May 18, 2021

Ellie and Don Knauss

In February 2020, Ellie and Don Knauss started a chain reaction of generosity. Longtime supporters of Texas A&M University’s student veterans, the Knausses gave $500,000 in matching funds, inviting others to join them in supporting student veterans by creating new scholarships. Part of a larger $5 million gift to the Veteran Resource & Support Center (VRSC), the funds provided 1:1 matching for gifts of $25,000 or more.

Others rose to the challenge, with 18 donors quickly utilizing the full amount to endow 20 scholarships, doubling the impact of the original funds. “Don and Ellie are changing lives for those who have served our great country,” said VRSC Director Col. Jerry Smith ’82, USMC (Ret.).

The couple’s gift can also produce ripples well into the future by planting a desire to give back in the students who receive one of these scholarships. “All of this comes down to people,” Ellie said. “When you meet someone like Jerry and his team, who have such a passion to make a difference, you understand why people want to give. It’s a personal belief that your support will make a difference.”

The Knausses’ story is just one example of the power of matching funds. Although many matching programs come from employers, donors like the Knausses can also create these opportunities for others. By designating that a gift or a portion of a gift be used as matching funds, or by having a gift matched through an existing opportunity, anyone can double their impact at Texas A&M. Learn more about some of these available matching funds to see how you can partner with other donors to take your generosity twice as far.

Invest in Nurse Leaders and Nurse Scientists

Since 2008, the College of Nursing has grown in national prestige for producing skilled and compassionate nurses focused on innovation and excellence. Rapidly becoming one of the university’s high-performing units, the college’s academic programs, impactful research, and clinical and professional services play an important role in improving health care, population health and nursing throughout Texas and beyond.

As the college launches a new Doctorate of Nursing Practice program, and plans for the launch of its Ph.D. in Nursing program, Dr. Jane Bolin is inviting interested donors to double their impact with a gift to the Doctoral Education in Nursing scholarship. As a Regents professor and the College of Nursing’s associate dean for research, Bolin created the scholarship for doctoral students and pledges to provide $25,000 in 1:1 matching funds. She also encourages visionary donors to join her in creating matching gifts for the growth of the College of Nursing.

Inspired by her own time as a nurse, Bolin decided to use her Regents professor award stipend to fund the scholarship. “Nurses have an incredible ability to see people and challenges through the lens of caring and problem solving,” she said.

The new doctoral program will continue the college’s focus on research and educational excellence. “This is a very exciting time for the entire nursing profession but especially for young, visionary, problem-solving nurse scientists,” Bolin added. “All of us who care about Texas A&M’s College of Nursing should try to grow, sustain and nurture future nurse leaders.”

To learn more about how to utilize Bolin’s matching funds and support doctoral nursing students, contact Patty Rabel ’80 at (979) 436-0175 or by submitting a message using the button below.

Prescribe Opportunities

College of Pharmacy alumni can give back to the next generation of students with a new endowed scholarship. Thanks to a partnership between alumni and Dr. Indra Reddy, professor and founding dean of the college, the scholarship will be awarded to students pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy. The college invites alumni to contribute a total of $12,500, which will be matched by Reddy.

The scholarship will support students as they work to become tomorrow’s caring pharmacy professionals. Through biological and pharmaceutical courses and hands-on experience at rotations throughout Texas, students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program gain the knowledge and skills for a range of clinical and community pharmacy careers.

“Through this matching endowment, deserving students will receive assistance to complete their education at a time when it is needed most,” Reddy said. “It is my sincerest hope that more Aggies can graduate and continue demonstrating selfless service in their communities.”

All College of Pharmacy alumni are invited to increase their impact on future pharmacists through this fund! Contact Karen Slater ’88 at (979) 436-9108 or by using the button below to learn more.

Construct Brighter Tomorrows

Since 1999, the Construction Industry Advisory Council (CIAC) in the College of Architecture’s Department of Construction Science has been doubling donors’ impact on students’ lives. The council, which consists of corporate and individual industry professionals who support and promote the department, annually sets aside $120,000 from its discretionary fund as matching opportunities for endowed scholarships. Every year, the funds help CIAC members create 12 new scholarships by adding an extra $10,000 to gifts of $15,000.

Since the fund was created, it has produced an impact of more than $3 million and increased the number of department scholarships from 14 to more than 100. “The impact of our donors and the matching funds has been nothing less than transformational,” said Hernan Guerra Santos ’03, the department’s industry relations coordinator.

