Thanks to one former student’s green thumb, Texas A&M University’s landmark Century Tree will benefit generations of Aggies in perpetuity. With proceeds from the sale of 530 seedling replicas, Andy Duffie in October donated $100,000 to establish the Century Tree President’s Endowed Scholarship through the Texas A&M Foundation.
Believed to be one of the first trees planted on campus in 1876, the Century Tree holds a special place in the heart of Aggies. In October 2010, Duffie harvested 3,000 acorns from the tree and raised, marketed and sold the 2-year-old replicas for $250 apiece or $200 per seedling when more than one was purchased.
“The smiles and genuine gratitude I have received are the best blessings from this experience,” he said. “I’ve met so many Aggies and received an incredible amount of positive support from everyone. I have gotten everything from a handshake to a bear hug and have gained a healthy sense of satisfaction that I’ve done something special.”
Duffie, a 1978 Texas A&M graduate, delivered the replicas to distribution points for Texas buyers. He shipped the out-of-state orders through UPS, spreading “a little piece of Aggieland” across the nation — from Washington State to the Carolinas.
Former Texas A&M head football coach R.C. Slocum received a tree from donors, while others were planted in San Antonio’s Aggie Park, on the campus of Texas A&M University at Galveston and on the land of Aggie-owned Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, Texas. Additionally, 60 couples who became engaged under the Century Tree also purchased seedlings for their own property.
Although Duffie will no longer be growing trees, he encourages Aggies to grow one on their own. “Acorns drop from the Century Tree during the first weeks of October, but the squirrels will confiscate them after that time is over,” said Duffie. “It is hard work, but I’m willing to give advice and suggestions to those who want to grow their own.”
Duffie, who received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas A&M, lives in Vernon, Texas. He and his wife Connie have two daughters who also graduated from Texas A&M, Andrea ’08 and Laura ’12.
The President’s Endowed Scholarship is awarded to top high school seniors who excel in both academic and leadership potential without regard to financial need. The scholarship will be managed by the Texas A&M Foundation, a privately governed, nonprofit corporation whose mission is to provide private financial support for Texas A&M University. The foundation’s fundraising and asset management team helps former students, corporations and other nonprofit organizations direct contributions to specific academic and leadership programs.
For more information, visit the Century Tree Project’s Facebook page.
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