Excellence uniting Culture, Education, and Leadership (ExCEL), a student organization and student success program, is an annual celebration of culture, education, and leadership. ExCEL has assisted thousands of incoming freshmen of various ethnic backgrounds in making a smooth transition to Texas A&M University by fostering a sense of community and camaraderie while promoting learning and development.
ExCEL began in 1984 as the I CARE Program based on a retention initiative sand later renamed the Minority Freshmen Orientation (MFO). In its first year, the program was comprised of 35 enthusiastic freshmen promoting the preservation of their cultural identities. These students had the opportunity to take advantage of workshops, motivational speakers, and information sessions, as well as learn about various student organizations at Texas A&M University. ExCEL has grown to include such aspects as peer discussion groups, peer-to-peer and faculty/staff mentoring, social identity development, as well as social networking and cultural showcases.
In addition to the I CARE, MFO, and ExCEL Conference, the name “ExCEL” has taken many forms throughout its existence, including workshop series, seminar, summer-bridge program and the current streamlined structure allowing participants to remain in one program beginning with the conference and continuing with workshops throughout their freshman year.
Throughout its history, ExCEL has continued to recognize the importance of the student’s need to identify with people having similar experiences in being a student at Texas A&M. Each year the staff of ExCEL introduces a new theme that provides a vision for the year, and continues the strong tradition of being familiarized with life and getting connected at Texas A&M University through ExCEL.