It was mid-March 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic forced Texas A&M University to close its doors and cease all extracurricular activities.
For Karen Jaimes ’20, the closure effectively ended her tenure with the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets’ horse cavalry unit, Parsons Mounted Cavalry, but it didn’t stop her sense of responsibility as the special unit’s first sergeant. After most students retreated home, Jaimes was among a group of cadets at the Fiddler’s Green every morning and evening, voluntarily caring for the cavalry’s horses.
To this first-generation college graduate from Arlington, Texas, volunteering demonstrated her appreciation for opportunities she once thought were impossible. Topping this list of “impossible opportunities” was her status as a Texas A&M student. It’s a gift made possible by donors like the late Evalyn Ellis, whose foresight and generosity equate to promising futures for countless Aggies.
In Bob’s Memory
While not a Texas A&M graduate, Evalyn Paylor Ellis bled maroon. Her husband of 53 years, W.R. “Bob” Ellis ’50, was a proud Aggie who cherished his time in the Corps. After he died in 2008, Evalyn honored his memory with a scholarship endowment to help Texas A&M cadets afford their education.
With the Texas A&M Foundation's guidance, Evalyn opted to give in the form of a bequest, ensuring that she would have the funds she needed to comfortably live the rest of her life.
When she passed away in 2014, the William R. and Evalyn Ellis General Rudder Corps Scholarship Endowment was born. Through her $500,000 gift to the Foundation, Evalyn is providing scholarship funds of up to $10,000 over four years for each recipient her gift supports. Her generosity has funded 10 scholarships annually since fall 2017.
Making the Impossible Possible
A spring 2020 manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology graduate, Jaimes interned with Bell Textron in summer 2019, where she discovered her love of hands-on mechanical work, especially as it pertains to the V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft. Last September, the former student began her first career as a quality manufacturing engineer with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
Galen Tran ’20, another Ellis General Rudder recipient from Keller, Texas, will graduate this summer and has his eyes set on the skies. Tran is a computer science major and a member of the Corps’ 1st Wing staff. A two-summer internship with Lockheed Martin helped him identify his passion for writing new functions and optimizing computer code for aircraft. He is excited to begin a full-time position with Lockheed Martin as a software engineer in September.
Tran said he couldn’t imagine studying engineering anywhere else and that Ellis’ scholarship has made his Texas A&M experience even more enjoyable. “Among helping with other expenses, this scholarship has allowed me to stay in the Corps,” he said. “I hope one day I can pay it forward to another cadet.”
Jaimes added that while she can’t tell Evalyn how much her bequest has impacted her life, she regularly connects with other scholarship donors who have helped finance her education and made possible what she once deemed impossible. “I thank God for every person who helped me,” Jaimes said. “For someone like me, going to Texas A&M wouldn’t be feasible if not for people like Mrs. Ellis.”
Interested in creating a living legacy for someone who has made an undeniable difference in your life? Learn more by clicking on the button below. Ready to honor a loved one by supporting the Corps with a planned gift? Contact Amy Bacon '91 by completing the form at the bottom of this page.