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Howdy! Celebrating student success is a big priority of the staff at the Department of Recreational Sports. This was made obvious at this year’s Student Appreciation Banquet. Professional staff alongside student staff gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding student leaders. Additionally, six scholarships were presented to student staff that understand and demonstrate the values and mission of the department and university. One of these scholarships was made possible by a donation on behalf of David Chovanec, class of ’85, in conjunction with his wife Mary Chovanec. The Department looks to the future with anticipation as the university experiences historic changes. The Department of Recreational Sports continues to be a place that provides students with the best possible programs and services while helping students to understand the value of living a healthy lifestyle. The Rec also plays a vital role in student personal and professional development through employment opportunities.


I am very excited to have Shannon Houston, Class of 2013, write the following comments for the Howdy! portion of the magazine. Shannon is graduating a year early and has been the student staff assistant for Development over the past two years.

Looking out over the sea of bricks that pave the way to the Student Recreation Center, I am reminded and inspired by its embodiment of the Aggie Spirit. The Walk of Champions bricks highlight the unique love of the people, strong bond of the Aggie Family, and the great achievements of those past and present. I am grateful for the opportunity that has been afforded me to work at the Rec Center during my time at A&M. Working at the Rec has been an extremely positive experience and played a vital role in my personal and professional development in college. As an Ag who will very soon be passing from current student status to alumni, I know that it is essential that I recognize and appreciate all those who helped me get where I am today. I encourage all former students, especially new graduates to reflect on what they are taking away with them as they leave Aggieland, and to search within themselves to give back to a place that provided so much. Even after I am gone, I know the Department of Recreational Sports will continue to positively influence Aggies for years to come and contribute to their success. Take the opportunity to be a part of that future Aggie success by donating. It is former students who will pave the way for Aggies to come, and we thank all our former sport club members, student staff and friends who make this possible. ~ SHANNON HOUSTON, Student Staff Assistant for Development

In closing, I would like to thank Shannon for her comments. We both encourage all former student staff and former sport club members to support and stay connected with the Department of Recreational Sports. Thanks and Gig’em!

James M. Welford, Director of Development

contents Student Medic Program


Friendly Faces


President’s Meritorious Service Award


Endowments 101


Donor Highlights






Empowering Students


Scholarship Recipients


Looking Forward


Looking Back




Stay in Touch


Communications Intern and Project Manager - Leslie Herrera Graphic Artist - Anna Eubank Videographer - Josh Weatherl Communications Coordinator/Editor - Kelly VonDrehle Marketing Director - Michelle Briggs Director of Development - James Welford * Cover Photo: Outdoor Adventures Spring Break Trip, Big Bend National Park / Kara Evard

student medic program Encouraging lifelong learning and self-enhancement


The Department of Recreational Sports has given students of Texas A&M University a service that should not go without mention, the Medic Program. Sarah Jones, current student and Medic Supervisor, smiles as she boasts about her hard-working staff, currently 23 student medics, who are all certified and eager to help Aggies in need of medical attention. Catching these students in action, whether at a sporting event or riding around campus, is but a mere glimpse into the lives of these diligent medical professionals.

