Established in 1953, the Texas A&M Foundation’s mission is to build a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time.

As a nonprofit organization, the Foundation is the primary academic fundraising institution for Texas A&M charged with raising and managing gifts of all types and sizes, with a focus on major gift endowments. We invest these gifts and disburse part of the investment earnings for the purposes designated by donors. In this way, endowments remain forever and continually benefit Texas A&M.

Our team partners with former students, corporations and other supporters who want to lead by example and match their charitable passions with opportunities for purposeful philanthropy at Texas A&M. Gifts create scholarships, advance faculty endeavors, enhance student programs, and fund college programs and campus construction. Collectively, these investments greatly enhance Texas A&M’s mission to provide the highest quality undergraduate and graduate programs and develop new understandings through research and creativity.

Texas A&M Foundation History


Our Beginnings

On Sept. 12, 1953, a group of 21 Texas A&M former students and Texas A&M University System Regents gathered to officially create an organization they had long discussed. They knew that the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas would eventually need large charitable gifts to continue offering a quality academic experience. Utilizing the Texas Trust Law, the Texas A&M College Development Foundation was formed with an initial $100 in assets. Wofford Cain ’13, Sterling Evans ’21, Herman Heep ’20, W.P. Machemehl ’33 and A.F. Mitchell ’22 were named its first trustees.


A New Name

Following the lead of Texas A&M in 1962, the Texas A&M College Development Foundation changed its name to the Texas A&M University Development Foundation.


President’s Endowed Scholarships

In the 1960s, Texas A&M was maturing from an all-male, military and technical college into a full-fledged university. To help it along, five of the university’s most illustrious former students funded five four-year scholarships. These scholarships—intended to raise the quality bar for Texas A&M students—initiated the President’s Endowed Scholarship (PES) program. Awarded to high-achieving high school seniors, these scholarships represent the Foundation’s most visible giving program, more than 50 years old today.


Now a 501(c)(3)

The Foundation, initially formed as a Texas Charitable Trust, officially separated from the university and was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.


Capturing the Spirit

Capturing the Spirit, Texas A&M’s first capital campaign, established a six-year goal of $500 million. At the time, it was the largest campaign goal ever set by a public university. In 1992, the campaign was publicly launched and, in 1996, a full 10 months ahead of schedule, Capturing the Spirit reached its goal.


A Fresh Face

Dr. Ed Davis ’67 took the helm of the Foundation in 1993 and led the charge to take a long-term portfolio strategy approach to the Foundation’s money management. In the 1992-93 fiscal year, contributions jumped 31% from $46.9 million to $61.4 million.


Foundation Excellence Awards

In 1998, the Foundation created the Foundation Excellence Award (FEA) program to aid students from historically disadvantaged groups often underrepresented in the student body, including minorities and those who face significant economic or educational hurdles. Since its founding, more than 1,000 students have attended Texas A&M with the help of an FEA.


A New Home and A New Name

Jon Hagler ’58—a prominent member of the Foundation’s Investment Advisory Committee—gave a lead gift of $5 million for the Foundation’s new headquarters. The completion of the Jon L. Hagler Center in 1999 provided new offices and meeting areas for Foundation administrators and staff. More importantly, it offered a central location on the university campus to recognize and celebrate philanthropy. The Texas A&M University Development Foundation capped off the completion of its headquarters with a new name: the Texas A&M Foundation.


One Spirit One Vision

The Foundation began the “silent phase” of the $1 billion One Spirit One Vision campaign in 2000. The campaign came to a close on Dec. 31, 2006. By the time all checks were counted, more than $1.5 billion in gifts and pledges had been made to the Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation, and the George & Barbara Bush Foundation during the seven-year campaign period.


Texas A&M Legacy Society is Born

By 2004, the Foundation combined Texas A&M’s two premier donor recognition societies, the Forsyth Heritage Society and University Associates, to become the A&M Legacy Society. This society recognizes donors whose cumulative, current giving to Texas A&M totals $100,000 or more, and individuals who plan to make future gifts through their estates.


Gruy Fountain

The iconic Gruy Fountain in front of the Jon L. Hagler Center was formally dedicated on Dec. 14, 2007. With their gift to fund the fountain’s construction, Rae T. and H.J. “Hank” Gruy fulfilled a lifelong dream of leaving a tangible landmark on the Texas A&M campus. Today, the fountain is a picture-worthy spot for Aggies on Ring Day and graduation.


Continued Growth

In 2008, despite an unstable economy, the Foundation launched Operation Spirit and Mind, an initiative to raise $300 million for scholarships and graduate fellowships that raised $308.2 million between Jan. 1, 2007 and Aug. 31, 2011. That same year, Dr. Ed Davis ’67 established a new student organization—the Maroon Coats—to serve as student ambassadors for the Foundation. Today, Maroon Coats play a key role in helping the Foundation express appreciation to donors by attending events and writing or phoning donors to express gratitude for their gifts.


Lead by Example

In January 2012, the Foundation began counting gifts toward Texas A&M’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign, Lead by Example. With a goal to raise $4 billion for Aggieland’s students, staff, faculty and programs by the end of 2020, the campaign marked the largest higher education fundraising effort in Texas history. 


Leadership Transition

After more than two decades in a career that pushed Texas A&M into the nation’s top tier of higher education fundraising, Dr. Ed Davis ’67 announced his retirement from the Foundation in January 2016. Following his departure, Tyson Voelkel ’96 took office as the Foundation’s new president and CEO.


Mission Accomplished

Texas A&M University’s nine-year Lead by Example campaign concluded Dec. 31, 2020. Former students and friends took the campaign above and beyond its $4 billion goal by contributing $4.25 billion in the form of more than 900,000 gifts for university students, staff, faculty, facilities, athletics and programs through Texas A&M’s five affiliate fundraising organizations.