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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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On Campus: News from Across Texas A&M

On Campus: News from Across Texas A&M

How gifts during the Lead by Example campaign benefited student activities.

By Michele Schevikhoven '21

Marketing Writing Student Worker

On Campus: News from Across Texas A&M

How gifts during the Lead by Example campaign benefited student activities.

By Michele Schevikhoven '21

Marketing Writing Student Worker

During the Lead by Example campaign, gifts supporting Texas A&M University student activities secured the vitality of Aggieland’s more than 1,000 student organizations and ensured that students continued to learn and grow through outside-the-classroom experiences. Check out just a few gifts that benefited Aggie student organizations and activities during the campaign.

Mark Sterling '21, 2020-2021 MSC President (Photo by Leighton Jack '14)

Harns Support Student Leaders

During their time at Texas A&M University, Lori ’87 and Mikal Harn ’88 learned the value of servant leadership, which gave them a head start in the business world. To help shape future generations of Aggie leaders, they created an endowment to support leadership development programs in the Memorial Student Center (MSC).

The Harns’ gift will provide operational funding for MSC leadership programs and scholarship stipends for MSC student leaders to attend conferences or training programs to develop their leadership skills. “Their endowment ensures that we can offer unique experiences to students and create next-level leadership programming,” said Luke Altendorf, MSC director.

The Harns believe that Aggies who participate in MSC organizations develop values and skills that last a lifetime. “We are fortunate to see the impact of these programs on current and aspiring student leaders,” Mikal said. “Taking on leadership roles is crucial to success after graduation, and we hope our gift provides more opportunities to create Aggie leaders.”

Their gift will positively impact the MSC experience for years to come. “It makes me smile to know the Harns are invested in our students’ leadership development and the future of our communities,” added MSC President Mark Sterling ’21.

Ring Dance Yell Practice

Endowment Promotes Inclusion and Accessibility in Traditions

Texas A&M traditions impact Aggies in many ways. Whether attending Midnight Yell, writing a letter at Silver Taps or finally getting to wear the Aggie ring, the unique experiences live on within Aggies everywhere. Class Councils is the organization responsible for hosting many long-standing, tradition-based programs that Aggies cherish, including Elephant Walk, Ring Dance, Pull Out Day and Fish Fest.

With support from former Advisor Greg Fink ’08, Class Councils determined it needed an endowment to provide consistent funding for greater inclusion and access in campus traditions. In 2018, as the organization looked to strategically manage its revenue toward more sustainable initiatives, it transferred funds to establish a $50,000 endowment.

Funds from the endowment will help remove structural, operational and even systemic roadblocks to ensure campus traditions remain available and of value to the evolving student body. Examples include providing sign language interpreters and reducing ticket prices for events. “It is important to continue evaluating everyone’s access to our university traditions,” Fink said. “Only when done well can our traditions leave a positive, lasting impact; that’s why this endowment is so important.”

Jagadish Kumaran Jayagopal '15 and his family (Photo by Leighton Jack '14)

Peseks Aid Aggies in Times of Need

When Erika ’14 and Chris Pesek ’97 learned of an Aggie student with nowhere to go

during the 2013 holiday break, they were quick to donate $1,000 toward their lodgings between the fall and spring semesters. Once they took that first step, the couple realized they wanted to make a greater impact on other Aggie students. “We created the Aggie Family Endowment so students can focus on their studies and families without worrying about their financial situation,” Erika explained.

Funds from their $25,000 endowment cover expenses such as travel costs, car repairs, hotel stays and food for students in need on holiday breaks. Recently, their gift assisted Jagadish Kumaran Jayagopal ’15, an industrial engineering Ph.D. candidate, with the hospital bills his family received after their first baby was born. “We will always be grateful for this assistance,” Jayagopal said. “I am inspired by the generosity and want to help other students in need when I have the resources.”

In addition to this gift, the Peseks also established a scholarship to support Aggie student veterans and their spouses and committed a planned gift that will enhance all of their existing endowments after their lifetimes.

Howdy Camp Yell Practice

Planned Gift Will Benefit Transfer Students

The Aggie Transition Camp (ATC) program at Texas A&M impacted Blake Johnson ’14 in a dramatic way. ATCs such as Transfer Camp and Howdy Camp provide new Aggies with the knowledge and resources to tackle their transition to Texas A&M successfully. While attending Transfer Camp, Johnson learned crucial leadership skills and worked with diverse groups of people—experiences that inspired him to become a counselor and shaped him into the person he is today.

“ATCs are where the spirit starts, where you meet your best friends and where you make an impact on your life and those of others,” he explained.

Because of the impression it made on his life, Johnson created a planned gift for ATC that will provide scholarships to campers and counselors who cannot afford the experience themselves. “Giving is really rewarding,” he said. “Part of being a good Aggie is contributing to something bigger than yourself.”

In addition to being an Aggie’s first tradition, transition camps also teach critical skills and help students create everlasting memories. “ATCs are funded by the Aggies in the organization,” said Dr. Sarah Edwards ’07, assistant director of Texas A&M’s extended orientation programs. “Gifts like Blake’s provide more opportunities for campers and counselors to experience the Aggie family and prepare them for their time at Texas A&M.”

To learn how you can support Texas A&M student organizations and activities, contact David Wilkinson '87, assistant vice president for development, by calling (979) 845-7609 or by submitting the form below.

Contact:

David Wilkinson '87

Assistant Vice President for Development-Central Division
Division of Student Affairs