Also In This Issue

New Gifts: Recent Gifts to the Foundation

Haynes Creates Dean’s Chair

In an ongoing effort to fulfill her passion for education, Reta Haynes endowed a dean’s chair in the College of Education and Human Development. Her gift was matched by Texas A&M University’s faculty chair matching program.

The gift was awarded to its first holder, Joyce Alexander, last fall. In addition to assisting with internal seed grants, the dean’s chair will support research experiences for undergraduates and new academic programs to attract talent to the college.

“Our world is changing rapidly, and we need to stay current to ensure graduates from the college are successful in our public school classrooms,” Haynes said. “I hope this chair provides the opportunity and flexibility to enhance the student experience.”

Haynes became involved with the College of Education and Human Development shortly after her husband Harold J. “Bill” Haynes ’46 passed away in 2009. Through previous gifts, she helped establish learning communities in the college that focus on developing and retaining students who plan careers in pre-K-12 education.

“Mrs. Haynes’ passion and enthusiasm for education is extraordinary,” said Alexander. “This gift will help the college invest in its students and prepare them to be leaders in schools and communities across the state.”

Banking on Texas A&M

As the flagship internship program in the Department of Finance, the Commercial Banking Program at Mays Business School equips students for banking careers by combining formal learning with industry experience and professional mentoring.

The program’s developmental aspects drew both the attention and investment of the Texas Bankers Association, whose representatives serve on the program’s advisory board. Through its philanthropic arm, the Texas Bankers Foundation, the association will create a $500,000 executive professorship in commercial banking.

“It’s important to the banking industry that there is an ongoing stream of qualified students entering the workforce,” said Eric Sandberg, president and CEO of the association. “We are proud to invest in the lives of future top-of-the-line bankers.”

The Texas Bankers Foundation committed $250,000 as a match for contributions by other banks and individuals to fund the gift in full, with its sights set on completion in 2017.

“While the Commercial Banking Program is a newer high-impact specialty program in the business school,” said Dwight Garey, faculty director of the program, “it is one of the largest in terms of student enrollment and advisory board representation. We are fortunate that organizations like the Texas Bankers Association are deeply engaged in our governance and vision.”

A Bright Future

A gift from Clay V. N. Bright ’78 will ensure that middle-income students can attend Texas A&M University without worrying about finances.

In 2016, Bright committed $1.1 million to fund scholarships for full-time, middle-income undergraduate students. His cash gift will be invested in the Texas A&M Foundation’s endowment pool until it reaches a $5 million value—approximately 15 years—at which time it will begin funding four-year, full-ride scholarships for deserving students annually.

“When it comes to scholarships, middle-income families are often left out,” said Bright, who along with his brother owns and leads Bright Industries, a Dallas-based company with operations focused in oil and gas, real estate development and homebuilding. “By funding these scholarships, I hope to significantly impact the lives of students who need help achieving their dreams of completing a higher education.”

Bright is the son of the late Bum Bright ’43, former Dallas Cowboys owner and a longtime donor to Texas A&M University.

Salute to Sarge

He lay lifeless on the wet grass—not moving, not breathing. Sarge, a 20-month-old boxer, had collapsed while playing his favorite game with his owner, Alex Rochelle.

“One minute Sarge was jumping up at the water hose biting at the stream,” Alex said, “and the next he was lying on the ground motionless. I thought he was dead.”

After a visit to Texas A&M University’s Small Animal Hospital in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Sarge was diagnosed with two forms of cancer and two heart conditions. In the months following, he received exceptional care from staff at the veterinary hospital as he underwent treatments and pacemaker tune-ups to keep him on his feet.

Ultimately, however, Sarge’s heart disease took his life on Feb. 2, 2015 at age seven and a half.

Six months after losing him, the Rochelles honored Sarge by purchasing a much-needed piece of equipment for the veterinary college: the GE 9900 C-arm Digital Mobile Imaging System. The new equipment, which replaces a 2005 version, is used in cardiovascular diagnoses by cardiology, internal medicine, radiology, oncology, neurology and critical care teams.

Because their gift also covers a seven-year maintenance contract for the equipment, 80 percent of client fees associated with the use of the machine are now deposited into a newly-formed SARGE (Support of Advances in CaRdiovascular ImaGing and DEvices) fund to assist clients who can’t afford the cost of minimally invasive cardiology procedures for their pets.

Uniquely, the fund will also support the cost of rare and expensive surgeries that can help advance canine cardiology medicine and research. In this way, their gift will provide countless teaching opportunities for Texas A&M veterinarians and students.

“Everyone wants the best care for their pets,” Martha said, “but that doesn’t come without a price. Instead of having to take a lesser avenue of treatment, we know the SARGE fund will help families and veterinarians provide exceptional care to pets so they can live longer, fuller lives.”

Bitsy, a 1-year-old rescue dog from Austin with a congenital heart defect, was the first patient to benefit from the SARGE fund.

“During Bitsy’s surgery, we decreased the size of an abnormal blood vessel in her heart and saved her life,” said Dr. Ashley Saunders ’98 ’01. “The SARGE fund will provide the opportunity to save countless other animals without placing a financial burden on their owners.”

In addition to their creation of the SARGE fund, the Rochelles gave $1 million to establish a faculty chair in the veterinary oncology department in 2013. That gift was inspired by their late boxer Bugsy, who spent many months battling a fatal tumor.

  • Joint Gift

    Through a bequest that will be realized after their lifetimes, Mark and Sarah Hlavinka McConnell ’86 created two $1 million scholarship endowments that will support liberal arts and agriculture majors.
  • Liberal Arts Support

    Pamela R. Matthews ’81, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and her husband Dr. Dennis Berthold, Texas A&M emeritus professor of English, recognize the importance of a humanities and social sciences education. The couple established two endowments in liberal arts: a scholarship for first-generation students and an award for faculty members who develop innovative teaching methods.
  • Utilizing Exxon's Match

    Jennifer ’93 and Ken Dunphy ’92 utilized the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 3-to-1 employee matching gifts program to create three Foundation Excellence Awards totaling $150,000. Through annual stipends for recipients, their scholarships will help recruit and retain outstanding undergraduates from historically disadvantaged groups. Preference will be given to female engineering majors.
  • Geosciences Boost

    A planned gift of retirement assets from Barbara and Bill Barnes ’76 will establish a professorship in geology and geophysics as well as scholarships for geology majors and members of the Corps of Cadets. The gift reflects Bill’s time in the Corps as well as the couple's careers in oil and gas exploration.