Texas A&M University has reached nearly half of the $300 million scholarship goal for its "Operation Spirit and Mind" fundraising initiative. The total raised during the first two years of "Operation Spirit and Mind" is just over $139 million.
The Texas A&M Foundation, a private nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in Texas A&M academics and student leadership programs, leads this fundraising initiative for the university.
"Operation Spirit and Mind," which began Jan. 1, 2007, and was formally launched in October 2008, raised about $85.8 million during the 2008 calendar year. During 2007, the initiative raised about $53.2 million.
Roughly half of these "Operation Spirit and Mind" donations are endowed gifts, meaning they finance a scholarship or fellowship forever.
Texas A&M University President Elsa Murano says "Operation Spirit and Mind"
will give A&M an advantage in recruiting the highest-caliber and most diverse undergraduate and graduate students as tuition costs rise.
"We are living in an era, unfortunately, in which students and their families are paying a greater percentage of their college costs," Murano said. "Through the generosity of our former students and friends, private giving has eased students' financial burden to some extent. We also have been able to keep our tuition and fees considerably lower than our peer institutions while maintaining the value of a Texas A&M degree." Tuition increases during Murano's tenure have been kept to a minimum by controlling costs and investing strategically, even as the university continues to enhance its standing relative to that of other world-class institutions.
Murano noted that Texas A&M was recently recognized by "Smart Money"
magazine as the No. 1 university in the country for "payback ratio," or the earning levels of an institution's graduates compared to what they paid in tuition, fees and related costs for their undergraduate educations.
Her goals for " Operation Spirit and Mind" are to a attract high-achieving students, increase financial aid for first-generation and underrepresented students, increase the number of graduate fellowships (critical for a Tier 1 research university), and enhance opportunities for students' international experiences.
"Operation Spirit and Mind" aims to create at least 2,000 endowed scholarships and graduate fellowships. These gifts may be endowed (so they help students forever) or non-endowed; they may be named for the donor or someone important in his or her life; they may be made under established programs or given to specific colleges or departments; and/or they may be customized in various ways according to the donor's wishes.
"We hope the state of Texas will always be an essential source of funding for our public colleges and universities, but we also recognize that the state has many areas that it must support," says Dr. Ed Davis '67, president of the Texas A&M Foundation. "Texas A&M has for generations enjoyed the tradition of loyal support from its former students and friends. 'Operation Spirit and Mind' is a logical expansion on this tradition of Aggie giving that directly aids students."
To learn more about "Operation Spirit and Mind" scholarships that benefit Texas A&M University, contact the Texas A&M Foundation at giving.tamu.edu or
(800) 392-3310 or (979) 845-8161.