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Texas A&M University

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Coordinates: 30°36′37″N 96°20′37″W / 30.61028°N 96.34361°W / 30.61028; -96.34361

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University seal.svg
Former names
Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (1871–1963)[1]
TypePublic Flagship land-grant Senior military college
Established1876[2][Note 1]
Parent institution
Texas A&M University System
Academic affiliations
Endowment$13.5 billion system-wide (2019)
PresidentKatherine Banks
ProvostMark Weichold (interim)[4]
Academic staff
4,900[5]
Students69,465 (Fall 2019)[6]
Undergraduates54,476 (Fall 2019)[6]
Postgraduates14,989 (Fall 2019)[6]
5,097 (Fall 2019)[6]
Location, ,
United States[Note 2]
CampusCollege town, 5,500 acres (20 km2)[7]
ColorsMaroon and White
   
AthleticsNCAA Division ISEC
NicknameAggies
MascotReveille X
Websitewww.tamu.edu
Texas A&M University wordmark.svg

Texas A&M University (Texas A&M, A&M, or TAMU) is a public land-grant research university in College Station, Texas. It was founded in 1876 and became the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System in 1948. As of 2020, Texas A&M's student body is the second largest in the United States.[8][9] Texas A&M is the only university in Texas to hold simultaneous designations as a land, sea, and space grant institution. It has projects funded by organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2001, Texas A&M was inducted as a member of the Association of American Universities. The school's students, alumni and sports teams are known as Aggies. The Texas A&M Aggies athletes compete in 18 varsity sports as a member of the Southeastern Conference.

The first public institution of higher education in Texas, the school opened for classes on October 4, 1876,[10] as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (A.M.C.) under the provisions of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts. It is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".[11] Originally, the college taught no classes in agriculture, instead concentrating on classical studies, languages, literature, and applied mathematics. After four years, students could attain degrees in scientific agriculture, civil and mechanical engineering, and language and literature.[12] Under the leadership of President James Earl Rudder in the 1960s, A.M.C. desegregated, became coeducational, and dropped the requirement for participation in the Corps of Cadets. To reflect the institution's expanded roles and academic offerings, the Texas Legislature renamed the school to Texas A&M University in 1963. The letters "A&M", originally A.M.C. and short for "Agricultural and Mechanical College", are retained as a link to the university's tradition.

The main campus is one of the ten largest in the United States, spanning 5,200 acres (21 km2),[2][13][14] and is home to the George Bush Presidential Library. About one-fifth of the student body lives on campus. Texas A&M has more than 1,000 officially recognized student organizations. Many students also observe the traditions, which govern daily life, as well as special occasions, including sports events. Working with various A&M-related agencies, the school has a direct presence in each of the 254 counties in Texas. The university offers degrees in more than 150 courses of study through ten colleges and houses 18 research institutes. As a Senior Military College, Texas A&M is one of six American public universities with a full-time, volunteer Corps of Cadets who study alongside civilian undergraduate students.[15]

History[edit]

A large domed building overlooks a full-length statue of balding male with a mustache and long goatee and wearing a knee-length coat. The pedestal is engraved "Lawrence Sullivan Ross".
Statue of Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross located in front of the Academic Building
It shows, left to right, Ross Hall, Old Main, and Foster Hall.
Texas A&M in 1902

Beginning years[edit]

In 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the Morrill Act, which auctioned land grants of public lands to establish endowments for colleges where the "leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and mechanical arts... to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life".[16] In 1871, the Texas Legislature used these funds to establish the state's first public institution of higher education,[17] the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, then known as Texas A.M.C.[16] Brazos County donated 2,416 acres (10 km2) near Bryan, Texas, for the school's campus.[16] From its beginning until the late 1920s, the students were officially nicknamed "Farmers", but the nickname "Aggies" (a common nickname for students at schools focused heavily on agriculture) gained favor and became the official student body nickname in 1949.[2][18][19]

The first day of classes was slated for October 2, 1876, but only six students enrolled on the first day, and classes were delayed and officially began on October 4, 1876, with six faculty members and forty students.[20] During the first semester, enrollment increased to 48 students, and by the end of the spring 1877 semester, 106 students had enrolled. Admission was limited to males, and all students were required to participate in the Corps of Cadets and receive military training.[21] Enrollment climbed to 258 students before declining to 108 students in 1883, the year the University of Texas opened in Austin, Texas.[22] Although originally envisioned and annotated in the Texas Constitution as a branch of the University of Texas, Texas A.M.C. had a separate Board of Directors from the University of Texas and was never enveloped into the University of Texas System.[16]

In the late 1880s, many Texas residents did not see a need for two colleges in Texas and advocated for the elimination of Texas A.M.C. In 1891, Texas A.M.C. was saved from potential closure by its new president Lawrence Sullivan Ross (also known as Sul Ross or "Sully"), former governor of Texas and well-respected Confederate Brigadier General. Ross made many improvements to the school, like adding running water and permanent dormitories, and enrollment doubled to 467 cadets as parents sent their sons to Texas A.M.C. "to learn to be like Ross".[23] During his tenure, many Aggie traditions were born, including the creation of the first Aggie Ring.[23] After his death in 1898, a statue was erected in front of what is now Academic Plaza to honor Ross and his achievements in the history of the school.[23]

Under pressure from the legislature, in 1911 the school began allowing women to attend classes during the summer semester.[24] A.M.C. also expanded its academic pursuits with the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1915.[16]

