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Maryland Ags Help Incoming Student

Laura Johnston '07 July 8, 2013 2:24 PM

By Trey Bodwin ’13 

This summer, the Maryland A&M Club took on a challenge that rose far beyond any individual but will have an impact far beyond the state. A local young man preparing to graduate high school had been admitted to Texas A&M but had no home, no support and no money even to get to College Station to start school.

The Maryland A&M Club’s vice president of finance, Mike McNeill ’85, learned of the situation from Texas A&M Student Services. The high school senior from Carroll County—we’ll refer to him as Joe Aggie to protect his privacy—had been admitted to the university and awarded a Corps of Cadets scholarship. But as an emancipated student, he lacked the funds he needed to travel. He sought help from a high school counselor, Nancy Huber.

That request would begin his journey to Aggieland, as Huber immediately reached out to A&M’s Student Services, who in turned called on the Maryland A&M Club.

McNeil knew this was an opportunity to give Joe a new beginning, and he refused to let a future Aggie fall by the wayside. “I figure there can't be anything more important to us Aggies than helping somebody else understand ‘the Spirit can ne'er be told’,” McNeill said.

On May 13, McNeill sent an email to about 700 Aggies in the area, explaining Joe’s situation and how they could help get him to College Station. He only recognized some of the names from Club gatherings, and he had no idea how many people would respond.

But the Aggies of Maryland came through. Even after enough money was contributed to cover Joe’s plane ticket, the contributions continued, with individuals donating so that Joe could attend a New Student Conference, Fish Camp, buy his textbooks and purchase other school supplies.

The good deeds didn’t stop there. McNeill also was contacted by people who live in the Bryan-College Station area, offering to mentor Joe and help him find a job in Aggieland.  

Within two weeks of emailing his appeal for help, McNeill had received responses from more than 50 individuals wanting to help the future Aggie. “I’ve heard from individuals who I’ve never met,” he said. “As the donations would show up in my mailbox, I was amazed at how many people stepped up and said ‘I want to help.’”

Joe is set to spend his summer in Maryland before he officially touches down in Aggieland in August. Thanks to his supporters in Maryland, he will finish Fish Camp just in time to move into on-campus housing and attend Corps Orientation.

McNeill, a 15-year donor to The Association of Former Students, realizes that the Aggie Network extends far beyond the state of Texas. In a follow up note to the Maryland Aggies, he stated, “I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of y’all for showing him what being an Aggie is all about.”

The Maryland A&M Club is online at

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