Bonnie and Joe Merritt honored Texas A&M Foundation Development Officer Chastity Carrigan '16 (center) with an endowed scholarship in her name.
As a result of owning a business for 33 years, Bonnie and Joe Merritt gained the ability to quickly decipher a person’s character. Their talent for recognizing sincerity and integrity instantly drew them to Texas A&M Foundation employee Chastity Carrigan ’16, senior director of development for the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
“Chastity is one of the main reasons we fell in love with Texas A&M University,” Bonnie said. “Since the day we met her, she has epitomized everything it means to be an Aggie. She’s loyal, sincere, and goes above and beyond her call of duty.”
Bonnie and Joe didn’t graduate from Texas A&M and don’t have any Aggie relatives, but Chastity made it her mission to introduce them to the traditions and characteristics that make the university special.
In 2013, she also brought the couple to Texas A&M’s veterinary college, where they became acquainted with its facilities and students. “Each time I introduced them to a new Aggie tradition or experience, I saw a little of me when I came to Aggieland 18 years ago,” Chastity said. “Like me, they were welcomed with open arms.”
After working with Chastity during the last few years on gifts to enhance veterinary education—including a gift to name an exam room in the Small Animal Hospital in honor of their late cat CLEO—the Merritts decided to create a gift that would ensure Chastity’s legacy in the college.
They established a $25,000 endowed scholarship in her name, but gave an additional $2,200 in cash so that the scholarship can be awarded to its first recipient this fall. “We wanted to recognize Chastity and allow her to feel the same joy we experience in supporting veterinary students,” Joe said.
Since she was the first in her family to graduate from college, Chastity chose to direct the scholarship to first-generation undergraduates who major in biomedical sciences.
“This honor was by far one of the proudest moments of my life,” Chastity said. “I feel a great responsibility in ensuring donors have the best experience possible at Texas A&M. Joe and Bonnie are great Aggies!”