Texas A&M engineering scholarship named in memory of Christopher O’Leary

Thomas Christopher "Chris" O'Leary '12Parents honoring a young life cut short have endowed a memorial scholarship for future generations of mechanical engineering students at Texas A&M University.The Thomas Christopher O'Leary '12 Memorial Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering is funded through the Texas A&M Foundation with a $25,000 gift from Merri O'Leary Walsh and Fred Walsh, Texas A&M Class of 1974."We wanted to create this scholarship in Chris's name because he was determined and committed to becoming a mechanical engineer graduate of Texas A&M. His name will live on through this scholarship forever, symbolizing his desire to never give up," said Fred and Merri O'Leary Walsh.O'Leary was 20 years old and in the middle of his sophomore year as a student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the time of his death on Oct. 26, 2009.His family remembers him as a loving and dedicated individual. The oldest of three children, O'Leary was very close to his siblings and was always willing to help others in need."We are thankful to Fred and Merri O'Leary Walsh for remembering Chris O'Leary in this way. This gift will keep on giving as it supports future generation of students seeking to fulfill their dream of completing their engineering education in our department," said Dennis O'Neal, mechanical engineering department head and holder of the Holdredge/Paul Professorship.Preferred recipients will be graduates of Whitehouse High School in Whitehouse, Texas, where Chris graduated with honors."We are so thankful to the Walsh family for this scholarship. Despite this tragedy, Chris's memory and what he stood for will continue to have an impact on Texas A&M, the Department of Mechanical Engineering and future Aggies," said Jennifer Hester, director of development for engineering with the Texas A&M Foundation.Fred Walsh's previous gifts to the university include one scholarship for petroleum engineering students and another for students in the Mays School of Business. An industrial engineering graduate of Texas A&M, he is the owner and president of Walsh Petroleum Inc. in Midland. He is a 33-year member of the Association of Former Students Century Club and a Heritage member of the Legacy Society, which recognizes individuals who have included a gift to the Texas A&M Foundation in their estate plans for the benefit of Texas A&M.The mechanical engineering department is one of 12 in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M. The department ranks 9th in undergraduate programs and 10th in graduate studies among public institutions in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report.