World Wars era[edit]

Many Texas A&M graduates served during World War I and by 1918, 49% of all graduates of the college were in military service, more than any other school.[16] In early September 1918, the entire senior class enlisted, with plans to send the younger students at staggered dates throughout the next year. Many of the seniors were fighting in France when the war ended two months later.[25] More than 1,200 alumni served as commissioned officers. After the war, Texas A&M grew rapidly and became nationally recognized for its programs in agriculture, engineering, and military science.[16] The first graduate school was organized in 1924 and the school awarded its first PhD in 1940.[16] In 1925, Mary Evelyn Crawford Locke became the first female to receive a diploma from Texas A&M, although she was not allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony.[26] The following month the Board of Directors officially prohibited all women from enrolling.[24]

Many Aggies again served in the military during World War II, with the college producing 20,229 combat troops. Of those, 14,123 Aggies served as officers, more than any other school and more than the combined total of the United States Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy.[27][28] During the war, 29 A&M graduates reached the rank of general.[16]

At the start of World War II, Texas A&M was selected as one of six engineering colleges to participate in the Electronics Training Program, a program to train Navy personnel to maintain the newly created radar systems. These colleges provided the Primary School, wherein the key topics of the first two years of a college electrical engineering curriculum were condensed into three months. The instructional effort at College Station was developed and led by Frank Bolton, EE department head and future Texas A&M president. At a given time, some 500 Navy students were on the campus, a significant fraction of the then-years enrollment. Students graduating from the Primary Schools then went to a secondary school, one of which was at Ward Island, Texas (the future location of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi).[29]

Enrollment soared after the war as many former soldiers used the G.I. Bill to fund their education.[30] In 1948, the state legislature formally recognized Texas A&M as a separate university system from the University of Texas System, codifying the de facto arrangement between the schools.[31]

University era[edit]

The exterior of a tan building with steps in the foreground and an oak tree above a retaining wall on the left between them
Texas A&M University Chemistry Plaza

On July 1, 1959, Major General James Earl Rudder, class of 1932, became the 16th president of the college.[32][33] Rudder's tenure (1959–1970) marked a critical turning point in the school's history. With the backing of State Senator William T. "Bill" Moore, also known as "the Bull of the Brazos" and "the father of the modern Texas A&M University,"[34] in 1963, the 58th Legislature of Texas approved Rudder's proposal for a substantial expansion in its physical plant construction, diversifying and expanding its student body by admitting women and minorities and making membership in the Corps of Cadets voluntary. The legislature also officially renamed the school "Texas A&M University,"[35] specifying that the "A" and the "M" were purely symbolic, reflecting the school's past, and no longer stood for "Agricultural and Mechanical".[16]

By his death in 1970, Rudder had overseen the growth of the school from 7,500 to 14,000 students from all 50 states and 75 nations.[35][36]

Above the doorway of a large, relatively plain rectangular structure with a short dome are the words "George Bush Library." In front of the building is a circular courtyard with a water fountain; eight American flags are positioned evenly around the circle.
George Bush Presidential Library

In the following 35 years, Texas A&M more than tripled its enrollment from 14,000 students to more than 45,000.[14] Texas A&M became one of the first four universities given the designation sea-grant for its achievements in oceanography and marine resources development in 1971. In 1989, the university earned the title space-grant by NASA, to recognize its commitment to space research and participation in the Texas Space Grant Consortium.[37] In 1997, the school became the home of the George Bush Presidential Library, one of thirteen American presidential libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration.[38][39] Former President George Bush remained actively involved with the university, frequently visiting the campus and participating in special events until his death and burial on school grounds in 2018.[40]

On November 18, 1999, the Aggie Bonfire, a ninety-year-old student tradition, collapsed during construction. Eleven enrolled students and one former student died and twenty-seven others were injured. The accident was later attributed to improper design and poor construction practices.[41] The victims' family members filed six lawsuits against Texas A&M officials, the Aggie Bonfire officials and the university. Half of the defendants settled their portion of the case in 2005,[42] and a federal appeals court dismissed the remaining lawsuits against the university in 2007.[43]

With strong support from Rice University and the University of Texas, the Association of American Universities inducted Texas A&M in May 2001, on the basis of the depth of the university's research and academic programs.[44] Texas A&M left the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference on July 1, 2012.[45]

The university underwent several large expansions in 2013. On July 12, 2013, Texas A&M Health Science Center was formally merged into the university.[46] On August 12, 2013, the university purchased the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and renamed it the Texas A&M School of Law.[47][48]

In 2017, the status of the statue of Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross was in question after other schools removed statues of former Confederate officers. The Texas A&M Chancellor and President announced the Sul Ross statue would remain on the campus as it was not based upon his service in the Confederate Army.[49][50][51] Amidst the Black Lives Matter movement and vandalism of the statue, attempts in 2020 by a small group of students and activists to secure its removal were blunted by the administration, other students, counter protestors, and alumni[52][53][54] and the school confirmed that removal of the statue would require Texas Congressional approval.[55]

Academics[edit]

TAMU college/school/center founding[56]
College/school/center Year founded

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 1911
College of Architecture 1905
Bush School of Government and Public Service 1997
Mays Business School 1961
College of Education and Human Development 1969
College of Engineering 1880
College of Geosciences 1949
Health Science Center 2013
School of Law 2013
College of Liberal Arts 1924
College of Science 1966
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences 1916

Administration and organization[edit]

