March 9, 2018

If disciplines had a personality type, you might say engineering fits ‘Type A’ and English fits ‘Type B.’ One subject is built upon a long tradition of study in literature and language, writing and reading, and culture and interpretation; the other upon research, innovation, evaluating evidence and finding solutions.

And yet, the late C.C. Burton ’42 and his wife Lou saw the value in each. The Burtons created a bequest in their will to establish two scholarship funds for Texas A&M students pursuing degrees in English or mechanical engineering. To make a gift in your will, also called a bequest, an individual designates a gift be made to the Foundation as part of his or her estate plan. Benefits include the ability to retain assets during your lifetime, lessen the burden of taxes on your family and support Texas A&M University in whatever capacity you choose, whether it be a program, department, faculty member, or student scholarship or organization. A bequest can be the vehicle for people to make their most transformational gifts. In fact, most planned gifts are ten times greater than the sum of the donor’s lifetime giving.

The Burtons’ gift has assisted students financially since his passing in 2012. Reid Christopher ’19 and Meghan Collier ’18, the current recipients of the scholarships, credit their college success to their generosity.

Christopher, a junior mechanical engineering major, has shaped his college experience in a way that doesn’t focus on financial stress, giving him the opportunity to join organizations, work hard in classes and make memories along the way. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Texas A&M University Robotics Team and Leadership Experience. He also conducts undergraduate research in the Biomechanical Environments Laboratory.

“Financial security means I can put more effort into getting good grades and playing an active role in my organizations,” he said. “My scholarship helps me focus on the education I came here for.”

After touring the Texas A&M campus during her senior year of high school, Collier knew Aggieland was the place for her. It wasn’t until after she had her heart set on being an Aggie that she learned her great-grandfather had also been a student at Texas A&M, but was unable to finish his degree due to financial issues.

“This scholarship will help me be the first Aggie in my family to graduate from Texas A&M, an achievement I think would make my great-grandfather proud,” she said. “It has also allowed me to focus on my classes and not the price of tuition, for which I am eternally grateful.”

Lou and C.C. Burton ’42 on their wedding day. The Burtons gift for English and Engineering students will impact students for generations to come.

Collier is a university honors and English honors student, as well as the vice-chair of the Memorial Student Center Wiley Lecture Series, which brings internationally renowned speakers to campus to speak on issues of global significance. She is also in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program and works at the University Writing Center as a writing consultant.

Like Christopher, Burton pursued a degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M. He began working for the Dow Magnesium Corporation, now the Dow Chemical Company, after graduation. In 1944, he joined the United States Navy and proudly served aboard the USS Rogers in the Asiatic Pacific Theatre until 1952. Afterward, he returned to Dow until his retirement in 1984.

The Burtons’ gift has given countless students the confidence and freedom to approach their degrees without worrying about money or tuition, and it will continue to assist students for years to come.

“In my four years here, I’ve learned how to think critically and creatively and how to communicate clearly through writing and speaking,” said Collier. “Above all, I have gained a greater understanding of the power of language. I hope that I can someday give back to students in the way the Burtons have done.”

To learn how you can support a department at Texas A&M through a planned gift, contact Angela Throne ’03 in the Office of Gift Planning or request a free estate and gift planning kit.