Mark Hussey, Dean and Vice Chancellor of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Van Taylor, Texas A&M Foundation Trustee; Otway Denny, Texas A&M Foundation Trustee; M. Edward Rister, recipient of Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award; Tyson Voelkel, President of the Texas A&M Foundation; and Jorge Bermúdez, Texas A&M Foundation Trustee.
Rister, a professor of agricultural economics, has supported fundraising within his department for over a decade. Aside from his personal giving to multiple initiatives across the university, including recent gifts to support the “Lead by Example” campaign, Rister leads efforts within the Department of Agricultural Economics to develop and promote philanthropy among his former students. Because of Rister’s efforts, his department saw a record year in fundraising in 2014.
“Dr. Rister has demonstrated consummate leadership in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to support the philanthropic activities that bolster our educational mission,” said Jorge Bermúdez, a trustee for the Texas A&M Foundation. “He was one of the first faculty members to join the college’s development council, and his legacy of contact with former students is unsurpassed.”
Outside of his regular contact with former students, Rister hosts donors at Aggie football games and sends hundreds of handwritten letters each semester thanking those he meets. His commitment to maintaining relationships with former students and their families led to the establishment of the rural entrepreneurship faculty chair in his name.
“Working with our former students is humbling and inspiring,” said Rister. “Their generosity and devotion to excellence challenge us to create innovative programs that impact our students’ professional and personal lives, and subsequently their communities.
“Working with the Texas A&M Foundation, particularly with Patrick Williams and Jody Ford, has facilitated development of numerous teaching, research and extension opportunities for Aggies throughout Texas, across the United States and internationally. I am most appreciative of this award, and I want to acknowledge the financial support and time spent by legions of former students who are committed to excellence in and beyond Aggieland.”
Rister’s passion for recognizing former students is apparent in his role in the Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry, which honors graduates from the Department of Agricultural Economics for their significant accomplishments. As chair of this honor registry, Rister has dramatically increased the number of recognized former students from 13 to 100.
In the classroom, Rister fosters small-business development by building entrepreneurial capacity in his students. Several of his students have taken these skills to build businesses as far away as South Africa, South America and Central America.
Since he began teaching at Texas A&M in 1981, Rister has supported students who aspire to have careers in agribusiness, finance, land economics, production and processing, and wholesale and retail trade. In many of his courses, Rister emphasizes hands-on experiences, as he helps students plan, develop and evaluate a start-up business opportunity. An integral component of his courses is networking and the opportunity to receive mentorship from experts, including former students.
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance excellence at Texas A&M.
“Lead by Example” Campaign
Launched in 2015, Texas A&M University’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Lead by Example,” is a joint effort between Texas A&M and its affiliate organizations: the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. With a goal of $4 billion, it is the largest higher education campaign in Texas history and the second largest conducted nationally by a public university. The campaign will generate gifts in three major areas: Transformational Learning; Discovery and Innovation; and Impact on the State, Nation and World.
From now through 2020, former students and friends are uniting with our faculty and staff in the campaign to enhance Texas A&M’s ability to tackle real-world problems—such as the global demand for energy and the advancement of human and animal health—while also preparing future generations of uniquely qualified leaders.
For more information on the campaign, visit leadbyexample.tamu.edu.
Media contact: Monika Blackwell
Manager of Campaign Communications
Texas A&M Foundation (txamfoundation.com)
(979) 845-7468; email@example.com
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