December 5, 2023

Ford Motor Company made an extraordinary contribution to Texas A&M University earlier this year that not only showcases the company’s commitment to education but also its dedication to nurturing future engineering talent. Through a $150,000 gift to create the Ford Aggie Experience Fund, the multinational automobile manufacturer is giving engineering students on career paths related to automotive and advanced manufacturing a chance to participate in career-related student organizations, programs or committees.  

The Ford Aggie Experience Fund was created by repurposing funds the company had donated in 1999 for the Ford Fellows in the International Center’s Academy for Future International Leaders within the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. With the original program no longer in existence, Ford saw an opportunity to reallocate these funds to support a cause that was still in line with its values and aspirations. 

“At Ford, we want more students to have experiences that build critical skills such as creativity, problem solving, flexibility and communication,” said Mike Schmidt, Ford Motor Company Fund director of economic mobility and global community. “We want students to possess adaptability within their careers because with technology, jobs are constantly changing.”

The Ford Aggie Experience Fund provides Texas A&M engineering students with financial support and the opportunity to kickstart their careers in automotive and advanced manufacturing.

The Aggie Experience Fund serves as a dynamic platform at Texas A&M by financially supporting students in their pursuit of diverse extracurricular activities and providing them with opportunities to engage in career-related organizations, programs and committees. The fund pays up to $250 or 50% of program participation fees for recognized activities, including extended orientation programs, Memorial Student Center programs, Freshman Leadership Organizations, sports clubs and Greek Life.

“For college students, career-related experiences are often lacking,” Schmidt said. “These experiences could be anything that gives them direct exposure to their chosen field. For many students, opportunities outside of the classroom can be expensive, but through the Ford Aggie Experience Fund, they can broaden their horizons and develop life skills.” 

The Ford Aggie Experience Fund has already begun impacting students like Gavin Graham ’27, an engineering student who attended the Memorial Student Center Fall Leadership Conference as a freshman thanks to the fund’s support. While in attendance, he not only learned career skills but also made friends and memories that will last beyond Aggieland. 

“I’m from Tennessee, so I didn’t have many friends coming into college,” Graham said. “I met some other freshmen at the conference, all from completely different backgrounds, who have become some of my closest friends. Plus, I learned how to look introspectively at my life plans and create a solid professional foundation I can build on for the rest of my college career.”

According to Dr. Vicki Dobiyanski ’03, associate vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M, corporate support for initiatives like the Aggie Experience Fund help create an extraordinary world-changing generation of workers. With the numerous extracurricular experiences Aggieland has to offer, Aggies who participate in extracurriculars are highly sought after for their professionalism and experience. 

“Many company recruiters tell us they like to hire Aggies because of all that they’ve learned, not just in the classroom, but also in their leadership opportunities and their campus engagement,” Dobiyanski noted. “Supporting the Aggie Experience Fund is a great way for corporations to invest in students while they’re learning real-world skills in their organizations at Texas A&M before they hire them to change the world in their career fields.” 

The Ford Aggie Experience Fund demonstrates Ford’s commitment to providing students with opportunities to excel, grow and become future leaders in the engineering and manufacturing industry. Ford’s gift is just one example of what is possible when corporations step forward to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of education and the workforce.

“We pride ourselves on providing positive experiences for all Aggies while they’re here at Texas A&M, and we’re grateful that Ford has lent its support to these efforts,” Dobiyanski added. “We need continued support for the Aggie Experience Fund so we can keep the momentum going and prepare our Aggies for their impact on their greater community after they graduate.” 

Through a corporate gift for Texas A&M University, your organization can inspire a new generation of skilled workers and create a legacy for your company’s values. Learn more by contacting Annette Forst ’88, assistant vice president for corporate relations, at the bottom of this page.