These scholarships support countless future construction professionals, and the council’s leaders hope to continue increasing the number of scholarships available in the future. “The CIAC is a true force multiplier for enabling our students to achieve their lifelong dreams of graduating from our program,” said Dr. Patrick Suermann ’03, head of the Department of Construction Science and the CIAC’s executive director.

 If you are a CIAC member, you can take advantage of this opportunity to support future construction students. Contact Erik Baker at (979) 862-5765 or by using the button below to learn more. 

Fund Public Health

Dr. Michael Morrisey is increasing his career-long influence on public health by encouraging others to join him in supporting future health policy professionals. A health economist and professor emeritus of Texas A&M’s Department of Health Policy and Management, Morrisey pledged to provide matching funds to help create a fellowship for students pursuing a doctorate in health services research. Donors have currently contributed $2,250, and when the fund reaches $12,500, Morrisey will double that amount to endow the fellowship.

The award will allow students to produce influential dissertations and begin to establish national reputations in the field by funding conference attendance, research-related travel and other resources. Students in the program focus on a wide range of health economics issues—from health care costs and insurance to the impact of health care policies—and gain the skills to become powerful influences in health systems.

Morrisey was inspired to create the matching opportunity by his experience serving on numerous dissertation committees for the doctoral program. “It is a strong program with very good students,” he said. “I proposed this fellowship to provide resources to help our students and am challenging my faculty colleagues and our program graduates to contribute.”

Do you want to join Dr. Morrisey in supporting future health services research? Contact Karen Slater ’88 at (979) 436-9108 or by submitting a message using the button below.

Shape Future Policy

The Bush School of Government and Public Service can play a key role in future energy and health policies thanks to a matching gift from Dr. James Griffin. A retired senior professor of economics and public policy at the Bush School, Griffin pledged $250,000 each for a health policy professorship and an energy policy professorship to recruit and support top professionals in the field. His gift invites others to contribute $500,000 each to name the awards and fund future excellence.

Griffin knows firsthand the importance of health and energy policy. During his years at the Bush School, he held the Bob Bullock Chair in Public Policy and Finance and served as the founding director of the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy.

“The Bush School needs to have a nationally prominent scholar in these two areas affecting policy,” he said. “Health policy is terribly complex and we’re spending an immense amount of money, so we need to have a voice in helping make the system more efficient. In the energy policy arena, climate change has emerged as a huge issue. We need to find workable solutions and chart a way forward on one of the most important questions of the day.”

As a part of this effort, the Bush School is excited to recognize Yolanda and Jimmy Janacek ’65 for their generous planned gift in support of the health policy professorship. With Dr. Griffin’s matching funds, the Janacek’s legacy gift and a new current contribution of $500,000, the professorship will be elevated from a professorship to an endowed chair, an elite academic position held only by top professors, to increase impact and fund future excellence in the health policy arena.

Interested in partnering with Dr. Griffin to support health and energy policy experts? Contact Cara Collins ’08 at (210) 416-3363 or by sending a message using the button below.

The power of giving

Walter Hines '19 at his Texas A&M graduation

Walter Hines ’19 is a perfect example of the long-term impacts a gift to Texas A&M can have. A Houston native, Hines served in the Marine Corps for five years before attending the university to earn a chemical engineering degree. During his time on campus, he was amazed by Aggieland’s commitment to support student veterans.

“The VRSC was extremely helpful when I got to campus,” Hines said. “Knowing there is a huge support system there for us took a lot of worry away, and the network of like-minded people is phenomenal.”

Inspired by the VRSC’s friendliness and a scholarship from Ellie and Don Knauss, Hines wanted to give back. After graduating, he began working for Marathon Petroleum Corporation and quickly took advantage of the company’s matching funds to create an endowed scholarship for future student veterans.

“I have more than enough for me, so it’s time to give back to others,” Hines explained. “I was really struck by the giving nature of the university, and I want other people to experience the same impact I felt as a student. I want that opportunity to be there for them, but I hope they understand it’s not a handout. They can turn around and do the same thing I’m doing one day by passing that culture of positivity to others.”

To learn more about supporting the VRSC and student veterans like Walter, contact Dave Fujimoto ’17 at (979) 458-2634 or by using the button below.