The two-day event in early March provided donors a unique glimpse inside A&M athletics.
Texas A&M women's swimming has become one of the nation's premier programs under coach Steve Bultman.
Former baseball star Sarah Hudek now making her mark with Aggie softball.
The Texas A&M campus was awash in maroon and white on March 3-4 for Champions Council Weekend. The two-day event welcomed 300 donors to campus for a series of banquets, guest speakers and interactions with current and former Aggie student-athletes and coaches.
Champions Council, which is made up of Texas A&M's most financially committed former students and friends, began in 2004 and has earned a reputation as the most intimate way to connect with Aggie athletics.
The weekend began with an invitation-only luncheon for donors of the Foundation's 1922 Fund and members of the John David Crow Legacy Society. John David Crow Legacy Society members are individuals who have included Texas A&M athletics in their estate plans, while 1922 Fund donors are those who have created an endowment to support student-athlete scholarships.
The luncheon paired donors with their scholarship recipient, allowing supporters to interact one-on-one with the athlete in a unique setting. Among the student-athletes in attendance were Christian Kirk and Maggie Malone, who both addressed the room.
"Getting a scholarship from Texas A&M was one of the most special moments of my life," said Kirk, a junior receiver from Arizona. "It was something I will cherish for a lifetime. We have so many people around us to help us succeed with our education, and we want to thank you for the support you give us. No matter the wins or losses on the field, we know you are behind us because of the way you support our education."
What a Weekend
Donors, coaches and student-athletes shared plenty of smiles and conversation during Champions Council Weekend on March 3-4. A tremendous lineup of events included formally honoring Susan and Sam Torn (header image) with the E. King Gill Award, as well as providing attendees with an inside look at Aggie football with Kevin Sumlin and a pair of assistant coaches. Friday's luncheon pairing student-athletes with the donors who endowed their scholarship also provided memorable moments.
Malone, who graduates in May, was the NCAA and USA Olympic Trials champion in the javelin last year.
"One thing that amazes me the most is how many (12th Man Foundation) donors don't wait to be asked to support us," Malone said. "People constantly ask us what we need to succeed in the classroom, and that blows me away. Hopefully one day I can sit in a room like this and hear another generation of athletes saying thank you, because I want to be someone who has supported student-athletes like all the donors in here."
Friday evening featured a reception and dinner that included an inside look at the new track and softball stadiums. The event also honored 2016 E. King Gill Award recipients Susan and Sam Torn.
Saturday's men's basketball game against Kentucky was bookended by a breakfast and football talk with coach Kevin Sumlin, who was joined by director of player development Mikado Hinson and new coaches Ron Cooper (secondary) and Mark Hocke (strength and conditioning). Former football stars Spencer Nealy and Sean Porter also spoke about their time in Aggieland with a focus on the magical 2012 season in a panel with TexAgs.com's Billy Liucci.
The festivities concluded with a Highballs and Hoops reception with premium food and drinks in one of the practice gyms inside the Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball.
"Champions Council represents a group of donors who are among the most passionate and invested in all of college athletics," said 12th Man Foundation Vice President for Major Gifts Brady Bullard. "We can never thank our donors enough for the way they continue to step up time and again to support our student-athletes. We strive to provide Champions Council members with exclusive Aggie athletics content as a way to thank them for all they have done and will continue to do in the future."
To those who support student-athletes by giving, I want to say thanks and gig 'em.
Without them, many young people who aren't financially stable or can't provide an education for themselves have a great opportunity. It makes A&M a better place."