Thursday, February 7, 2013

Texas A&M University

Once a week I will take you on a college campus visit. I will post pictures, descriptions and reactions of my campus experience for you.
Texas A&M University
Howdy! That is the official greeting of the 6th largest student body in the nation, Texas A&M. Originally founded in 1871 as the first public institution of higher education in Texas, it is located in College Station, Texas, ninety miles northwest of Houston. When on campus, there are four things easily associated with Texas A&M, TAMU or A&M: Engineering, Corp of Cadets (ROTC), Aggie Spirit and friendliness.

1.  Engineering
The Dwight Look College of Engineering boosts the 8th ranked engineering program of a public institution offering a doctorate degree. The overall ranking for the engineering programs is 16th in the nation. Both rankings are according to U.S. News & World Reports. The engineering program is by far the largest school at Texas A&M, boosting over 10,000 students, more than 20% of their student population. Being that large is not enough for A&M! Its goal is to increase the College of Engineering to 25,000 students by 2025. First year engineering students have their own dormitory, The Engineering Living Learning Community (ELLC).
2.  Corp of Cadets
Memorial Student Center (MSC)
Stepping on the campus of A&M, one will not miss the Corp of Cadets. More than 2,300 students belong to the ROTC program, making it one of nations' largest uniformed student body. Texas A&M commissions more officers than any other institution outside of the nation's service academies. The Corp of Cadets reside in special dormitories in the Quadrangle. The Memorial Student Center (MSC) recently completed a 4 year renovation and serves as a memorial to all Aggies who have served.

3.  Aggie Spirit
E. King Gill, the original 12th Man
Tradition was the first word I was told by an Aggie alum in reference to TAMU. That tradition goes along with another Texas passion, football. During the fall on Saturday, Kyle Field will dra between 30,000-40,000 students; almost half of its capacity. The 12th Man, as they are officially known, stand the entire game, while waving their official white towels, to support their fellow Aggies. Besides the football games, the tradition of the Aggie Ring, earned by students after 90 hours of credit, is recognizable to graduates of Texas A&M since 1894.  Other traditions on campus include placing a penny at the foot of the statue of former president Lawrence Sullivan Ross (or as his namesake in Monsters, Inc. is called, Sully), for help during exam week. Near the statue of 'Sully', one will find an odd shaped Century Tree, the oldest tree on campus. This is where many traditions of good luck and marriage proposals occur. This section is not complete without mentioning the highest ranking member of the Corp of Cadets, Reveille VIII. The official A&M mascot, a purebred Collie, has a Corp member assigned to her at all times and has the power to dismiss class if she barks. If you cannot keep Reveille interested, you cannot keep the students engaged.  

4.  Friendliness
Once you step on campus, it is hard not to see the friendly atmosphere of TAMU. I was greeted multiple times, in the form of 'Howdy',  on the phone, by the student admissions office receptionist and by nearly every passing student whose eyes I catch. Not only do you hear 'Howdy,' but if an upperclassman hears something they like, they 'Whoop!' If you are a underclassman, do not worry, as each class has their own specific 'yell.' These are rehearsed at the Midnight Yell Practice and performed at football games. This Aggie Spirit is vital to the culture of A&M. 92% of freshmen return to A&M for their sophomore year; an impressive statistic at such a large university. TAMU graduates 80.4% of their student body. These graduate are linked to the university forever. An Aggie never says goodbye. They give a 'thumbs up,' and exclaim 'Gig 'Em!'

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