Since her time as the medic supervisor, Jodie has pursued her interest in medicine by attending nursing school and practicing intensive care medicine. She is currently a professor at the Health Science Center at Texas A&M University and is working toward her doctorate degree, anticipating graduating next April. When questioned about her experience as a student medic, Jodie says, “James Welford was instrumental to the operation. He trusted our medic expertise and really helped us get protocols in line for the Medic Program in its early stages. Overall, it was great work experience. I was able to deal Because the Department of Recreational Sports plays such an active with things like scheduling, managing, hiring, training and ordering role in promoting healthy living, having highly trained medics on staff equipment—experience that is useful in any field of work.” is essential to creating a safe environment for student recreation. Jodie Gary, former student EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) staff Over time, the names of our medics have changed, but their passion recalls the “early days” of the Student Recreation Center saying, “In and responsibilities have remained the same. All 23 certified medics the beginning, our medic headquarters were in G. Rollie White. We share the passion to help support medical safety for Rec patrons. It were pretty much an office and a desk. It was a simple operation with might surprise you to know that our medics cover a wide range of about 40 medics on staff—on call, waiting with our bags, ready to go events other than Rec Sports-related activities. Sarah says, “We provide when needed.” care for Sport Clubs as well as anyone playing on our intramural fields. We also cover special events such as adventure races, competitions, Jodie started out as an EMT in 1995 working under Darla Howell, the concerts and events on campus or at Reed Arena.” Student medics are former Medic Supervisor. Jodie was promoted to Medic Supervisor also responsible for the safety of students participating in water skiing, in 1996, the same year that the medic staff relocated to the current Rec sailing, crew and wakeboarding at Lake Bryan. Some of our medics are Center facility. Jodie and her team were divided into three specialties: CPR instructor certified, allowing them to teach and train students in EMTs, paramedics and intermediates. Students would open at 5am and CPR, First Aid and Healthcare Professional Responder classes with close at midnight, alternating between three to six hour shifts. Jodie the most up-to-date equipment—compliments of the Department of says, “Students would generally quit normal EMT jobs because of the Recreational Sports. demanding hours, varying between 24–48–hour shifts. Working at the Rec allowed students to maintain their GPR, while getting the experience At the end of the day, after the events are over and the supplies are put they were looking for as a medical professional.” The flexibility of away, student medics finish the day with the satisfaction of knowing that working as a medic for the Department of Recreational Sports not they have used their expertise and training for the good and safety of only attracted busy college students but other professionals as well. active Aggies. As Jodie says, “It’s all about immediate response. Instead “Working as an EMT also appealed to College Station Firemen, both of having to call 911 for a sprained ankle, we are here to save you time working and retired, because they could put their EMT certification and money on a situation that might not even need an ambulance. With to use without committing to lengthy 48–hour shifts. They worked our student medics, intervention can and will be met.” part-time for us and were a joy to have around.”


friendly faces Howdy from a graduate assistant and returning staff member Dason Tucker GRADUATE ASSISSTANT, AQUATICS

If you haven’t tested the waters in our Aquatics Program, you are missing out. Dason Tucker, current graduate assistant for Aquatics, boasts about the atmosphere and the people he works with daily. “Working at the Rec has made me appreciate the number of people and the amount of work that goes into maintaining such a large facility. The experience i’m obtaining as a graduate assistant is invaluable because my supervisors allow me to take on as much responsibility as I am willing to take on.” The feelings are mutual; Lynne Barber, Assistant Director of Aquatics, says, “From day one Dason has jumped into his job and responsibilities with both feet. I have learned as much from him as he has from me.” The Aquatics Program offers three swimming pools, two Jacuzzis, stadium seating for swim meets and a variety of diving boards for swimmers of all levels. So, if you haven’t tested the water, take Dason’s word—the water feels great!


Texas A&M’s Student Recreation Center is one of the most competitive in the country, due in part to the dedication that its staff has for the students. Jerrod Jackson was hired in 2004 as Intramural Coordinator at the Department of Recreational Sports at Texas A&M University, and was promoted to Assistant Director of Intramurals in 2011. When questioned about his diverse background with recreational sports, Jerrod commented, “Intramural sports is all about interaction. We’re here to teach students the life skills they need to do their jobs successfully. As a participant of intramural sports, you will walk away with skills including conflict resolution, team work and group communication.” Jerrod’s passion for sports is as deeply imbedded as his passion for students. We are excited to have Jerrod Jackson as part of the Aggie family. We encourage all intramual student staff to stay connected with Rec Sports.

president’s meritorious service award Eight years of outstanding service On February 21, 2012, Texas A&M University hosted the 25th Annual President’s Meritorious Service Awards ceremony at Rudder Theatre. Each year, employees who display qualities of outstanding service to our university are selected to be recognized for their time and dedication to this beautiful campus we call home. With over 300 people in attendance, hands clapped and faces gleamed over this year’s deserving recipients.

