June 30, 2021

Texas A&M University was a special place for the late Marjorie Munn ever since her husband, Walter ’43, marched softly into her heart. When Marjorie, then a freshman at Texas Women’s University, met Walter as a Texas A&M senior, it was his Corps boots that attracted her attention, she joked.

These custom-made boots also provided a way for Walter to give back when he returned them to Holick’s Manufacturing Company in hopes that future cadets could use them. Years later, after Walter’s service in the Air Force during World War II and an engineering career at Amoco that took the Munns throughout the U.S., the boots reappeared on the doorstep of their Chicago home. In perfect condition, they were accompanied by a letter listing all the Aggies who had worn them and where they had marched, including several major parades.

The boots’ long journey back to their original owner is a prime example of the Aggie Spirit that the Munns loved about Texas A&M. Throughout their lifetimes, both were passionate about the university, and when Walter passed away in 1996, Marjorie decided to honor him with a gift to support Aggies.

By naming the Texas A&M Foundation as the beneficiary of her IRA, Marjorie created scholarships to support students in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band and the College of Engineering. “I made the gift to honor my Walter B. and the spirit of A&M,” she said in a 2001 Spirit magazine article. “The school spirit is still there after all these years.”

Now, the Munns continue to support this spirit beyond their lifetimes. Through their scholarships, they are helping students like Anneliese Olbrich ’21 and Hayden Monroe ’21 as they fill in Walter’s boots to march forward with his legacy of generosity and love for Aggieland.

Aggie to the Core

Anneliese Olbrich ’21 learned to play the trumpet in high school in hopes that one day she could march with the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band.

A passion for Texas A&M is deeply rooted in Anneliese Olbrich ’21. Attending the university and joining

the Corps of Cadets was never a question for the China Spring, Texas, native, who comes from a long line of Aggies and cadets, including her father, grandfather and great uncle. “I’ve always wanted to be an Aggie, and I couldn’t be happier that I chose to continue the family tradition,” she said.

Becoming a cadet also allowed Olbrich to achieve a longtime dream: joining the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. Knowing that all members are required to have high school band experience, she played trumpet in high school just so she could march with Texas A&M.

“People don’t look at the band as just another band,” she said. “I love being part of something that brings so much joy to so many people. A feeling I will always cherish is when everyone is in sync during a practice. It’s incredible to be on a field with 300 people who are all feeling the exact same thing and are gung-ho to make it the best show we’ve ever done.”

Olbrich, who graduated in May with a degree in environmental geoscience and double minors in geology and oceanography, devoted just as much time to connections off the field. She was a member of the Student Geosciences’ Council and the College of Geosciences’ undergraduate recruiting team and considers one of her biggest achievements to be the friendships she formed through Bible studies with Valor, a cadet-led student organization. Now, she plans to spend a year in Ecuador as a college ministry intern before working to improve water quality for impoverished communities.

Engineered for Service

Hayden Monroe '21 credits his involvement in Freshmen Reaching Excellence in Engineering and other campus organizations with growing his passion for service.

Although Hayden Monroe ’21 is the first Aggie in his family, the senior mechanical engineering major from Round Rock, Texas, knew that Texas A&M was the right choice when he visited campus and experienced the close-knit, family atmosphere. Since then, he has found his own Aggie family through numerous activities and organizations that have developed him personally and professionally.

“Texas A&M has been a very transformative experience for me,” he said. “I’m a different person than I was going in, and that’s definitely for the better.”

As a freshman, Monroe joined Freshmen Reaching Excellence in Engineering, where he gained strong friendships and deepened his interest in mechanical engineering. He has also been a counselor for Impact Retreat and Fish Camp, participated in the Student Engineers’ Council and Zachry Leadership Program, and served as philanthropy officer for Century Men’s Society.

In addition to impacting his life, these organizations have also allowed Monroe to cultivate his passion for giving back. “Service is important to me because faith drives me to my core, and Christ’s life of selfless service is my model,” he explained.

Monroe has also advanced his engineering skills outside the classroom with internships for a medical device company and Exxon Mobil. This summer, he is interning as a manufacturing supply-chain engineer for PepsiCo and plans to pursue a career in technology consulting.

Echoing Impact

The Munns’ scholarships have been an integral part of both Olbrich’s and Monroe’s Aggie experiences. In addition to alleviating financial stress, Olbrich’s scholarship has also impacted her in smaller ways, such as allowing her to find a physics tutor. “I’ve been so thankful for that,” she shared. “I wouldn’t have had that option without my scholarship, and it’s been a huge relief.”

For Monroe, the scholarship allowed him to focus on the experiences that have shaped him as an Aggie. “I’ve learned a lot about the man and leader I want to be through the things I’ve done, and without the scholarship supporting me, none of that would have been possible,” he said. “I am forever grateful.”

As Olbrich and Monroe step into their careers, Munn’s bootsteps of generosity will continue to echo in their lives, guiding them further on the path of service they found at Texas A&M. “I lead a much more gratifying and fulfilling life when I’m focused on those around me,” Monroe said. “What are we doing on Earth if we’re not benefiting others?”

Interested in planning an honorary or memorial gift so your loved one can forever impact the lives of Aggies like Anneliese and Hayden? Contact Angela Throne ’03 by completing the form below. Click here to learn more about additional ways to honor your loved one at Texas A&M.

 

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