Over the years, the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University has been called “the best leadership lab in the country.” In 1978, in recognition of this fact, former students initiated the Sul Ross Scholarship Program, named after Lawrence Sullivan Ross, a former Texas Gov. and President of Texas A&M. Many historical records contend that the quintessential Aggie spirit and Texas A&M traditions—still a vital component of each cadet’s college experience—began when Ross was president.

A gift from Chester Reed ’47 of Houston jumpstarted the Sul Ross program. He donated two Harris County tracts of land valued at over $500,000 to the Texas A&M Foundation to fund the first 40 endowed Sul Ross Scholarships for cadets.

When asked about the endowment in 1978, Reed said, “I did this because I feel that Aggies who go through the Corps of Cadets gain a unique experience and learn some of what being an Aggie is all about. I wanted as many young people as possible to know that feeling.”

Forty years later, that feeling—and the Aggie tradition of giving back—is still going strong. To date, 1,059 Sul Ross Scholarships have been endowed and currently benefit cadets, while an additional 21 scholarships will begin assisting students next year. Sul Ross Scholarships are four-year renewable awards.

Then and Now

The Sul Ross Corps Scholarship Program was originally developed to encourage outstanding young men and women to join the Corps and benefit from its leadership training. Named for Ross, whose statue stands in the center of the campus, the program is intended to help young people attain the goals inscribed on the base of that statue: “Soldier, Statesman and Knightly Gentlemen.”

“My Sul Ross Scholarship helped me qualify for an in-state tuition waiver, allowing me to attend Texas A&M without incurring debt,” said Riley Richardson ’20, a cadet from Severna Park, Maryland, who is studying molecular and cell biology.
 

Riley Richardson '20, a Sul Ross scholarship recipient from Maryland who is studying molecular and cell biology.


Eric Maxwell ’19, another Sul Ross recipient, is a third-generation Aggie. “Receiving this scholarship allowed me to feel more confident in the financial aspect of my life and focus on the things that will make me successful in the future.”

Both Richardson and Maxwell look forward to leading by example in their careers after graduation. Richardson hopes to one day contribute to cancer or stem cell research and although she didn’t originally plan on joining the military, she is now seeking a Navy Contract. Maxwell hopes to begin a career in the United States Marine Corps. “I am studying psychology because I like to understand how people think and how to better help them achieve their goals,” he said.

Taking part in Corps traditions has been an influential part of their college experience. “The memory that stands out most to me is the March to the Brazos we undertook in April 2016,” said Maxwell. “I will never forget the feeling that we all shared during that march—the feeling that no matter how difficult it became, we would support each other and we would get through it.” Organized entirely by students in the Corps, March to the Brazos is the largest and most successful annual student-led fundraiser for the March of Dimes in the United States.

Rising Costs

In 2018, more than 90 percent of Texas A&M cadets were awarded a Corps Scholarship. While Sul Ross Scholarships are the most commonly awarded, they also have the lowest monetary value of the four Corps Scholarships available.

Eric Maxwell '19, a third-generation Aggie who hopes to begin a career in the United States Marine Corps.

When the program began in 1978, two fifteen-hour semesters for Texas residents cost $120 and room and board cost $986. For a nonresident, tuition was $1,200. Today, a year of tuition for a Texas resident is $10,210; for a non-resident, tuition is $36,962, while a year of housing and meals costs roughly $10,368.

In addition to rising tuition costs, as of fall 2017, undergraduate students must be awarded and maintain competitive scholarships of at least $4,000 per academic year to qualify for an in-state tuition waiver, so a Sul Ross Scholarship alone cannot meet these specifications.

At present, there are multiple endowed scholarships for cadets: Sul Ross Scholarships, General Rudder Corps Scholarships, Corps of Cadets 21st Century Scholarships and Keepers of the Spirit Scholarships. Original Sul Ross donors who wish to further mitigate student financial burdens or support out-of-state students can enhance their original gift by boosting their scholarship(s) to provide more support to today's cadets.
 

Support Texas A&M Cadets

You can endow the following four scholarships for members of the Corps of Cadets. Scholarships can be established by an individual or group with a one-time gift or with a series of gifts over a period of up to five years. Gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible and may be made in the form of cash, securities, real estate or other property.

Keepers of the Spirit Scholarships are the premier Corps Scholarships, awarded to cadets who aspire to the highest scholastic and leadership standards. You can fund a Keepers of the Spirit Scholarship with a $500,000 endowment, which will annually fund four scholarships for cadets in each class year (freshman through senior). Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average. These scholarships defray the cost of tuition and expenses by $20,000 to $25,000 over four years.

Corps of Cadets 21st Century Scholarships ensure that future generations of our nation’s leaders continue to come from Texas A&M. Recipients of this scholarship must maintain a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average. You can fund a Corps 21 Scholarship with a $100,000 endowment and defray the cost of tuition and expenses by $16,000 to $18,000 over four years.

General Rudder Corps Scholarships encourage outstanding students with a high potential for success to commit to learning leadership in the Corps. Recipients of this scholarship must maintain a minimum 2.5 overall grade point average. You can fund a General Rudder Corps Scholarship with a $50,000 endowment and defray the cost of tuition and expenses by $8,000 to $10,000 over four years.

Sul Ross Scholarships are awarded to deserving students with financial need. Recipients of this scholarship must maintain a minimum 2.3 overall grade point average. You can fund a Sul Ross Scholarship with a $25,000 endowment and defray the cost of tuition and expenses by $4,000 to $4,800 over four years. Previous Sul Ross donors can now boost their former scholarships to another level, such as adding an additional $25,000 to create a General Rudder Corps Scholarship that will provide more support to the modern cadet.

To learn more, contact Matt Jennings '95, senior director of development for the Corps of Cadets, at (979) 845-7604 or mjennings@txamfoundation.com.

When creating scholarships, donors can set student preferences such as major, geographical area or financial need. Donors of any Corps Scholarship have the opportunity to connect with their student recipients through letters and meeting in-person at events throughout the semester.

“They say that society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never sit in,” said Maxwell. “In this case, cadets at Texas A&M are the seeds that will grow to become the leaders of our world, and we have the responsibility to uphold all the things we hold dear. Funding a Sul Ross Scholarship means that one of those cadets has the opportunity to focus on becoming the best version of themselves and leave a powerful positive legacy for the future.”

Copyright © Texas A&M Foundation    |    Staff Login    |   Campus Clients