Texas A&M Foundation Receives Lead Gifts in Campaign to Build New Music Activities Center
Three Aggie couples have made the initial signature gifts in a campaign to raise funds for a new Music Activities Center at Texas A&M University, a facility on the south end of campus that will house all university orchestras, choral groups and bands, including the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.
Anne and David Dunlap ’83 of The Woodlands, Texas, have donated $3 million to the project, and Patti and Weldon Kruger ’53 of College Station have contributed $1 million. Additionally, Elizabeth and Paul Motheral ’52 of Spicewood, Texas, have given the deed to their home on Lake Travis in Austin. Proceeds from the sale of that property will go toward construction of the new center.
In honor of this generosity, various spaces inside and outside the facility, which is estimated to be complete in 2017, will display donor names. The drill field adjacent to the building will be known as Dunlap Drill Field; the plaza will be named the Patricia C. and Weldon D. Kruger ’53 Plaza; and the Aggie Band rehearsal hall will be named in honor of Paul and Elizabeth Motheral.
To be located on the corner of George Bush Drive and Coke Street, the new Music Activities Center will accommodate more than 1,300 student musicians who are part of 14 different musical groups on campus. The proposed facility is expected to cost $40 million, with half the funds coming from the university and the other $20 million generated by donor support through the Texas A&M Foundation. The new building will replace the E.V. Adams Band Hall, which, according to band directors, is now too small for the growing ensembles and lacks storage space and proper acoustics.
The facility will feature adequate practice space and amenities including soundproof rooms, lockers for instrument storage, an artificial turf drill field and four state-of-the-art rehearsal halls. The center will also offer students, alumni and visitors an opportunity to learn more about the music traditions of Texas A&M.
Dr. Timothy Rhea, director of bands and musical activities for the university, said the existing rehearsal space has been used at full occupancy since shortly after it was built in 1970.
“I just finished my 22nd year at Texas A&M University, and this project was being discussed when I first arrived,” said Rhea. “It is no longer possible to expand our musical organizations. With the projected growth of the student body, a new facility would allow for future growth.”
Patti and Weldon Kruger see the Music Activities Center as a way to help meet a long-standing need to grow the number of Aggie musicians.
“I’ve been aware of this need for a long time, so I was really pleased when we learned they were trying to really push it forward,” said Weldon Kruger. “Everybody knows about the Aggie band, and the other music programs also need assistance.”
For David Dunlap, the Aggie Band was an essential and lasting part of his Texas A&M experience. As a second generation Aggie Band member, Dunlap played the trombone and received bugle rank his senior year.
“Many lifelong friends were classmates of mine and in the band,” said Dunlap. “We shared a lot of experiences together, which caused us to be close even to this day.”
The Dunlaps recently hosted a reception to raise awareness about the need for a new music facility on campus. The event unveiled the master plans for the center and identified fundraising targets.
“I think that Aggies around the world take tremendous pride in the Aggie Band. As the band continues to develop young leaders for the State of Texas and our country, I think it is important they have access to the type of professional facilities that reflect their own excellence,” said Dunlap.
Playing both the clarinet and saxophone in the Aggieland Orchestra, Aggie Band and Concert band, music was a way of life for Paul Motheral during his time as an engineering student.
“At the time, jazz band and dancing were very popular,” he said, recalling college days spent traveling and performing with the orchestra. “I wanted to be an engineer, but I also wanted to be a performing musician.”
Motheral and his wife have enjoyed staying connected with Aggie musicians over the years through both their scholarship recipients and close relationships with the faculty.
“I’m just so excited about the musical groups having a space of their own to rehearse and hone their skills,” he added. “The thing we look forward to most is the growth, development and enjoyment the kids will have.”
Learn more about the plans for the Music Activities Center.
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.
You can support the Music Activities Center with a gift to the Texas A&M Foundation. For additional information, contact Cindy Munson ’99 with the Foundation at (979) 845-7558 firstname.lastname@example.org.