Attending a small high school with a graduating class of six, Heath Hendricks ’99 felt restricted by his limited opportunities. After being accepted to Texas A&M University, he eagerly sought organizations that would help him grow and hone his skills.
During his first semester of college, Hendricks attended the Memorial Student Center (MSC) Open House event and discovered MSC Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT), the MSC’s first freshman leadership organization dedicated to developing student leaders through campus-wide programs. The young Aggie was then selected for a mentorship program within the organization that introduced him to other leadership roles and organizations at the university. “That was my first step in realizing my full potential and the opportunities that were available to me,” Hendricks said.
Through MSC ALOT, Hendricks assumed leadership roles in other MSC Committees such as MSC Council, a student-staff partnership where students have a voice in decision making; MSC OPAS, the university’s opera and performing arts society; and the MSC Wiley Lecture Series, a student-led organization formerly known as the MSC Endowed Lecture Series that has featured notable speakers such as former President Gerald Ford, Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Hendricks also received a grant from the MSC Jordan Institute for International Awareness, a student- and staff-run organization dedicated to providing Texas A&M and the surrounding community with international exposure through on-campus programming and travel abroad opportunities.
“These organizations helped me develop key skills in the business environment,” Hendricks explained. “I learned how to get a diverse group excited about a common goal and work to accomplish it as well as develop crucial communication and organization skills.”
After graduating with a degree in chemical engineering, Hendricks was motivated to give back to the university. In 2001, he began making annual contributions to the MSC programs he benefited from. After speaking with Texas A&M Foundation Gift Planning Officer Amy Bacon ’91 and Major Gifts Officer Jennifer Hester ’98, Hendricks decided to further support these programs by creating a planned gift using his retirement account. “Making a planned gift allows me to make a larger impact than what I can do with my annual gifts,” he explained.
Designating the Foundation as the beneficiary of his 401(k) is a simple and effective way Hendricks can ensure future Aggies will have the same opportunities he experienced while enrolled at Texas A&M. “This was the best option for me and a great way to support students,” he explained. “Giving is about helping current and future students succeed and impacting the world around them.”
Hendricks hopes his gift broadens future students’ horizons and helps them realize their full potential. Since 1999, MSC programs have grown and developed to impact more students every year, allowing them to benefit from unique leadership opportunities.
“Being involved with MSC organizations put me in a better position after college to move into leadership roles sooner than I would have been able to on my own,” he said. Utilizing the skills he was taught, Hendricks climbed the career ladder, earning promotions from engineer to project manager to an operations leadership role at his company, a major U.K. based firm with 60,000 employees worldwide.
The Aggie’s involvement with MSC Committees also allowed him to visit countries such as France, China and the United Kingdom, which inspired his love for international travel. This later afforded him the opportunity to work overseas in Singapore for six years, an experience he said introduced him to new cultures and international possibilities.
Although Hendricks participated in multiple activities while enrolled at Texas A&M, the MSC Committees were by far the most influential in both his personal and professional life. “I found a passion for these organizations,” he said. “I want to make sure the MSC has the funds to guide more students to success.”
To learn more about supporting MSC programs at Texas A&M University, contact Angela Throne ’03 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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