Also In This Issue

Editor's Desk

The Sum of Philanthropy

The renovated Memorial Student Center was featured in the summer 2012 issue of Spirit. 

When I started working as a writing intern for the Texas A&M Foundation during the spring of 2012, the Lead by Example campaign had just begun. In its fledgling state, it was nothing more than a name on paper and a set of goals with the daunting task of raising $4 billion.

As a recently hired freshman, I still had a lot to learn about philanthropy at Texas A&M University. I didn’t quite understand the role of campaigns in higher education, nor did I have an inkling as to just how much private gifts make a difference on campus. My first real indication of that was the reopening of the Memorial Student Center in April 2012, following three years of renovation and expansion. We featured the renovated facility on the cover of the summer 2012 issue of Spirit, and reading that story was the first time that I felt impacted by philanthropy as a student, outside of the scholarships I received.

Nearly a decade later, I now find myself responsible for telling and sharing similar stories about the impact of philanthropy daily and in every issue of Spirit. It is a rewarding profession and one I take seriously. This issue rates as one of my favorites yet, because it is dedicated exclusively to some of the stories, gifts and people who defined the Lead by Example campaign.

The campaign may have ended on Dec. 31, 2020, but the programs within these pages will live on in Aggieland for generations thanks to private generosity. This edition includes stories, among others, about two major scholarship programs created during the campaign; a contribution that enabled Texas A&M’s expansion into Washington, D.C.; a planned gift that will allow future Aggies to learn on a beautiful Hill Country ranch; and the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study, a program that elevates the university’s academic stature because one man decided that Texas A&M should not settle for any standard less than that of the greatest public institution of higher learning in the country.

The diversity of gifts and what they enable is astounding, and yet, these stories are just a sampling of the many we are privileged to share. I know that even as we move past the campaign, there will be no shortage of more to come. Most gifts, after all, are not driven by a campaign but by an individual’s own heartfelt desire to contribute to something greater than themselves, a quality unbound by time.

We still have a lot to do in terms of educating current and former students about the role of philanthropy at Texas A&M, but I hope that with each issue of Spirit, and especially this one, it becomes a little clearer.

Dunae Reader ’15
Editor, Spirit magazine

Explore more stories of impact and learn how major gifts to the campaign have positively transformed Aggieland for generations to come at


Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor