Valorie and Jeff Elkin of Houston will endow three scholarships totaling $75,000 at Texas A&M University.
The scholarships, to be funded through multi-year pledges to the Texas A&M Foundation, will be awarded to junior- or senior-level students in computer science and engineering, economics and petroleum engineering.
“My wife and I have a long connection to the university. Valorie’s father, David Ray Howell, Class of ’48, was commander of the combined bands. I am a petroleum engineer and recruited for many years from several departments on campus. Our kids graduated from the economics and the computer science and engineering departments,” said Jeff Elkin, president and co-founder of Empresa Energy LP.
“Watching our children pass through their respective departments reminded me how important outside support is for students. There is limited support for hard-working students who excel in class but do not meet traditional financial aid scenarios,” he said.
Students competing for the Elkin scholarship in economics will be Texas residents enrolled in upper level classes with a 3.0 grade point average and only one-fifth of their tuition costs covered by financial assistance.
“Helping students meet the costs of their education is not the only benefit of a scholarship,” said Ben M. Crouch, interim dean of liberal arts. “Mr. Elkin’s scholarship is also an investment in the future of each student recipient. Students understand this and respond accordingly.”
Recipients of the Elkin scholarships in computer science and engineering and in petroleum engineering will be upperclassmen enrolled in honors level courses in their respective departments and not currently receiving scholarship support for more than 20 percent of tuition costs. In addition, petroleum engineering recipients will be members of the Society of Petroleum Engineers student chapter and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average.
“The computer science and computer engineering programs are experiencing an increase in demand from very bright students. The Elkin scholarship is critical in helping us to attract and retain these top students,” said Valerie E. Taylor, computer science and engineering department head and Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor.
“We continue to have strong demand from individuals of high caliber to be part of the Texas A&M petroleum engineering program. There is a definite need for the Elkin endowment to reward and retain these high-achieving students,” said Stephen A. Holditch, petroleum engineering department head and Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Endowed Chair Professor.
Jeff Elkin is a Texas A&M Class of 1980 petroleum engineering graduate. As an undergraduate he participated in the Society of Petroleum Engineers student chapter.
Elkin’s three decades in the petroleum engineering industry included positions with Ocean Energy, Seagull Midcon Inc., Amoco and other independent companies. In 2004 he co-founded Empresa Energy, a Houston-based private oil and gas exploitation and development company.
Valorie Howell Elkin, Texas A&M Class of 1980, earned a degree in educational curriculum and instruction. She and her husband met in the Commons dormitory during their freshman year.
The Elkins are18-year Century Club members, currently at the Diamond level, of the Association of Former Students, and Jeff is a past president of the Amarillo Texas A&M Club. Son Joshua Elkin, Class of 2004, majored in computer engineering and computer science; and daughter Jennifer Elkin Bombulie, Class of 2008, in economics. Both children graduated with honors.
“The Elkins are an all-Aggie family, and they truly love this university. Their generous gift of multiple scholarships will provide vital support for generations of students striving to become Aggie graduates,” said Brady Bullard, director of development for engineering with the Texas A&M Foundation.
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering are two of 12 departments in the Dwight Look College of Engineering. The college ranks 9th in undergraduate studies and 8th in graduate programs in public institutions in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Department of Economics is one of 12 in the College of Liberal Arts. The department offers B.A. and B.S. degrees that prepare students to apply the principles and theories of natural science to the concepts and logic of mathematics.
Written by Betsy Ellison