continued by explaining, “As a maintenance foreman, I am responsible for lighting, electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, air-conditioning, tile work, painting, light carpentry work, weight-room equipment…,” and the list goes on. It would be an understatement to call Mike a handy man, because having the skill set and willingness to fulfill a job with such rigorous requirements makes him more than handy—he’s exceptional! While receiving his award that Tuesday morning, Dr. Rodney McClendon, Vice President of Administration, recited, “Haggerty’s MIKE HAGGERTY Nominations are conducted annually in the fall and infectious sense of humor, ability to handle a wide variety nominees are selected anonymously by a committee appointed by of situations, and professional manner, all combined, are qualities that Texas A&M’s President, Dr. Bowen Loftin. It is a requirement that each keep the Rec Center running smoothly.” In good company, Haggerty nominee has spent a minimum of two years in service and cannot have a stood alongside President Loftin and Mr. Porter Garner, Chief Executive title that supersedes department head, director or unit head. Sponsored Officer of the Association for Former Students, while friends and family by the Office of the President and The Association of Former Students, cheered with admiration. In retrospect, Mike responds by saying, “I recipients of this award receive $700 in cash, a commemorative plaque feel honored.” and a lapel pin as a token of appreciation. In support of Mike, a wide range of his colleagues attended the event, We are proud to say that one of our very own, Mike Haggerty, was a proud including Dennis Corrington, Executive Director of the Department of recipient of this year’s President’s Meritorious Service Award. Mike Recreational Sports. It is an honor to have someone like Mike Haggerty has served eight years as a maintenance foreman for the Department of as our maintenance foreman, and on behalf of our department, we Recreational Sports. When asked for specifics on his job, Mike responded would like to send a gracious token of appreciation to him for his much with a humble, yet honest response, “Just about everything.” Mike appreciated time and dedication to Rec Sports.


endowments 101 You have questions, we have answers Each year, sport clubs rely on the financial support of others to help cover basic expenditures like equipment, uniforms, trips, etc. Because these clubs are not supported financially by the state or the university, students are responsible for their club’s expenses. Endowments are a popular form of financial support for club sports since they provide ongoing funding over the long-term. The number of clubs benefitting from endowments has grown, but there are still clubs without endowments. Are you interested in helping, but unsure where to start? First things first: what is an endowment?

Fast Facts About Endowments:


Endowment [en-doumuhnt]: a financial account created by a donation made to the Texas A&M Foundation that has a stated purpose requested by the donor (such as ongoing support of a sport club).



Endowments provide ongoing financial support for sport clubs by investing the account principal (the amount donated) and only distributing the interest earnings to the beneficiary (a sport club).

Donors may name an endowed gift to your club. The Texas A&M Foundation is a private nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments for the university.


As of June 30, 2011, net assets at the Texas A&M Foundation totaled more than $1 billion—a 17.3 percent increase over the 2010 fiscal year and a Foundation record.

You Have Questions, We Have Answers!

Q: Q: Q:

What is the minimum amount for an endowed gift?

A: A minimum of $25,000 is required to endow a gift, but a donor may pay off that amount over a number of years. What types of donations can be made to the Foundation?

A: Donations can be made using cash, check, credit card, electronic fund transfer, securities or real estate. What are the benefits of donating property or other assets versus cash?

A: Using assets other than cash allows you more flexibility when planning your gift. As a property donor, for example,

you are relieved of the day-to-day responsibilities of being a property owner, while establishing your legacy for a sport club at Texas A&M.


Can a donor’s company assist with a charitable gift?

A: Yes. You may be able to double, triple or even quadruple the amount of your gift by taking advantage of a corporate

matching program. If your company has a program, you may be able to donate more than your principle donation, while still receiving a charitable tax deduction for your gift.

