The Texas A&M Foundation awarded graduating senior Shahrum Iqbal with its first Texas A&M Foundation Trustees’ Outstanding Student Award during a dinner on Wednesday at Miramont Country Club in Bryan. The award was created in 2012 through an endowed gift from Susanne and Melbern Glasscock of Houston to honor an exceptional student.
When Iqbal first came to Texas A&M University from Pakistan in fall 2008, he barely spoke English and was unfamiliar with many U.S. customs. He joined the Corps of Cadets, eventually earning the title of deputy corps commander and responsibility for 2,200 cadets.
Despite a full course load in electrical engineering, Iqbal made time for service, student organizations, intramural baseball and rugby. Involvement in learning communities such as Aggie Access and Cultural Leadership Understanding and Exploration for Sophomores (CLUES) gave him the opportunity to help fellow under-represented students assimilate during their own transitions. During his senior year, Iqbal was selected to represent the Texas A&M Foundation as a Maroon Coat. These student ambassadors interact with donors at foundation-sponsored events and provide student perspectives at fundraising meetings.
“The trustees selected Shahrum because we admire his demonstration of leadership, his dedication to academics and his inspirational story,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Richard Kardys. “As the inaugural winner of this award, he has set the bar high for future applicants.”
The award includes a $2,500 stipend.
Iqbal says his time at Texas A&M was instrumental to his personal development and he is grateful for the generosity of those who made his Aggie experience possible. “I wouldn’t have come to A&M if I didn’t have a scholarship, so I know the importance of thanking donors,” he said. “I can see students who are in my shoes struggling to go to A&M; then a donor sponsors them and changes their lives.”
Recipients of the Texas A&M Foundation Trustees’ Outstanding Student Award must have a minimum GPR of 3.0, demonstrate financial challenges, embody the university’s core values, and have served as a leader of one or more student organizations or service groups. To be eligible, applicants also must be a current or past recipient of a foundation-supported scholarship.
“Shahrum has developed into an influential leader on campus whose legacy has forged a path for future international students and cadets,” said Lt. Col. Christian Emmerson, assistant commandant and Iqbal’s former training officer. “Not only did he succeed, he thrived in the Corps of Cadets and set an example for his peers who had some of the advantages he didn’t.”
After graduating this month, Iqbal plans to work for Bray International Inc. in Houston as an operational engineer. He says he will use a portion of the money from the award to pay for his parents to visit him in the United States, a trip they have never been able to take.
“The second part of the money is going to a scholarship I want to establish through the foundation,” Iqbal said. “I’ve always wanted to give back, but I’ve never had the money to do that until now.”