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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

Improving Lives Through Entrepreneurship

By Tyson Voelkel '96

President, Texas A&M Foundation
President Tyson Voelkel '96

One of the greatest joys of being part of the Texas A&M Foundation team is creating win-win opportunities and results for both our donors and Texas A&M University. Helping the university grow requires an entrepreneurial mindset that is based on generating value each day, regardless of the endeavor and regardless of the challenges.

My military and for-profit leadership experience taught me that problem-solving and adaptability are fundamental to creating value. In the military, the currency was life and death, stability and peace. In business, it was finding ways to ensure that our efforts resulted in better lives and opportunities for our employees, customers and communities. Teamwork and coping with adversity, scarce resources and ambiguity were common factors. Both life experiences influenced my view on the world and my conception of entrepreneurship and impact. Similarly, my discussions with donors often lead to the topic of value creation and impact.

This past year, we worked with dozens of organizations, families and faculty to create ideas and strategies that support Texas A&M’s mission. Three entities that deserve special recognition include the Mays Family Foundation, the McFerrin family and the Charles Koch Foundation. They challenged my team and the university to grow entrepreneurial opportunities through innovative teaching and research experiences. Their multimillion-dollar gifts will help increase the quality and quantity of Aggies entering businesses and organizations in all sectors. (Read more in this issue's cover feature.)

While we commonly associate entrepreneurship with new technologies and products, it’s also a mindset that can be developed. The cornerstone of entrepreneurship is the development of teamwork and creative problem-solving skills, leadership abilities and adaptability in an ever-changing environment. With these investments in entrepreneurship, Texas A&M can develop the next generation of Aggies who love learning new things; who have ideas to improve the status quo; who believe in themselves; and who want to create value to make the world better.

Higher education and an entrepreneurial mindset are keys to solving real world problems, and the Foundation plays a unique role on and off campus in furthering both. Through the Lead by Example campaign, we are working toward the betterment of our educational system, our society and the future of our country. With your investment, you too can enforce, reframe and reshape our educational foundation.

As you read this special campaign edition, think about the next generation of entrepreneurs in business, education and government, and how your ideas and passions can help fuel an even brighter future.

Thanks for all you do.