Respect. Excellence. Leadership. Loyalty. Integrity. Selfless Service.
These words have only been enshrined as our core values for 18 years, but they’ve always been embedded in Aggieland’s DNA. They reflect the land-grant mission on which Texas A&M University was founded and lay the groundwork upon which we build a spirit that can ne’er be told. From the beginning, this institution was entrusted to provide access to knowledge, foster leadership and build a brighter future for generations to come. Thus, its values are not mere words; they are the guiding principles that shape our students and mold them into character-driven leaders dedicated to serving our state, nation and world.
As our university grows and evolves, a common worry is that it risks losing touch with these qualities that have defined our community and guided our leadership for more than a century. After all, how could a major university enrolling nearly 75,000 students from around the world hope to preserve the ethos of a humble all-male military college in rural Texas? But this shift further highlights our heightened responsibility to ensure our values live on and impact lives wherever our graduates go. Just as those who came before us did for us, we must instill in them this community’s timeless principles, which transcend industries, politics and identity and lead to a more fulfilling future in work and life.
Our university president, Gen. Mark Welsh III, shared a phrase with me recently that’s been tumbling around my head: “No one cares what you know until they know that you care.” In these words, we find a profound truth that has been at Texas A&M’s core since its inception. We can have the most state-of-the-art facilities, prestigious faculty and sky-high academic rankings, but they only matter if we can direct them toward a purpose greater than any one individual or institution. Our commitment to these values is what sets us apart, and it is what will propel us into an even brighter future. I like to call this the “Aggie Way” and believe it is a North Star for our actions as good citizens and Aggies. It is why we strive to be elite but never elitist. It is why the Constitution and the principles of our democracy are just as important today as when our Republic was founded.
In this issue’s cover feature, you’ll meet six remarkable Aggies who exemplify Aggie values in action. They are students and leaders who not only know much but also care deeply. Through their vignettes, you’ll witness our principles’ undying legacy. I invite you to appreciate these students’ stories and absorb their words. Let them serve as a reminder that the core values we hold dear remain unwavering and that they will continue to shape the current and future leaders we proudly call Aggies.
Thanks for all you do.
Tyson Voelkel ’96
President and CEO,
Texas A&M Foundation
Read this issue’s cover feature to learn how students live out Texas A&M's core values.