Seventy years! The year 2023 marks 70 years since a group of 21 passionate former students and Texas A&M University System Regents convened and formed the organization that would become the Texas A&M Foundation. Many individuals in this group—Wofford Cain ’13, Sterling Evans ’21 and Herman Heep ’20, to name a few—had already crafted their own legacies as “founding fathers” of Texas A&M University as we know it today. When they formed what was then called the Texas A&M College Development Foundation in 1953, however, they did so as a team, pooling their brainpower and unique experiences to form a bold and singular vision for the humble agricultural and mechanical college they called home.
That vision relied on private giving, which they recognized as essential in growing Texas A&M in both size and scope to better serve the state, nation and world. At the time, there were 6,198 students on campus, all men in the Corps of Cadets. At its onset, the Foundation held $100 in assets. Since then, it has grown exponentially alongside the university and community it serves, managing nearly $2.6 billion in assets and distributing more than $137 million in fiscal year 2022 to support students, faculty and staff.
Our Foundation owes its existence to the visionaries who brought it to life, and it owes its ongoing success to the unbelievable generosity of Aggies and philanthropic partners who believe in Texas A&M’s mission, values and community. Donations of all types and sizes from all types of givers comprise nearly 10,000 accounts that benefit the university. This issue of Spirit contains inspiring stories of some of those givers—stories of service and success you may have grown used to in recent years. Many Aggies, especially younger generations, are increasingly accustomed to our university’s reputation as a world-class institution of higher learning with more than 74,000 current students, half a million former students and research initiatives spanning the globe.
It is worth remembering, though, that no one imagined Texas A&M would become what it is now. Those chosen few who formed our Foundation seven decades ago could never have predicted what this university would accomplish, but they invested their time and effort with enthusiasm regardless. As you read through this issue, think about the passion, effort and ambition of those who paved the way for Texas A&M to exceed all expectations. There’s no telling what Aggieland will look like in the next 70 years, but as long as the Foundation stands, we will proudly help others invest in this place, its people and the brighter future we continuously build together.
Thanks for all you do.
Tyson Voelkel ’96
President & CEO,
Texas A&M Foundation