July 24, 2023

From the bright lights of Delhi and a Bengal tiger reserve to a tour of historical and religious sites, including the Taj Mahal, you might think it would be difficult for Dr. Sue ’94 ’02 and Patrick Mahoney ’71 to choose one special memory from their visit to India. Yet, on a trip filled with wonders, one moment vividly stands out:

A horse-drawn cart transports Patrick, dressed in a long white jacket with gold flowers hung around his neck, to meet his bride in a courtyard strung with fairy lights. Sue, draped in an ornate red and gold sari and decorated with traditional henna tattoos, waits for him on a dais with a local minister. As they renew their vows after 49 years of marriage, local children and fellow Aggies dressed in colorful saris and tunics cheer them on. The couple sheds tears of joy as they promise to continue to walk side by side wherever the road leads them.

Now that our son is a successful adult and doesn’t need these resources, we want to ensure they will benefit Texas A&M, helping students long into the future.
Dr. Sue Mahoney '94 '02

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.” 

To increase their impact and help more students explore the world, the couple named the Texas A&M Foundation as the owner and beneficiary of their life insurance policy as well as the beneficiary of their retirement accounts. This gift will supplement their current fund and create two additional scholarships after their lives:  a global study scholarship for student leaders in the MSC and another for Aggies in the School of Education and Human Development. “As life changes, you don’t need the insurance you once did,” Sue explained, “and now that our son is a successful adult and doesn’t need these resources, we want to ensure they will benefit Texas A&M, helping students long into the future.” 

Patrick agreed. “We’re trying to repay the university for the benefits we’ve received. We can help Aggies in many ways. It doesn’t have to be a gift of millions to make an impact.”

Want to help future generations of Aggies explore the world? Contact Amy Bacon '91 below.