October 9, 2020

Dr. Mitty C. Plummer '65 is using a gift of mineral rights to fund scholarships for nuclear engineering students.

Dr. Mitty C. Plummer ’65 was among the first to study nuclear engineering at Texas A&M University. He went on to have a stellar career, working in the corporate world and starting his own business before joining academia to guide the next generation of nuclear engineers.

Now, Plummer is giving back in a different way. His transference of mineral rights from a Kansas property he owns to the Texas A&M Foundation has created the Mitty C. Plummer ’65 Scholarship, a fund that annually provides one year of financial assistance to undergraduate nuclear engineering students.

Plummer decided to donate the mineral rights because most of the annual income was being eaten up by local, state and federal taxes. “If I left that as an inheritance to my two sons, they would receive about $1,000 a year; by the time they paid taxes, it wasn’t worth it,” he said. “Because the Texas A&M Foundation is a 501(c)(3), I decided to donate these rights so that Texas A&M can get the full benefit of the mineral rights each year to assist students in finishing their educations.”

Calculating the Shifts

Originally hailing from Kansas, Plummer moved to Odessa, Texas, when he was a high school freshman. Already displaying a strong aptitude for math, the teenager’s future was greatly influenced by James Richard Smith ’49, an electrical engineer and the father of one of Plummer’s friend, former Texas Representative Wayne Smith. The Smiths encouraged Plummer to apply to Texas A&M and study engineering.

Following in Smith’s footsteps and assisted by a scholarship from the Odessa A&M Club, Plummer earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering before focusing his studies on nuclear engineering. “In the early- to mid-1960s, it looked like we were going to make a large amount of electricity from nuclear power,” said Plummer, who was awarded an Atomic Energy Commission Traineeship to pursue his graduate studies. He went on to earn a master’s in engineering and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, spending a total of almost nine years in Aggieland.