May 18, 2021

Since Texas A&M University’s establishment in 1876, Aggies have served in military conflicts far and wide. The Corps of Cadets strives to prepare cadets to lead in the armed forces, sending more officers into military service than any other public university. Those who return from war find a special place at Texas A&M, which consistently seeks to serve the student veteran population and honor those who never come home.

The Memorial Student Center fulfills this aspiration as a living memorial to all Aggies who lost their lives during battle and as home to the Hall of Honor, which commemorates eight Aggies who received the nation’s highest military decoration: The Medal of Honor. Fittingly, the Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource and Support Center will soon open its new location near the Hall of Honor and the exhibits of these most selfless Aggies to date.

The eight Medal of Honor recipients came from different backgrounds but ultimately exhibited the core values Texas A&M holds dear, five giving their lives in service of their country. Each proved himself through dedication, loyalty, compassion and selflessness, making them all deserving of this award.


A New Campus Home for Veterans Near the Hall of Honor

“Serve well those who have served.”

The veteran population at Texas A&M includes approximately 1,250 current students who have served in the military. Due to their typically higher age, veterans can undergo a series of transitions to return to civilian life and begin college, working through their different experiences, social interests and ideas that separate them from non-veteran students.

Originally opened in 2012, the Veteran Resource and Support Center (VRSC) has provided help and a caring environment for student veterans to bridge that gap. In July 2020, the VRSC moved to the lower level of the MSC before Don and Ellie Knauss donated $5 million toward veterans’ scholarships and renovations to relocate to the upper level of the MSC, subsequently expanding the space to better serve the student veteran population.

The newly renovated center, now named in the Knausses’ honor, will offer various community, peer-led, financial aid, transition, mental health and career-readiness programs, helping veterans connect with each other and adjust to civilian life. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., students can visit the VRSC to utilize resources, obtain free textbooks, meet with staff by appointment or simply find a quiet place to study.

“We believe that education is the one way to ensure that veterans can maximize their full potential,” Ellie Knauss said. “It was a very easy decision with our interest in educational philanthropy to make sure that some of the people we feel are most deserving get the help they need. We think education is the great equalizer of opportunity.”