September 1, 2017

Kelly Boatright ’92 with her husband Kyle and 6-year-old son Alex, who she hopes will be a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’33.

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”  

When she Kelly Boatright ’92 first discovered these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson, they struck a chord, and they have guided her ever since. His powerful sentiment combined with the transformative leadership and service opportunities she experienced as part of The Big Event at Texas A&M University inspired Boatright to create a $25,000 endowment for the student organization that changed her life.

Her gift, managed by the Texas A&M Foundation, will allow more students who are financially strapped to be part of The Big Event. “Any Aggie who wants to participate in The Big Event should not be deterred due to an inability to pay the required $50 membership dues,” she said, “and since I’m paying for this gift over five years and using matching funds from The Coca-Cola Company, it’s a relatively painless process and a big win for all of us.”

Shortly after graduating in 1992 with a degree in journalism and a focus on marketing and advertising, Boatright landed a job as a graphic designer for Daisytek International. In 1998, after five years and two promotions, her experience and Aggie connections helped her get a job at Coca-Cola in Atlanta. As director of shopper marketing, she is responsible for strategic marketing integration across top customers and channels of trade.


Once she became financially stable at Coca-Cola, Boatright did not hesitate to give back to the organization that greatly influenced her time at Texas A&M. Coca-Cola matched her donation 2:1, tripling its value. The $25,000 principal, invested by the Texas A&M Foundation, will yield annual payouts to support students.

She wants to ensure that more Aggies have the opportunity to participate, regardless of their financial means. When her endowment begins to generate income, it will cover the cost of membership dues for students who fill out an application and meet certain selection criteria.

Guided by student input

On a trip to College Station, Boatright met with The Big Event leadership team, Dalton Harris ’17, Stephanie Bilka ’18 and Rachel Welch ’17, to discuss the endowment proposals they had developed. She was able to ask questions and provide input that ultimately led to the formation of a membership endowment.

Welch, assistant director of The Big Event, is motivated by Boatright’s generosity, which she believes is a testament to the impact that The Big Event has beyond a student’s four years at Texas A&M. “Kelly Boatright personifies the values that The Big Event represents,” Welch said. “She emphasizes the importance of giving not just occasionally, but each and every day of her life. I’m incredibly touched and humbled by her gift, but above all, I am inspired. It’s gratifying to know that she was once in my shoes, and spent her time giving to this organization in ways that we continue to witness today. When it’s my turn, I hope to follow this great Aggie legacy of giving.”

In addition to her gift to The Big Event, Boatright has donated to The Association of Former Students for several years, and values maintaining strong relationships with the Aggie network.

“Texas A&M is extremely important to me,” Boatright said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the foundation and network that this university provided me. Aggies take care of each other, and I believe you should give back when and where you can. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount or a big effort, but I believe we are better when we are kind to each other. Now that I have the financial means to provide assistance to The Big Event, I felt it was something I absolutely should do. It will allow my love of the organization to live on long past my lifetime.”