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Archive for the ‘A&M’ Category

Here in the land of Aggie news, we are aware of what we call “the maroon bubble.” That is, some news is really familiar to those of us living/working around campus, but we realize not all Aggies may actually hear about it if they live outside the bubble.

So here are three Aggies whom, if you haven’t heard their stories already, I think you would enjoy being on a first-name basis with.

Col. Tom C. ‘Ike’ Morris ’33

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Jane Weeden photo via Texas A&M Association of Former Students

Ike is the oldest living Aggie we know of. He is also completely awesome. He served on the student committee that set the standards for Aggie Rings (i.e. why they have been identical since 1933 and you must prove senior classification in good standing, etc., to order one). He’s a recipient of the French Legion of Honor for his WWII service, which included D-Day plus 1 on Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge. You know what he did last year? He set up an Aggie Ring Scholarship. So now every year, there’s a student who has their Aggie Ring paid for by him. He lives in San Antonio, he turned 107 in August 2017, and you can find him on Facebook. He remembers Reveille I; he waited tables in Duncan with Gen. Earl Rudder; and he once hitched a ride with E. King Gill (story). Here he is at the 2013 San Antonio A&M Club Muster being presented with the new Aggie Ring he’d ordered (his second replacement):

Von Miller ’11

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Troy Taormina photo/USA Today. Von visits a 2016 A&M basketball game.

Von plays for the Denver Broncos now, and was the MVP of the 2016 Super Bowl. More importantly to most of us, he’s a terrific Aggie and a super neat person. He tends to end interviews with “Thanks and gig ’em,” he uses his fame and success to support causes like Von’s Vision (free eye exams and glasses for Denver kids) and Hurricane Harvey relief, and he’s charming and hilarious. Do yourself a true favor and read his funny story from the Players’ Tribune, “Nerd.” Please also enjoy his Madden NFL 17 commercial. At A&M, he majored in poultry science and became so interested in the topic he continues to raise chickens (video). He was on “Dancing With The Stars,” but I honestly prefer the fantastic photo of him, above, at an A&M basketball game; he is not mocking the dance team, but dancing *with* them, perfectly. Here he is being inducted last Friday into A&M’s Sports Hall of fame:

Roy May ’15

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Roy (right) from his days in the Old Guard; image is from his yell leader campaign video: https://vimeo.com/59971923

Roy is a former yell leader, but not a typical one: As a junior and senior yell leader, he was also a veteran in his 30s. He chose to come to A&M and be a part of the Corps of Cadets after 12 years of service in the Army that included being among the elite who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Roy was sent to the Pentagon on 9/11 for rescue and recovery efforts. He’s still serving in the Army today; he and his family have stayed in College Station, where his most recent venture has been developing his business, Good Bull BBQ, from a food-truck operation to a new bricks-and-mortar location on Southgate that just celebrated its first full week of feeding Aggies. Here he is last year helping illustrate how yell leaders’ styles have changed over the decades (I’m always asked why he’s barefoot in part of the video. The answer is related to how physical the motions of today’s yell leaders are; he was wearing slip-on shoes that were “not ideal on that surface,” so he kicked them off!)

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Here’s Robert Earl Keen as Antonio Vivaldi opening his eighth annual benefit in Kerrville for an organization he said “it’s my passion to tell people about”: the Hill Country Youth Orchestra.vivaldi crop

Keen told the crowd at the Feb. 21 show that on his travels around the country, he’ll get to talking with people about the orchestra, and they’ll say, “Oh yes, we’ve got something like that here,” and he’ll say, “No; no, you don’t.” The HCYO provides full tuition-and-fees scholarships for each of its hundred-plus students.

He’s supporting his bluegrass album “The Happy Prisoner” right now, so his part of the concert had an old-timey feel — just not as old as Vivaldi:

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But first, the kiddos cut loose with the classical goodies:

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(Apologies for fuzzy phone photos taken at some distance)

Watch for next year’s show, likely to be in February again, and go check it out if you can. It’s a lovely night at Kerrville’s Cailloux Theater, and this year it raised $65,000 for those scholarships. Keen closed his part of the show with a completely acoustic set, playing the special guitar they auctioned off to raise part of that money:

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It was beautiful.

