Development Newsletter 2015

RADM Robert Smith III, USN (Ret.)

"There are so many exciting things happening here at Texas A&M Galveston, and our students continue to rise above as leaders personally and academically. We are thrilled that for the first time in history, Texas A&M Galveston has been included in the Texas A&M University's LEAD BY EXAMPLE $4 billion dollar capital campaign which launched this month. Stay tuned as this new chapter will unveil many opportunities for expansion of this campus.

I would like to thank you for supporting our ocean oriented branch campus in Galveston and our mission to produce leaders of character and inspire and train tomorrow's engineers, researchers, ship’s officers and scientists to unlock and understand the vast secrets of the ocean and earth's underwater frontier."

RADM Robert Smith III, USN (Ret.)
Texas A&M University at Galveston
Superintendent, Texas A&M Maritime Academy

A message from your Texas A&M Galveston Development Office

HOWDY!!!  The 2015-2016 year at Texas A&M University at Galveston has been pure excitement.   I’m hoping that this newsletter provides you with a glimpse into all of the exciting things that are going on at our campus.

  • At close to 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students, we are at an all-time high for enrollment.

  • Our brand new Texas A&M Maritime Academy Hall is about to be occupied by its first group of midshipmen this December.

  • Groundbreaking will be held for Phase 1 of our new Academic Complex on Thursday, December 10.  Completion is scheduled for Spring 2017.  After all – with all of the growth, we need to add more classrooms, labs, faculty offices and student study space.

  • We were proud to host our Inaugural Endowed Scholarship Reception in October. It provided a very personal opportunity for the scholarship recipients to meet and personally thank their scholarship donors. This will now become an annual development event.

  • AND, for the first time ever, our very own Galveston campus will be included in the University’s $4Billion capital campaign.  The LEAD BY EXAMPLE campaign was officially launched at a November 6-7 kickoff event and football game in College Station.

Within the Texas A&M Galveston Development Office, we continue to be supported by Alice Maffay, our Business Development Coordinator.  Alice continues to amaze with her wealth of information and relentless pursuit of perfection.  In September 2015 Christi Voelkel, ‘98 joined our team as our Manager of Development Communications. Christi brings vast marketing and communications experience to our team, and will focus on building relationships with our campus.

Through the LEAD BY EXAMPLE theme, Texas A&M Galveston is looking for ongoing support to enhance our pursuit of having the best students, faculty, programs and facilities.  As outlined in this newsletter, we continue to take steps to be the best.  Now, more than ever, Texas A&M University at Galveston relies on the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations to support the many vital programs and activities of our campus.  Texas A&M Galveston students are fortunate to be pursuing an education which stresses the importance of the ocean to our way of life.  The region, state, nation and world prosper when our graduates apply their maritime and marine knowledge, research and experiential learning to industry.  By supporting this campus you ensure that we continue to grow and evolve to meet the physical, academic and technological needs of our students.

Please contact the Development Office at Texas A&M University at Galveston ( to explore ways that you can impact our current and future students.  Thank you for your continued support.


Rick Kline
Senior Director of Development at Texas A&M University at Galveston
Texas A&M Foundation – LEAD BY EXAMPLE

For Newsletter inquiries, please contact Christi Voelkel,
Manager of Development Communications at

Alice Maffay, Development Business Coordinator 
Rick Kline, Senior Director of Development
Christi Voelkel, Manager of Development Communications

Texas A&M University at Galveston Highlights

  • In a recent survey of 2010-2015 Texas A&M Graduates:

    • 9 out of 10 graduates are employed full- time or have jobs pending
    • 80% of students are employed in a field closely related to their degrees
    • Texas A&M Galveston graduates are leaders early on: more than 40% of employed former students over the age of 25 manage other employees
    • 85% of our graduates would recommend Texas A&M Galveston to prospective students
  • The university’s current enrollment includes students from 42 states and 23 countries

  • Did you know that in the Fall of 2014 Texas A&M Galveston launched an undergraduate Minor in Diving Technology and Methods? Currently there are only two of these programs in the United States.

  • The university at Galveston has a commitment to our teaching and research mission. We continue efforts to add new faculty and plan to hire 12 new faculty in the next two years.

  • Our new Academic Complex – Phase 1 will be an 83,000 gross square foot facility that will offer state-of-the-art teaching environments, a one stop shop for student services (from Bursar to Registrar to advising and mentoring), study spaces in every possible nook, a visitor center and office suites housing the university administration, academic affairs and research and graduate studies.

The George P. Mitchell Society was developed to honor George Phydias Mitchell, who donated the Pelican Island land for the Galveston Campus of Texas A&M University as a tribute to his parents, Mike and Katrina Mitchell.

The George P. Mitchell Society is for individuals and businesses committed to the well-being of our oceans through maritime and marine research, education and training as conducted at Texas A&M University, Galveston Mitchell Campus.  It is a way to be actively involved in and to provide private support for the campus to thrive and grow as the only maritime university on the Gulf Coast and one of the premier ocean-front universities of the world.

This support boosts the entire University to beyond that which could be achieved with State and other traditional means of support alone.

For more information on membership into the George P. Mitchell Society, please visit our website at

2015 Endowed Scholarship Reception

Texas A&M University at Galveston hosted its Inaugural Endowed Scholarship Reception on Wednesday, October 28, 2015. The event provided a wonderful opportunity for the scholarship recipients to meet and personally thank their scholarship donors.

The university’s Senior Director of Development, Rick Kline, addressed the gathering of over 80 faculty, staff, donors, and students regarding the importance of providing scholarships and the impact their involvement has on the current students and future generations of Sea Aggies. The reception was held to honor the donors of 42 Texas A&M Galveston Endowed Scholarships, representing $2.8 million in investments of students on this campus.

