When Tate Banks ’20 talks about his future, he lights up at the prospect of opportunities that await him. He also celebrates his parents, who motivated and provided for him, the university that exposed him to hundreds of potential career paths, and a pair of donors he’ll never meet, but to whom he’ll always be thankful: the late Martha and Charles Williams ’37.
Banks graduated from Duncan High School in Duncan, Oklahoma, in 2016. From an early age, he showed proficiency in math and science, and he set his sights on studying engineering in college. A family friend suggested that he consider Texas A&M University, prompting Banks and his family to pay College Station a visit.
“I was very impressed during my tour,” he said. “I was initially interested in chemical engineering, and the Texas A&M facilities were head and shoulders above what I’d seen elsewhere. It was pretty obvious that the university invested strongly in its engineering programs.”
While he was wowed during his campus visit, Banks couldn’t have seriously considered becoming an Aggie and taking on out-of-state tuition fees without first receiving a President’s Endowed Scholarship (PES) from the late Martha and Charles Williams ’37. Since its founding in 1968, the merit-based PES program has incentivized high-achieving students like Banks to choose Aggieland by rewarding them with substantial four-year scholarships that also provide a study abroad stipend.
“The day I found out I had the scholarship, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s incredible,’” he said. “It sent a message that the university prioritized and rewarded being a good student.”
Banks is one of 48 students currently benefiting from the couple’s gift, which is the largest bequest ever made for PES scholarships. Their scholarships have supported more than 107 students since Mr. Williams’ passing in 2006.
Thanks to this scholarship support, Banks can focus on pursuing his bachelor’s degree in computer science while enjoying Texas A&M’s one-of-a-kind experience. “To anyone who’s considering giving a PES, I’d say absolutely do it,” he said. “It’s a great proactive tool for reaching out to students who show academic excellence in high school. I wouldn’t be here without it.”
Creating a gift in your will to benefit students, faculty, colleges or programs is an easy way to leave a legacy at Texas A&M. To learn more, contact Angela Throne ’03 below.