Traditions & History Texas A&M
University’s traditions play a big role in building our personality as an institution. Our traditions build strong bonds between our students, faculty, staff and former students. They help define who we are as a university and contribute to expanding the Aggie family.
Aggies greet each other with a hearty “Howdy!” It’s part of what earned Texas A&M the title of the friendliest college campus in the United States. You’ll hear that word across campus and throughout your education as an Aggie.
The Century Tree has been standing near the Academic Building for over 100 years and has grown alongside Texas A&M. If a couple walks underneath Century Tree, they will eventually marry and, if they become engaged underneath, the marriage will last forever.
The Aggie Ring
is one of the most notable university symbols in the world. Available to students who complete 90 credit hours and typically worn on the right ring finger, the Aggie Ring instantly brands you as a Texas A&M former student to others. The clink produced from two former students shaking hands marks the deep connection of the Aggie family.
The Corps of Cadets
The Corps of Cadets
has been an integral part of Texas A&M for longer than any other student organization on campus. The Corps focuses on leadership development and career readiness for members through building better citizens, students and workers. Around 40-45% of cadets apply for a military commission upon graduation.
Yell Leaders lead Texas A&M fans through the yells
and wildcat every gameday.
The First Lady of Aggieland. Texas A&M’s official mascot. The highest-ranking member in the Corps of Cadets. Reveille
, a full-blood Rough Collie beloved by all Aggies, became the official mascot in 1931 after a group of cadets hit a small dog with their vehicle and restored her back to health in their residence hall. The morning after the accident, the dog barked uncontrollably at the “Reveille” wake-up call from the bugler, and the rest is history.
Big EventThe Big Event
is an annual one-day, student-run service project put on by almost 20,000 Texas A&M students. Since 1982, students come together every year to say “Thank You” to the residents of Bryan-College Station through projects such as yard work, painting, window washing and more. The Big Event has grown across the country as former students have moved to other areas and, in 2019, 125 Big Events were completed in the United States.
Thousands of Aggies gather in a football stadium one Saturday afternoon in the fall. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, each one remains standing. The legacy of E. King Gill, the first 12th Man
, empowers Aggies to this day to be ready to serve when called upon.
In 1922, Texas A&M was the underdog against the national powerhouse Centre College Praying Colonels. Head coach Dana X. Bible quickly realized his team was rattled by injuries and his bench was nearing empty. This was when Bible called upon Gill, then a squad player for the team, to suit up in injured running back Heine Weir’s uniform and stand by to play.
Gill remained on the sideline for the entirety of the game and watched as the Aggies pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football history. The final score of the game was 22-14 — the final player on the Texas A&M bench was Gill. The power of Gill’s readiness to serve his team echoes throughout history and it is why, every gameday, thousands of Aggies stand, ready to step up if called upon.
has been held by Aggies since the 1800s, when the university’s first former student organizations started a tradition of reading aloud a list of names at annual meetings to honor fellow former students who had passed in the previous year. The anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto — April 21 — marked a special day for Aggies and was an official college holiday by the 1890s.
Muster is celebrated by Aggies in more than 300 locations worldwide today with the largest taking place on campus in College Station. Every April 21, Aggies gather to honor the fallen members of the Texas A&M family.
Silver TapsSilver Taps
is a special ceremony honoring the life of a current student who passes. It is held the first Tuesday of the month following the death and includes memorial events throughout the whole day. Flags are flown at half-mast. The names, majors and class of fallen Aggies are placed at the base of the flagpoles at Academic Plaza and on the Silver Taps Memorial. Students can write letters to the families of the fallen Aggies.
A ceremony is held that night, marked by all lights on campus being turned off at 10:15 p.m. Hymns are played on the Albritton Bell Tower as students gather in the Academic Plaza. The families of the fallen Aggies are led into the plaza shortly after.
The night is concluded with a three-volley salute and a special rendition of “Taps:” “Silver Taps.” The buglers play three times — once to the north, once to the south, once to the west, but never to the east, because it is said the sun will never rise on that fallen Aggie again.
The History of Texas A&M
Texas A&M was founded in 1876 as a military institution under the Morrill Act. It was the state’s first public university and has grown to be the largest today — the third-largest in the country.
General James Earl Rudder, after whom State Highway 6 is named, brought many changes to Texas A&M as president, including opening the doors to Black students and women and making participation in the Corps of Cadets voluntary.
By 1989, Texas A&M University had become one of the first four universities to receive triple designation as a land-, sea- and space-grant institution. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened in 1997, making Texas A&M one of the few universities to have a presidential library on campus.
Texas A&M has continued to grow and diversify every year, building branch campuses in Galveston and Qatar, creating partnerships with Blinn College and creating a system of schools that enjoy easier transfer access. The Aggie network continues to grow as well, with 500,000+ former students saying “Howdy!” and setting the example as parents, citizens, employees and leaders.