August 3, 2020

A young Jay Kregel '89 smiles for his senior portraits.

No one was more dedicated to the colors of maroon and white than Jay Kregel ’89. And up until he lost a battle to cancer in 2011, he lived and breathed all things Texas A&M University.

Kregel’s Aggie journey began when he joined the Corps of Cadets as a member of Company D-1. With the Corps of Cadets’ mission to develop well-educated leaders of character who embody the values of honor, courage, integrity, discipline and selfless service, Kregel was a true product of the Corps. His time as a cadet played an important role in building his leadership abilities and helped him develop deep lifelong ties to the university.

While Kregel valued many of his experiences at Texas A&M, he harbored a longtime appreciation for the relationships he made, especially those with his fellow cadets. He maintained many of these close relationships with his classmates and served as acting class agent until his death.

“Jay had a firm set of standards and principles that aligned with Texas A&M’s core values,” said Peter White ’89, one of Kregel’s close friends. “Being buddies with him was a true privilege.”

Motivated by his standards and molded by his time in the Corps of Cadets, Kregel went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps (USMC). In 1991, after attending the Marine Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, and Field Artillery School in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Kregel was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. During his first Marine tour, Kregel deployed on the USS Comstock (LSD-45) as part of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force to the Persian Gulf. In 1993, he began his second tour of duty with the Marine Recruiting Station Houston. Kregel was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1997. As a civilian, he pursued a financial management career after earning his MBA from The University of Texas at Austin in 1999.

Kregel during his time serving in the USMC.

Throughout his life, Kregel exemplified what it means to be an Aggie. His Aggie Spirit continues through a Regents’ Scholarship he established in his will. With the influences of Texas A&M, the Corps of Cadets and his parents in mind, Kregel created the Richard & Ethel Kregel Regents’ Scholarship in honor of his parents. The $100,000 gift is currently funding scholarships for first-generation students.

“When looking to give back, Jay noted the special importance that supporting education can have on an individual’s future and their community,” said Kregel’s friend, James Sumpter ’89. “He believed it was his duty to help the next generation of Aggies.”

Kregel believed that Texas A&M produced leaders, and it was his hope that the Richard & Ethel Kregel Regents’ Scholarship would give opportunities to well deserving students. Thanks to this scholarship support, first-generation student Mirna Cardenas ’18 was able to join the Aggie family.


Meet Mirna Cardenas '18

What Texas A&M experiences shaped you?

Cardenas enjoys an Aggie football game with her Corps friends.

My most impactful experience during my four years at Texas A&M was being a member of the Corps of Cadets. As a cadet in Company N-1, I received a firm foundation built on developing leadership skills and the highest standards of character.

Being a cadet offered me a wide range of opportunities to learn, succeed and excel academically. It was in my four years with the Corps that I was provided structure, friendship, leadership and guidance. In the Corps, you learn you can compete against others from all over the state and excel. This culmination of things helped me build the confidence to pursue my ambitions of joining the Marines.

How did Jay's generosity impact your life?

Cardenas met her fiance, Nathan Hall '18, during her time in Aggieland.

As a first-generation college student and Aggie, there was a period of time that I was unsure if higher education was going to be a possibility for me. This scholarship meant so much to me. It allowed me to focus on my education and the things that I care about the most without having to worry about paying for college.

At Texas A&M, students are provided with much more than just an academic education. We are given the opportunity to be part of something that is so much larger than ourselves: the Aggie family. Jay’s gift allowed me to join that family.

Would you like to say anything to Jay’s family?

Kregel's planned gift forever changed Cardenas' life.

I owe Jay and his family a lifetime of gratitude and praise. My hope is that they understand how meaningful this scholarship was to me and how it continues to impact my life even after my time at Texas A&M. Words will never explain how immensely grateful I am for the opportunities that were made possible because of my Regents’ Scholarship. 

Jay’s generosity and commitment is exactly the kind of community involvement that makes Texas A&M strong. The many scholarships, grants and financial aid opportunities are a testament to the support of former students, family and friends. His philanthropy expanded my opportunities and made higher education a possibility for me.

How has being a scholarship recipient changed your perspective on charitable giving?

After receiving such immense support from Jay and others, I developed a deep appreciation for the power of the Aggie Network. I hope to use the support that I received from Jay's generosity and pay it forward whenever I can. As an Aggie, I feel it is my duty and privilege to continue to help the next generation of Aggies.

What are your future career goals?

I currently serve in the United States Marine Corps as a Manpower Officer. My current billet in Pendleton, California, is the Adjutant/Legal Officer billet. We ensure the availability of trained, qualified personnel by planning, coordinating and executing administrative processes in order to facilitate the commander’s mission goal across the range of our military operations. I also ensure that any legal cases that get routed through my chain of command also get processed in a timely manner and that the proper measures are taken for each case. Following my time in the Marine Corps, I want to use my health degree to pursue a nursing career.

Regents’ Scholarships are awarded to deserving first-generation students whose annual family income is less than $40,000. If you are interested in helping a first-generation Aggie succeed by endowing a Regents’ Scholarship, contact Marcy Ullmann ’86 by completing the form below. To learn how you can use planned giving to leave your legacy at Texas A&M, contact Angela Throne ’03 at