Newsletter Issue 20, April 2021
From the Interim President
and Founding Director
After bringing fifty-two world class scholars to Texas A&M University in six years, the Hagler Institute’s External Advisory Board recommended we start a newsletter to honor the continuing achievements of Hagler Fellows. This newsletter also provides updates to the friends of the Institute. Now that we have brought 80 world-class scholars to Texas A&M, we are happy to report that we have achieved a milestone of sorts with this, our 20th Hagler Institute newsletter.
 
The newsletter continues to accomplish its intended purpose. In the first twenty editions we have presented news of activities and honors for 61 individual Fellows and six Distinguished Lecturers of the Hagler Institute. We presented the accomplishments of nine students who received graduate student fellowships from the Hagler Institute to collaborate with Hagler Fellows. In our tenth issue we began a new column, Hagler Heroes, in which we have provided information about special friends of the Institute, including those who have helped endow the Hagler Institute or Hagler Chairs within colleges. We have honored eight individuals to date. The newsletter has also featured some faculty members at Texas A&M who collaborated with Fellows, as well as some key administrative supporters.

I will be leaving the Interim President’s position at the end of the spring semester and handing the reigns to a very competent and wonderful choice for President of Texas A&M University, Dr. M. Katherine Banks. She is a first class, no nonsense type person, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a strong supporter of the Hagler Institute. In her work as Vice Chancellor of Engineering and National Laboratories and Dean of Engineering, she has already contributed greatly to the development of Texas A&M University. I invite you to learn more about this fantastic choice for president using the link below.
When Dr. Banks takes on the awesome responsibility of the president’s job, I will return my focus toward my scholarly pursuits and to leading the wonderful Hagler Institute into its tenth year of operation.
 Stay safe, and best wishes. 
Awakening a Sleeping Giant
A sleeping giant has awakened. The “sleeping giant” is Texas A&M University, and its awakening has jolted A&M onto a path toward becoming the greatest public university in America. Some might argue that the awakening has been occurring for many years, and there is truth in the constant progress. It has been said, however, that one does not remember years but remembers moments, and the same can be said of A&M’s awakening.

One of those key moments was A&M’s adoption of the idea for an advanced study institute devoted to bringing the world’s greatest scholars and leaders to Texas A&M for extended times in-residence. Another was Chancellor John Sharp’s funding of the early years of the Institute. And, a key moment was a $20 million endowment gift by Jon L. Hagler ’58 and his accompanying securement of commitments by then President Michael K. Young for a continuing base support from Texas A&M for the Institute. Hagler made permanent this “institute of excellence” for Texas A&M, and this institute is playing a treasured role in enhancing A&M’s upward trajectory of distinction.

Hagler’s gift was a seminal funding event for the Hagler Institute and for Texas A&M, that characterizes the generosity of A&M former students in the Texas A&M Foundation’s successful $4.25 billion Lead by Example campaign. Some of the impact of Hagler’s gift is the focus of the article “A Venue for Visionaries” in the 2021 winter issue of the Texas A&M Foundation’s Spirit Magazine.

About 20 percent of those celebrated visionaries brought to Texas A&M through the Hagler Institute joined A&M’s permanent faculty, and the article focuses on three such individuals at the very top of their fields: astronomer Dr. Robert Kennicutt, Jr.; materials scientist and engineer, Dr. Alan Needleman; and animal geneticist Dr. Leif AnderssonTheir backgrounds, interests and accomplishments are just a few of the great stories about the influence of the Hagler Institute on the awakened sleeping giant. We invite you to examine the article accessible through the provided link.
Hagler Fellow Updates
Henry Rousso
Hagler Fellow 2019-20

In our previous newsletter, we reported on the work of Dr. Henry Rousso, 2019-2020 Hagler Fellow, who is directing the team establishing the Memorial Museum of Societies Facing Terror in Paris, France. I guess we scooped The New York Times on this story! On March 30, 2021, that news outlet discussed the museum and Henry Rousso’s work in an
article titled “A Painful Project for France: A Museum on the Ravages of Terrorism."

France has historically been hit harder by terror than any other European country. Rousso’s work honors the victims of terror, but also depicts the perpetrators. This is not without controversy. Does this inclusion glorify the perpetrators? Rousso answers straightforwardly.
 
“It is a history museum,” he said. “When we do one on Nazism, we have to mention Himmler and Hitler.”
Hagler Fellows Collaborate with
Texas A&M During the Pandemic

