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Kathryn Sarpong with husband, Benjamin Sarpong and father, Dr. John Junkins | Image: Contributed by Kathryn Sarpong

Kathryn J. Sarpong has established the Junkins Family Distinguished Lecture Series Endowment in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. Distributions from this endowment will be used to support associated expenses of an annual lecture by a prominent researcher in the field of dynamical systems and/or control systems with a focus on aerospace engineering. 

After growing up in College Station then getting her undergraduate degree out of state, Sarpong wanted to come back to Texas to pursue her veterinary degree at Texas A&M. “I was drawn to A&M by the phenomenal vet school, beautiful campus and quality of education,” she said. 

Sarpong’s dad, Dr. John Junkins, the inspiration behind this gift and an aerospace engineering professor at Texas A&M, has always been passionate about bringing the brightest minds to the university and encouraging them to pursue their degree at Texas A&M. Sarpong explained how that has been Junkins’ vision for years. “He’s a great aerospace engineer and always wanted to do something even bigger for the university, and our entire family could not be more proud of him,” she said. 

Sarpong hopes this endowment for an annual lecture series will help students become well-rounded and well-educated. “The idea of universities being places of great thought and influencing young adults to think larger than themselves is a broad and daunting task,” she said. 

The thought behind the endowment is that academic fields may not always line up with real-world experience. As a student, taking the opportunity to listen to a lecture from a professional in industry might open up a student’s mind to the connections between fields outside of their respective major.

Junkins, in addition to being a Distinguished Professor and Regents Professor, holds the Royce E. Wisenbaker Chair. He is the director of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Giving with a purpose

The College of Engineering is one of the leading engineering programs in the United States, ranking first in undergraduate enrollment and ninth in graduate enrollment. Endowments supporting the students in the college have an immeasurable impact on their education. If you are interested in supporting the College of Engineering and its departments or would like more information on how you can give, please contact Kevin McGinnis, director of development.