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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

A Foundation to Rebuild Upon

By Tyson Voelkel '96

President, Texas A&M Foundation
Tyson Voelkel '96, Texas A&M Foundation president and CEO

In a similarly harrowing time for our country, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously claimed that Americans had nothing to fear but fear itself. Those words from his inaugural speech are well-known, but far fewer recall the words that came before it: “This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.”

Roosevelt offered reassurance when our country was hurting, but he also made clear the task at hand for every citizen. Amidst what seems like an unprecedented set of circumstances, our country is burdened with similar responsibilities. We may not control the situation, but we do have control over how we choose to respond, and I have no doubt that we will succeed. America will stand strong because Americans have always stood strong. Texas A&M University will not rise back to where it was; instead, Aggies will dare to go higher and push further because, in my experience, that is what we do best.

I would like to thank all of our donors who have continued to support Texas A&M. Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the U.S. in March, the Aggie Network has raised nearly $720,000 for struggling students, faculty and staff through the Texas A&M University Disaster Relief Fund. These funds have benefited almost 600 individuals in dire financial straits. And even now, despite an unprecedented economic crisis, Aggies and friends of Texas A&M are on track to surpass the Lead by Example campaign goal and raise more than $4 billion for our university by the end of 2020. This will complete the largest capital campaign by a public university in Texas. I cannot thank every contributor enough not only for their investment in this university, but also for the high standard of generosity they have set. What we do here really matters.

In anticipation of the campaign’s conclusion, we asked colleges and divisions across campus to identify a major achievement in their organization within the Lead by Example timeframe. The answers go to show just how much has been accomplished during the campaign as a result of donors’ generosity.

I understand that, with everything happening on the news, this monumental benchmark may not seem as relevant as it would in years past. But America needs the kinds of leaders and researchers that Texas A&M produces year after year—now more than ever. Aggies will bring us into the future. And thanks to the more than 851,000 gifts large and small from donors who invested in Aggieland, I have hope that the Texas A&M inherited by future generations will be the same special place I have come to love so dearly, made resilient by adversity and secured by philanthropy.

Thanks for all you do.

Tyson Voelkel ’96
President & CEO, Texas A&M Foundation