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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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Also In This Issue

New Gifts: Recent Gifts to the Foundation

Funding for Physicianeers

Texas A&M’s new engineering medicine (EnMed) program received its first endowed scholarship from Kathy '79 and Rick Spletter.

As a partnership between the College of Engineering, the College of Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital, EnMed is expected to be the largest engineering-based medical degree program in the nation. Launching in 2019, the program will train a new type of doctor—physicianeers—who will be both practicing physicians and trained engineers. Program graduates will receive both a master’s in engineering and a Doctor of Medicine in four years.

“I was excited to hear about EnMed as an accredited program that blends engineering creativity and problem-solving with a medical education,” Kathy said. “We know that quality health care is one of the most critical components of a quality life, and our current health care system needs creative solutions to reduce costs and improve care.”

The couple’s scholarship pays homage to their family’s engineering legacy. Kathy graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in chemical engineering, as did the couple’s older son, Christopher ’14. Their daughter Nicole ’15 graduated with a biological and agricultural engineering degree, while their youngest son, Andrew ’21, is a current engineering student. Their scholarship also stipulates a preference for an EnMed student who served or made a commitment to serve in the U.S. military.

Women Supporting Women 

The first gift to the Women’s Resource Center is equipping women across Texas A&M with the support needed to enrich their personal and professional development.

A $25,000 endowment from Lynn Hagan ’77 will support various programs of the Women’s Resource Center, including Elect Her, which is dedicated to training women to run for student government positions as well as future political office. Another popular function is First Thursday, a monthly event with the Aggie Women Network that connects students with professionals in their field. The center also sponsors Women’s History Month, the International Women’s Day Conference and salary negotiation workshops.

Hagan is renowned for her social work and activism regarding women’s and children’s issues. Through her involvement with the American Association of University Women, she has advocated for quality education among women and girls and has worked to promote social change across the Southeastern United States.

“Specific funding for programs such as the Women’s Resource Center is long overdue,” Hagan said. “Women have different educational and social needs than men, and the center helps identify and meet those needs. What is good for women is good for the university, for families and for society at large.”

Remembering Barbara Bush

To commemorate former First Lady Barbara Bush’s legacy, Class of 2018 graduates of the Bush School of Government and Public Service are creating a scholarship gift in her name.

“If there is one thing that’s been instilled in us from President and Mrs. Bush, it’s service,” said Alexandra González ’15 ’18, a Bush School graduate. “What better way to honor Mrs. Bush and celebrate her life than through an endowed scholarship that will afford future generations of public servants the opportunity to attend the Bush School?”

Open to any student enrolled in the Bush School, this scholarship will be awarded to those who exhibit the mindset and values of a public servant as Mrs. Bush did. “We’re really excited to help keep the name and spirit of Mrs. Bush at the heart of our institution,” said Kayla McGill ’18, another graduate. “This scholarship will help students make a positive difference in the world.”

The class raised funds through commemorative T-shirt sales and will continue to seek donations from peers to reach the $25,000 goal.  

ACCESSIBLE DESIGN

Remembering the support she received from Texas A&M during her own challenges, Ruth Hall Lusher ’78 decided to endow a scholarship within the College of Architecture for undergraduates who have disabilities or an interest in creating more accessible environments for those with disabilities.

“I want recipients of this scholarship to know that people care about them and want them to succeed in life,” Lusher said. “I received so much support during my time at Texas A&M, and I want to give that opportunity to other students.”

Disabled as a child by polio and a single mother at the time she enrolled in school, Lusher found strength from people at Texas A&M. While she only took one course at first due to working full-time, her talent for design caught the attention of several faculty, who encouraged her to change her major, apply for a scholarship and enroll as a full-time student.

After graduate school, Lusher supervised the drafting of the Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines. “It was like architecture school,” she said. “We pulled all-nighters and did whatever necessary to publish the guidelines in one year.” Through her career with the Access Board and Department of Justice, and work with nonprofits and other agencies, Lusher helped shape the development of accessible design in the U.S.

  • Texas A&M's Yearbook Receives Gift

    A $50,000 endowed gift from Chris and Dr. Bob Williamson ’49 will ensure a permanent source of funding for Texas A&M’s Aggieland yearbook. First published in 1895, it is one of the nation’s largest college yearbooks and is entirely written, edited and produced by students. The couple hopes their gift will encourage other financial support for the yearbook.
  • Aggie Moms Support Veterans

    Thanks to a gift from the Austin Aggie Mothers’ Club, Texas A&M can further support full-time student veterans through a new $25,000 Aggie Veteran Honor Scholarship. More than 1,100 veterans currently attend Texas A&M, the nation’s top university for serving those transitioning from military to civilian life.
  • Gift Boosts Real Estate Program

    To support the No. 5 Master of Real Estate Program in the nation, Jean and Jason Signor ’99 created a $50,000 excellence endowment that will be matched by funds from Cydney Donnell ’81, director of the program. The 16-month program in Mays Business School gives students the fundamental knowledge of commercial real estate through a concentration on finance, real estate law, economics, market analysis and negotiations.
Contact:

Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor