COLLEGE STATION—The Texas A&M Foundation’s Board of Trustees announced today the selection of Tyson Voelkel as its new president. The U.S. Army veteran and 1996 graduate of Texas A&M University will take office on Jan. 20, 2016. As head of the university’s major-gift fundraising entity, he will oversee the recently launched $4 billion Lead by Example campaign, succeeding longtime Foundation President Ed Davis.
"The trustees are very pleased that Tyson has agreed to accept the position of president of the Foundation,” said George Hickox, board chairman. “He brings a remarkable set of skills and accomplishments to the job and a truly extraordinary passion for Texas A&M University that will resonate with the staff and all of the other constituencies of the Foundation."
Voelkel’s organizational leadership, asset management knowledge and diverse educational experience helped lead to his selection. His Aggie spirit runs deep, with roots that took hold as a leader in the Corps of Cadets and Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, student government, Traditions Council and other undergraduate activities. Voelkel served as Corps commander, the group’s highest ranking member, his senior year.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M’s College of Engineering, Voelkel began a distinguished 14-year career as an Army infantry officer in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. He served in Iraq twice as a company commander in the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment and earlier as a brigade assistant operations officer in the 82nd Airborne Division. He earned numerous awards including two Bronze Stars in Iraq, the Department of the Army MacArthur Leadership Award (one of 13 awarded Army-wide), Army Ranger and Airborne Qualification Badges and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
Voelkel was selected by the Army in 2005 for a fully funded graduate fellowship at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. As he earned a master’s degree in international affairs, he served as the first student regent on the Texas A&M Board of Regents. After graduation, he taught leadership and ethics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was an assistant coach for the Military Academy Triathlon Team.
In 2011, while serving as executive officer to the commanding general of the 75th Division in Houston, Voelkel completed the executive master of business administration program at Rice University.
Since leaving the military in 2012, Voelkel has worked with private wealth management firms that serve high net worth investors. Most recently, he founded Testudo Consulting Group, a boutique consultancy focused on building, managing and advising high net worth family offices. Before starting his own business, Voelkel was chief operating officer of Capital Technologies Inc., a holding company with more than a dozen operating companies, philanthropic endeavors and various investments. He managed a diverse portfolio of liquid and illiquid assets held domestically and internationally spanning many industries and interests, as well as multiple nonprofit and philanthropic endeavors.
"I am honored and humbled at the opportunity to lead the Texas A&M Foundation and look forward to building on the exceptional legacy of Dr. Ed Davis and his outstanding team as we move into the future,” Voelkel said. “My family and I view this opportunity as a call to serve and there is absolutely no other place on earth we would rather spend our time, energy, and resources. We believe in the unlimited potential of the students, faculty, and staff of Texas A&M and know that the work of the Foundation helps change the world through academic excellence and research. I look forward to collaborating with President Michael Young and our world-class donors, as well as the myriad stakeholders that enable academic excellence and contribute to the unique culture that continues to make Texas A&M University great."
In memory of their daughter Lily, Voelkel and his wife Christi founded The Lily Voelkel Foundation to serve deaf-blind children and those with CHARGE syndrome, a complex and life-threatening disorder. Lily Voelkel died in 2012 after almost three years of courageously fighting various medical conditions related to the complex syndrome.
Voelkel is a member of the Texas A&M University President's Board of Visitors and advisory boards for the Bush School of Government and Public Service and the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
In August, the Foundation’s seven-member board of trustees commissioned Witt/Kieffer, a higher education executive search firm, to identify candidates who could serve as successor to Davis, who grew annual contributions to the Foundation from $30.3 million in 1993 to $111.7 million this year, an increase of more than 360 percent.
“I’ve known Tyson for about 20 years," said Davis, a 1967 Texas A&M graduate who also served as Corps commander his senior year. “He is a person of great skill and leadership capacity who left a promising military career early to take care of his family during an especially difficult time. The Foundation is fortunate to have identified a person of his talent and commitment to lead this extraordinary institution.”
With 126 employees, the Texas A&M Foundation manages an endowment of approximately $1.2 billion for the benefit of Texas A&M University. Each year, the Foundation makes millions of dollars available to the university for students, faculty, facilities and programs according to donors’ wishes. In fiscal year 2015, these funds totaled a record $88.2 million. An independent nonprofit, the Foundation does not depend on support from the university or the state.
“The A&M Foundation was fortunate to have so many exceptional candidates for consideration,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “Tyson has had an enormous impact on numerous initiatives he has undertaken in his career, and I believe he will have the same golden touch going forward as he leads the Texas A&M Foundation. He will bring energy and focus in his new role. I look forward to working with him to reach our $4 billion fundraising goal.”
Christi Voelkel, a 1998 Texas A&M graduate, is manager of development communications at Texas A&M at Galveston. They currently reside with their two daughters in Friendswood, Texas.
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.
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