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History

Sterling Evans
Visionary philanthropist Sterling C. Evans ’21 was one of
five founders of the Texas A&M College Development
Foundation in 1953.

On Sept. 12, 1953, a group of 21 Texas A&M former students and regents gather to officially create an organization they have long discussed. Peering into the future, they know that the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas will eventually need large charitable gifts to continue offering a quality academic experience.

Utilizing the Texas Trust Law, the Texas A&M College Development Foundation is 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 are named its first trustees.

1960s

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

Rachel Thompson '10
Since 1968, more than 4,500 students,
like Rachel Thompson '10, have atten-
ded Texas A&M with the financial help
of a President's Endowed Scholarship.

President's Endowed Scholarships Are Born
In the 1960s, Texas A&M is 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 fund five four-year scholarships. These scholarships—intended to raise the quality bar for Texas A&M students—become the President’s Endowed Scholarship (PES) program. Awarded to high-achieving high school seniors, these scholarships inaugurate the Foundation’s most visible giving program.

Since 1968, more than 4,500 students have attended Texas A&M with the financial help of a PES award. In addition to a multitude of Foundation donors, these students have the program founders to thank:  Ford Albritton Jr. ’43, Les Appelt '41, John Lindsey '44, W. C. "mAggie" McGee Jr. '31 and Royce Wisenbaker ’40.

1970s

In the 1970s, the number of trustees serving on the Foundation board increases from five to seven. The term of office for Foundation trustees also decreases from 10 to seven years. 

1980s

Now a 501(c)(3)
Following a controversy at North Texas State University, Texas Attorney General Mark White rules that a private, fundraising body cannot be part of a public university. The Foundation, initially formed as a Texas Charitable Trust, officially separates from the university and incorporates as a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation. Bob Rutledge becomes its executive director.

Capital Campaign: A Top Priority
For decades, Texas A&M’s fundraising mindset mirrored that of many public universities: asking former students for an annual “tithe.” But the 1980s see a change in that trend as major-gift fundraising became more popular. A capital campaign planned for the mid-1980s was shelved when the economy plummeted, but when William H. Mobley becomes university president in 1988, a fundraising campaign is among his top priorities.

Capturing the Spirit Logo
The Foundation’s first capital campaign estab-
lished a six-year goal of half a billion dollars.
At the time it was the largest campaign goal
ever set by a public university.

1990s

Capturing the Spirit, A&M’s first capital campaign establishes a six-year goal of half a billion dollars. At the time, it is the largest campaign goal ever set by a public university. John Lindsey ’44 accepts the position of national chairman while Bill McCord ’49 becomes the campaign’s nucleus fund chairman.

In 1992, the campaign is publicly launched, and in 1996, a full 10 months ahead of schedule, the Capturing the Spirit campaign reaches its $500 million goal. Learn more about the campaign.

A Fresh Face and Fiscal Direction
Ed Davis ’67 takes the helm of the Foundation in 1993. With a change in leadership comes a new focus. Davis leads the charge to take a long-term portfolio strategy approach to its money management. In the 1992-93 fiscal year, contributions jump 31 percent from $46.9 million to $61.4 million.

A New Home, A New Name

Gruy Fountain and Hagler Center
The Jon L. Hagler Center was completed in 1999, and Gruy
Fountain joined the building's landscape in 2007.
Photo credit: Stephen Fogg, The Battalion, 2008

Jon Hagler ’58—a prominent member of the Investment Advisory Committee—presents the Foundation with a lead gift of $5 million for the Foundation’s new headquarters. The completion of the Hagler Center in 1999 provides new offices and meeting areas for Foundation administrators and staff. More important, it offers a central location on the university campus to recognize and celebrate philanthropy.

When the Gruy Fountain in front of the Hagler Center was formally dedicated December 14, 2007, Rae T. and H.J. “Hank” Gruy fulfilled a dream of leaving a tangible landmark on the Texas A&M campus.

The Texas A&M University Development Foundation caps off a successful campaign and completion of its headquarters with a new name: the Texas A&M Foundation.

The Foundation Excellence Award
In 1998, the Foundation creates 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 from under-represented groups have attended Texas A&M with the help of an FEA.

2000s

One Spirit One vision Logo
In 2000, the Foundation begins the “silent
phase” of the One Spirit One Vision camp-
aign.

The Foundation begins the “silent phase” of the One Spirit One Vision campaign in 2000. If a $500 million goal in the previous decade’s campaign appeared audacious, this campaign’s $1 billion goal seems nothing short of staggering, especially with the capital markets reeling since the Internet bubble burst in March 2000.

The campaign comes to a close on Dec. 13, 2006. By the time all the checks are counted, more than $1.5 billion in gifts and pledges have been made to the Foundation, the Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the Bush Library Foundation during the seven-year campaign period. Learn more about the campaign.

Texas A&M Legacy Society is Born
By 2004, the Foundation combines 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 A&M totals $100,000 or more, and individuals who plan to make future gifts through their estates. Learn more about A&M Legacy Society membership.

A Scholarship Initiative and New Student Organization

Maroon Coat Executive Board 2008
(left to right) Nick Guilemette '08, Eric Reed '08, Amber Arseneaux '09,
Michael Schramm '08 and Logan Campbell '10 were the first Maroon Coats
appointed by Ed Davis.

Despite the unstable economy, in 2008 the Foundation launches Operation Spirit and MindSM, a scholarship initiative to raise $300 million for scholarships and graduate fellowships. Individuals, foundations and corporations contributed $308.2 million to the initiative between Jan. 1, 2007, and Aug. 31, 2011. Learn more about Operation Spirit and Mind.

That same year, Davis establishes a new student organization—the Maroon Coats—to serve as student ambassadors for the Foundation. Maroon Coats play a key role in helping the Foundation express appreciation to its donors by providing the student voice at Foundation events and writing or phoning donors to express gratitude for their gifts. Learn more about the Maroon Coats.

Debbie and John Bethancourt
A $2 million gift from the couple named the Debbie ’76 and
John ’74 Bethancourt Family Ballroom in the renovated Memorial
Student Center.   
Photo credit: Jim Lyle

Our MSC: A Tribute to Honor
In 2009, the Our MSC campaign begins to raise $20 million for the renovation to the Memorial Student Center. Students initiated the project, voting to increase student fees to cover $82 million of the $125 million total cost.

By the rededication of the MSC on April 21, 2012, donors had contributed more than $15 million to the project, including a $2 million commitment from Foundation Board of Trustee Chairman John Bethancourt.