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Fossum '86 Wins TV Series, Takes Home $250k

Rebekah Josefy '13 May 9, 2017 4:20 PM updated: May 15, 2017 7:31 PM

Terry Fossum '86 is an author, public speaker, philanthropist, a former Scoutmaster for Troop 400, retired U.S. Air Force officer and current vice president of programs for the Inland Northwest Council of Boy Scouts of America. Through all of these various roles, his self-adopted life mantra is, “Success isn’t about elevating yourself, it’s about elevating those around you."

You may have seen him on Fox's new series Kicking and Screaming, where teams of two must survive living in the jungles of Fiji as they compete for a $500,000 cash prize. The final episode revealed in April that Fossum's team won and would be the ones to split the prize.


Since the show producers' goal was to intentionally pair up team members who were complete opposites, Fossum and his teammate on the show faced some personal differences and had to weather a few storms, literally and figuratively, during the competition. Fossum says he learned a lot about handling growth with personal relationships and group dynamics at Texas A&M. "Don’t avoid the storm, it’s natural; embrace it but get through it with respect." 

Through his time studying mechanical engineering and as a member of the Corps of Cadets, Fossum says he was prepared to come together for a common goal—even when working as polar opposites—if they each put aside their differences and focused, instead, on similarities.

"The Corps of Cadets is a very diverse group of people who all come together in an outfit and as a Class within that outfit," Fossum recalls, "and you have to learn to work together with those people."

Pairing "survivalists" with "everyday people," the nature of the show requires competitors to face a series of mental and physical challenges and put their personal skills to use. Fossum enjoyed helping his teammate overcome fears and obstacles and providing her the opportunity to learn new and helpful skills in a difficult setting.

"It’s my goal in life to help as many people as I can; everything I do goes toward that end. Growing up, my brothers and I had some obstacles to overcome, and now it’s my life work to help other people overcome those obstacles."

One of Fossum's brothers is Col. Mike Fossum '80, a former astronaut with NASA, who began in his new role as a vice president of Texas A&M and chief operating officer of Texas A&M University Galveston Campus in March.

Fossum says as the show developed, he and his teammate eventually learned to get along and cooperate, and he encourages others to take a cue. "There’s a great culture of inclusiveness and helpfulness at Texas A&M; we’re a friendly school. And if we can help spread that same culture around the world, it will certainly be a better place." 

Books authored by Terry Fossum are included on our Aggie Authors webpage. You can read additional media coverage here. Full episodes of the show's first season are available on Hulu and Fox.

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