At first glance, endowments can seem complicated and confusing. Hopefully, these quick facts have helped take some of the mystery out of them. If you are interested in supporting Sport Clubs and would like to know more, contact JAMES WELFORD at JWELFORD@REC.TAMU.EDU or 979.862.1856.


donor highlights David Chovanec and Ginger Glazer give back to Rec sports David Chovanec, former student employee of the Department of Recreational Sports, has been a generous donor in years past. As a result of his generosity, David has established an endowment that will provide a facilities student staff member with a $1,000 scholarship. David says, “I feel like I owe a lot to the department because it was my job at the Rec that helped me pay my way through college.” Since the completion of his studies at Texas A&M University, David has pursued a successful career in construction. As president and owner of Diamondback Works, a company specializing in industrial construction, David and his wife Mary now share their success with the Department of Recreational Sports through the endowment they established. When speaking about his experience as a student staff member, David comments, “I lucked out working at the tennis courts because tennis was not as popular then as it is today. I was able to keep a job and study on my down time while working at Rec Sports.” David’s career at Rec Sports did not end at the tennis courts. A year later he was promoted to supervisor where he learned the many facets of managing and organizing, all skills that have translated to his career as president of a company. Ginger Glazer—originally Ginger Sackett ’89—has stepped up to support current student staff by supporting the Rec Sports Scholarship Endowment. Her efforts along with the support of David and Mary Chovanec will provide scholarship opportunities for student staff well into the future. The Department of Recreational Sports would like to thank all donors for their generous contributions and support.

I feel like I owe a lot to the department because it was my job at the Rec that helped me pay my way through college. ~ DAVID CHOVANEC, President and Owner of Diamondback Works Construction




Sport Clubs accomplishments

Staff members win outstanding awards

FENCING: • Men’s Foil Team: USACFC National Champions

GYMNASTICS: • Men’s All-Around Individual Champion: - Michal Bynum • Second place Men’s All-around: - Eli Richardson left to right: KELLY VONDREHLE, PATSY KOTT

WEIGHT LIFTING: • USAPL Individual Collegiate National Champions: - Olivia Harrington: 165 lbs. - Brandon Wynne: 114 lbs.

The Department of Recreational Sports would like to congratulate Kelly VonDrehle and Patsy Kott for winning prestigious awards at the Division of Student Affairs Awards Ceremony held this May. Kelly was honored to recieve the J. Malon Southerland Award and Patsy was deservingly awarded the Randy Matson Association of Former Students Award. Both awards recognize Kelly and Patsy for their outstanding service to the Division of Student Affairs.


empowering students Working for Outdoor Adventures is more than meets the eye

Imagine yourself at the peak of a cascading mountain, looking toward the horizon, fascinated by the worldly beauty around you. Better yet, imagine waves rippling as you graze your hand against crystal clear water from aboard a canoe. This may sound like an advertisement for a luxury vacation, but it’s not. These scenarios are real-life descriptions of some of the great experiences students at Texas A&M are offered through Outdoor Adventures. Outdoor Adventures, formerly known as TAMU Outdoors, is one of many specialty programs offered by the Department of Recreational Sports. Founded in 1986, Outdoor Adventures aims to provide students with the opportunity to explore, experience and engage with the world around them. Currently offering over 40 workshops and trips along with an extensive inventory of reasonably priced rental equipment, students are given more than enough options to keep them busy throughout the semester. Pasty Kott, Director of Outdoor Adventures, contemplates the road behind her, saying, “We started with a small equipment rental operation and offered two trips—a backpacking trip and a canoeing trip. We had waiting lists for both of them! It was a very exciting time and it gave us the confidence to move forward with the program.” Outdoor Adventures, in conjunction with the Indoor Climbing Facility, has worked diligently to make sure that its programs, as well at its equipment, are up-to-date and congruent with the needs and interests of the students. Jason Kurten, Director of the Indoor Climbing Facility and Outdoor Retail Operations says, “There are a ton of different trips available, and it all depends on what is in demand at the time. We rely a lot on our student staff to communicate what that is—whether it’s visiting the Grand Canyon, driving out to Big Bend or climbing in a new area in Arkansas.” Because students’ opinion is key to keeping Patsy and Jason in-theknow, their student staff are highly involved in their work and take pride knowing they are integral to the decision-making process. Jason adds, “Several years ago we began offering surfing trips because we had student staff that had that skill set and were willing to guide trips and workshops. There was a demand for surfboards, so we met that demand.” For students who are interested in Spring Break or summer trips, Outdoor Adventures also offers trips of a larger scale that are out of state or even out of the country. Trips offered include, but are not limited to climbing, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking and more. In the past, students have traveled to exotic locations such as Mexico and Costa Rica.

