Susan "Sue" Owen '94 January 8, 2018 5:59 PM updated: January 8, 2018 6:13 PM
All 19 of the Aggie student veterans graduating in May who could not otherwise afford their Aggie Rings will be covered by Ring scholarship funds from Association donors.
“There was no way we thought we were going to be able to clear 19 veteran Rings off this list,” said Sheila Nelson ’92, a fundraising development specialist with The Association.
“That’s the longest wait list we’ve had.”
Association of Former Students donors have been responsible for 1,575 scholarships awarded so far in this academic year, representing an increase of some 175 over those awarded last year.
Most of those — about 90 percent — are academic scholarships providing $1,000 to $3,000 per year, making a major difference in the lives of current students with financial need; some are merit-based.
Over 130 of the scholarships are Aggie Ring Scholarships. And a number of those are earmarked for veterans. Nelson gets together with the head of A&M’s Veteran Resource and Support Center and matches up available funds with the list of graduating veterans who applied and showed financial need.
There were three veterans’ names remaining on the May graduation list, but last month, Nelson coordinated gifts from two additional donors that will pay for all three Rings. That will make a total of 43 Aggie Rings bought for veterans thanks to Association donors this academic year.
“I was over the moon that we were going to get Rings to all of the graduates that were on this list,” Nelson said.
When The Association posted that news on Facebook, Aggies responded by funding five more veterans’ Rings.
That will cover more than a third of the 14 veterans who have applied for Aggie Ring funding in time for December 2018 or May 2019 graduation. More veterans’ names will be added to the list as applications open back up this semester. (Apply through A&M’s Veteran Services Office or Veteran Resource and Support Center.)
Nelson said, “This group is kind of an emotional pull because they’re verified-need, on the waiting list, not going to get a Ring if we don’t give them one. And they have served our country.”
As well as donors’ gifts made specifically to Ring or other scholarship funds, any gift made to The Association generally helps support these scholarships. Thank you to all members of The Association who help these Aggie students’ dreams come true. You can learn more by contacting Nelson at 979-845-7514 or snelson92@AggieNetwork.com.