In their many years together, Sue and Patrick have visited seven continents and 68 countries, but travel was not an option in their Texas A&M University days. The couple married after Patrick’s second year at Texas A&M. “Travel for us was driving from College Station to Houston to visit family,” Patrick joked. Even if the university had offered education abroad opportunities, the couple couldn’t have afforded it. When Sue’s parents temporarily relocated to London in 1976, Sue, Patrick, and their son, Dan ’92, visited and caught the travel bug.
Since then, the couple has traveled from Alaska to Australia and points between. While building their careers—Sue as a college professor and Patrick as a real estate lawyer—they’ve had some incredible adventures. “Travel opens your eyes and gives you a new perspective,” Patrick said. It’s been fun for the couple to disabuse others of Texas stereotypes: No, they don’t wear 10-gallon hats or six-shooters, and they don’t have a rig pumping black gold in their mansion’s backyard. “Some were sure we would be like the characters from ‘Dallas,’” laughed Patrick, noting that this kind of cultural exchange is important. “We all have our preconceived notions about others.”
To the Mahoneys, nothing is more life-changing than travel, which explains their passion for Texas A&M’s education abroad program. The couple currently supports students with a fellowship through the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness. They enjoy seeing the difference a few weeks in another country makes in students’ increased confidence and ability to envision a life bigger than they imagined. “They return motivated to work hard so they can travel more,” Patrick shared. “To light that spark for a student and see their fire blaze so bright is amazing.”