Texas A&M is part of the Texas A&M University System, composed of eleven universities, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus. The system is governed by a ten-member Board of Regents, nine appointed by the governor to 6-year terms and one non-voting Student Regent appointed to a one-year term. Answerable to the Board of Regents, the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System is responsible for daily operations.[57][58][59]

The university itself is led by the University President, who has executive responsibility. This individual is selected by and reports to the Chancellor. The Provost is responsibile for all educational and service activities of the university and reports to the president. The Cabinet, as the administrative arm of the school, and the Deans of the respective colleges also report to the president.[57][58]

Student body[edit]

In the fall of 2021 semester, Texas A&M was the largest public American university with an enrollment of 72,982 students[60] pursuing degrees in 10 academic colleges. Another 5,165 are at the branch campuses in Galveston, Qatar, and other locations across Texas. The student body includes students from all 50 US states and 124 foreign countries. As of the fall of 2018, Texas residents account for 85.00% of the student population, while 8.74% are of international origin. Members of ethnic minority groups make up 45.26% of the student population. The student body consists of 46.8% women and 53.2% men.[61]

The university consistently ranks among the top ten public universities each year in enrollment of National Merit scholars.[62] According to the College Board, the fall 2008 entering freshman class consisted of 54% students in the top 10% of their high school graduating class, 86% in the top quarter, and 99% in the top half.[63] Of these students, 74% took the SAT. The middle 50% of the freshmen had average scores as follows: in critical reading, 520–630, math, 560–670, and in writing 500–610. Out of the incoming freshmen, 26% took the ACT, with the middle 50% scoring between a 23 and 29.[64] About 80% of the student body receives about $420 million in financial aid annually.[65] The admission rate for students who applied as undergraduates in 2020 was 63%.[66] The school is rated as "selective" by US News & World Report.[67]

The head and shoulders of three people – an older man, an older woman, and a middle-aged man – wearing formal robes are shown in front of a large circular seal. On the outer edges of the seal the letters "XAS A...IVERSITY...87..." are visible; an inner band of leaves separates the letters from a block T superimposed with a star.
Then-President George W. Bush smiles with his parents, former President George H. W. Bush, left, and former First Lady Barbara Bush following his commencement address at Texas A&M's December 2008 convocation.

In the fall 2008 semester, the Dwight Look College of Engineering had the largest enrollment of 20.5%. The College of Liberal Arts and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences followed, enrolling 15% and 14% of the student body, respectively. The College of Education and Human Development enrolls 12%, and Mays Business School enrolled about 11%. Colleges with less than 10% enrollment included the College of Architecture, the College of Science, the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, the College of Geosciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Approximately 8% of the student body had not declared a major.[68]

Rankings[edit]

Academic rankings
National
ARWU[69] 57–62
Forbes[70] 50
THE/WSJ[71] 83
U.S. News & World Report[72] 68
Washington Monthly[73] 21
Global
ARWU[74] 151–200
QS[75] 168
THE[76] 193
U.S. News & World Report[77] 130

In a comparison of educational quality, faculty quality, and research output, Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranked Texas A&M 57th nationally and 151st internationally in its 2021 rankings.[78] In its 2021–2022 rankings, The Times Higher Education Supplement listed Texas A&M 61st among North America's universities, and 193rd among world universities.[79] The 2021–2022 QS World University Rankings[80] ranked the university 168th overall in the world. In its 2022 edition, the Center for World University Rankings ranked Texas A&M as the 74th university globally and 41st university nationally.[81] In the 2022 edition of the U.S. News and World Report ranking of "national universities", the school was ranked 68th nationally and 130th globally.[82][83]

According to The Washington Monthly criteria, which weighs research, community service, and social mobility, Texas A&M ranked 21st nationally in 2021.[84] In 2021 Forbes ranked the school as the 17th best public university in the country and 50th overall.[85] After conducting a survey of leading employment recruiters, The Wall Street Journal ranked Texas A&M 2nd nationally, as "most likely to help students land a job in key careers and professions" and the 83rd best college overall.[86][87]

As of 2017, according to Best Value Schools,[88] Texas A&M ranked number one in the nation for the best college for veterans, as ranked by return on investment. Texas A&M is also ranked number two for veterans in USA Today[89] and number nine for "business schools for veterans" by the Military Times.[90]

Endowment[edit]

Branches of a large oak tree shade a sidewalk
The Michel T. Halbouty Geosciences Building houses the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

The Texas A&M University System has an endowment valued at more than $12.6 billion, second among U.S. public universities and seventh overall.[91][92] Apart from revenue received from tuition and research grants, the university, as part of the university system, is partially funded from two endowments. The smaller endowment, totaling $1.17 billion in assets, is run by the private Texas A&M Foundation.[93] A larger sum is distributed from the Texas Permanent University Fund (PUF). The system holds a one-third stake in this fund. As of 2021, the PUF ending net asset value stood at approximately $30 billion.[94][95] Combined, the total endowment stands at $13.5 billion system-wide, as of 2019.[93][96] Endowment assets dedicated solely to the College Station campus (as of 2015) are $259.9 million.[97]

Research[edit]

a sprawling oak tree with branches arching all the way to the ground over a sidewalk containing a bench
The Century Tree, a famous campus landmark and subject to several traditions

