The creation of this latest fellowship also opened the door for Carolyn H. and Dr. Jack E. Little ’60 to step into a new funding role with the Bush School. The couple’s foundation, The Jack and Carolyn Little Family Foundation, already had displayed its commitment over a period of two decades to Texas A&M by providing scholastic assistance each semester to five undergraduate students with strong academic backgrounds but limited financial capacity.
After attending a presentation last fall by Bush School Professor Jim Olson, an internationally recognized counterintelligence expert, the Littles decided they wanted to support a graduate student who was focusing on national security. Knowing that four of their five scholarship recipients would graduate in spring 2020, the couple began to work with the Texas A&M Foundation’s staff to reallocate those funds to support a Bush School fellowship.
Soon, RFG’s interest in creating the fellowship in honor of Barbara Bush using matching funds came to the Littles’ attention. “We knew the Bushes for many years and had supported Mrs. Bush’s literacy foundation,” said Carolyn. “She was a very special woman, so we are tremendously happy to be involved in this fellowship.”
The Littles were also attracted to this fellowship because it aligned with President Bush’s belief that citizens want to give back to their country. “We admired his great commitment to service,” Jack added. “We are honored to do something to help carry on his legacy.”
CREATING MORE ENGAGED CITIZENS
Since its inception, RFG has financially supported 170 past and current fellows from five U.S. universities. Of those, approximately 75 percent of the alumni are working in government. Others have completed their required service and moved into other sectors, although some continue in government through serving on panels or as advisors later in their careers. “The fellowship brings people into the federal government early in their careers so they learn about many opportunities that are available,” Robinson said. “Then they can continue to be involved during their career, even if they move outside of a direct-hire government position. That experience not only creates future government leaders, but also much better informed and more engaged citizens.”
The joint gift is already making a difference at the Bush School. “The importance of the fellowship can’t be understated for me,” said Autumn Clouthier ’20 ’22, its first recipient. “I would have had to take out several loans to put myself through graduate school. With my determination to go into public service after graduation, I would have had those loans burdening me for most of my adult life. The fellowship was an unexpected gift; I am still dazed by the suddenness of it all. The creators of the fellowship are providing me with the essential resources and support I need to be successful.”
To learn how you can join in this important cause to provide fellowships or support for Bush School graduate students, contact Alexandra González Rainey ’15, director of development, using the form below.