I can personally attest to her reputation as a candid and disciplined leader who has earned the highest accolades in academia and can successfully accomplish the most difficult tasks. As vice chancellor and dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Banks consistently held herself and others accountable while establishing a compelling vision for the future, and I look forward to our partnership as she leads Texas A&M.
I would be remiss not to also compliment Dr. Banks’ interim predecessor, Dr. John Junkins, for faithfully stewarding Texas A&M and ensuring a smooth transition of leadership. I’m excited about our continued work together in his crucial role leading the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study and its ever-increasing impact.
As Aggieland enters this new era, I want to affirm the Texas A&M Foundation’s commitment to building a brighter future for Texas A&M, one relationship at a time. This commitment means more than raising funds for scholarships and campus programs; it means fostering a culture of philanthropy where gifts of all sizes and contributions of time and energy are equally integral to Texas A&M’s success.
I have learned over the last five years that our uniqueness in higher education is firmly rooted in our values and our belief that our university means so much because it stands for so much. I have also come to express that our desire to excel in all we do never get in the way of our community's character. We strive to be elite but never elitist. Humility and hard work are what power Aggies’ efforts. These sentiments reflect the “can do” spirit that Texas A&M brings to the world and, in this philosophy, we have unique opportunities to move our state, nation and world forward in powerful ways.
To continue the momentum created during the $4.25 billion Lead by Example campaign, we must embrace our history as an institution and dream even bigger about the future. For the Foundation, that means pursuing purposeful initiatives that directly impact Aggies and our generous partners who support them. Namely: further strengthening the university’s endowment, which currently sits at $2.2 billion, and strategically aligning with our academic partners.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that our Board of Trustees unanimously approved the removal of the gift fee for all future endowed and non-endowed contributions to the Foundation, effective July 1, 2021. Since our founding, due to our total lack of state funding, we relied on a gift fee to support operating costs. Thanks to the marked growth of our endowment, coupled with our effective business practices, we now generate sufficient funding to cover our operations. This decision means endowed gifts will earn distributions immediately toward their specific purpose to benefit students, faculty and staff at Texas A&M as soon as the gift is made.
Collectively, these decisions are intended to strengthen the university. That is why our organization exists and why we believe so passionately in what we do. That block A-T-M has long been a symbol for leadership, legacy and community. Today, I look at it and also see a symbol of hope—one we can wear proudly as we step into a brighter future.
Thanks for all you do.
Tyson Voelkel ’96
President & CEO
Texas A&M Foundation