Texas A&M has an extensive Research program in various academic, scientific, and commercial fields and, as of 2017, ranked 19th nationally in R&D spending with total expenditure of $905.5 million.[98] Concentrated in two primary areas, Research Valley and Research Park, the school has over 11,750 acres (50 km2) with 3,000,000 square feet (279,000 m2) of dedicated research space.[99] The school is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".[11] Among the school's research entities are the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine, the Texas Transportation Institute, the Cyclotron Institute, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, and the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology.[100] Texas A&M University is a member of the SEC Academic Consortium.[101]

Texas A&M works with both state and university agencies on various local and international research projects to forge innovations in science and technology that can have commercial applications. The Texas A&M University System, in 2006, was the first to explicitly state in its policy that technology commercialization was a criterion that could be used for tenure. Passage of this policy was intended to give faculty more academic freedom and strengthen the university's industry partnerships.[102][103] The efforts of system-wide faculty and research departments have yielded millions of dollars for the school in royalty-bearing license agreements through more than 900 patents and 1500 patent applications relating to a portfolio of 2600+ inventions. On average, Texas A&M files a patent every week and closes a license agreement every other week.[104][105]

Texas A&M has led the world in several fields of cloning research. Spearheaded by the College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M scientists created the first cloned pet, a cat named 'cc', on December 22, 2001.[106] Texas A&M was also the first academic institution to clone six different species: cattle, a Boer goat, pigs, a cat, a deer and a horse.[107] In 2016, the university was targeted by animal rights group PETA, who alleged abusive experiments on dogs. Texas A&M responded that a video had been posted by PETA with insufficient context, and it said that the dogs had a genetic condition that also affects humans — Duchenne muscular dystrophy — for which there is no cure. "The dogs — who are already affected by this disease — are treated with the utmost respect and exceptional care on site by board-certified veterinarians and highly trained staff. The care team is further subject to scientific oversight by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, among other regulatory bodies."[108][109]

The university is also engaged in significant scientific/exploration projects. In 2004, Texas A&M joined a consortium of universities and countries to build the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile.[110][111] Construction began in November 2015 and, when completed (scheduled 2025), it will be the largest optical telescope ever constructed with has seven mirrors, each with a diameter of 8.4 meters (9.2 yd), the equivalent of a 24.5 meters (26.8 yd) primary mirror and ten times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope.[112][113] As part of a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, Texas A&M completed the first conversion of a nuclear research reactor from using highly enriched uranium fuel (70%) to utilizing low-enriched uranium (20%). The eighteen-month project ended on October 13, 2006, after the first ever refueling of the reactor, thus fulfilling a portion of the United States' Global Nuclear Threat Reduction Initiative.[114] In 2013, TAMU geographic researchers named the largest volcano on Earth, Tamu Massif, after the university.[115]

Worldwide[edit]

Four people standing behind a flag each holding their thumb in the air
Two professors, a graduate, and an undergraduate student at the TAMUQ branch campus

Texas A&M has participated in more than 500 research projects in more than 80 countries and leads the Southwestern United States in annual research expenditures. The university conducts research on every continent and has formal research and exchange agreements with 100 institutions in 40 countries.[116] Among these agreements and facilities of international cooperation, Texas A&M owns three international based facilities, a multipurpose center in Mexico City, the Soltis Research and Education Center near the town of San Isidro, Costa Rica, and the Santa Chiara Study Abroad Center in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy.[117][118] In the 2018 school year, over 5,600 Aggie students, primarily undergraduates, studied abroad in 110 countries.[119] Marine research occurs on the university's branch campus, Texas A&M University at Galveston.[120] It also has collaborations with international facilities such as the Hacienda Santa Clara in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.[121][122]

Texas A&M's Center for International Business Studies is one of 28 supported by the U.S. Department of Education.[123] The university is also one of only two American universities in partnership with CONACyT, Mexico's equivalent of the National Science Foundation, to support research in areas including biotechnology, telecommunications, energy, and urban development.[124] In addition, the university is the home of "Las Americas Digital Research Network", an online architecture network for 26 universities in 12 nations, primarily in Central and South America.[125]

Texas A&M has a campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar. The campus is part of Qatar's "massive venture to import elite higher education from the United States".[126] TAMUQ was set up through an agreement between Texas A&M and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, a foundation started in 1995 by then-emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his wife and mother of the current emir, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. TAMUQ was opened in 2003, and the current contract extends through 2023.[127] The campus offers undergraduate degrees in chemical, electrical, mechanical and petroleum engineering and a graduate degree in chemical engineering. TAMUQ has received numerous awards for its research.[128] Texas A&M receives $76.2 million per year from the Qatar Foundation for the campus. In the agreement with the Qatar Foundation, TAMU agreed that 70% of its undergraduate population at its Qatar campus would be Qatari citizens.[126] The curriculum aims to "duplicate as closely as possible" the curriculum at College Station, but questions constantly arise over whether this is possible due to Qatar's strict stance on some of the freedoms granted to U.S. students.[128][129] TAMU has also been the subject of criticism over its Qatari campus due to Qatar's alleged ties to Islamic terrorism and human rights record.[130][131] In 2016, Texas A&M Aggie Conservatives, a campus activism group, spoke out against the campus and called for its immediate closure on the grounds that it violated a commitment to educating Texans and diminished the credibility of engineering degrees earned by students at College Station.[132][133]

In 2013, Texas A&M signed an agreement to open a $200 million campus in Nazareth, Israel as a "peace campus" for Arabs and Israelis.[134] The agreement led to protests from students at the Qatari campus who claimed that it was "an insult to [their] people".[131][135] The campus was never opened. Instead, Texas A&M opened a $6 million marine biology center in Haifa, Israel.[136]

