Islander Students Give Thanks to Endowed Scholarship Donors

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Smiles and laughter, displays of gratitude, and newly formed friendships filled this year’s Endowed Scholarship Banquet at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The banquet, held Nov. 6, was attended by more than 150 donors and 190 scholarship recipients. The annual banquet allows students to express their appreciation for their donors’ philanthropy, while donors get to meet their scholarship recipients and see the true impact of their gift.

An endowed scholarship is unique because it is intended by the donor to provide scholarship support in perpetuity, not just for one year or even one generation. With these gifts, students can focus more on their studies, get involved in campus activities, join a student organization, and volunteer in the community. For some students, these endowed scholarships also inspire them to follow in their donors’ footsteps.

“I’ve received the Mrs. Willard (Jeannine) Hammonds Senior Memorial Endowed Scholarship, which was created by the late Mr. Hammonds who was a well-known real estate businessman, world adventurer, and good Samaritan,” said Kendall Rodriguez, senior marketing major at A&M-Corpus Christi and co-emcee for the banquet. “I can only hope one day I am as successful as he was, so I can pay it forward as he has.”

Jacob Martinez, freshman theatre major at the Island University and recipient of the Virginia T. Rankin Quasi Endowed Scholarship, gave the student keynote speech at the banquet. Martinez is grateful for his scholarship because it gives him the opportunity to focus on studying for class, attending rehearsals, and adapting to college life.  

“I’d like to say another thank you to my donor and all donors for helping all of us Islanders reach our full potential,” Martinez shared. “We appreciate you and your life-changing gifts.”

Martin C. Davis, adjunct professor at the Island University and past board member of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Foundation, gave the donor keynote speech at the banquet. During his testimonial, Davis shared how hard work can pay off, the impact receiving financial aid had on his life, and encouraged “super-star” scholarship recipients to give back when they are able, just as he as. Chip Urban, president of the A&M-Corpus Christi Foundation, also spoke at the banquet.  

“We are all here today because someone believed in us and invested in our future,” said Urban. “For some it was as simple as words of encouragement or conversation on strategy, but for others it was more concrete like one-on-one tutoring or gifts of money. We are all here because we believe in potential, and we believe in one another.”   

This year, seven donors were honored as new or upgrading members of the Endowed Scholarship Council, including:

  • The Flint Hills Resources, LP Fund in Mechanical Engineering
  • Dr. and Mrs. Hugh A. Kennedy Endowed Scholarship
  • R.N. “Dick” Conolly Endowed Scholarship
  • Atlee M. and John W. Cunningham Memorial Research Award
  • Thomas John Ferguson Endowed Scholarship in Marine Biology
  • Senior Class Gift Endowed Scholarship
  • Diane M. Speed Endowed Scholarship in Mathematics and Computer Science