(Fellow Aggie/Kerrville note: The auction also included Johnny Manziel autographed memorabilia. Keen is Class of ’78, Manziel is ’15)

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The Class of ’94 gift to the University stands just outside the Association building, so clearly this is fate. Of course technically I fought this gift idea when I was on Class of ’94 Council 🙂 What, we needed more statues? I wanted us to make a large donation to A&M’s libraries. But you already knew I was a nerd.

Big change in my life — after 19 years of being a designer, reporter and editor at the Statesman, later this month I will jump geekstatically into my new job: communications specialist for the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University.

This is really, truly dream job time.

The Association, one of the largest alumni groups in the world, works to help not just “Old Ags” like me but also current students and to help strengthen the university. I’ll be writing articles for the Texas Aggie magazine, helping with social media, publications, emails and other communications with Aggies, plus some fundraising and events that we hold or help with, like the Ring Day ceremony happening today or our football tailgates — did you know every former student has a standing invitation to the Association tailgate parties? Just c’mon by the building and get you some barbecue.

Call me — all 370,000 of you

In December 2013, Texas A&M had 370,579 living former students around the world, and thousands more have graduated since then. All of you guys: You need anything, you call me. I’m not kidding. I’m your girl. The phone number at my new desk is 979-458-2566, or email me at sue94@aggienetwork.com. Non-Aggies, if you want to visit A&M or learn about it, take a campus tour, just ask a question, I’m your girl, too.

Helping start A&M journalism board

My Statesman family… I’ll miss them and I’ll miss newspapering incredibly. But I’ll get to keep my hand in: Texas A&M’s director of Journalism Studies, Dale Rice, has asked me to help develop and launch a board of former journalism students and current working journalists to support the new journalism major in Liberal Arts. Can’t even express how honored I am by this.

Twitter: I’m keeping @aggiejournalist

Because of my volunteer work with A&M’s journalism program, my personal Twitter handle since 2007 has been @aggiejournalist, and I’ll be keeping that, but it’s amnesty time for anybody who wants to jump off my follower list: I won’t be tweeting my political reporting any more and I will be sharpening my focus on A&M news, specifically geared to the kind of stuff I personally want to know about at A&M — campus changes, some sports, a lot of good bull, major university news and gratuitous glamour photos of Reveille. I’ll keep tweeting journalism industry news and social media/new media developments and best practices. And music and Muppet noises.

Holy wow.

In a whole range of ways, I can’t believe this is happening. I started at the Statesman something like six days after I graduated from A&M, and I am as thrilled to be going to Aggieland now as I was when I was a little fishie. Wish me luck!

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Painted buntings are so colorful that when people spot them, they think somebody’s parrot has escaped. But these birds range across most of Texas. They just like to hide in brush, so they’re rarely seen. To make them pop out like magic, here’s all you need: white millet seed.

ImageI made this poster a few years ago from a photo I took at my folks’ place. We spread what I called “the river of millet” across the back porch and watched every day right before sunset; it only took the buntings a few days to start turning up en masse. Right about now is a good time to try this. From March 5 to May 22, says Texas A&M’s Texas Breeding Bird Atlas, painted buntings return to Texas from Central America and Mexico to start building nests and laying little blue-grey-white eggs with red markings. They’ll start heading back south at the end of June.

Painted buntings are found in other states, but Texas has the largest breeding population, with Oklahoma second. I won’t lie, it’ll be pretty hard to pull out as many males as you see in this photo. But they are total suckers for millet, so give it a try. There are probably buntings hanging out in your shrubbery right now. 🙂

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My wish is for everybody watching the game today to know that A&M is a huge university, mostly non-military, and that almost half of the stadium you’re looking at is filled with current A&M students.

I love the Corps – my Dad and my little brother are CTs – but we have one of the very largest and most active student sections in the country, and I’m proud of that!

So here’s a size comparison between Texas A&M’s student section and the top five “best” student sections in college football.

Texas A&M

Capacity: 82,600 (expected today: 87,000)

Student: 31,000 (pulled for this game: more than 30,000)

Red: Student body   Khaki: Priority seating for Corps of Cadets students, Corps seating starts with Section 140. The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band is the dark-brown block at the front of the Corps block.

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1. Alabama Capacity: 101,821 Student seats: 17,000

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2. Florida State  Capacity:  82,300  Student seats: 16,000

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3. Penn State  Capacity:  106,572  Student seats: 21,000

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4. Nebraska  Capacity:  91,000  Student seats: 8,500 (as of 2011)

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5. Illinois  Capacity:  69,249  Student seats: 10,000

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