They are involved in the whole planning process.” Although it might seem like working for Outdoor Adventures is all fun and games, the level of responsibility that each staff member takes on is immense. Staff members at the Indoor Climbing Facility are tasked with the day-to-day operations of the climbing wall. Jason adds, “Consider this—that wall is 44 feet tall. Falling from that high of a drop could potentially be fatal. My staff is responsible for catching mistakes before anyone ever leaves the ground.” Staff in charge of outdoor workshops and trips also carry a great deal of responsibility. They facilitate group workshops both on and off campus that teach students how to be socially responsible in various wilderness settings. Patsy says, “My staff is proficient in facilitating conflict management, as well as risk management and are ultimately responsible for the safety of each participant throughout their experience with Outdoor Adventures.” Because teamwork is an integral part of working for Outdoor Adventures, Patsy and Jason have created working relationships with their student staff that go beyond the office. Jason says, “I think because we train so much together, our students often consider our offices their home away from home. It’s like a big family back here.” As integral as the staff is to the success of this program, work ethic is also valued in the office. Patsy and Jason are big believers of empowering their student staff to become leaders in their communities. As employees of Outdoor Adventures, students are taught responsibility, team work, risk management and group thinking—life skills that can be instrumental in countless situations and environments. Jason says, “Working with Outdoor Adventures is not like any other student worker job on campus. They are not making copies or getting coffee, by any means. They are doing unbelievably important, serious jobs and doing them really well.” When asked what kind of person would be suitable for a job with Outdoor Adventures, Jason was clear that they are not biased to students of any major. Jason adds, “One of the biggest commonalities in people who pursue a job with Outdoor Adventures is people who are good at risk management. We are giving our student staff skills that are widely applicable in any field of work.”

As a testimony to the success that past student staff have acquired through this job, Jason ends his interview with a powerful testimony. At the end of the semester last year, a former student staff member came to his office, thanking him for the opportunity to have worked with Outdoor Adventures, saying, “I got the job I have because I worked at the Indoor Climbing Facility. The man who recruited me told me that I got the job over people with higher GPAs because of my leadership and risk management experience at the rock wall.” Patsy and Jason are When asked about their student staff, both Patsy and Jason were always ready for new adventures and are eager to share their wilderness unanimous. Both gave credit to their staff for the program’s innovation expertise with students. THEY’VE TAKEN ON THE CHALLENGE. WILL YOU? and progress, saying, “They really keep our program fresh and dynamic.

Want to see more photos from Outdoor Adventures? Plug-in to our Facebook page or follow us Twitter!




My staff is responsible for catching mistakes before anyone ever leaves the ground. ~ JASON KURTEN, Director of the Indoor Climbing Facility and Outdoor Retail Operations

scholarship recipients Thank you for all your hard work and dedication

“The Rec has contributed substantially to my student leadership development during my time as a Rec employee.” ~TRAVIS FERGUSON

“Working at the Rec has helped me develop like no other job on campus could.” ~MATT WILSON

“Overall, the decision to work for the Department of Recreational Sports has developed and matured skills that I will readily apply to my future career goals.” ~VICTORIA ASHLEY

“After receiving more responsibility through promotions in facilities, I slowly began to find my place both as a student and as a leader on campus.” ~KATHARINA OJALA

“I truly appreciate the amount of responsibility that is given to student employees at the Rec. I know how important our role is to the facility.” ~OREN KILGORE

“Seeing how dedicated other coworkers are at work encourages me to work at a high standard.” ~ISABEL OROCIO

looking forward Upcoming events for the Fall semester

Rec Sports Reunion:

Fall 2012 Tailgate Schedule:

