A Ripple Effect
Mary Alice Curl and Kathleen Bowers came of age in a time when many women did not work outside the home. They enrolled in college after high school but left their studies unfinished during and after World War II to marry and raise a family. Decades later, each went on to earn a college degree and enter the world of educating young minds. Little did they know that two of their own children would one day meet, marry, and honor their life’s work by helping future generations of teachers.
Tom Curl and Lynda Bowers grew up in the Rio Grande Valley but didn’t meet until they were both working for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Lynda became the Home Economics Editor after graduating from Texas Christian University. Tom, Aggie class of 1970, went to work in the same department after coming off active duty with the Army.
When Tom and Lynda married in late 1971, she resigned her position because, at that time, married couples could not work in the same department. Tom worked for A&M until joining the editorial staff of Progressive Farmer magazine in 1972. Over the next 22 years, he moved back and forth between Progressive Farmer and Southern Living—eventually becoming Editor-in-Chief of the company’s magazine division.
Lynda taught high school for a time until their son was born. She then left the workforce and became a community volunteer.
In 1994, the family of three moved to Wisconsin for Tom to join Reiman Publications and edit Country and Birds & Blooms magazines. In 1995, he became President of the company and, in 1998, was named CEO. He left the company in 2003 after its sale to Readers Digest. Since then, he has done consulting work, served on company boards of directors and done volunteer work.
In 2004, Tom was inducted into the Texas A&M Former Journalism Students Association Hall of Honor.
Recently, Tom and Lynda used a qualified charitable distribution from an IRA to establish the Curl-Bowers Endowed Scholarship in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. The funds are designated to assist one or more students seeking to become teachers like the Curls’ mothers. They believe this gift will act like a “rock dropped into water—the ripples will extend far into the future.”
“We wanted to honor our mothers who put their career plans on hold to raise families and become community volunteers,” stated Tom.
Both women received their degrees from Pan American College in Edinburg (now a campus of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). Kathleen had a 30-year career teaching primarily in elementary school in the small Edcouch-Elsa School District in Hidalgo County located in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Mary Alice taught mainly second and fifth grades in the even smaller school district in Miami, the only town in Roberts County in the Texas panhandle for 23 years.
“They both loved teaching and had a lasting impact on many children during particularly impressionable years,” explained Lynda. “The fact that some of their former students came to their funerals is a testament to their legacy.”
“Our hope is that this scholarship will help prospective teachers reach their goal of impacting young lives,” stated Tom.
Donate for a Tax Break
By using a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) to honor their mothers and support the College of Education and Human Development, Tom and Lynda were also able to decrease their taxes.
Since turning 70 ½, the minimum age required to make a QCD, the couple has made annual charitable investments from their IRA. Their QCDs have allowed them to support causes they are passionate about while also satisfying their yearly required minimum distributions and lowering their taxable income.
To learn more about how you can take advantage of a QCD for greater tax deductions, click here.
Recently, Tom and Lynda established the Curl-Bowers Endowed Scholarship in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University.
Mike and Cassie McClung established the Avery Elise McClung Endowed Memorial Aggie ACHIEVE Scholarship in honor of their twelve-year-old daughter who passed away in April.
Dr. Jason Penry recently established the Jason Penry, Ph.D. ’08 Endowed Graduate Fellowship. The gift will provide financial assistance to one or more full-time students pursuing a doctorate in educational administration with a higher education emphasis.
The award recognizes outstanding senior education undergraduate students who have demonstrated exceptional service and commitment to the teaching profession.
Irma Alvarado graduated in 1970 with a bachelor’s in education. She is known as one of the first Hispanic female graduates of Texas A&M. Now, she is focused on using that education to inspire others.
H. Malcolm Stewart has taken the “Leadership” role as the title sponsor of the 50th Anniversary Gala and Dean’s Roundtable.
In 2005, the Gibson’s began supporting students interested in becoming special education teachers. Their daughter, Sharon, graduated from the college with a certificate in special education and Glenn loved to come visit her in Aggieland.
After hearing about Aggie ACHIEVE on Twitter, Aggie Linebacker, Keeath Magee II, wanted to invite the students to tour Texas A&M’s football training facilities.
Dr. Timothy Lightfoot, professor of kinesiology in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, will hold the Debbie and Mike Hilliard ’73 Huffines Institute Chair.
This fall, we celebrate the launch of Aggie ACHIEVE, the state’s first inclusive, four-year postsecondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.