In the world of corporate America, perhaps no company bleeds maroon more than ExxonMobil. Led by CEO Darren Woods ’87, the multinational oil and gas giant hires a large number of Texas A&M University graduates annually and employs more than 1,400 Aggies. Recognizing that former students-turned employees of the company could have a significant financial impact at Texas A&M University, a number of Aggie employees established the first corporate A&M club, the ExxonMobil Aggies, to fund endowments and opportunities for future students.
The group began in 2013 as a way to establish an Aggie networking and mentoring community within ExxonMobil. Given the number of Aggies employed, the group felt it could make a major impact by connecting the financial resources of former students with the needs of current Aggies. In 2016, 16 employees joined forces to commit four scholarship endowments at Texas A&M. Two designated for students in the College of Engineering and the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering are already funded, while funds continue to be raised toward the remaining two endowments in support of Mays Business School students and an Endowed Century Club scholarship through The Association of Former Students.
With the success of the first endowments, members worked with The Association of Former Students to hold Aggie Muster at the ExxonMobil Houston campus in 2017 to promote donations for other endowments. A year later, eight Aggies formed a leadership team to officially charter the ExxonMobil A&M Club during the 2018 Muster.
“We’ve grown since our initiation,” said Tyler Corder ’14, the club’s current co-president along with Taylor Farrell ’14. . “We are proud to carry the Spirit of Aggieland to ExxonMobil.” To date, the club has more than 1,000 members who have raised $180,000 to fund or partially fund nine endowments. “The club is proof that Aggies, regardless of their age and location, are capable of so much,” Corder added.
FUNDING FUTURE STUDENTS
In soliciting donations, the club encouraged its members to use ExxonMobil’s educational matching gifts program. For many years, the company provided a 3:1 match on employees’ charitable donations; this changed to a 2:1 match on Oct. 1, 2019, prompting many members to contribute to the club’s endowments and triple their donations before the change took effect.
Many employees were excited to utilize the matching program to provide students with the same opportunities they were afforded. “I could not have pursued an education in chemical engineering if it weren’t for my scholarships,” said Taylor Lauten ’18, an ExxonMobil employee. “I wanted to provide an opportunity for someone to pursue an amazing education too.”
Russel Martin ’85, executive at ExxonMobil and club board member, felt a similar pull to give back. “I attribute most of my success to my experience at Texas A&M,” he added. “It was there I was challenged to make a difference. Those experiences ultimately made me a person Exxon wanted to hire.”
Partnered with the matching program, the club also raised donations by hosting events such as its annual Muster ceremony, gameday tailgates and by volunteering at Aggie Ring Day, all while maintaining a strong relationship with the university and fostering the spirit of camaraderie with fellow Aggies.