February 3, 2020

Mike Dillingham ’35 was a true pioneer at Texas A&M University. The Commerce, Texas, native was part of the petroleum engineering department’s first class, knew the first Reveille and played on the Aggie baseball team that claimed the 1934 Southwest Conference Championship, the second-ever in school history. He also became one of the university’s oldest former students, living to the age of 102.

Five years after his death, Dillingham’s legacy continues, thanks to the establishment of the Mike C. Dillingham ’35 General Rudder Corps Scholarship Endowment Fund through a charitable gift annuity. At the time of pledging this gift, Dillingham said he hoped it would show Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band members how much their dedication, discipline and performances are appreciated. Now realized, his gift is doing that and much more.

“I really can’t thank Mr. Dillingham enough for his scholarship,” said Ben Stanish ’20, a civil engineering graduate and former member of the A-Battery in the Aggie Band. “I am the second of six kids in my family, so money has always been tight. I was blessed to receive this scholarship, which was immensely helpful in allowing me to attend college debt-free. Being in the Corps of Cadets incurred many extra fees for uniforms, haircuts, dry cleaning, etc., and this scholarship helped me easily tackle those financial obstacles,” Stanish explained.

A Rapid Response

Dillingham has a long history of giving to Texas A&M. Dr. Bob Walker ’58, who recently retired as one of Texas A&M’s longest serving development officers, met Dillingham during his first trip to Alice, Texas, to speak to its A&M Club in the mid-1970s. Walker shared information on the recently established President’s Endowed Scholarship program. “He approached me and said, ‘I’m Mike Dillingham, Class of 1935. I like this program, and I’ll consider giving one of those,” Walker remembered.