Funding scholarships, programs and facilities in support of championship athletics.

The Importance of Investing

Desire for excellence drives continued support from Kyle and Karen McNeely.

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Kyle McNeely knows when it is worth investing in something.

Take, for example, the effort he devoted to asking his wife on a date in the fall of 1971. Earlier that year, during the spring semester of his freshman year at Texas A&M, a friend asked McNeely if he would be interested in going on a blind date with the younger sister of his date.

McNeely happily obliged, but nothing long-term transpired that evening--until the next school year.

That fall, the older sister of McNeely's date transferred to Texas A&M. Her name was Karen Haws, and McNeely instantly recognized her from across a campus cafeteria.

"He spotted me and yelled at me by my last name from across the room," recalled Karen McNeely recently, from the couple's home in College Station. "We started talking, and I could tell he couldn't remember my first name. But I didn't want to help him out."

Kyle knew he needed to ask her out after their conversation ended that day, but he could not do that without knowing her first name. So, Kyle quickly headed to the campus YMCA building and desperately began scouring a student directory. He eventually found her listing, complete with a phone number. Soon after, he asked her out.

 
 
 
 

"I was still a sophomore that year, and there were several seniors in my Corps outfit who had gone on dates with her," said Kyle, who eventually proposed to Karen two years later. "That made for some uncomfortable events back on the Quad, but it was worth it."

Much like Kyle's investment in discovering Karen's name--and enduring the subsequent hazing that followed--the McNeely's continue to invest in worthwhile causes.

Texas A&M athletics and the 12th Man Foundation have benefitted tremendously from that generosity. The McNeelys are Champions Council members and have recently given to the redevelopment of Kyle Field, as well as softball and track and field.

The couple has regularly answered when called upon to support Aggie athletics. Both Kyle and Karen say the reason they give is a deep devotion to seeing A&M succeed in all facets of the university. The McNeelys also proudly support the Texas A&M Foundation and the Association of Former Students.

"Some people ask why we don't give only to academics if we want to make a difference," said Kyle, an electrical engineering graduate who built a successful career with Proctor & Gamble after a five-year stint in the Air Force. "Well, athletics drives that as well. It drives headlines and helps A&M's name get out there. Many people's first exposure to A&M may be from a newspaper headline. It's like a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece is interconnected, and athletics is an important part of that."

Though their careers kept them outside of Texas for a majority of the last 40 years, Kyle and Karen have purchased football season tickets since graduating in 1974. Their two children, Tara and Justin, also attended A&M, and the couple hopes their granddaughter, Aubrey, will one day follow suit.

In the meantime, the McNeelys plan to continue supporting the school they love.

"It's our responsibility as former students to help see that A&M achieves excellence in every endeavor it pursues," said Karen, an accounting graduate who spent her career working as a CPA. "If you value something and you want it to be maintained, you have to take care of it. We care about A&M, so we need to contribute. It's like taking care of your house. If you move in and don't do anything to take care of it, it's going to eventually fall apart."

That certainly will not happen anytime soon, thanks to the continued investments of dedicated Aggies like Kyle and Karen McNeely.

 

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2015 August

"It's an honor for me to give back because A&M has always been so good to me.

This is my way of telling Texas A&M 'Thank you.'"

Red Bryant
Former Texas A&M defensive lineman and Super Bowl Champion