Also In This Issue

President's Post

Serve Well Those Who Have Served

By Tyson Voelkel '96

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

Throughout Texas A&M University’s history, Aggies have consistently stepped up when called upon to serve their country. In addition to honoring its origins as a military college with a thriving Corps of Cadets, Aggieland has gained national recognition as a welcoming place for veterans returning from their military service to seek a college education. An extremely patriotic campus, the university consistently ranks in the nation’s top 10 schools for veteran support.

On campus, we enroll more than 1,150 student veterans. Their transition from military to academic life and the services available to them through the university’s Veteran Resource and Support Center (VRSC) are the topic of this issue’s cover feature. This subject touches close to home for me, given my family's military experience.

After graduation, I was commissioned as an infantry officer in the United States Army like my brothers, Beau ’99 and Trevor ’02. We served around the world, and Texas A&M played an integral role in our lives. Each of us returned for graduate education or, in the case of Trevor, to serve as an ROTC instructor for the Corps of Cadets for one year. Today, I continue to serve as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Innovation Command, which works hand-in-hand with the Army Futures Command to identify and support cutting-edge technologies and processes for the betterment of the U.S. military on campus and at the RELLIS campus.

Looking back, I realize I was inspired to join the military because my parents instilled in me a calling to serve others. Leading men and women into combat remains the highest professional honor and most difficult professional assignment of my life. Like many of the veterans in this issue attest, transitioning out of active duty into the private sector did have its challenges, but my support network—principally my wife, Christi ’98—enabled a successful transition.

Easing that transition to civilian life is one of the areas of focus for the VRSC, which offers a variety of programs, networking opportunities and financial support to Aggie student veterans. At the Texas A&M Foundation, we are honored to partner with individuals and organizations who desire to support veterans’ initiatives across campus. In my experience, veterans are not looking for handouts or special treatment; they simply want a fair chance at opportunities to continue learning and serving. Learning how to translate military service into the language of civilian employment, navigating the job market and knowing where to make an impact can all be challenging.

Thankfully, Aggies care deeply about veterans. I’m proud to say that one of our successful fundraising endeavors has been to secure more than 80 endowed scholarships for student veterans and their spouses. In our cover feature, we have outlined a number of additional funding needs that can help give student veterans the best opportunity for academic success. As the VRSC’s mission statement proudly proclaims, it is our desire at Texas A&M to “serve well those who have served.” In fulfilling that mission, our university will continue to be a welcoming home for so many of our nation’s heroes.

Thanks for all you do.