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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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President's Post

Creating Good In the World

By Tyson Voelkel '96

President, Texas A&M Foundation
President Tyson Voelkel '96

In recent months, I have been saddened by national news coverage about the most outlandish, perverse or contentious people and stories. Disasters abound and horrific acts of violence dominate the airwaves almost every day. The most distressing and concerning aspect to me is the feeling that there is nothing anyone can do to prevent these tragic events. 

Conversely, at Texas A&M, I am immersed in discussions surrounding world-changing research initiatives, compelling stories of human triumph and visionary projects initiated by Aggie philanthropists. I am part of a culture that believes anything is possible, that Aggie values are alive and well, and that leading is a natural byproduct of serving others in today’s hyperconnected world. 

During my travels, I am humbled by our loyal donors, who each have their own story and reason for investing in Texas A&M. Each makes an impact and enables positive change on and off campus through their philanthropy. Simply put, without our donors, Texas A&M couldn’t maintain its progress at the pace required. It hasn’t taken me long to realize that Aggie donors are some of the most passionate investors on the planet, and as I will often do in this letter, I want to thank all of you who make Texas A&M so special.

Many evenings at home, I tell my family stories about Aggieland—a place where students’ energy is palpable and possibilities are limitless. In this world, transformational education takes place on and off campus by professors who find innovative ways to educate and engage; one-of-a kind research initiatives with global impacts abound; and students enjoy one of the most robust student activities departments in the country. I tell my family that we are fortunate to be immersed in such a positive environment and even luckier to be part of an organization whose sole purpose is to encourage philanthropy to serve the best interests of Texas A&M for generations to come.  

Over the next few months, you will hear more about the Lead by Example campaign for Texas A&M—the most ambitious fundraising campaign our university has ever undertaken with a goal to raise $4 billion by 2020. In order to meet the needs of the university, we are tasked with leading this effort alongside The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George Bush Foundation. I am committed to this effort along with each of these organizations’ CEOs, Porter Garner ’79, Skip Wagner and David Jones, respectively. We are working together with Texas A&M President Mike Young and Chancellor John Sharp ’72 to continue to elevate our university and further the good that is produced by Aggies. 

Over the next year, you will see more information in print, online and on campus about the campaign, and I welcome your feedback. I also challenge you to get the word out about Texas A&M and our Lead by Example campaign. Companies, private and public foundations, philanthropic organizations and individuals from varied industries and purposes can find something to be proud of at Texas A&M, and perhaps create their own good to benefit our university and our world. 

Thanks for all you do.