Texas A&M University Announces Parents Of The Year
Texas A&M University announces Raye Leigh ’91 and Jonathan Stone ’90 as the 2022-23 Parents of the Year.
Every year, Texas A&M students nominate their parents and family members to represent the university as Parents of the Year. Members of Aggie Parent and Family Ambassadors, a sponsored student organization that is part of the New Student & Family Programs office, select the winners based on their character and embodiment of the Texas A&M core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity and selfless service.
Raye Leigh is an assistant director in the Memorial Student Center Student Programs office and has worked in the MSC for over 15 years. Jonathan is the technical production director at Antioch Community Church.
The Stones were nominated by members of the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA) student organization at Texas A&M, including their daughter Sophia Stone ’22, as well as her siblings Joshua and Alathea ’25. They first heard the news at a seemingly routine weekly MSC SCONA meeting.
When asked what their initial reaction was, Jonathan said, “Complete shock. It took me about 30 minutes to process what was happening. This is a tremendous honor, and I am humbled by the significance of such a recognition.”
In her nomination, Sophia attributes her character to the way her parents raised her, with strong Aggie core values. “Selfless service is a central part of my family’s identity,” she said. She tells a story about moving into her dorm as a freshman at Texas A&M. They had an early start to the day, and then attended church as a family. Once back on campus to finish the task, Sophia found her parents helping other freshmen move in by carrying boxes and making conversation with other parents.
“[My father] lives by the phrase ‘walk into a room and ask yourself, how can I make this place better?’” Sophia said. “He always strives for excellence and inspired me to do the same. They also taught me the importance of service and relationships. When they were done helping me, that didn’t mean they were done helping. They not only took the time to serve others, but built relationships with them at the same time.”
Further exemplifying the Aggie core values, Raye Leigh has been helping students develop as leaders for years. Sophia spoke of her mom and the impact she has on her students: “The students that leave her organizations always attribute their growth as people and leaders to her leadership and mentorship.” Raye Leigh’s loyalty goes beyond graduation, as she stays in touch with former students from five or 10 years ago.
Current and former students had more to say about the Stones:
“For the 12 years I have known Raye Leigh, she has constantly given of her time and opened her home to enrich and enhance the students she advises through the MSC, all the while artfully mastering being an outstanding wife and mother to three. I would not be who I am today without the Stones and their impact on my life.” — Sam Hodges ‘13
“Mr. Stone is an example to any young man that he comes across. A man living on a mission for Christ. Seeing Mr. Stone’s commitments to live out what he believes and being a man of integrity makes those around him want to live to the standard he sets for younger men.” — Jason Black ‘18
“Mrs. Raye Leigh’s leadership and work ethic are invaluable to every member of SCONA. She truly exemplifies selfless service and sets high standards of professionalism and conduct. During my time in SCONA, I was constantly amazed at Raye Leigh’s leadership, kindness, and sense of duty. These qualities motivated me to give 110% in each job I had and created for me the most memorable two years of my undergraduate education at Texas A&M.” — Hannah Harpold ‘21
The Stones said they are looking forward to interacting more with students during the next year and would like to set aside time each week to experience fellowship with students in the MSC. When asked what they hope to gain from this experience, Jonathan said, “Confidence to be able to handle the spotlight occasionally. Confidence that I too have what I preach to others the most often. There is a treasure inside each person that the rest of the world needs.”
Kathy ’91 and Reggie Lepley, who served as 2021-2022 Parents of the Year, will be recognized this year at Family Weekend.