Campus[edit]

a skyline view of the Texas A&M campus. Dozens of buildings are visible including one that is domed
A view of the main campus, looking north from Kyle Field. At the center is the Academic Building with its copper dome

Texas A&M's College Station campus, one of the ten largest in the country,[13] spans 5,200 acres (21 km2) plus 350 acres (1 km2) for Research Park.[2][14] The university is part of the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area located within Brazos County in the Brazos Valley (Southeast Central Texas) region, an area often referred to as "Aggieland".[137] Aggieland is centrally located within 200 miles (320 km) of 3 of the 10 largest cities in the US and 75% of the Texas and Louisiana populations (approximately 13 million people). The area's major roadway is State Highway 6, and several smaller state highways and Farm to Market Roads connect the area to larger highways such as Interstate 45.[138]

The campus is bisected by a railroad track operated by Union Pacific.[139] The area east of the tracks, known as main campus, includes buildings for the colleges of engineering, architecture, geosciences, science, education and liberal arts. Dormitories, as well as the main dining centers and many campus support facilities, are also on the main campus. Notable buildings on main campus include Kyle Field, Sterling C. Evans Library, the Academic Building, Harrington Hall, the Memorial Student Center, the Administration Building, Rudder Tower, Albritton Bell Tower, and the Bonfire Memorial.[140] To the west of the railroad tracks lies West Campus, which includes most of the sports facilities, the business school, agricultural programs, life sciences, the veterinary college, the political science and economics school, the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, the George Bush Presidential Library and two schools within the Texas A&M Health Science Center.[141]

Outside the main campus, the institution formally includes three branch campuses: Texas A&M University at Galveston in Galveston, Texas, devoted to marine research and host to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen in McAllen, Texas, devoted to Engineering, Biomedical Science, Public Health, and Food Systems Industry Management,[120] and Texas A&M at Qatar located in Education City in Doha, Qatar devoted to engineering disciplines,[142] All degrees at the Qatar campus are granted by the university's Dwight Look College of Engineering.[143]

A five story, tan building behind a street and sidewalk.
Zachry Engineering Education Complex

The Health Science Center, maintains several campuses away from main campus. The university maintains a presence in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. The College of Dentistry is located in Dallas, Texas. The health science center also maintains a presence in Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Lufkin, McAllen, Round Rock, and Temple.[144] The Texas A&M School of Law, formerly the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, is located in Fort Worth, Texas.[47][48] Texas A&M maintained the RELLIS campus formerly, Texas A&M Riverside Campus or Bryan Air Force Base. This campus was transferred from the university to become a separate entity within the Texas A&M University System in September 2015.[145]

Student life[edit]

Residential life[edit]

A neoclassical building with columns in front of a water tower sporting the greeting, "Welcome to Aggieland"
Sbisa Dining Hall and central utility plant water tower sporting the greeting, "Welcome to Aggieland"

As of 2021, approximately 23% of the student body lived on campus, primarily in one of two distinct housing sections located on opposite ends of campus.[146][147] Both the Northside and Southside areas contain student residence halls. While some halls are single-sex, most are co-educational.[148] Several halls include a "substance-free" floor, where residents pledge to avoid bringing alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes into the hall.[149]

Northside consists of seventeen student residence halls, including the three university honors halls.[150] Approximately half of the residence halls located on Southside are reserved for members of the Corps of Cadets.[151] Southside has two Learning Living Communities, which allow freshmen to live in a cluster with other students who share common interests.[152] The school also has four major Apartment Building complexes for both staff and students both on and adjacent to the campus.[153][154]

Facilities for the Corps of Cadets are located in the Quadrangle, or "The Quad", an area consisting of dormitories, Duncan Dining Hall, and the Corps training fields.[155] The Corps Arches, a series of 12 arches that "[symbolize] the spirit of the 12th Man of Texas A&M", mark the entrance to the Quadrangle.[156] All cadets, except those who are married or who have had previous military service, must live in the Quad with assigned roommates from the same unit and graduating class. Reveille, the Aggie mascot, lives with her handlers in the Corps in the Quad.[157]

Corps of Cadets[edit]

Row of students in uniform with calf-length boots. Each holds a bugle that dangles a pennant.
The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band's Bugle Rank leads the band at halftime at a football game.

Texas A&M is one of six United States Senior Military Colleges. The school's Corps of Cadets (or the Corps) is one of the largest uniformed student bodies outside the service academies. Many members participate in ROTC programs and earn commissions in the United States Armed Forces upon graduation. Members of the Corps have served in every armed conflict fought by the United States since 1876. There were 20,229 Aggies who served in World War II, and of these, 14,123 served as officers. Since 1876, 225 Aggies have served as generals or Flag Officers.[15]

Until 1965, Corps membership was mandatory. The Corps welcomed female members in the fall of 1974,[158]. As of 2018, the co-ed Corps boasted an enrollment of 2500 cadets.[159]

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates standing with 5 other people in uniform; all are giving a thumbs up gesture
Robert Gates and senior cadets from the Corps of Cadets give the "gig 'em" sign at the Pentagon

