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Spirit is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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Also In This Issue

Letters

Alan Gurevich '73 as head drum major for the 1972-1973 school year.

From NYC to Texas

The fall 2018 edition of Spirit had an article about Aggies going to work on Wall Street. The article states in the beginning, “It's a 1,600-mile-drive from College Station to New York City, but a chasm as wide as the Rio Grande in culture, experience and opportunities lies between the two.”

Back in 1969, I made the opposite trek, leaving my Long Island home for College Station. I can assure you the cultural differences were just as enormous.

All I knew about Texas A&M was that I liked the name, it had a marching band and ROTC—which suited my desire for a career as a U.S. Air Force pilot—and what I hoped would be an okay aerospace engineering program.

Three years later, I’d lost much of my New York accent, discovered Dr. Pepper, and learned to love jalapeños and barbeque. I also knew everything there was to know about Aggieland and discovered much about Texas from going home with classmates on weekends. During the 1972-1973 school year, I led the Aggie Band as head drum major—likely the first time a Yankee was in charge!

So, I imagine all those finance majors will survive New York City as well as I survived little old College Station (which really was little back then). Hopefully they will do as well, and get as much out of their new surroundings, as did I from 1969 to 1973.

Alan Gurevich ’73
Seattle, Washington

We Need Rural Doctors

Courtney Welch '01

“The article about Courtney Welch ’01 in fall Spirit reminded me that rural doctors are so needed. My parents live near Round Top, and continuous health care is hard to find. They love living in the country, but it’s concerning to our family that as they age, the care they need might not be available.”

Kellie Allen Schneider ’86
Sugar Land, Texas

Extremely Grateful

“As a first-generation Aggie mom, I will forever be grateful for the generous spirit of Aggies who give so that other generations can experience the joy of walking these hallowed halls and grow into men and women of integrity, passion and purpose. Our family has been enormously blessed to know our son’s President’s Endowed Scholarship donor, Jerry Durbin ’57. Thank you for sharing stories of why Aggies give in your fall issue!”

Cathy Larson
Taylors, South Carolina

Thank you, Mr. Duffie!

“Thank you so much for all the work you do, Mr. Duffie! As a recipient of one of your Aggie Ring Scholarships, I am forever grateful for your dedication and commitment to the Aggie family. I will work vigorously to pay it forward as well!”

Maricarmen del Toro ’19 
Del Rio, Texas

Remembering the Project Houses

I enjoyed the article by Greg Bailey in the fall 2018 edition of Spirit magazine about the Depression-era Project Houses on campus. My father was one of the beneficiaries of the program and was always appreciative of the people who sponsored it.

He grew up in Houston County on a farm that was managed by his father and expected to work there after graduating high school. However, the local 4-H club leader told him about the Project House program in 1934 and further encouraged Dad to raise $75, pack a suitcase and join a group of Houston County boys he was taking to Texas A&M.

Dad went home and shared the story with anyone who would listen. Upon hearing it, one of the farm’s sharecroppers told Dad he would give him a bale of his cotton as a grubstake. This is amazing because it occurred during the depths of the Great Depression, and the donor was unrelated to Dad and living at a subsistence level. Anyway, Dad accepted the offer and sold the cotton for $75. My grandmother tossed in a cardboard suitcase, and Dad was on his way.

Charles Wedemeyer's father was one of the young men responsible for planting the oak trees along the avenue leading up to the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. He lived in the Houston Country Project House while he attended Texas A&M in the 1930s.

The boys lived in the Houston County Project House, which was managed by a middle-aged married couple who prepared meals and led the students to help with cleaning, laundry and other domestic chores. The students brought food from home to minimize costs. Dr. Dan Russell also arranged for them to earn money doing jobs on campus. One of their accomplishments was to plant the oak trees that line the boulevard connecting Highway 6 to the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. Dad was a big fan of Dr. Russell and other professors in the Agriculture School. He credited them with creating a program that lifted poor farm boys out of poverty and produced some very effective future leaders.

Dad graduated in 1938 and resigned his military officer’s commission to serve as the county agriculture agent for Madison County. When World War II started, he re-enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant and served in the European Theatre for more than three years, earning a Bronze Star for developing strategies that improved the kill ratio on German V-1 “buzz bombs.”

He passed away in 2002 at the age of 87. He left a legacy of leadership in agriculture and Christianity. But, his success was facilitated by the 4-H leader, the sharecropper and the school’s agriculture department, led by Dr. Russell.

Charles Wedemeyer ’63
Fort Worth, Texas 

We always enjoy receiving our readers' reactions to Spirit. If the magazine's content moves you to write, please submit a letter to the editor or email us at info@txamfoundation.com.

Contact:

Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor