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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

Our Newest President's Endowed Scholarship Donors

Jacqueline V. and George N. Anderson ’52 
B.F. and Adelene Bolton 

Diane ’82 and Dwight Conway
given by Michael D. Conway ’90 and Laura R. Vanderkam

Wilton and Camille Hammond ’48 

Johnita Davis Jones ’83 and Bill Jones ’81 

Newton J. “Jack” Calvin, Jr ’60 
Jesse H. Jones Hon, LL.D. ’36 
J. Earl Rudder ’32 
given by Kaye Horn and The Horn Family Foundation 

James R. Supak, PhD ’66 and Patricia A. Supak
given in their memory by Wayne Supak ’86, Karen Supak Walter ’87 
Janet Supak Koslovsky ’89 and Laura Supak Morgan

View the full list of PES donors here.

Gift Supports Geology Majors

A love for travel, geology and Texas A&M University led Vivian and Tim Powell ’79 to make the first contribution toward a $5 million field camp endowment the College of Geosciences hopes to fund over the course of the Lead by Example campaign.

The couple gave $100,000 to support undergraduate fieldwork, travel costs, equipment and program-activity expenditures associated with field camp, a required travel course for all geology and geophysics undergraduates.

During the course, students spend two to six weeks in places like Big Bend, the Guadalupe Mountains, Colorado, New Mexico and Montana learning to map various geological features.

“Geology requires direct field observation to get the full understanding and scale of Earth's processes and history,” said Tim. “Field camp synthesizes many aspects of geologic training and allows students to apply their classroom learning to real-world practice by observing geologic formations, structures and rock compositions.”

The Powells hope their gift will enable more students to gain a quality field camp experience at a reasonable cost.

Couple and Son Create Fellowship

With the help of their son Scott Hudgins ’12, Debbie and Jack Hudgins ’81 funded a $300,000 fellowship to support students from Texas Panhandle counties pursuing master’s degrees in business administration.

The gift, matched by funds from their family foundation, Scott’s employer Matrix Financial Solutions Inc. and Mays Business School, incorporates the Hudginses’ desire to involve family in philanthropy and assist students pursuing graduate degrees.

An accounting graduate who works in Denver, Scott has experienced firsthand the competitive nature of millennials with undergraduate degrees. He believes it is almost a necessity to pursue a postgraduate education as a means of standing out among a pool of young professionals.

“That prompted him to help fund this gift,” Jack said. “To succeed, you need confidence that you received a good education and that you can compete with anyone in the marketplace. We’re hoping to give students that assurance with this fellowship.”

Siblings Karyn '87, Patrick '96, Kathy '86 and Michael '90 funded a President's Endowed Scholarship in honor of their parents.

Family Bonds

For the Conway children, growing up in College Station meant that Texas A&M University was an integral part of their childhood.

“Both of our parents were highly committed to Texas A&M and its teaching mission,” said Michael Conway ’90. “Our dad Dwight taught chemistry for 43 years and our mom Diane was the longtime assistant dean for business and finance at Mays Business School.”

To honor their parents’ legacies, Michael and his siblings Patrick ’96, Kathy ’86 and Karyn ’87—along with their spouses—established a President’s Endowed Scholarship for science or biochemistry majors.

Dwight Conway received a distinguished teaching award from the university and retired as professor emeritus in 2006. He passed away in 2007 after battling cancer. “We’ve met people who say his class was the hardest thing they loved at Texas A&M,” Michael said. “Our father had high standards for his students. Those who took his classes saw someone with a big commitment to teaching who brought a quirky sense of humor to the table.”

The Diane ’82 and Dwight Conway President’s Endowed Scholarship will provide a stipend for one student for four years, plus a bonus for a study abroad experience. The Conways hope it will attract talented students to Texas A&M and allow them to engage in student life, participate in leadership and service roles, and spend their summers researching, traveling or interning.

Nursing Endowments Honor Late Wife

As a seamstress, Ruth Neely would effortlessly glide fabrics over the needle plate on her sewing machine as she transformed bolts of cloth into useful creations. With the same sense of purpose and skill, Ruth stitched together a remarkable career in nursing, which will be remembered through her husband’s generosity to the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing.

At the age of 42, after raising four children, Ruth graduated as an RN from Brazosport Community College in Lake Jackson, Texas, and began a successful nursing career in ophthalmology and cardiology.

To honor his late wife’s life and work, Bill Neely ’52 established three endowed undergraduate scholarships and a graduate fellowship to support students pursuing nursing degrees. He funded his gift through a charitable remainder unitrust.

“I owe my career to the education I received at Texas A&M, and I wouldn’t have been able to attend the university without an Opportunity Award,” Neely said. “Likewise, I know Ruth would be pleased with the opportunity to help Aggie students become nurses.”

Taking Care of Texans

St. David’s Foundation announced a $525,000 gift to establish scholarships for Central Texas medical students attending the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine.

The rising cost of medical education and increasing student debt make it progressively more difficult for financially disadvantaged students to become physicians. These funds will create five full-ride scholarships for highly deserving students in the College of Medicine.

“St. David’s Foundation and the Texas A&M College of Medicine share many of the same goals, the most prominent of which is strengthening both health and health care for Central Texans through greater educational opportunities and medicine,” said Paul Ogden, M.D., interim senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and interim dean of the College of Medicine.

Supplementary to the scholarship, one of these deserving students will receive an additional $25,000 over their four years of school to help cover living expenses. This gift was made in memory of Earl Grant ’50, M.D., and long-time board member of St. David’s Foundation.

“Scholarship support allows students to explore all areas of medical practice,” Ogden said. “By identifying and educating Texans to take care of Texans, we are reinvesting in our own communities and providing medical care where it is needed most.”

Gift Wrap-Up

By endowing a chair in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Lynn ’84 and Bill Crane ’83 ensure that Aggies will be educated in coding and software development for generations to come. The Cranes graduated from Texas A&M with computer science degrees and are passionate about the impact of software on our world, having worked at companies like IBM, Proofpoint and LinkedIn. Most recently, Bill served as interim vice president of engineering and technical advisor for a variety of startup companies in Silicon Valley and Europe. Their gift was matched by the Texas A&M University President’s Office.

A $5 million gift from the nonprofit Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America will establish a program in food diversity in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. The program will educate students in the specialized areas of ethnic and faith-based foods and help students understand the attitudes, beliefs, traditions and geographic regions that coincide with diets from an array of faiths—such as Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. The gift will fund faculty support, a distinguished lecture series, and graduate and undergraduate research stipends in addition to facilities updates in the department.

Through a $3 million planned gift that will fund Aggie bandsmen travels, Dr. Jedd Green ’55 ensures that the nationally ranked Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band continues to make an impact on fans across the U.S.

Nancy ’73 and Jack Matz Jr. ’71 created a scholarship in memory of Jack’s father Jack Matz Sr. that will support third- or fourth-year medical students who have an interest in geriatrics and primary care. Their gift will be matched by the College of Medicine’s Rapport Society Dean’s Leadership Council.

The Humanities Visualization Space, a high-tech facility in the College of Liberal Arts, got touchscreen upgrades thanks to a major gift from Sally ’86 and Chris Gavras ’86. Using the facility’s 15 high-definition monitors, which create a screen that is more than 5 feet tall and 16 feet wide, students can zoom in to analyze and compare digitized works of art and literature in great detail.

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.