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@txamfoundation: Foundation News

Barbara and Bill Huffman '53

Fish Camper Awards

Students who attended Texas A&M University’s Fish Camp this summer had the opportunity to apply for $1,000 awards thanks to the generosity of Barbara and Bill Huffman ’53. The Huffmans funded the Texas A&M Foundation Fish Camp Awards through an $8,000 gift to the Foundation.

The Huffmans funded seven $1,000 awards to incoming freshmen who attended Fish Camp and one additional $1,000 award to a Fish Camp counselor.

Braxton McCoy '19 received the award for Fish Camp student staff, while freshmen recipients were Seth Reine ’20, Claire Cox ’20, Monica Swei ’20, Tyler Sporisky ’20, Kourtnei Fong-Kutchins ’20, Filipe Contaifer ’20 and Morgan Shepheard ’20.

Fish Camp is a four-day orientation program in Palestine, Texas, that introduces incoming freshmen to Aggie traditions, fellow students and the Texas A&M academic experience.

“We were impressed by the student leadership at Fish Camp and feel that the organization does a tremendous job of preparing incoming freshmen for Texas A&M,” Bill said. “We hope these awards motivate their recipients to work hard their first year of college and get them started on the right path toward gaining a quality education.”

Any freshman who attended Fish Camp during summer 2016 and all Fish Camp student staff were eligible to apply for the awards by answering three short-answer questions. Recipients were selected via a judging committee in September, and awards will be applied to their spring 2017 semester tuition and fees.

The Huffmans met recipients of the awards during a luncheon on Oct. 14 at the Jon L. Hagler Center.

Lead by Example Campaign Passes Halfway Mark

Texas A&M University has raised more than half of its $4 billion Lead by Example campaign goal, thanks to the generosity of former students, corporate partners and other friends of the university.

As of Aug. 31, 2016, supporters gave more than $2.3 billion toward the campaign goal announced in November 2015.

As the largest fundraising endeavor ever undertaken by Texas A&M and the second largest ever announced by a public university, Lead by Example seeks to provide resources to help address major societal challenges facing the state, nation and world.

Campaign officials estimate that about 85 percent of the donor-directed campaign funds will benefit academics, student activities and research, while the remainder will fund athletics. Gifts of any size directed to the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and Texas A&M University will count toward meeting the campaign goal during 2020.

To learn more, visit

Foundation Provides Record $103.9 Million to University

The Texas A&M Foundation made a record $103.9 million available to Texas A&M University as a result of donations from former students and other supporters plus endowment earnings during the past fiscal year.

This represents a roughly $15 million increase from last year’s $88.2 million in funds made available, largely due to cash gifts that funded campus construction projects. More than 25 percent of the $103.9 million supported construction of projects like The Gardens at Texas A&M, the Zachry Engineering Education Complex and the John D. White ’70—Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center, among others.

Most donors to the Foundation designate how their gifts will be used in one of four impact areas. Student impact represents scholarships and fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students, while faculty-impact gifts fund chairs, professorships and fellowships. Gifts that help a college or department through discretionary or building funds fall within the college impact designation, while spirit-impact gifts cultivate student organizations, traditions and other outside-the-classroom experiences.

By focusing on endowments, the Foundation provides a permanent source of support for Texas A&M. Its long-term investment strategy is designed to ease the effects of severe marketplace changes to provide steady endowment payout over multiple years and to preserve the principal value of gifts.

Robin '76 and Bob Starnes '72, pictured with their dog Maya.

New Foundation Wheels

Texas A&M Foundation staff and friends will navigate campus on a new six-seater STAR electric golf cart donated by Robin ’76 and Bob Starnes ’72 of Austin.

“We discovered the need for a new cart at the Foundation, and we are pleased to help keep Aggies moving with this donation,” Bob said.

In addition to providing golf carts for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mays Business School, the Starnes have supported Texas A&M with major gifts in these colleges plus the Corps of Cadets and the Memorial Student Center. They have also established an estate gift for the university.

Bob received a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism sciences from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and an MBA from Mays Business School. He is an outstanding alumnus of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences and Mays Business School, as well as president of Austin-based Ontra Companies Inc., an investment group and real estate special servicer.

Previously in the software development industry, Robin is an executive professor in the Department of Information and Operations Management and director of the Center for the Management of Information Systems in Mays Business School. She received her bachelor’s degree in marketing and her MBA from Texas A&M. She is also the faculty adviser to the Aggie student group, Women in Information Technology.

The couple was honored as Fish Camp namesakes in 2011.