November 5, 2020

Mario Rodriguez '21, a maritime business administration major, is a recipient of the Taylor Byron Roy Memorial Scholarship.

Texas A&M University at Galveston will host its Sixth Annual Endowed Scholarship Reception tonight. This year’s event, which is being held virtually due to COVID-19, honors 106 endowed scholarship recipients and 88 endowed scholarship donors. In total, Texas A&M-Galveston has awarded $375,000 in endowed scholarships during the 2020-21 academic year.

“Student scholars are truly the recipients of other people’s generosity,” said Col. Michael Fossum ’80, vice president of Texas A&M University, chief operating officer of Texas A&M-Galveston, and superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. “The difference that these scholarships make in helping students attend school and stay in school cannot be underestimated.”

Endowed scholarships not only help students earn a degree, but often also cause a philanthropic ripple effect. That’s been the case for Brian Roy ’82, who benefited from a scholarship created by Temple Inland while he was earning his bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M University. “Because of that scholarship, I could focus on my studies instead of working three jobs,” he remembered.

Almost two decades later, Brian enjoyed a strong bond with his son, Taylor Roy ’13, that was based on hard work, working on vehicles and being near the ocean. “He was a good all-around boy who played soccer, took auto tech, built a truck and liked to work with his hands,” said Brian, who serves as the vice president of sales and marketing at Houston Wire and Cable Company. “Taylor could relate to everyone and was friends with individuals from all walks of life.”

After initially enrolling in Texas A&M-Galveston’s maritime transportation program, Taylor transferred to the maritime business administration program to study maritime shipping. “He ended up gravitating toward business administration because he excelled at sales and the business side,” his father noted, adding that Texas A&M-Galveston was a perfect fit for Taylor because of its well-rounded degree programs that emphasize teaching practical skills. 

Sadly, Taylor died unexpectedly during the spring semester of his junior year. In the wake of their grief, the Roy family created the Taylor Byron Roy Memorial Scholarship to honor their son. Thanks to both large and small contributions from family members and friends, as well as leveraging employer matching programs, the scholarship was soon endowed.

Since then, continual small gifts made by family and friends around Taylor’s birthday, Christmas and other occasions have expanded the scholarship’s corpus enough to support four Aggie by the Sea students annually. “You don’t have to have a million dollars to create a scholarship,” Brian said. “You can contribute $100 to a current scholarship, which makes a difference.”

In creating the scholarship, the Roys also stipulated the type of students they wanted to support. “We want to support students like Taylor,” Brian said. “We see it as a way to imagine what Taylor could have become if he had lived.”

The Taylor Byron Roy Memorial Scholarship was made by Brian Roy ’82 and his friends and family in honor of his son, Taylor Roy ’13, who passed away unexpectedly during the spring semester of his junior year.

A total of 13 students have benefited from this endowed scholarship since its inception. One of the current recipients, Mario Rodriguez ’21, is pursuing a degree in maritime business administration.  “I knew I wanted to go into business, but I had no knowledge about maritime business before,” the Pearland, Texas, native said. “Once I got involved in classes and networking opportunities, I found there were so many different avenues I could go professionally, like project logistics, commodity trading and ship brokerage. And we can literally see the maritime industry from our campus!”

The scholarship has given Rodriguez, who serves as president of Texas A&M-Galveston’s Student Association of Maritime Administrators, financial stability so that he can devote his time to his studies and expanding his professional network. “It gives me the opportunity to not have to work to make ends meet,” he said. “I can thrive rather than just survive in college. I’m not hesitant about buying that extra textbook or paying $20 for a student pass to go network at a luncheon in Houston for a club. It helps me take that extra step in my education without worrying about whether I can pay my tuition.”

Like other Aggies by the Sea who receive this scholarship, Rodriguez has the opportunity to build a close and lasting relationship with the Roy family. “We love meeting these students,” Brian said. “The scholarship recipients have become our extended family, and they are helping us keep Taylor’s legacy alive. We also hope they will someday pay it forward by creating a scholarship to support future generations of Aggies by the Sea."

To learn how you can create an endowed scholarship for Texas A&M University at Galveston students, contact Rick Kline, assistant vice president for development, at (409) 741-4030 or by submitting a message using the form below.