Connecting the past to the present, the Muster 2018 speaker celebrates camaraderie and remembers the lives of Aggies.
On April 21 in Reed Arena, Kathleen Gibson, Class of 1981, will speak at the campus Muster ceremony. Gibson is the CEO and president of the Southwestern Medical Foundation, which supports the advancement of medical care, research and education.
As an Aggie, Gibson said her memories are rich through times spent in Student Government, Mosher Dorm, the Wesley Foundation and the Century Singers.
“My favorite experiences were in meeting so many wonderful people,” Gibson said. “A&M attracts the highest quality of talent and character. It is a joy to remember the friendships and our times together. We loved football games, basketball games, concerts and student activities. I remember the special feel- ing of Aggie traditions: the Corps marching in, the band marching, standing up for games, going to Midnight Yell, Bonfire, Muster and Silver Taps.”
In 1980, Gibson met her husband on a study abroad trip in Oxford, England. Two years later they were married in the A&M Methodist church with their reception in the MSC Ballroom.
“My family is the greatest treasure on this timeline,” Gibson said. “Our first daughter, Catherine, was born in 1988. Our second daughter, Sarah, was born in 1992. Catherine is a Vanderbilt graduate and Sarah is an Aggie, Class of ’15 and Bush School graduate.”
After graduating in 1981, Republic Bank, now Bank of America, in Dallas was Gibson’s next chapter. Filling various roles, Gibson said banking provided limitless change and oppor- tunity for her after graduation.
“It was a fascinating time to be in banking,” Gibson said. “After Bank of America, I joined Citibank for the next five years, from 2006 to 2011. I was invited to lead their Commercial Business in Texas and then to lead the Commercial Business for the Central Region of the US. In 2012, I joined Southwestern Medical Foundation, and have had the privilege of leading this organization during the last six years.”
A Fish Camp namesake, Gibson continues to support Texas A&M. Gibson said the opportunity to introduce new students to A&M and watch their appreciation for the growth of the university signaled an incalculable amount of happiness.
“It was such a rewarding experience to meet so many young Aggie leaders,” Gibson said. “I would do this again, if I could, in a heartbeat. I watched incredible leadership in action, and saw wonderful new Aggies learning about Texas A&M for the first time. I now know a number of kids who were in our Fish Camp and it gave me the opportunity to meet many students and young leaders I admire.”
In recognition of her merits, Gibson has received numerous awards, including the Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry Award, Women’s Legacy Award, Fish Camp Namesake and Distinguished Alumnus.
“All of these are treasured honors I hold dear for many different and countless reasons,” Gibson said. “There are such stories that go with them; it is not the honor itself, it is the person or the people who thought you should be nominated and went to the trouble on your behalf. Humbled and grateful for our Aggie friendships does not even begin to describe the feelings.”
Interwoven with the Aggie Spirit, Gibson said her role models are extraordinary Aggies who remain resolute in their principles. Gibson said not only is she grateful for the people, education and leadership experiences, but she views all aspects of A&M as remarkable.
“A&M is extraordinary and special stand- ing for the values that last,” Gibson said. “If you are drawn to leadership, A&M gives you a vast playground in which to learn and lead. If you are drawn to excellence, you will thrive at Texas A&M. If you are drawn to service, A&M will show you how to work in service across our university and state and global community.”
On Dec. 14, 2017, the Muster speaker subcommittee visited Gibson to tell her she would be the 2018 Muster speaker.
“There are no words when the Muster speaker subcommittee comes to visit you,” Gibson said. “It was the greatest surprise, honor and new challenge wrapped in one. It means following in the footsteps of Aggies that you revere and want to honor. It means working very hard to do honor, and live up to their fine examples.”
Ashley Rossini, sociology senior, is the speaker executive for Aggie Muster Committee. Rossini said the position of Muster speaker is open for nominations from anyone. Unable to provide details due to a secretive process, Rossini said around 120 people were assessed.
“We really want a person that represents the core values and understands the Aggie Spirit,” Rossini said. “We chose Gibson for a couple of reasons. Number one being her resume. She is truly an incredible woman and is so accomplished. But the thing that real- ly stood out about Kathleen was who she is a person. She is intentional, soft, honest and raw-sounding. She draws you in not by being overwhelming, but because you’re so drawn in that you want to know more.”
Claire O’Beirne, biomedical sciences senior, has served as a Muster host for three years and now is the speaker liaison on Muster Committee.
“Muster speakers from the past have varied greatly,” O’Beirne said. “Some have been veterans, others prominent politicians, others former Yell Leaders or student body presidents. Most campus Muster speakers have been former students, but the one thing in common with all the speakers was an under- standing of the special tradition of Muster and what it means to be an Aggie.”
According to O’Beirne, Muster encom- passes a variety of meanings, which range from an empowering moment to a healing moment. Inevitably inspired, O’Beirne said Gibson radiates humility with a gracious heart.
“To hear a new perspective from an inspiring former student who has given back so much to this university is something I have been looking forward to since the moment Mrs. Gibson accepted the invitation,” O’Beirne said. ”I have been lucky enough to meet Mrs. Kathleen Gibson twice now and she is this amazing former student. She has done so much for Texas A&M and it is so evident how much this honor to speak at the on-campus Muster ceremony has meant to her.”