Texas A&M Foundation Bestows Highest Honor on Two Couples

By: Texas A&M
By: Texas A&M

The Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees on Thursday recognized two couples, Weldon and Patti Kruger and Reta Haynes and the late Harold J. “Bill” Haynes, as the 2013 recipients of the Sterling C. Evans Medal. The ceremony was attended by the Krugers and by Reta Haynes.

Evans Medal recipients exhibit exemplary philanthropy, benefiting Texas A&M University through contributions and volunteer leadership. Other qualifications include a lifelong devotion to Texas A&M, motivation of others to support the university, and a personal history of integrity and excellence. The medal is the highest honor bestowed by the Foundation.

The Haynes family has supported Texas A&M students, faculty, colleges and programs through funding for merit-based scholarships, faculty chairs and fellowships, facilities and other endowments that advance the academic excellence of Texas A&M colleges.

The Krugers also have backed the university through gifts that support scholarships, building projects, study abroad and student organizations. In particular, they have established a number of endowments to benefit the academic excellence and leadership of the Corps of Cadets.

The medal’s namesake was a 1921 Texas A&M graduate who served on the university’s board of directors from 1959 to 1971. A visionary, the late Sterling C. Evans helped former university President Earl Rudder transform Texas A&M through the admission of blacks and women and by making Corps of Cadets participation voluntary. Evans said a library was central to a university’s academic standing and—true to his word—he and his wife Catherene gave $15 million to Texas A&M in support of libraries. The school’s largest library bears his name.

The Hayneses began what would become a 64-year marriage living in a Quonset hut on the Texas A&M campus. Following his 1947 graduation, Bill Haynes put his civil engineering degree to use during a 34-year career with Standard Oil Co., now Chevron, in which he advanced to president, chairman and chief executive officer. After retiring from Chevron in 1981, he embarked on a 28-year consulting career for the Bechtel Corporation, the Bechtel family and the Fremont Group.

The Haynes’ gifts to Texas A&M have established two endowed faculty chairs in geosciences, supported more than 40 civil and ocean engineering graduate students, and have provided financial assistance to cadets and other students through merit-based scholarships. Their donations have further created such campus landmarks as the Reta and Bill Haynes '46 Coastal Engineering Laboratory and the Haynes Ring Plaza.

Following her husband’s death, Reta Haynes honored the couple’s commitment to education by creating the Reta Haynes Learning Community in the College of Education and Human Development and by establishing 13 Corps 21 Scholarships. One of her most significant contributions to the school will be a multi-million dollar estate gift providing four-year, full-ride scholarships to incoming Texas A&M freshmen. Today, Reta Haynes resides in San Rafael, Calif.

Weldon and Patti Kruger also trace the start of their relationship to Texas A&M, where they met at the university’s Freshmen Ball in 1952. Weldon Kruger became Corps commander before graduating in 1953 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in petroleum engineering, while Patti Kruger completed an English degree in 1956 from The University of Texas at Austin.

As Patti Kruger worked for Hunt Oil Co., Weldon Kruger began a career at Exxon-Mobil and later advanced to senior executive. This promotion prompted the couple to relocate throughout the years, but they never forgot their start in College Station.

Even before the peak of Weldon Kruger’s career achievements, the Krugers gave frequently to Texas A&M. The couple now regularly demonstrates their loyalty by responding to a range of the university’s needs. They have provided financial assistance for student travel and scholarships, and support for campus building projects such as the Memorial Student Center and Sterling C. Evans Library.

The Krugers also have made countless contributions to the Corps of Cadets, supporting the programs, academic excellence and leadership of the organization. A gift of real estate in 2007 created their Aggie Spirit endowment, which benefits students and organizations within the Division of Student Affairs. The couple resides in College Station.

Both couples join a small but prestigious group of Evans Medal recipients. For a full list of previous recipients, visit http://giving.tamu.edu/donors/SterlingEvansMedal.aspx.

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