The pandemic has disrupted the normal activities of the Hagler Institute, but none more so than those for the 2020-2021 Fellows, who have yet to visit the A&M campus. In order to encourage collaboration with these new Fellows, the Hagler Institute modified its policies. Before the pandemic, the Institute normally paid Fellows only for their time in residence. Due to the pandemic, the Hagler Institute informed the colleges that it will pay Fellows for long- distance work. This has helped several colleges to begin collaborative work with Fellows or compensate Fellows for work already underway.  
Previously we reported on the work with students and faculty by 2020-21 Fellow, Dr. Timothy A. Judge, who holds the chair established for the Mays Business School by Trisha and L.C. “Chaz” Neely, Jr. ’62.
In addition, we previously informed our readers about the Zoom presentation by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, with attendees in eighteen countries. Dr. Ladson-Billings continues her work via weekly meetings with faculty and students in the College of Education and Human Development. 
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University is organizing a webinar with four other universities for a presentation by Hagler Fellow Dr. Julia King, Professor Baroness Brown of Cambridge. The event will include 450 attendees in eight countries. Dr. King, who has participated in considerable virtual engagements with faculty and students at Texas A&M, will be presented to this large audience as a Fellow of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study. The topic of her presentation is Policies for Improving Coastal Resilience
The College of Medicine has participated in Zoom meetings several times a month with Dr. Andrew P. Feinberg, Hagler Fellow from Johns Hopkins University, to outline the collaborative research in which he will engage with A&M faculty and students. Dr. Feinberg has expressed interest in visiting A&M within the next couple of months.
Dr. Patricia Klein, Interim Head of the Texas A&M Department of Horticultural Sciences, reports faculty and students having extensive discussions by Zoom and telephone with Dr. James J. Giovannoni, 2020-2021 Hagler Fellow. Dr. Giovannoni was jointly nominated by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Science. He is supported by the Timothy C. Hall-Heep Foundation Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biology established to support Hagler Fellows in the field of Plant Biology.  Dr. Giovannoni is working with a graduate student who has received a Hagler Institute fellowship, and has invited the student to visit him at his laboratory once the pandemic allows.  It is not uncommon for an A&M graduate student to visit the home institution of a Hagler Fellow. 
Our Fellows from previous classes are also maintaining collaborations here at Texas A&M. For example, Dr. Peter J. Hotez, Hagler Fellow from the 2019-20 class and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, presented a webinar on April 7 on steps to prevent the next pandemic from occurring. Dr. Hotez is an internationally recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. The event, hosted by the Texas A&M School of Public Health was open to the public. 
The Hagler Institute is in operation during the pandemic, and all are looking forward to the eventual visits by the new Hagler Fellows.  
Wolfgang Schleich
Hagler Fellow 2013-14

Wolfgang Schleich, Chair-Professor of Theoretical Physics, Universitat Ulm, Germany, has received some prestigious honors in recent years. For example, we reported that Wolfgang was awarded the very prestigious Herbert Walther Prize by the American Optical Society and the German Physics Society for the year 2021.  In a letter dated February 2, 2021, Wolfgang was informed of his latest honor, an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Hanover in Germany. This award was promoted by that university’s faculty in mathematics and physics, and it is only the third time since World War II that this honor has been bestowed.
Although Wolfgang’s term as a Fellow of the Hagler Institute has long been over, he has consistently maintained strong relations with University Distinguished Professor Marlan Scully and his cohorts in the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering at Texas A&M. Marlan is a University Distinguished Professor, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a strong supporter of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study. The staff of the Hagler Institute is grateful to Marlan for nominating so many great physicists to be Hagler Fellows, and we send our hearty congratulations to Wolfgang Schleich for his latest honor and recognition as one of the world’s most renowned physicists. 
Evaluating the Hagler Fellow Experience
In April 2020, the Institute staff asked a group of Fellows about their experiences in the Hagler Institute. We wanted to learn what the Institute is “doing right” and to identify what can be improved.
 
They answered questions on a scale of one to five, with five being the “best” rating. The average score per question ranged from 4.1 to
4.9. If we arbitrarily divide the response range into 4.1-4.5 and 4.6- 4.9, with the first range indicating areas that could be improved, here is what we find.

The 4.9 ratings indicated that the scholars were honored to be chosen as a Hagler Fellow, and they would recommend the Hagler Institute to others. Averages of 4.8 signified an overall positive experience as a Fellow, that stipends were adequate, and that the Hagler staff was helpful to them. Ratings of 4.7 revealed that the Fellows engaged in productive research with both A&M faculty and students, and the 4.6 rating designated that they were welcomed and treated well by their host college. 

Ratings in the lower range showed that Fellows would appreciate more help with housing options and travel arrangements, and that Fellows desired more interaction with A&M faculty and more socialization with other Fellows.

In response, the Institute staff adopted new policies. Because housing is paid for by colleges, the Institute staff has been hesitant to influence housing choices, with the exception of special housing offered only to the Institute. Going forward, the Institute will work more closely with the colleges to identify housing options.

The Institute’s staff has developed better procedures to know when Fellows will be on campus. Once we learn when a Fellow is to arrive in town, an institute staff will meet the Fellow at the airport and ensure a pleasant arrival experience if a college host is not available. Moreover, the Institute will increase its sponsoring of social activities through arranging meetings and sponsoring luncheons and dinners. 
Hagler Fellows pictured at a social dinner in January 2019.
By providing more help on logistics and fostering more interaction among Fellows, the Hagler Institute can and will enhance the Fellow experience at Texas A&M. 
Hagler's Heroes:
Stephanie Sale and
James (Jim) M. Singleton IV ’66
Stephanie Sale and James (Jim) M. Singleton IV ’66 are advocates of the Hagler Institute, and they have been integrally involved in its activities for years. The Institute's External Advisory Board awarded Jim and Stephanie the inaugural Extraordinary Service Award on October 18, 2018.
 
One of the challenges Hagler Fellows face when coming to Texas A&M is a desirable place to stay. Jim and Stephanie frequently invite Hagler Fellows to spend time in their guest houses.
 
For years, Stephanie and Jim have also opened their home on the morning of the annual gala to help welcome the Fellows who will be officially inducted into the Institute that evening. Other guests are the Hagler Institute staff, Jon Hagler, and any other special participants in the gala. Stephanie and Jim provide a wonderful brunch and the first opportunity for each new group of Fellows to meet and mingle. This is an important gathering for the new Hagler Fellows, and the beginning of their identification as part of a select group of distinguished scholars collaborating at Texas A&M.
 
For their devotion to enhancing the experience of visiting Fellows, we hereby designate Stephanie Sale and Jim Singleton as Hagler Heroes.
If you have news to share, please send articles, suggestions, or other information to:
Dr. Clifford L. Fry, Associate Director
Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M University