March 18, 2019

Debra Fowler ’03 is the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), which helps university faculty incorporate proven and innovative instructional approaches in their classrooms.

Marie and Jim Galloway ’29 deeply believed in the power of education to transform lives. The Houston couple was known for their service to children and college students, including founding the highly respected Galloway School in Friendswood, Texas and supporting Texas A&M University for many years.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the board of directors of the Marie M. and James H. Galloway Foundation, which the couple created to handle their estate, decided to donate the family’s ranch, located in Shelby, Texas, to the Texas A&M Foundation. The proceeds of the sale, which garnered $2.35 million, were used to establish an excellence endowment for the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE).

Fostering Outstanding Teaching

The CTE’s work aligns with the Galloways’ love of education and addresses the heart of Texas A&M’s mission—providing the highest quality undergraduate and graduate programs. The CTE serves faculty and teaching assistants at the flagship campus and other institutional affiliates, including Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth and the five colleges encompassed under Texas A&M Health Science Center.

The center offers evidence-based professional development opportunities that help university faculty incorporate proven and innovative instructional approaches in their classrooms. For example, the center’s staff assists academic departments in updating their curriculum with high impact learning practices that are designed to increase student retention, one course or learning experience at a time. Another of the center’s programs helps teaching assistants develop in their roles according to university standards. The CTE is also involved in efforts to design curriculum for interdisciplinary doctoral education and encourage faculty to adopt inclusive teaching methods. Much of the work performed by the center’s instructional consultants is through individual consultation and group collaboration.

One of the center’s more recent initiatives has been a collaboration with the College of Engineering faculty and Instructional Technology Services staff to offer programming for the active learning spaces in the college’s new Zachry Engineering Education Complex. These classrooms encourage small group work with intensive student interaction, to create more lasting learning than when students listen to only lectures. This shift places faculty members in the middle of the classroom. “Students engage with students while faculty facilitate the learning process,” said CTE Director Debra Fowler ’03. Center staff are now preparing programming for similar classroom spaces in the 21st Century Classroom Building, which is under construction and is projected to open in fall 2020.

The center’s staff assists academic departments in updating their curriculums with high-impact learning practices that are designed to increase student retention, one course or learning experience at a time.

Support for Special Initiatives

The funds from the sale of the ranch provide sustainability to the CTE in a time when most programs are dealing with shrinking state budgets. “It’s an opportunity to continue offering our programs when state funding gets tight. We have watched centers like ours across the nation close as funding has decreased,” said Fowler. “This endowment gives us access to available funds when a recognized opportunity arises that benefits Texas A&M faculty and students. This allows the Center for Teaching Excellence to support university initiatives, college programs and department activities in a resourceful manner.”

Fowler gives special credit to retired Texas A&M Foundation Vice President for Principal Gifts Carl Jaedicke ’73 for his help in presenting the CTE gift idea to the Galloway Foundation. “He knew the Galloways were supportive of education and had a real fondness for Texas A&M,” Fowler said.

The endowment will be used to support programmatic efforts, such as curriculum (re)design, graduate student professional development in teaching, English language proficiency programs, institutes for new faculty, faculty fellowships, faculty learning communities and faculty consulting services. All of these offerings will aid the center’s endeavor to support the university’s educational mission. “The CTE is doing so much to make a difference in Texas A&M’s classrooms,” said Jim Montague ’69, who serves as one of the Galloway Foundation’s trustees. “It’s something that the Galloways thought about for a long time when giving to Texas A&M, and the idea that the sale of their ranch could be tied to the Center for Teaching Excellence would have been especially  appealing to Mrs. Galloway.”

A Commitment to Education

Marie, who grew up in Luling, Texas, earned a business degree from Texas Lutheran University. She pursued a career as a school teacher and was actively involved with her ranch and cattle.

A native of Sour Lake, Texas, Jim earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M. He initially worked for Humble Oil and Refining Company before serving with the Military Pipe Line Service in Europe during World War II. After the war, he continued his career at Humble Oil, which merged with Standard Oil and became Exxon Company, USA. Throughout his long career, Jim developed many revolutionary innovations that are now common practice in the petroleum industry. He retired as a senior vice president and director of Exxon USA after 43 years of service in 1973.

The Galloways were especially passionate about the importance of education in creating a successful life. The couple, who did not have children of their own, decided to establish the Galloway School to offer students an accelerated academic program in an immersive, caring environment. The school opened in 1993, one year after Jim’s death. The institution, which currently serves students in preschool through eighth grade, is now considered one of the top private schools in Houston’s Bay area. Marie remained involved in the school until her death in 2015 at the age of 103.

The couple also had a long history of supporting the university. Jim was named a Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus in 1970. The couple offered financial support to Texas A&M Libraries and the Corps of Cadets; they also were members of The Association of Former Students’ Endowed Century Club. After Jim’s death, Marie established a graduate scholarship in chemistry and a mechanical engineering scholarship in memory of her husband.

“Visionaries such as Jim and Marie Galloway create opportunity for Texas A&M University faculty and students to continue to benefit from the work of the Center for Teaching Excellence through individual consulting, collaborative programs, faculty workshops, and curriculum updates,” Fowler said. “Generous donors, with a passion for enhancing learning, keep teaching at the forefront of higher education in Texas and our nation.”

To support the Center for Teaching Excellence, contact Patrick Williams ’92 below at or (979) 458-0267.

The Value of Donating Property

The donation of property—whether residential, commercial, farm and ranch land, forest land or oil and gas interests—to the Foundation is advantageous in many ways. Real estate gifts allow the owners to avoid marketing the property as well as capital-gains taxes that are triggered by a sale. Furthermore, leaving property to heirs can create an estate-tax liability and may force the sale of other appreciable assets. Donors also may receive a significant charitable income-tax deduction and/or an increase in income.

Property can be given to the Foundation as an outright gift, which is the method used by the Galloway Foundation. Gifts of property also can be made through a bequest, a charitable unitrust or retained life insurance. To learn more about giving real estate for Texas A&M, contact Tim Walton ’90 at (979) 845-8026 or