Such gifts from former students, corporations, foundations, parents and other friends of the university in large part determine the future of this great university. We invite you see how these scholarships and other gifts impact students, faculty, programs and facilities at Texas A&M University at Galveston. You can visit our Development website at

Reese Kleb ’16, Lori Roy, Brian Roy, Lynn Downey, Scott Ballard ‘17
2015 Co-Sponsor of Endowed Scholarship Reception
Taylor Byron Roy Memorial Scholarship

Larry & Joan Del Papa, Sarah Marcum ’16, Peter Williamson
Del Papa Distributing Company College Scholarship

Carlos Perez ’19, Theresa O’Donel ’90, Judy Morreale, Robert O’Donel ’90
Joseph B. Morreale Memorial Scholarship

Lee Payne ’17, Linda & Henry W. “Buddy” ’67 Fredrickson
Buddy & Linda Fredrickson Scholarship

Academic Complex Phase 1

This November 2015, groundbreaking took place for Phase 1 of the Texas A&M Galveston Academic Complex. This project will be built in three phases, with this Phase 1 to be completed in the Spring of 2017. The Academic Complex will primarily include classrooms and Teaching/Instrument Lab Space, along with several study areas for students. In addition, various floors will house Administrative Offices, the Development Office, Office of Academic Enhancement, Enrollment Services, Honors Program and Research and Graduate Studies.

Texas A&M Maritime Academy Hall

The Texas A&M Maritime Academy Hall opened its doors in December of 2015 , to include the move-in of midshipmen. The building will comprise six floors with a 612- midshipmen bed capacity. In addition to residence space, this building will have four classrooms, various office space, cadet lounges, dining retail space, fully equipped laundry facilities and a beautiful exterior Midshipmen Main Deck.

Sea Aggie Pavilion

The beautiful pavilion will be located between the south side of the OCSB Building and north of the waterfront. The pavilion will have a 275 theater style seating capacity and a 150 banquet seating capacity. In addition, another 50-100 can be seated on the outdoor deck. There will be “foldable” windows on the waterfront side that can open and expand the indoor area providing an full waterfront view.  Adjacent to the pavilion will be an amphitheater used for events and classroom lectures. This project is still in the design phase.

Powell Marine Engineering Complex

The 55,000 square foot PMEC complex was completed in 2010 and is the center of activity for Texas A&M University at Galveston’s engineering programs.  The financial support of Thomas W. Powell ’62 has been instrumental in the success of TAMUG’s engineering programs.  This complex is only one of many examples of naming opportunities that exist on our campus today.  Please contact the Development Office to get more information on how you can support the many fine facilities on our campus.

The Ocean is our Classroom!

Texas A&M University at Galveston recently acquired a new $2.5 million dollar research vessel: the R/V Trident. The state-of-the-art vessel was constructed by GEO Shipyards in New Iberia, LA and will support the research, academic and training needs of the growing Galveston campus.

The Trident supports a wide range of underwater exploration, including diving, subsea remote operating vehicles (ROV), flow-through water sampling, subsea geology coring and a host of others. It has capacity for 44 passengers within 20 miles of shore and 8 scientists out to 200 miles from shore.

“The RV Trident has abilities that exceed any in our fleet, both in research and educational capabilities, as well as environmental impact. The vessel will be used with numerous marine biology and oceanographic academic labs to provide data to support research and learning. The Trident will also act as an underway terrestrial and electronic navigation lab for the maritime academy midshipmen so they can practice the skills learned in the classroom in a high impact learning environment in real time,” said RADM Robert Smith III, Superintendent Texas A&M Maritime Academy.

In closing, the staff and crew of the R/V Trident just received some great news…. The R/V Trident has been named by the Workboat Magazine as one of the top 10 significant workboats of 2015! They will be traveling to the International Workboat Show in New Orleans beginning of December to see if they win the “Boat of the Year” Award.

Captain James Caruso ‘14

Over the last two semesters, the Marine Transportation (MART) Department has substantially upgraded its navigation simulation capabilities. As a result of these upgrades the program has been able to revamp training to take advantage of new learning opportunities and to meet stringent international Maritime Organization (IMO) and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) training requirements. The simulators create challenging situations that require the student to react positively in real-time scenarios.

The simulator upgrades that occurred in 2014 and 2015 have significantly enhanced the visuals along with an update in navigation equipment. The equipment upgrade, along with the creation of perplexing scenarios provides the student with a hands-on learning experience. This enables trainees to engage in the virtual environment and increase training practicality.

Instructors can influence everything from the number of ships in the channel and create adverse weather conditions, to the time of day, current and visibility. The training enhances the student’s skill set which is required to navigate safely in high traffic situations, reduced visibility and to deal with shipboard emergency situations.

If you are headed to campus for a visit anytime soon and would be interested in a tour of the three simulators, it can be arranged through Mr. Jimmy Bacon at

Establishment of Texas A&M Department of Ocean Engineering

The College of Engineering at Texas A&M University has announced the establishment of the Department of Ocean Engineering, a department that combines two existing programs within Texas A&M University – one on the campus in College Station and one on the marine-oriented campus in Galveston. The new department will offer a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Master of Engineering degrees as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy/engineering.

Through this unique program, students will be engaged in the large-school spirit and abundant education and student life options that the main campus has to offer, while still taking advantage of the smaller classes, one-on-one educational experiences with professors, and coastal location of the Galveston campus. Additionally, the Texas A&M at Galveston campus will offer direct access to unique field-testing facilities such as a geotechnical lab, naval architecture lab, fluid mechanics lab, materials lab and wave lab, as well as access to the Gulf of Mexico through the use of its fleets of educational and research vessels.