College Station: Former Texas A&M Student Gifts $8 Million for Aggie Park
Feature Illustration: Concept rendering for Aggie Park by Texas A&M.
College Station (Brazos County) —Wayne Roberts, a 1985 graduate of Texas A&M University, has made a generous lead gift of $8 million to the Aggie Park project in memory of his late wife, Shannon Lia Roberts who graduated from the school in 1986.
The project to transform 20 acres in the heart of Texas A&M University’s campus broke ground in February 2020 and will be completed later this summer, with an estimated $35 million in funds coming from generous donors to The Association of Former Students, which is leading the project.
“Shannon was an outstanding Aggie,” said Texas A&M President Dr. M. Katherine Banks. “She excelled as a biomedical sciences major and also received the Buck Weirus Spirit Award for her numerous contributions to student life. To her clients in the pharmaceutical industry and to her family and friends, she was known for her warmth and compassion. I can think of no one more worthy of commemoration at Aggie Park, and we are grateful to Mr. Roberts for this tremendous gift.”
Aerial view of the park.
The Aggie Park project grew from a vision by Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III, class of 1979, to develop the underutilized park acreage into a premier green space that would bring the Aggie Network together for celebration, relaxation and inspiration. Garner lauded Roberts for his commitment to Aggie Park.
“Because of Wayne’s generosity, generations of Aggies will make incredible memories and create new traditions in a park that fittingly honors Shannon’s wonderful life and legacy,” he said. “Wayne is a model Aggie — a man of outstanding achievement yet also of remarkable humility. A university’s greatness can be measured both in the achievements and in the character of its alumni, and on both counts, Wayne Roberts exemplifies all that is extraordinary about Texas A&M.”
Wayne and Shannon Roberts.
Roberts, a College Station resident and longtime donor to Texas A&M, had been seeking a way to honor his beloved wife, who passed away in 2021 following a nearly 30-year battle with brain cancer.
When he learned about the Aggie Park project’s mission, supporting the project in Shannon’s honor seemed like the perfect fit.
“Given Shannon’s love of people, her friendliness, her love of nature and the outdoors – the notion of a park that is a gift to the students and former students of Texas A&M is perfect for her,” Roberts said.
Her name and story will be featured around the grounds, but Roberts is also focused on the fact that Aggie Park exists “for the enjoyment of (Aggies) and visitors to our campus.” He said his desire is that as the park fills with thousands of Aggies coming together in the years to come, Shannon’s light and life will continue to be celebrated.
Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.