"In November 2005, God began to lay on my heart the idea of establishing a freshman leadership conference, named after and inspired by David and his faithful legacy of leadership and service."
Rachel Toppert, a founding member of GLC, and Director
David Ramey Gilbert, the namesake of the conference, was born and raised in Arlington, Texas. He entered Texas A&M University in the fall of 2003 as a business major. As soon as David stepped onto campus, he made it his mission to get involved and impact the students and people around him. He joined the Student Government Association by getting involved in the Freshman Leadership Organization, Fish Aides, and the High School Leadership Conference.
The summer after his freshman year, David worked at a summer camp in Missouri. That June, at the age of 19, David was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and subsequently began his battle with cancer. He began chemotherapy and radiation treatments to fight the cancer, and in December 2004 he officially entered remission.
He returned to A&M in the spring of 2005. During a routine checkup halfway through the spring semester, the doctors found the cancer had returned. He began an intense chemo schedule at M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas. David lost his battle with cancer, after spending two weeks in intensive care, on June 16, 2005.
David left a legacy of service. From the time he stepped foot onto Texas A&M's campus his freshman year he began to get involved and loved serving in Student Government Association. GLC was established in honor of David and was designed to create an environment where freshmen could develop themselves as leaders, network and interact with one another, and understand the leadership opportunities that are available to them during their time at A&M. David was a great leader because he embodied character, service, and involvement, and these have become the pillars of the conference. Gilbert Leadership Conference was started not just to honor David but to also encourage the next Generation of Aggies to develop themselves as leaders.