrophysiology at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, was a member of Texas A&M’s charter class of medical students and received one of two college-based scholarships offered at the time.

“That support set me on my path to a rewarding career, and I want others to have the same opportunity,” he said. “A gift of this size initially sounded impossible, but an after-lifetime gift turned out to be a simple way to make a substantial impact.”

The Franklins’ gift will create four scholarships: one to provide full-ride funding for a student and three Dean’s Excellence Scholarships, which pay students $5,000 annually.

The couple also supports scholarships, lectures and activities for medical students through their involvement in the Rapport Society, the dean’s leadership council.

Houston Aggie Moms Help HelpLine

The Houston A&M University Mothers’ Club established a $25,000 endowment for the HelpLine, a telephone service at Texas A&M University that provides peer support, referrals and crisis intervention for students and those concerned about students.

HelpLine is primarily staffed by student volunteers who are trained and supervised by professional staff within the Student Counseling Service. Its phone number is listed on the back of every Texas A&M student ID card, and the service is available from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays and 24 hours per day on weekends.

“We are committed to the development of the whole person,” said Susan Vavra, HelpLine coordinator. “This endowment will ensure that future generations of Aggies have a HelpLine to call when they need to talk.”

Income from the endowment will help cover the HelpLine’s operational expenses, including marketing and volunteer training. To learn more about the HelpLine and the Student Counseling Service, visit scs.tamu.edu.

Marketing Passion Inspires Gift

A self-proclaimed “marketing geek,” Rachel Dohmann ’07 established a significant planned gift of retirement assets that will provide scholarships for marketing graduate students at Mays Business School. She hopes her gift will ease the transition for students returning to school from the workforce.

“You’re making a sacrifice when you choose to go from receiving a paycheck to paying somebody else,” Dohmann said. “I hope this scholarship helps someone like me who loves marketing and wants to immerse themselves in the profession.”

Although she has a history degree from Texas A&M, Dohmann discovered her career passion after taking an introductory marketing course and later completing an internship with the university’s Division of Research. She worked with the Foundation’s marketing group for seven years and recently accepted a marketing position in Plano, Texas, with BenQ, a multinational company that sells technology products, consumer electronics, and computing and communications devices.

Dohmann recognized her opportunity to give while working at the Foundation. “I was proofreading an article about the benefits of gifting your retirement account,” she said, “and since I don’t have children to put through college, I realized that I might as well help somebody else pay for their education."

Gift Wrap-Up

The Science of Giving

A $5 million gift from Thomas W. Powell ’62—matched by $1 million from the Herman F. and Minnie Bell Heep Foundation and $1 million from the president’s office—will fund scholarships, graduate fellowships, and four faculty chairs in the College of Science, including one designated for the Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study.

Inspired by An Aggie

Ray Davis didn’t attend Texas A&M, but he learned what it meant to be an Aggie from his friend John Willis ’92, who passed away from cancer in 2014. Davis memorialized Willis with a $25,000 endowment that was matched by the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution to support student capstone projects.

Commemorative Giving

To honor his late wife and her passion for education, Ersen Arseven ’74 established the Susan M. Arseven ’75 Chair in Data Science and Computational Statistics. The gift will enhance collaboration between statisticians, scientists and engineers.

A Life of Service

Pauletta ’81 (Col, USAF, Ret.) and Odis Blueitt ’82 (COL, USA, Ret.) enjoyed 28 and a half and 30 years, respectively, in service to their country through roles in public health. The couple honored their passion for the health of our military by creating a $25,000 scholarship that gives preference to a student in the Corps of Cadets who is pursuing a public health degree at Texas A&M.

Scholarship Supports Liberal Arts

A degree from Texas A&M opened international doors for Thomas “Tim” Smith III ’63, whose financial services career took him around the globe. In an effort to give other Aggies the same opportunity, he and his wife Phyllis—now winery owners—established a $25,000 need-based scholarship in the College of Liberal Arts.

A Promising Future

A significant gift from Don Rea ’69 will ensure a successful start and a promising future for a new program in the Department of Animal Science designed to prepare graduate students for careers in the meat industry.