The Corps is composed of three Air Force Wings, three Army Brigades, three Navy and Marine Regiments, as well as the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, whose members may be affiliated with any military branch.[160] Parson's Mounted Cavalry is the only mounted ROTC unit in the United States.[161] The Ross Volunteer Company, the oldest student-run organization in the state, is the official honor guard for the Governor of Texas.[162] The Fish Drill Team, a precision, close-order rifle drill team composed entirely of Corps freshmen, represents the school in local and national competitions. They have won the national championship almost every year since their creation in 1946, and have appeared in several Hollywood productions, with prominent roles in the movies A Few Good Men and Courage Under Fire.[163]

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, the world's largest precision military marching band, provides music for University functions and presents halftime performances at football games.[164] Some band drills are so complicated that they require band members to step between each other's feet to complete the maneuvers.[165] These drills must be drawn by hand as computer marching programs return errors without disabling safety features; their calculations require two people to be in the same spot at the same time.[166] Corps of Cadets membership is a requirement to join the Aggie Band, and bandsmen live by the same standards, schedules, and regimens as the rest of the Corps.[167]

Activities[edit]

28 people standing on risers are signing while wearing white military-style uniforms
The Texas A&M University Singing Cadets

Texas A&M has over 1,000 student organizations, including academic, service, religious, Greek and common interest organizations.[168] Texas A&M is home to 58 nationally or internationally recognized Greek letter organizations. About 10% of the undergraduate population is affiliated with a Greek fraternity or sorority.[169][170]

One of the oldest student organizations is the Singing Cadets, founded in 1893. The Singing Cadets are an all-male choral group with about 70 members not affiliated with the Corps of Cadets.[171] Texas A&M Hillel, the oldest Hillel organization in the United States, was founded in 1920 at the original college.[172][173] Since 1955, the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs has held conferences, lectures, and other programs to discuss national and international issues with speakers.[174][175][176] GLBT Aggies is the descendant organization of Gay Student Services (GSS), the only student organization to successfully sue the institution for official recognition.[177] In the decision Gay Student Services v. Texas A&M University, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the First Amendment required public universities to recognize student organizations aimed at gay students.[178] The Department of Recreational Sports provides athletic activities to the school community. Facilities include the Student Recreation Center, a natatorium; the Penberthy Rec Sports Complex; and the Omar Smith Instructional Tennis Center.[179]

A 3 story, tan building behind a street and plaza with a circular walking area
The Student Rec Center

The Student Government Association (SGA), one of A&M's largest organizations, consists of over 1,300 student members in 3 branches, 15 committees, and 4 commissions.[180] The Graduate Student Council, founded in 1995, serves as the student government for Texas A&M University's graduate and professional students.[181]

Aggie students founded the largest one-day student-run service project in America known as The Big Event. The annual service project allows students to give back to their community by assisting local residents.[182] The organization CARPOOL, a student-run, safe ride program has provided over 250,000 free rides (as of 2016) to Aggies unable to transport themselves home. Its organizers also assist other universities in establishing similar programs.[183][184]

Media[edit]

The school newspaper, The Battalion, has been in production since 1893.[185] The Aggieland, formerly known as The Olio and The Longhorn, is one of America's largest college yearbooks in number of pages and copies sold.[186][187] The university houses the public broadcasting stations: KAMU-TV, a PBS member station since 1970, KAMU-FM an NPR affiliate since 1977,[188] and the student-run KANM, "the college station of College Station".[189] W5AC broadcast the first live, play-by-play broadcast of a college football game, at Kyle Field, in November 1921.[190]

Traditions[edit]

Close-up of gold ring. On the top, the words Texas A&M University 1876 encircle an eagle atop a shield over the numbers 0 and 4. The left side contains a large star and an oak. The right shows a cannon, saber, and rifle with the crossed flags of the United States and Texas.
Aggie Ring for the class of 2004

The Texas A&M culture is a product of the university's founding as a rural military and agricultural school. Although the school and surrounding community have grown, and military training is no longer required, the school's history has instilled in students "the idealized elements of a small-town life: community, tradition, loyalty, optimism, and unabashed sentimentality."[191] Texas Monthly posits that Texas A&M students' respect for school traditions and values is the university's greatest strength.[192] These traditions enable and encourage students and alumni to cultivate the Aggie Spirit, a strong sense of loyalty and respect for the school.[193] They dictate many aspects of student life, including how to greet others (using the official school greeting of "Howdy!"),[194] how to act at an A&M sporting event, and what words a student may use in conversation.[195]

A visible designation tradition among senior undergraduates, graduate students nearing the end of their program, and former students is wearing the Aggie Ring, whose design has been relatively unchanged since its introduction in 1894.[196][197] Although unsanctioned by the university, many students "dunk" their newly acquired Aggie Rings into a pitcher of beer, ice cream, or nonalcoholic beverage and consume the substance to obtain a feeling that they have earned the ring.[198]

21 cadets in white uniforms perform a salute with a rifle
The Ross Volunteers perform a rifleman's salute as candles are lit for the deceased at the 2007 Aggie Muster at Reed Arena

Aggies have created two traditions to honor former students of the university who have died. Aggie Muster is held annually on April 21, the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, to honor students and alumni who died the previous year. Over 300 Musters are held around the world, with the largest taking place at Reed Arena on the Texas A&M University campus.[199] All Muster ceremonies feature the Roll Call for the Absent. As the names of the deceased Aggies are called, a family member or friend answers "Here" and lights a candle, to symbolize that although their loved one is not present in body, his or her spirit will shine forever.[200][201] The event received worldwide attention during World War II, when 25 Aggies "mustered" during the battle for the island of Corregidor.[202]

