Texas A&M Engineering scholarship honors Harold Reeves

Harold Reeves is one of the unsung heroes of these United States, a very real representative of The Greatest Generation immortalized by author Tom Brokaw. A veteran of the U.S. Army and Air Force, Reeves joined with countless Americans of the 1940s and 1950s who sacrificed at home and abroad to help preserve freedom and democracy.

To carry on his legacy of ingenuity, determination and hard work, Susan Small and her husband Kevin have chosen to honor her father by endowing the Harold Reeves Scholarship in Engineering at Texas A&M University. The gift was made through the Texas A&M Foundation.

Harold Reeves in front of his planeThe first award will be announced for the fall 2011 semester. Recipients will be students in the Dwight Look College of Engineering who are Texas or U.S. residents and demonstrate financial need. Preference will be shown for members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets who are active in tutoring or mentoring, especially in math, and who intend to accept a military commission after graduation.

“My father instilled in me, at a very young age, that with ingenuity, persistence and hard work, inventive mechanical ideas could be converted into concrete, working objects. It is my hope that this scholarship will enable young men and women, who have the same innate abilities to design and build that my father has and who might not otherwise be able to afford a college degree, to obtain a degree that will help to make their voices and their ideas heard and appreciated. These voices and ideas may very well change our world,” Susan Small said.

Although Reeves had visions of becoming an engineer, he never completed a college degree program, his son-in-law noted. After serving in the military, Harold’s mindset was to find a job and start working rather than to begin with prerequisite classes required to do the work he was already doing.

“Even though he is not an Aggie, be assured that Harold fully represents every aspect of the Aggie Spirit. We cannot think of a more appropriate place for Harold’s legacy to continue than at Texas A&M, where the student body values tradition, service, honor and pride,” said Kevin Small, a geophysicist with Houston-based BlueStreak Exploration Group.

Family friend Carl Isaac, Texas A&M Class of 1987 petroleum engineer, added, “Harold himself may not have been able to attend Texas A&M but, believe me, no one was prouder when his youngest granddaughter Julia enrolled as a Class of ’13 civil engineering major or when his grandson Kevin Jr. completed emergency management training at the fabled fire school on the Texas A&M campus.”

“This perpetual scholarship in Mr. Reeves’ honor will give countless numbers of deserving students the access to an educational opportunity that will help them learn to translate concepts into realities. We appreciate the investment Mr. and Mrs. Small have chosen to make in the future of Texas A&M Engineering and the future engineering leaders of our country,” said Dr. Jo W. Howze, senior associate dean for academic programs with responsibility for undergraduate programs.

Reeves enlisted in the Army at age 18, leaving his Michigan home for military training in San Antonio. He then served more than three years in occupied Japan, repairing and maintaining airplanes for the Berlin Airlift. During that time his branch of the Army was renamed the U.S. Air Force.

Reeves said he always valued the training received during his enlistment and the lessons learned during that time. Those lessons prepared him for later roles in design and construction that included machinist, auto mechanic, construction project leader and equipment designer and builder.

“I have always believed that all education is invaluable, both formal and informal,” Reeves said. “I’ve also noticed a distinct need for better education, especially in math, a subject in which I tutored many apprentices in an attempt to afford them better opportunities.”

Reeves married twice, first to Elsie Mullison Reeves in 1952 and then to Elizabeth “Beth” McBride Reeves in 2008. He has three children—Carol, Jennifer and Susan. He and Beth currently reside in Katy, Texas, where he remains active in Veterans of Foreign Wars and continues his passion of designing, building and constructing.

And Reeves is still interested in airplanes, said Susan. “In fact, he just went to Florida to learn maneuvers in a special P-51 aircraft outfitted to hold a student pilot. This just exemplifies my father’s belief that education, of all kinds, is forever important in our lives.”

The Texas A&M Foundation is a private nonprofit organization that encourages and manages investments in Texas A&M academics and leadership programs.