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From left, Chrystina Rago Ellermeyer ’13, Jessica Rago Crotty ’09 holding baby Dalton Michael Kelly, Matthew Bradley Rago ’16 and Brad Blakeway ’61.
Beckie and James Rago established the Bradley C. Blakeway Memorial Scholarship. Brad is pictured with his grandchildren at the Aggie graduation of his granddaughter, Jessica Rago Crotty, in 2009. | Image: Courtesy of Beckie Rago

With his thumb outstretched on the highway in Beatrice, Nebraska, Brad Blakeway ’61 traveled in the passenger seat of a generous stranger to College Station. During his time at Texas A&M University, the Blakeway legacy was created and later inspired an endowment that would bring many Aggies the opportunity to receive a Texas A&M education.

As a student, Brad was a member of Squadron 7 in the Corps of Cadets and studied civil engineering. Coming from a single-parent family following his father’s death, the financial means to pay for out-of-state tuition did not come easily. He persisted, studying hard during the semesters and even took a year off of school to work back at home and save up tuition money to finish his degree.

After graduating in January 1963, Brad made many visits to his beloved university, no matter how far away he lived. When his daughters were old enough, he brought them along.

“My dad began taking me to all the Texas A&M home football games when I was about 10 years old,” Beckie Blakeway Rago ’85 said. “We would drive from Little Rock, Arkansas, and make a weekend of Aggie football. I was hooked!”

When he couldn’t attend untelevised games, Brad would drive until he could pick up a radio station broadcasting the game. Outside of his football enthusiasm, Brad remained dedicated to Texas A&M, serving as a member and president of the Little Rock A&M Club. Beckie and her father shared a deep bond over their appreciation for Texas A&M, and the two proudly celebrated her accomplishment of graduating with her business administration degree in 1985.

When Brad passed away in December 2022, Beckie and her husband, James Rago ’85, chose to memorialize her father’s legacy by establishing a scholarship in the College of Engineering.

“My sister, Jamie Blakeway Kelly, who passed away in October 2022, and I had agreed that we wanted to honor our father through a scholarship,” Beckie said. “My husband and I are happy to create this scholarship, and I know my sister would also be if she were still with us.”

The Bradley C. Blakeway Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to out-of-state civil engineering students who demonstrate financial need.

I hope students who receive this scholarship will be able to use the funds to reduce the stress of paying for their education.

Beckie Rago

Three of Brad’s grandchildren, Jessica Rago Crotty ’09, Chrystina Rago Ellermeyer ’13 and Matthew Rago ’16, have followed in his footsteps as Aggies. As Brad forged a legacy at Texas A&M for his daughter and grandchildren, the scholarship in his name will provide a path to success for Aggie engineers for generations to come.

“Our hope is that as scholarship recipients graduate and are able, they will consider funding a scholarship of their own one day,” said Beckie.

How To Give

Endowments supporting 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 one of our development officers.