Students who die while enrolled at Texas A&M are honored at Silver Taps. The ceremony is held, when necessary, on the first Tuesday of the month. This tradition began as a memorial for former Texas A&M president Lawrence Sullivan Ross.[203] On the day of the ceremony, flags fly half-staff and notices are posted throughout campus. At 10:15 pm the lights around campus are extinguished and hymns chime from Albritton Tower while students and faculty gather in the Academic Plaza. Following a 21-gun salute by the Ross Volunteer Firing Squad, six buglers play an A&M version of the song Taps, called Silver Taps, from the dome of the school's Academic Building. The song is played three times towards the north, the south and to the west. The song is not played to the east symbolizing that the sun will never rise on that Aggie again.[201]

Sports[edit]

Large flames engulf the top layer of a circular three-tier structure of logs; the logs are vertical to the ground.
The 2007 Student Bonfire

Aggie students are called the 12th Man, meaning in the context of football that the students support the 11 players on the field and would be willing, if it were possible, to enter the game if necessary. To symbolize their "readiness, desire, and enthusiasm", it is traditional for students in attendance to stand throughout the sports game.[204] The tradition to stand began on January 2, 1922, at the Dixie Classic where A&M played Centre College. A&M had so many injuries that Coach Dana X. Bible feared he would not have enough men to finish the game. He called into the stands for E. King Gill, a reserve who had left football after the regular season to play basketball, to prepare to play in the game. A&M won 22–14, but E. King Gill was the only player left available on the sidelines for the Aggies.[205] In recent decades, the 12th Man is represented on the field by a walk-on player who wears the No. 12 jersey and participates in kick-offs.[206]

The 12th Man uses a variety of school yells, rather than cheers, to support Aggie teams. Each year the student body elects five students to serve as the Yell Leaders.[207] At midnight before each home football game at Kyle Field, or at a predesignated location at away games, the fans gather together to practice the yells for the next day's game at an event called Midnight Yell Practice.[194][208] Led by the Yell Leaders and the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, the 12th Man file practice yells, sing the War Hymn, joke about their opponents, and practice celebrating.[208][209] Sports Illustrated named Midnight Yell as one of the "100 Things You Gotta Do Before You Graduate".[210]

Almost every year since 1909, A&M students have built a large bonfire to celebrate their rivalry with the University of Texas.[211] Aggie Bonfire was traditionally lit around Thanksgiving in conjunction with the festivities surrounding the annual college football game between the schools.[212] Although it began as a trash pile,[213] Aggie Bonfire evolved into a massive six-tiered structure eventually achieving a then-world-record height for a bonfire of 109 feet (30 m).[212][214] The collapse of the 1999 structure, causing the deaths of 11 students and a former student, prompted the university to suspend the official sanction of the bonfire, but the tradition continues off-campus.[215][216]

Athletics[edit]

a crowd of people watch a football game at a three-tiered stadium
A view from the student section of Kyle Field during a 2007 football game

The Aggies are a member of the Southeastern Conference of the NCAA for all sports as of 2012.[217][218] They were previously a charter member of the Southwest Conference until its dissolution in 1996 and competed in the Big 12 Conference until June 30, 2012. The school's 20 sports teams are known as the Aggies, and the school's colors are maroon and white.[219] As of 2021, Aggies had earned 173 conference titles and 19 national championships.[220]

A&M's archrival is the University of Texas Longhorns. They played regularly in most athletic sports until joining the Southeastern Conference. In 2004, sporting events between the Aggies and Longhorns became known as the Lone Star Showdown; the most-watched event in the rivalry was the annual football game held the day of Thanksgiving.[221][222] Other long-standing rivalries include Texas Tech, Baylor University, the University of Arkansas, and Louisiana State University.[223][224][225][226]

Football[edit]

Founded in 1894, the football team has won 18 Southwest Conference championships, 3 Big 12 South Division championships, and 1 Big 12 championship. The university also claims 3 national championships.[227][228] The team has appeared in 30 bowl games, winning 13,[229] and former players have included 41 first Team All-Americans, 5 Academic All-Americans, and 2 Heisman Trophy winners, John David Crow in 1957 and Johnny Manziel in 2012.[230] Since 1904, home football games have been played at Kyle Field, a stadium with a current capacity of 102,500.[231] As of 2021, the football team's is led by Jimbo Fisher in his 5th season as head coach.[232]

Basketball[edit]

a crowd of people in mostly white T-shirts watch an indoor basketball game; a T with a start on it is upside down and featured prominently under the players
A men's basketball game at Reed Arena in January 2008

Founded in 1912, the men's basketball team won 11 Southwest Conference championships and 2 Southwest Conference Tournament championships. The team has appeared in the National Invitation Tournament 6 times and in the NCAA Tournament 11 times, of which 3 resulted in Sweet Sixteen appearances, most recently in the 2015–16 season, which is the highest round to which the Aggies have advanced.[233] As of 2021, the basketball team is led by Buzz Williams in his 10th season as head coach.[234]

The women's basketball team has 1 Southwest Conference Tournament championship, 1 regular season Big 12 Conference championship, 2 Big 12 Tournament championships, and 2 SEC Tournament championships, most recently in 2021. As of 2021, the women have advanced to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances including their last 14 consecutive seasons, winning the National Championship in 2011. They have also competed in the WNIT twice, winning that tournament in 1995.[235] The women's team has been coached by Gary Blair since 2003.[236] G. Rollie White Coliseum, formerly the home of the volleyball and basketball teams, hosted basketball games before the 12,889-seat Reed Arena opened in 1998.[237][238]

