COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The Texas A&M Foundation has awarded $2.3 million in scholarships to approximately 1,200 Aggies for the 2020-2021 academic year through two of its longstanding scholarship prgrams, the Endowed Opportunity Award (EOA) and Foundation Excellence Award (FEA).
More than 600 individual, corporate and foundation donors have contributed private gifts to these scholarship programs, which have provided ample financial support for students attending Texas A&M University during the last several decades. Each program boasts an endowment of more than $15 million and will pay out more than $1 million to recipients this academic year. Of the 1,200 total recipients during academic year 2020-2021, there are 125 incoming freshmen who received EOAs and 149 incoming freshmen who received FEAs.
EOAs are four-year scholarships that typically support deserving middle-income students who often miss out on other need-based funding but still require significant financial support to attend Texas A&M. Recipients are selected based on each applicant’s high school academic record, character, activities, leadership ability, and SAT or ACT scores. The EOA program helps recruit and retain highly motivated students by lightening the financial burden for deserving recipients.
As representatives of the Class of 1985, Scott Windrow ’85, Keith Carmichael ’85 and Amy Kardell ’85 helped create three endowed EOA scholarships as a class gift in May 2019. “We want future generations to enjoy the same Aggie experience we did,” Carmichael said. Windrow further expressed his desire for student recipients to one day “pay it forward” and support other Aggies. “I hope that, once they have had that experience, they take responsibility for ensuring the next generation gets the same opportunity,” Windrow said.
Senior kinesiology student Deborah Cook ’21 attends Texas A&M with support from the Carol A. Keblinger Endowed Opportunity Award, which was funded by James F. “Jim” Keblinger ’53 and named in honor of his late wife. “Receiving a scholarship from the Texas A&M Foundation was a blessing beyond words,” Cook said. “Not only did it help with the financial burden of attending college, but through this program, I had the opportunity to develop a meaningful friendship with my donor, Mr. Keblinger. That connection is priceless.”
Established in 1999, the FEA program supports outstanding incoming students from historically disadvantaged groups often underrepresented in the Texas A&M student body, including minorities and those facing significant economic or educational hurdles. FEA scholarships not only help create a more diverse student body, but they also allow recipients to fully engage in their Texas A&M education by alleviating financial costs.
Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel ’96 emphasized the FEA program’s unique impact. “Individually, FEA scholarships change lives and create opportunities that some recipients never dreamt they would get,” Voelkel said. “Collectively, they strengthen the diversity of our student body, which creates immeasurable value to the university. That combination of personal and large-scale impact is what makes the FEA program one of our donors’ brightest philanthropic achievements.”
Dr. Kerry Noack ’04 and Dr. Eric Wilson ’99 funded their first FEA scholarship in 2019 and another in 2020, which will each benefit a single student for four years. “We are both first-generation college students who benefited from the generosity of others as we pursued our degrees, and we feel compelled to help the next generation,” Noack said. “As scholarship donors, we could choose to leave an estate gift to help future students or we can give now so that we have an opportunity to meet the Aggies we’re helping,” Wilson added. “The FEA provides us the perfect opportunity to help current Aggies and hear their stories.”
The Hamill Foundation in Houston currently supports 20 students through the FEA program, including five incoming freshmen for the 2020-2021 academic year. “The Hamill Foundation scholarships at Texas A&M are in place because Claud and Marie Hamill, our founders, believed in higher education,” said Charlie H. Read ’64, president and CEO of the Foundation. “By reaching out and supporting students who might not be in college without scholarship money, we are tapping into a valuable resource and developing leaders for the future. Thanks to the Texas A&M Foundation, we found a scholarship program that fits us perfectly and we encourage others to do the same.”
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aspires to be among the most trusted philanthropies in higher education. It builds a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time. To learn more, visit txamfoundation.com.