Islanders Gather to Celebrate Endowed Scholarship Donors

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In the spirit of giving thanks, Islander students and endowed scholarship donors gathered for a reception and dinner in effort to connect students with the individuals behind their academic support. The 2021 Endowed Scholarship Banquet, held Nov. 9 at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, gave students and donors an opportunity to get to know one another during an evening filled with laughter, good conversation, and a show of appreciation for endowed scholarships that have reached new levels of impact.

The event was emceed by endowed scholarship recipients Vanessa Navarro ’22, an environmental science major, and Jordan Baylor ’22, a communication studies major and public relations minor. Navarro, a Fort Worth native, chose TAMU-CC because of its unique marine environment that allowed her to pursue her professional goals.

“I am a proud recipient of the Lawrence M. Atkins Endowed Scholarship, and it is because of my scholarship that I’ve been able to volunteer in the community and connect with many experts in my field,” Navarro explained. “In fact, just this summer I was able to intern at the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve where I gained invaluable, professional skills while also learning from experienced individuals in my field.”

Baylor, awardee of the Evening Post Publishing Company KRIS TV Scholarship Endowment and the Melvyn N. Klein Scholarship Endowment for Writing and Communication, was able to make great strides as a first-generation student due to his scholarships.

“Because of my scholarships and amazing faculty members…I have accomplished goals that I never thought were possible. Goals like completing my degree one year early and participating as a panelist at the National Communication Association Convention.” Baylor, who hails from Wharton, Texas, said.

Endowed scholarships are particularly impactful for the university because they establish a continuous source of funding for the scholarship for years to come. By establishing an endowed scholarship, donors impact numerous students throughout the years. With reduced financial burdens, scholarship recipients are able to graduate with less debt and engage in extra-curricular experiences like internships to better prepare them for life after graduation.

Josh Caraway ’22, a senior finance major, received the Ed Hicks Endowed Scholarship in Business, and explained what the banquet meant to him.

“Tonight has been a great experience for me to actually meet the people investing in me as a student,” Caraway said. “I am very grateful and humbled by the generosity of all these donors. I’m proud to be a part of TAMU-CC where the community is so invested in the future of its students, both with their funds and their time.”

The assembled guests heard from keynote speaker, Dr. Scott Elliff, who is a triple alum of TAMU-CC, a faculty member of the College of Education and Human Development, and an endowed scholarship donor himself. Elliff’s message to the guests was one of congratulations and gratitude.

“This is the night to celebrate a joyous occasion for the students and also for these for these donors to see where their generosity is going – this is something that we can all feel grateful for,” Elliff ’82 ’86 & ’12 said. “As a donor, it is gratifying to see and hear these students be so poised, confident, and ready to take on the world.”

Thanks to donations from multiple charitable individuals and organizations, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Foundation currently manages a $53 million endowment portfolio. During the banquet, donors were added to the Endowed Scholarship Council, which features five different levels based on cumulative giving: Platinum Wave, Gold Wave, Silver Wave, Green Wave, and Blue Wave.

Platinum Wave ($500,000 or more)

  • LaVerne and Thomas Howell Endowed Scholarship
  • Arthur F. Lobe Scholarship

Gold Wave ($250,000 - $499,999)

  • Greater Texas Foundation Removing Educational Barriers Scholarship Endowment
  • Willard (Jeannine) Hammonds Sr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship
  • Ed Hicks Endowed Scholarship in Business
  • Melvyn N. Klein Scholarship Endowment for Writing and Communication
  • Chapman Hulings Scholarship Fund

Silver Wave ($150,000 - $249,999)

  • Patty and Joseph P. Mueller Endowed Scholarship
  • Port of Corpus Christi Endowed Scholarship in Engineering
  • The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Foundation General Scholarship Endowment
  • Rene Haas Student Leader Scholarship Endowment
  • Margaret Rose Turnbull Scholarship Endowment
  • Wells Fargo Endowed Scholarship in Engineering

Green Wave ($100,000 - $149,999)

  • Erin Caroline Donalson Memorial Endowed Scholarship
  • Flavius and Kathy Killebrew Scholarship Fund
  • George and Lorwen Merriman Endowed Scholarship
  • Sembradores de Amistad de Corpus Christi Scholarship
  • Nancy T. Goodman Endowed Scholarship in Nursing
  • The Marine Technology Society, Houston Section Endowed Scholarship
  • Virginia T. Rankin Quasi Scholarship Endowment
  • The Susan George Utley Memorial Choral Music Endowed Scholarship

Blue Wave ($50,000 - $99,999)

  • Mary Jane Hamilton, Founding Dean’s Endowed Scholarship in Nursing
  • George and Tiny Hawn Endowed Scholarship in Education
  • David Miller Endowed Scholarship
  • Anne C. Parr Endowed Scholarship
  • William and Lyell Snyder Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Marine Science
  • Carl R. Beaver Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • George Brown Memorial Scholarship Endowment in Business
  • The Dan and Carolyn Pedrotti Endowment for the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation
  • Linda B. Smith Environmental Scholarship