Other sports[edit]

The women's soccer team, formed in 1993, has been in every NCAA Tournament appearances since 1995.[239] The women's volleyball team is a frequent qualifier for the annual NCAA tournament including 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 1993 to 2005.[240][241]

Hall of Fame[edit]

The Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1964 to "acknowledge athletes whose accomplishments on the field have brought credit to Texas A&M." As of 2018, it features 297 inductees.The Hall of Fame also hosts the Hall of Honor and Lettermen's Lifetime Achievement Award.[242] The Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Honor was established in 1977 to "recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond in contributions and support of the athletic programs at Texas A&M."[242] The Lettermen's Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2011 to recognize "lettermen, who after graduation, have gone on to gain prominence through his or her efforts in industry, commerce, technology, athletics, the professions, or other worthy endeavors."[242]

Alumni[edit]

A plaque in a glass enclosed frame depicts a black and white image of a soldier in WWII regalia, a medal of honor suspended across the middle, and a description of the event for which the individual was awarded the medal
Specimen Medals of Honor were on display at the Memorial Student Center (MSC) on the Texas A&M campus for each of the University's eight recipients, including Horace S. Carswell's medal (pictured above as displayed in 2007). The medals were temporarily on display in Rudder Tower during renovation of the MSC until their refurbished Hall of Honor was completed.

With over 508,000 alumni,[243] A&M has one of the largest and most active alumni groups in America.[244] Many Aggies have attained local, national, and international prominence.[245] Jorge Quiroga and Martin Torrijos have served as heads of state for Bolivia and Panama, respectively. Rick Perry served as the United States Secretary of Energy, former Governor of Texas, and ran as a 2012 US presidential candidate. Congressmen Joe Barton, Bill Flores, Jeb Hensarling, and Louie Gohmert, and former Austin Mayor Will Wynn are all graduates.[246] Frank Malina was a founding member and second Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. William A. Pailes, Michael E. Fossum, and Steven Swanson became NASA astronauts.[247] Holly Ridings, mechanical engineer, became the first woman to be chief flight director at NASA.[248] Phyllis Frye is a residing judge in Houston, Texas, and the first transgender judge in the United States.[249]

Several alumni have continued to professional American football careers, including Lee Roy Caffey, who won 3 Super Bowls, title-winning coach Gene Stallings, Heisman Trophy winners John David Crow and Johnny Manziel and Heisman runner-up, legislator, and actor John Kimbrough.[250][251] Other former Aggie athletes include Randy Barnes, indoor/outdoor shot put world record holder, World Series champion player and manager Davey Johnson, baseball players Wally Moon (1954 National League Rookie of the Year) and Chuck Knoblauch (1991 American League Rookie of the Year), and Stacy Sykora, a libero for the USA national volleyball team.[251]

Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett, who played on the porch of their Northgate home on the university's campus, have become country singers.[252] while singer Rich O’Toole started his career playing at the Dixie Chicken. Rip Torn was a Hollywood veteran,[251] and Neal Boortz was a nationally syndicated talk show host with the sixth largest listening audience in the United States until his retirement in 2013.[253][254][255] Wen Ho Lee, a doctoral graduate of A&M, became the subject of a 1999 espionage investigation; though arrested, charges were dropped in 2000.[256]

Aggies in business include Lowry Mays, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Communications;[251] George P. Mitchell, chairman and CEO, Mitchell Energy and Development Corp.;[246] Khalid A. Al-Falih, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco;[257] and Eduardo Castro-Wright, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores USA.[258] Alum Charles E. Toberman was known as the "Father of Hollywood" for his role in developing many of the city's most recognizable landmarks, including the Hollywood Bowl, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Masonic Temple. Architect Greg Pappas, Vice President of the Pappas Restaurants family, was known for his design of the many different Pappasitos Family restaurants.[259] J. William Harbour M.D., is an ocular oncologist, cancer researcher and vice chairman at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami.[260][261]

Many Aggies have become leaders in the armed forces. George H. Gay, Jr., was the sole survivor of Torpedo Squadron 8 in the Battle of Midway.[262] Lieutenant General Jay T. Robbins became a fighter ace in World War II with 22 aerial victories.[263] Major General Robert B. Williams led World War II raid on the Schweinfurt ball bearing factories.[264] General Bernard Adolph Schriever, known as "the architect of the Air Force's ballistic missile and military space program", became the namesake of Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.[265][266] General Michael Moseley is a former Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.[267] Seven Aggies received the Medal of Honor in World War II: Horace S. Carswell, Jr., Thomas W. Fowler, William Harrell, Lloyd H. Hughes, George D. Keathley, Turney W. Leonard, and Eli L. Whiteley[268] Clarence E. Sasser received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War prior to enrolling at the school.[269][270]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The seal contains the date 1876, the year in which Texas A&M began classes. This is not a discrepancy as both 1871 (the year the Texas Legislature appropriated funds to begin A&M's construction) and 1876 can be considered the dates of establishment depending on the definition used and the reference sourced (even within the Texas A&M University System).
  2. ^ The institution's branch campuses, Texas A&M University at Galveston and Texas A&M University at Qatar, are considered part of Texas A&M's Main Campus. These branches are located in Galveston, Texas and in Education City, Doha, Qatar respectively.

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