Aggie Loan Generosity
When I was at Texas A&M, a program existed where students could take out small, short-term loans with almost no questions asked. That helped me over a hard patch and, maybe more importantly, taught me the great feeling you get in paying back a loan and then paying it forward because I always try to earmark my donations for similar programs. I later found out the program was funded from alumni donations, and the kindness and empathy from those anonymous Ags has always been my first reminder of the immense power of the Aggie Spirit.
Sue (Vastano) Vaughan ’84
Palo Alto, California
While I was an undergraduate on spring break with my girlfriend, we were in a car wreck near Tyler, Texas. It was a head-on collision with a drunk driver, and our driver was killed. My girlfriend and I were horribly injured, but we were beyond lucky to have a car of Aggie paramedic students happen upon our location. They saw my Aggie Ring, safely pulled us from the car, stabilized me and waited for the helicopter to arrive. Without that ring and their Aggie Spirit, I wouldn’t be here today.
Brian Wilcox ’95
I had lost a small travel Bible my husband had given me right after we married. He’s a combat veteran and had carried it throughout his military service. I was visiting a resale shop owned by fellow Aggies, twins Laura Rabun Almond ’88 and Lisabeth Rabun Belinoski ’88, and they had a Bible in their shop just like the one I’d lost. Not only did Laura give me the Bible for free, but she also wrote a special personal note inside it. That act of kindness must have brought me good luck, because within days, I found the Bible I thought I’d lost!
Sherrill Porterfield ’81
In fall 1986, I had just arrived on campus with my car packed to the brim with all my dorm stuff. A group of guys were walking to Sbisa Dining Hall for dinner, and one of them helped direct me into a parking space and asked if I needed help moving in. I said, “Sure, but I’m on the fourth floor of McFadden with no elevator.” He said, “No problem!” About 15 guys showed up, grabbed my stuff and within one trip, I was moved in. They saved me hours—definitely some Good Bull!
Kelly (Kostelecky) White ’89
Connection in Combat
On Muster in 2003, an Aggie called me on my radio during a convoy in Baghdad, Iraq. He was looking for his roommate in the Corps of Cadets who happened to be in my unit. This random Aggie was flying his OH-58 helicopter over me about 150 feet above ground. I was feeling down because I wasn’t near any Aggies, but for a moment, he brought the Aggie Spirit to me during combat, thousands of miles away from friends, family and Aggieland. I didn’t catch his name, but I’ll always remember those 10 minutes of connecting with the closest Aggie.
Col. Marshall "Straus" Scantlin ’94
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Custom Aggie Anthem
In 1988, Col. Joe Haney ’48 volunteered the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band to make a new recording of “The Aggie War Hymn” for my daughter’s gymnastics floor routine because all existing recordings had background noise. As a high school principal in South Texas at the time, I wasn’t anyone special. I was just a former student, but that was enough for Col. Haney to have the band make a recording right away. It’s a prime example of the spirit, connection and support shown by Aggies.
Dave Lyons ’66
In summer 1975, before I moved from Waco to Texas A&M, I got a letter from the university with my dorm assignment: Aston Hall. Say again? Aston? That was weird. I didn’t list that name as one of my top three choices on the form several months earlier. In fact, Aston Hall hadn’t even been a choice! A friend who would also be heading down Highway 6 got a letter that referred to yet another unknown dorm, Mosher Hall. I thought there were too many students and not enough housing and that some old, converted barn off campus would be my home.
I was so wrong. Aston Hall had just been completed—it was a brand spanking new dormitory! When I moved in 10 days before classes started, they were still touching up the paint on my room door and trim. Aston had the latest amenities. This place was the nicest, newest place I’d ever lived in. Fifty years later, it still gets that ranking! I lived there four years, and the names of the friends I made in that dorm are still in my phone directory today. Friends I made there went on to own major restaurant chains, lead law firms and medical practices, and serve in the Texas Legislature, and one guy I hung out with in the dorm even launched his own successful music career. The place was very special.
Decades later, I learned how I got to be so lucky with my dorm assignment. As the opening of the new dorm approached, members of The Texas A&M University System’s Board of Regents were invited to submit names of students looking for on-campus housing to be assigned to Aston and Mosher Halls. One regent, Bill Lewie ’50, lived in Waco, and though his stepson lived next door to my family, we had never met. It seemed this gracious fellow had been advised that I and my friend were on our way to Aggieland in the fall, and he put our names on the list. He didn’t call to check me out or see if I was deserving. He was an Aggie, and we were gonna be Aggies, and that’s all it took to help.
That act was absolutely the nicest and most impactful thing ever done for me by a stranger. But, as an Aggie, I learned that this is what Aggies do. It was a good lesson, and one I’ve tried to pay forward for 50 years.
Gene Fisseler ’79
Koldus Family Friendship
As a freshman in 1982, I needed some assistance at the end of my spring semester, and a senior friend took me into Dr. John J. Koldus’ office and introduced me. The Koldus family became great friends to me the entire time I was at Texas A&M, and John’s wife, Mary Dell, picked my wife for me when I wasn’t even looking!
B.J. Thomas ’86
While coming back to Texas after showing horses in Arizona, we were stranded in the cold with a burned-out trailer bearing. We were in the middle of nowhere but close to the exit in Fort Hancock, Texas. Normally, we would make it to Fort Stockton to overnight with my Aggie friend, Doug May ’77. Being three hours from him, we had no choice but to park at a gas station and wonder what to do next. But the Aggie connection went to work. Doug called two alfalfa farmers in Fort Hancock, who each had a daughter at Texas A&M. They came and got me and the trailer full of horses. The horses had pens to stay in that night, and the farmers directed me to someone who could fix the bearing the next morning. I might still be there if it weren’t for all the great Aggies far and wide!
Nancy Cahill ’74
Solidarity at the Bank
In 1987, my dad, Travis Herring ’58, and I went to Dallas to buy a used car ahead of my first semester at Texas A&M. We’re from the small town of Lometa, Texas, and it never crossed my dad’s mind that he would need anything other than a personal check to pay for the car, but when we picked one out and went to the owner’s bank to pay off his loan, they wouldn’t accept the check. Frustrated, my dad finally asked if there was an Aggie in the building. Sure enough, the bank president was an Aggie. He saw my dad’s Aggie Ring, and after talking for a few minutes, he took my dad’s personal check in return for the car. That made quite an impression on me about how impressive the Aggie Network is!
Mike Herring ’89
Sustaining a Legacy
My husband, Dallas Maham III ’86, met his best friend at Texas A&M. They had great stories to tell of their time there. In 2014, Dallas passed away. This friend gave a large contribution so that our son, Griffin, who was 11, could have a good start on his college fund. Now, he’s proudly following in his dad’s footsteps and is an industrial and systems engineering major, Class of 2025.
Cedar Park, Texas
My dad, Class of 1932, paid my tuition to Texas A&M. Thanks, Dad!
Matthew “Ranken” Kennedy ’62
Round Rock, Texas
Unexpected Aggie Allies
I started attending Texas A&M in fall 1970 when enrollment first opened to women. I was the only woman in all my classes, and no arrangements had been made for on-campus housing or women's restrooms in the academic buildings, so it felt like the campus had not yet come to grips with the change. On my way to class the first couple weeks, a Corps student would regularly confront me and say, "We don't want women on this campus." One day, a particularly aggressive student was blocking my way when a non-reg male student stepped in and told him to lay off. That was so unexpected, and I was so grateful. After that, for the next month, non-reg male students would regularly walk with me to class until I felt at home on campus and could go about my business without an escort.
Kathleen Bird ’73