COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS—The Texas A&M Foundation has selected Dr. Walter Haisler Jr. ’67 as a recipient of its 2020 Partner in Philanthropy Award. Haisler received the award for his lifelong devotion to Texas A&M University and the Department of Aerospace Engineering at a virtual presentation on April 12.
Established by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2016, the Partner in Philanthropy Award celebrates Aggie faculty and staff who demonstrate dedicated and lasting participation, commitment and creative leadership to philanthropy and Texas A&M.
To be selected, faculty or staff must be nominated by a member of the Texas A&M Foundation development staff. Foundation Gift Planning Officer Kevin Westerman ’11 nominated Haisler for the award. “Dr. Haisler exemplifies excellence, loyalty and selfless service through his many years of dedicated service to Texas A&M,” Westerman said. “Even in retirement, he continues to give of his time, energy and resources to advance the aerospace engineering department.”
“Leaders like Dr. Haisler are what make Texas A&M truly great,” added Tyson Voelkel ’96, president and CEO of the Texas A&M Foundation. “This recognition is special in that it celebrates not just his industry success or academic reputation but also how he has set a principled example for the rest of his department and the university to follow.”
For more than four decades, Haisler has gained renown as a dedicated teacher, internationally recognized researcher and faithful steward for the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University and the aerospace community. Heralded as an exceptional mentor by current and former students and faculty alike, Haisler has earned several faculty and teaching awards, including two student awards, four college awards and The Association of Former Students’ Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“Dr. Haisler’s leadership is a tremendous example and inspiration,” said Kathleen M. Gibson ’81, chair of the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees. “In leading the progress of the Department of Aerospace Engineering forward in teaching, research, facilities and enlightened philanthropy, Dr. Haisler has made career contributions of lasting and sustaining value. We are deeply grateful for the example that Dr. Haisler’s Aggie Spirit sets for us all.”
During his 12 years as head of Texas A&M’s aerospace department, Haisler launched the 1985 initiative to construct the Harvey R. “Bum” Bright Building to provide new facilities more conducive to the department’s research and added a dozen faculty with particular emphasis on space-related research.
Haisler and his wife, Delores, have since created a scholarship endowment for aerospace engineering students and pledged a gift in their estate to fund a chair for future department heads of aerospace engineering. This generous pledge will ensure the department can recruit candidates of the highest caliber who can use the chair funds for departmental and professional development.
“As department head, I realized the value of being able to utilize endowed chair funds for recruiting faculty, enhancing development, providing seed money for promising teaching and research ideas, and for the department head’s personal development activities,” Haisler said.
Recipients of the Partner in Philanthropy Award receive $10,000 that they can use to advance their research and teaching or direct to an area of their choice. Haisler has chosen to dedicate his monetary award to support fellowships for aerospace engineering graduate students. Prior to the Partner in Philanthropy Award, Haisler was awarded The Charles W. Crawford Service Award in 2001, the Texas A&M University College of Engineering Faculty Fellow Award in 2004, and the Charles W. Crawford Service Award again in 2007.
“My hope for the department and Texas A&M is twofold,” Haisler continued. “First, that both quality instruction and research contributions continue to increase in stature while maintaining the special Aggie Spirit that makes Texas A&M so unique; and second, that my giving encourages aerospace engineering faculty and former students to consider making gifts that impact this department and help make it the best in the nation.”
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.