The Class of 1980 has crafted a legacy of honoring selfless service at Texas A&M University. In 1980, they dedicated their first class gift, the original E. King Gill statue, to commemorate the tradition of the 12th Man. During the Kyle Field renovation, the statue was relocated to the west side of Rudder Fountain.
“Upon moving the statue to Rudder Plaza, we worked with the university to elevate its symbolism from selfless service in the athletic arena to selfless service for all Aggies,” said William “Bill” Jentsch Jr. ’80, co-class agent. “Our class had already taken action to recognize service in our gifts to the Memorial Student Center and other scholarships commemorating our classmates who have fallen in the line of duty, so we wanted to establish an annual award for the core value of selfless service to coincide with the statue’s symbolism.”
The class voted to establish the Class of 1980 E. King Gill Selfless Service Award, which will provide $4,000 annually to a graduating senior who demonstrates exemplary service throughout their undergraduate career. As the first award to recognize one of Texas A&M University’s six core values, the class hopes their gift will inspire the funding of awards for the other five values: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty and respect.
“Texas A&M’s core values are what sets our university apart,” Jentsch said. “Establishing awards that accompany these values will enable the university to recognize those students who best exemplify the six core values, which we have seen lived by those who made Texas A&M the place we enjoy today. These awards would honor those individuals who have come before us while further enforcing these defining values in the hearts of those who come after.”
The first recipient of the Selfless Service Award will be announced in May 2020, coinciding with the Class of 1980’s 40-year reunion. LAUNCH, the office responsible for administering Texas A&M’s honors program, will administer the award using criteria outlined by the class. “Selfless service is about making a difference by making a personal investment in someone else’s life,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth “Ken” Jones ’80, who is co-chairing the award’s fundraising committee with retired Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Hyatt ’80. “We hope each recipient realizes that they are paving the way for others in service through his or her actions.”
Funded by individual gifts from members of the Class of 1980, the creation of this award has helped classmates reconnect with friends and reminisce over their college years. “I had just moved back to Texas and wanted to get back in touch with my former classmates when I received the call to co-chair this committee,” Jones added. “Throughout this process, we have really focused on engaging our class. Creating this gift together allows us to be part of something bigger than ourselves.”
While it is named for the Class of 1980, all Aggies can contribute to the Selfless Service Award. “This is something every Aggie can be proud of, and it takes all of us to ensure that this award will honor the core value of selfless service for years to come,” Jones concluded.
To learn more about the Class of 1980 E. King Gill Selfless Service Award and how you can support Texas A&M, contact Patrick Williams ’92 at email@example.com or (979) 458-0267.
You can also contribute to the Class of 1980’s giving fund.