Employees of the Department of Recreational Sports place great importance on the family-oriented work environment that they have worked to create and maintain over the years. As a token of appreciation to its extended family, the Department of Recreational Sports will be hosting its 11TH ANNUAL REC SPORTS REUNION on OCTOBER 20, 2012 at the Student Recreation Center. Dennis Corrington, Executive Director of the Department of Recreational Sports, says, “It’s all about providing an opportunity to reconnect and take time out of our busy schedules to appreciate each other. It is also a chance to reflect on the memories and experiences of working here or having worked here.” Each year more than 200 student workers, current staff and former staff congregate to spend time and reminisce over lunch and refreshments. In addition, the Rec Center generously opens its doors to former employees and their families, allowing them to enjoy all the amenities it has to offer.



Sat, Sept. 8


Sat, Sept. 22

South Carolina State

Sat, Sept. 29


Sat, Oct. 20


Sat, Nov. 17

Sam Houston State

Sat, Nov. 24


This year’s Rec Sports Reunion falls on the same weekend as the LSU game. Whether or not you have tickets to the game, feel free to stop by our tailgate and RECONNECT WITH REC SPORTS ALUMNI! Scan our QR Code below for a map of the Rec Sports tailgate location. See you there!

The reunion not only serves to reunite former employees, but creates a historic continuum between several generations of students and staff, a legacy Texas A&M University is well known for. For more information on the Rec Sports Reunion visit HTTP://RECSPORTS.TAMU.EDU/DEVELOPMENT/REUNION.STM.


looking back Shannon Houston continues Aggie Family legacy Each year bricks are engraved with the names of Aggies of all generations to be placed in the Walk of Champions, located at the entrance of the Student Recreation Center. The Walk of Champions is a development campaign created with the intent of helping to fund maintenance of the Rec Center Facility. This year a large brick will be engraved on behalf of the Houston family, a group of individuals with an extensive history at Texas A&M University.

Texas A&M University during their undergraduate years. Since graduating from Texas A&M Greg and Laura have married and had three children, all of whom have made the decision to continue the family legacy by completing their undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University. Soon to be Texas A&M alum, Shannon says, “I’m the last one of the Houston family to come through here, so this is a special commemoration of all the time our family has invested at A&M.” SHANNON HOUSTON ‘13

Greg Houston, Class of 79’ and lead architect for the Rec Center, has purchased a brick for a very momentous occasion. This year his daughter, Shannon Houston, will graduate and continue the Aggie legacy that her parents began. Greg met his wife Laura (originally Laura Thurman) at

Do you have an Aggie legacy you would like to commemorate? Are you interested in starting a legacy of your own? For more information on how to have your name permanently etched in stone in front of the Student Recreation Center, contact JAMES WELFORD, Director of Development at 979.862.1856 or via email at JWELFORD@ REC.TAMU.EDU. What are you waiting for? Your legacy awaits!


stay in touch

Establish your traditions

Rec Sports wants to hear from YOU

your generosity to the Department of Recreational Sports ensures that current and future Aggies will have the finest recreational opportunities available. Whether you are an established contributor or have an interest in supporting our endeavors, a small amount can go a long way. With your help, we at Rec Sports take dreams and make them a reality. There are several programs available for contributions, including:

WANT THE LATEST UPDATES on what’s happening with Rec Sports?


• The Walk of Champions Brick Campaign • The Department of Recreational Sports Endowed Scholarship • Individual sport clubs funding and endowment programs THE CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE award program is a unique part of The Walk

of Champions brick campaign. An honor dedicated to the department’s hard-working student staff, a recipient from each sub-department is recognized for his/her outstanding service to Rec Sports. Award winners receive an engraved brick to place in the Circle of Excellence, along with a lapel pin or charm.

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Stay connected! Visit our website at REC.TAMU.EDU and select ‘Reconnect Reconnect with Rec Sports Sports’ under the Development and Sponsors tab to start receiving information on events, clubs and more. You can also e-mail JWELFORD@REC.TAMU.EDU to connect directly with our Director of Development, JAMES WELFORD.

Department of Recreational Sports Texas A&M University 4250 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4250




RecLIFE Spring 2012  

Empowering Students | Celebrating Success

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