Wayne Roberts ’85 has made a generous lead gift of $8 million to the Aggie Park project in memory of his late wife, Shannon Lia Roberts ’86.
The project to transform 20 acres in the heart of Texas A&M University’s campus broke ground in February 2020 and will be completed later this summer, with an estimated $35 million in funds coming from generous donors to The Association of Former Students, which is leading the project.
“Shannon was an outstanding Aggie,” said Texas A&M President Dr. M. Katherine Banks. “She excelled as a biomedical sciences major and also received the Buck Weirus Spirit Award for her numerous contributions to student life. To her clients in the pharmaceutical industry and to her family and friends, she was known for her warmth and compassion. I can think of no one more worthy of commemoration at Aggie Park, and we are grateful to Mr. Roberts for this tremendous gift.”
The Aggie Park project grew from a vision by Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79 to develop the underutilized park acreage into a premier green space that would bring the Aggie Network together for celebration, relaxation and inspiration. Garner lauded Roberts for his commitment to Aggie Park.
“Because of Wayne’s generosity, generations of Aggies will make incredible memories and create new traditions in a park that fittingly honors Shannon’s wonderful life and legacy,” he said. “Wayne is a model Aggie — a man of outstanding achievement yet also of remarkable humility. A university’s greatness can be measured both in the achievements and in the character of its alumni, and on both counts, Wayne Roberts exemplifies all that is extraordinary about Texas A&M.”
Roberts, a College Station resident and longtime donor to Texas A&M, had been seeking a way to honor his beloved wife, who passed away in 2021 following a nearly 30-year battle with brain cancer.
When he learned about the Aggie Park project’s mission, supporting the project in Shannon’s honor seemed like the perfect fit.
“Given Shannon’s love of people, her friendliness, her love of nature and the outdoors – the notion of a park that is a gift to the students and former students of Texas A&M is perfect for her,” Roberts said.
Her name and story will be featured around the grounds, but Roberts is also focused on the fact that Aggie Park exists “for the enjoyment of (Aggies) and visitors to our campus.” He said his desire is that as the park fills with thousands of Aggies coming together in the years to come, Shannon’s light and life will continue to be celebrated.
Shannon was known for “her positivity, her grace, her contagious smile, her love for Texas A&M and the way she found opportunities to serve the people around her,” Roberts said. It’s that joy for life, that love for the university and that desire to serve others that the Roberts family hopes touches and inspires every Aggie who comes through the park.
The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects hundreds of thousands of members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and provided $13.6 million in impact to university scholarships, awards, traditions and student activities and recognition for students, faculty, staff and former students in 2021. For more information, visit www.AggieNetwork.com.