Two video games developed at the Texas A&M College of Architecture that help university students across the globe learn calculus and art history were among four select, high-impact academic and research initiatives showcased to 600 of the university’s top donors at the second annual Exploration Day, hosted by the Texas A&M Foundation.

“Exploration Day placed our donors at the center of some of the most cutting-edge and impactful initiatives on campus,” said Tyson Voelkel, foundation president. “We collaborated with campus leaders to create experiences that sparked donors’ curiosity, celebrated their impact, and built a stronger relationship between them and Texas A&M.”

At the College of Architecture’s presentation by André Thomas, visualization assistant professor of practice, attendees were introduced to “Variant: Limits,” a game that is helping college undergraduates succeed in introductory calculus, one of the toughest classes on a university campus.

They also got a glimpse of how Renaissance art was created by seeing Thomas’ demonstration of “ARTé Mecenas,” a game that supplements university art history classes.

Both games were developed by graduate and undergraduate students at the Department of Visualization’s Learning Interactive Visualizations Experience Lab, a one-of-a-kind program whose graduate and undergraduate students work with an interdisciplinary group of faculty to build high-end, educational video games.

“It was such an honor to meet and present to our donors at Texas A&M,” said Thomas, who heads the LIVE Lab. “Words can’t describe the gratitude I feel toward every single one of our donors, because they help our students and faculty and allow us to be one of the best universities in the world for students and researchers.”

Attendees at the March 5 event in the Kyle Field Hall of Champions were treated to four experiences from different disciplines, each showcasing the wide variety of programs and research initiatives that benefit from their contributions. This year’s event also included experiences hosted by the Bush School of Government and Public Service, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and the Texas A&M Maritime Academy.

“Exploration Day is a wonderful way for our most engaged donors to stay connected to the exciting things that are happening across our campus,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “It’s also an important way for us to express our gratitude for their steadfast support, which helps make these types of programs possible.”

After guests explored all four experiences, Young gave a keynote address during lunch in which he thanked donors for their support throughout the Lead by Example campaign, a $4 billion fundraising effort for the university that recently reached its $3.82 billion point. The campaign is the largest higher education campaign in Texas history and one of the largest conducted nationally by a public university.

For more information, contact rnira@arch.tamu.edu or doswald@tamu.edu.

Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aspires to be among the most trusted philanthropies in higher education. It builds a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time. To learn more, visit txamfoundation.com.

Lead by Example Campaign

Launched in 2015, Texas A&M University’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign, Lead by Example, is a joint effort between Texas A&M and its affiliate fundraising organizations: the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George and Barbara Bush Foundation. With a goal of reaching $4 billion by 2020, it is the largest higher education campaign in Texas history and one of the largest conducted nationally by a public university. For more information, visit leadbyexample.tamu.edu.