A scholarship and a Disney movie helped Mays Business School student Arden Robertson achieve her dreams of attending Texas A&M University and working for NASA. Arden will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in Business Honors and accounting as well as a master’s degree in management information systems as part of Mays’ Professional Program in Accounting.
She spoke at the Mays 2016 Scholarship Banquet Nov. 3 about how the Disney movie “Toy Story” influenced her life. She identified more with than Woody the cowboy, and has parlayed three summer internships at NASA into a job offer there upon graduation.
“All because of one scholarship, I was able to be just like Woody and achieve the Western dream while keeping intact core values and emulate Buzz by going to the infinity and beyond by working with NASA,” she told about 500 attendees at the Zone Club at Kyle Field. “Needless to say, just getting the opportunity to come to Texas [from Florida] and attend Texas A&M was a dream come true in itself! However, the dream kept getting better.”
Generous individual and corporate contributions allowed Mays to award more than 700 scholarships totaling nearly $5 million during fiscal year 2016. Donors support a total endowment of more than $22 million.
Mays Dean Eli Jones told the audience members they have all contributed in some way to the school’s success. “Tonight we honor our scholarship donors who are stepping up to help us develop Mays Transformational Leaders,” he said. “Your scholarships have helped attract some of the brightest, most talented students in the world to this place. You have allowed our students to travel abroad and to take advantage of opportunities that have come along. Your gifts have allowed us to offer scholarships to students who have come without them. You are truly making a difference, and we are truly appreciative of what you do.
When possible, the scholarship recipients sat with their donors at the banquet. Among the attendees was Mays graduate Craig C. Brown, who created the $1.5 million Craig and Galen Brown Foundation Scholars Program to recruit outstanding students to the Business Honors program at Mays and who was named an Outstanding Alumnus of Mays in 2012.
Cynthia (Cindy) McClain, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays and a 1990 graduate with a marketing degree, told those gathered how she has been surrounded by Aggies her entire life. Her parents took our whole family to home football games for almost 20 years, and they “always offered their home to students who didn’t have somewhere to go,” she said. In 1976, Mary Jo and John H. Walker were named Texas A&M University “Parents of the Year,” then in 2009 her brother and his wife, Johnny and Lea Ann Walker, also received the honor.
McClain challenged those in the audience. “Each one of us has something different to give – Whether that is time, financial donations or help with others in need. I imagine that every donor has a unique reason for giving back or a motivation to invest in the future of the education at Texas A&M and helping other Aggie students succeed. I hope that as each of you go through your Aggie experience you take time to realize and appreciate what the faculty, former students, and the Aggie community do to help each and every one of you.”