When the announcement came in 1997 that I would be identified with the Texas Rangers initiative to grant more than a million dollars in a 20-year scholarship program to encourage the development of future community leaders, I was elated and greatly honored.
On its 25th anniversary, the success of the program, made possible by the Rangers’ decision to continue the program beyond the original commitment, has been covered on pages 44-47, but I wanted to share a few personal reflections on how this has expanded beyond what we had first imagined.
It has been a privilege to develop relationships with the students selected for the program – all of that because of my wife Sylvia’s endless commitment to maintain contact with them. We enjoy the updates and photos they share concerning their careers, families, and adventures with us through Facebook, Christmas Cards, emails, reunions, personal visits, and lunches.
Each year we host the latest high school seniors in our home for a leadership session at Christmastime to make a presentation on Arlington’s extraordinary history. The lesson reveals a real-life example of the kind of outcomes we hope they will see as instructional.
At the end of the semester, we host a wrap-up luncheon with them as they graduate to evaluate the program, get their suggestions on improvements, and have them share their college plans and the major courses of study they plan to pursue.
We have thoroughly enjoyed greeting them and meeting their spouses and even children at reunions – the 10th Anniversary in 2009, two more during the Christmas Holidays at our home, and the last in 2017 at the Living Science Center. We’re in the process of planning a celebratory 25th this coming summer.
The program has been supported through the years by dedicated community leaders, advocates, mentors, educators, donors, and personal friends, along with officials of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club Foundation who manage the program.
Serving with us for the longest period has been George and Sandra Campbell, Judy and Brad Rupay, Mary Jean and Tim Moloney, Jeff and Karen Williams, Buddy and Cindy Bridges, Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, Michael Hill and the late Lisann Peters, Danny Woodward and Norm Lyons.
We appreciate the AISD counselors who encourage the applications, the teachers and others who thoughtfully write the recommendation letters, and the administrators who arrange the interviews and prepare the final applications for the Rangers staff to distribute.
Included here are a few photos of occasions we’ve experienced over the years.