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Donna and Lynn Broyles ’68 have established the James H. Averett ’68 Memorial Scholarship Endowed by Donna and Lynn Broyles to honor their lifelong friend. | Image: Courtesy of Donna and Lynn Broyles
Donna and Lynn Broyles have recently established the James H. Averett ’68 Memorial Scholarship Endowed by Donna and Lynn Broyles. Distributions from this endowment will be used to provide one or more scholarships to students who are pursuing a degree in the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.
 
Lynn Broyles and Jim Averett first became friends as members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. They were both in Squadron “Animal” Eight, and Broyles has many fond memories of the two of them during their time at Texas A&M. Aside from their shared experiences in the Corps of Cadets and accompanying antics around the quad, Broyles and Averett were also mechanical engineering classmates. 
 
Lynn recalled that during their freshman year, they were chemistry lab partners in a class that would sometimes continue deep into Friday afternoons. The two were often eager to get on the road to see Madeline, Averett’s girlfriend who he later married, and Donna, Broyles’s girlfriend at the time. To both of their advantage, Averett was incredibly academically inclined. “Thankfully, I had Jim as a lab partner. He could zip through those labs in less than an hour, and we would be on our way,” Broyles said.
 
The comradery between the two friends continued to strengthen after they graduated from Texas A&M. Together, they completed United States Air Force pilot training at Vance Air Force Base and pilot instruction training at Tyndall Air Force Base. They both became instructors in the T-38A Talon, a supersonic jet trainer. 
James H. Averett posing for a headshot.
James “Flagman” Averett ’68 stands next to his RV-8 airplane. | Image: Courtesy of Donna and Lynn Broyles

After his service in the U.S. Air Force, Averett continued his career as a pilot and flew for Grand Canyon Airlines, Martin Aviation and Delta Airlines. In his retirement, he became well known throughout the flying formation community, known by the call sign “Flagman.” He owned and flew both a Beechcraft Bonanza and an RV-8. Unfortunately, on Nov. 6, 2020, while practicing for a Veterans Day performance, Averett lost his life in a mid-air collision in Fredericksburg, Texas. His death was mourned by the flying formation community and all those who knew him. “Jim always had a quick smile and terrific sense of humor,” Broyles said. “I never knew anyone that did not like him.”

Donna and Lynn Broyles were both significantly impacted by the life and death of their dear friend. They established the scholarship within the mechanical engineering department to encourage and enable students to achieve their mechanical engineering degree in honor of Averett and the inspiring influence he had. “He was a true and loyal Aggie, husband, father, grandfather and friend,” Broyles said.

Because of Averett’s experiences at Texas A&M, the scholarship was established with selection preferences that the recipient be a member of the Corps of Cadets and a junior or senior.

Averett’s legacy lives on through the loyalty and comradery of the Aggie spirit. The Squadron “Animal” Eight class of '68 has gathered for Aggie Muster for the last 30 years. “Last year we mustered with the Gillespie County A&M Club, which was Jim's hometown club,” Broyles said. The Aggie tradition holds a deeper meaning following Averett’s passing. “This year we held a Muster in Seguin, Texas, and we honored Jim. Gig' em, Jimmy.”

How to Give

Endowments supporting the students in the College of Engineering 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 Kelly Corcoran, senior director of development.