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A "Big" Help

October 31, 2012

Endowed Scholarship Supports Big Brothers Big Sisters Participants.

Dieterich image

Dieterich was inspired by his own Big Brother, Dale Kelly, to give back to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. The endowed scholarship he started at Texas A&M gives preference to students involved in BBBS.

With a gift of an endowed scholarship to the Texas A&M Foundation, Tracy L. Dieterich ’87, a longtime proponent of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, is paying it forward for the program that pays off for children facing adversity. The scholarship, which gives preference to a student involved in the program either as a “Big” or former “Little,” is supporting its first scholar, Rita Frias ’16, this fall.

Life as a “Little”

Dieterich admits his life was changed by Big Brothers Big Sisters, a program that matches adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”) ages six to 18 in communities across the country. By providing children facing adversity with enduring one-on-one relationships, the program seeks to encourage higher aspirations, greater confidence and educational success in their “Littles.”

Dieterich was enrolled in the program at age nine, and his “Big,” Dale Kelly, left a lasting impression.

“Dale gave me the greatest gift you can give a child and that is confidence,” Dieterich said. “He showed me I could go out and do anything. He believed in me and set my sail in the right direction.”

For years, Dieterich has given back to Big Brothers Big Sisters through financial support and volunteering his own time as a “Big” to two “Littles,” but he wanted to do something more.

The answer lay in Texas A&M.

Aggie Investment

Dieterich and little brother images
In addition to creating an endowed scholarship at Texas A&M for incoming students involved in BBBS, Dieterich has also served as a Big Brother for two young men, like Justin Vecchio.

A 1989 industrial distribution graduate, Dieterich was a first-generation college student. Now senior vice president at Wells Fargo Insurance Services in Houston, he has the means to give back.

Taking advantage of Wells Fargo’s Matching Gift Program, which matches gifts dollar for dollar up to $5,000 annually to colleges and universities with which employees are affiliated, Dieterich established the Tracy L. Dieterich Endowed Scholarship in honor and memory of his mother, Freda A. Dieterich, with a gift of $25,000.

Distributions from the endowment will be used to provide scholarships to full-time students pursuing an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M.

“This scholarship isn’t about me.” Dieterich said. “It’s about helping someone in the same way I was helped and developing a relationship with that person.”

Dieterich and little brother image
Dieterich's time in BBBS led him to mentor and support other children, like his second Little Brother Aaron, in the same way that he was.

The scholarship will support students with financial need who are involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“We appreciate Tracy’s gift and the added impact of Wells Fargo matching funds,” said Carl Jaedicke ’73, vice president for development at the Texas A&M Foundation. “Many corporations offer programs like this which enable their employees to multiply personal gifts. In this case, it helped Tracy create a permanent scholarship fund that will help many deserving students earn their college degrees.”

Dieterich’s hope is that his gift will inspire others to ask their employers’ human resources departments about matching gift programs.

Surprise Support

image of rita
Rita Frias ’16 is the first recipient of Dieterich’s endowed scholarship. Involved in BBBS for two years in high school as a mentor to younger children, she is studying ecological restoration at Texas A&M.

Dieterich’s gift is already having an impact on the life of Frias, an ecological restoration major from Fort Worth. In high school, she was involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters for two years, acting as a mentor to younger children.

“There is no better feeling than giving back to the community,” Frias said. “Mentoring children gives you the chance to make a difference in their lives by giving them the attention they need in order to feel good about themselves. Big Brothers Big Sisters is all about the children, and that is what motivated me to volunteer my time to the program.”

Frias says Dieterich’s support was a welcome surprise.

“This scholarship has helped me pay for books and avoid having to get a loan. It has allowed me to attend Texas A&M — a great school where I’m learning so much and meeting great people,” Frias said. “This has made me want to try really hard to be successful and make the best of the opportunity that this scholarship has given me.”

Halfway into her first semester at Texas A&M, Frias says she loves the atmosphere of the university and the way classes challenge her to be the best she can.

In true Big Brother fashion, Dieterich says he wants his scholarship to be bigger than just financial support.

“I want to develop a connection with Rita and serve a mentoring role for her in whatever way possible, whether that is acting as an adviser, helping her network later in her career or just providing her with support throughout her education,” he said. 

By Dunae Crenwelge ’14

Request your A&M Support Kit to learn how you can support students at Texas A&M through a gift to the Texas A&M Foundation.

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