Texas A&M University

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Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University seal.svg
Former names
Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (1871–1963) [1] [note 1]
Type Public flagship land-grant research senior military college
Established1876;146 years ago (1876) [2] [note 2]
Parent institution
Texas A&M University System
Accreditation SACS
Academic affiliations
Endowment $18.0 billion (system-wide, 2021) [4]
President Katherine Banks
Provost Timothy P. Scott (interim)
Academic staff
3,845 (Fall 2021) [5]
Total staff
11,114 [5] [6]
Students72,982 (Fall 2021) [7] [8]
Undergraduates 57,428 (Fall 2021) [8]
Postgraduates 10,650 (Fall 2021) [8]
5,112 (Fall 2021) [8]
Location, ,
United States [9] [note 3]
CampusMidsize City, [10] 5,500 acres (20 km2) [11]
Colors Aggie maroon and white [12] [13]
   
Nickname Aggies
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division ISEC
Mascot Reveille X
Website www.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 Fall 2021, Texas A&M's student body is the largest in the United States. [14] Texas A&M is the only university in Texas to hold simultaneous designations as a land, sea, and space grant institution. 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 eighteen 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, as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (A.M.C.) under the provisions of the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Act. It is classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity" as of 2021. Over the following decades, the school increased in size and scope, expanding to its largest enrollment during WWII before its first significant stagnation in enrollment post-war. [15] Enrollment expanded again in the 1960s under the leadership of President James Earl Rudder. During his tenure, the school 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 tribute to the university's former designation.

The main campus spans over 5,500 acres (22 km2), and is home to the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. 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 various university traditions which govern conduct in daily life and sporting events. The university offers degrees in more than 130 courses of study through 17 colleges and houses 21 research institutes. As a senior military college, Texas A&M is one of six American universities with a full-time, volunteer Cadet Corps who study alongside civilian undergraduate students.

History

Statue of Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross located in front of the Academic Building TAMU Sul Ross statue.jpg
Statue of Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross located in front of the Academic Building
Texas A&M in 1902 TexasA&MCampus 1902.jpg
Texas A&M in 1902
Staff at Texas A&M entering data for punch cards for new computers in the 1950s Keypunching at Texas A&M.jpg
Staff at Texas A&M entering data for punch cards for new computers in the 1950s

Early years

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, [16] [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. [18]

The first day of classes was slated for October 2, 1876, but only six students enrolled on the first day. Classes were delayed and officially began on October 4, 1876, with six faculty members and forty students military school. [19] 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 white males who were required to participate in the Corps of Cadets and receive military training. [20] Originally, the college taught no classes in agriculture or engineering, instead concentrating on classical studies, languages, literature, and applied mathematics. But after working through initial faculty resistance, the school began a heavy focus on degrees in scientific agriculture, civil and mechanical engineering. [16] [21] Enrollment climbed to 258 students in 1881 before declining to 108 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 soon-to-begin 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, the college was saved from potential closure by its new president Lawrence Sullivan Ross (also known as Sul Ross or "Sully"), former Governor of Texas and former Confederate Brigadier General, by demonstrating that the school could function and excel as established given the proper leadership. Ross made many improvements to the school, such as running water and permanent dormitories. Enrollment doubled under his tenure to 467 cadets as parents sent their sons to Texas A.M.C. to emulate the traits of Ross. [23] During his tenure, many Aggie traditions were born, including the creation of the first Aggie Ring, the senior class ring. [23] Ross served until his death in 1898 and a statue was later erected in 1918 in front of what is now Academic Plaza to honor his achievements in the history of the school. [23] [24]

Initially, women were permitted to attend classes only as "special students," but were not permitted so seek degrees. [25] In 1893, Ethel Hudson, the daughter of one of the faculty, became the first woman to take classes; in 1899, two of her sisters, Sophie and Mary Hudson did the same. [25] Though not envisioned explicitly as an all-male school, over time it became a de facto all-male institution and led to a decades-long debate as to the role of women at the school. [25] Under pressure from the Texas Legislature, in 1911 the school allowed women to attend classes during the summer semester. [25] A.M.C. also expanded its academic pursuits with the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1915. [16]

World Wars era

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. [26] 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 student to receive a diploma from Texas A&M, although she was not allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony. [27] The following month the Board of Directors officially prohibited all women from enrolling. [25]

Many Aggies again served in the military during World War II, the college's educational and technical training resulted in 20,229 trained combat troops for US military efforts. 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. [28] [29] 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. [30] During the war, 29 A&M graduates reached the rank of general. [16]

Enrollment soared initially after the conclusion of the world wars as many former soldiers used the G.I. Bill to fund their education, [31] but stagnated in the following decade. [15] In 1948, the state legislature established the Texas A&M College Station campus as the flagship of a new system of universities, the Texas A&M University System. [32]

University era

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum George Bush Presidential Library.jpg
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

On July 1, 1959, Major General James Earl Rudder, class of 1932, became the 16th president of the college. [33] [34] In 1963, with the backing of State Senator William T. "Bill" Moore, the 58th Legislature of Texas approved Rudder's proposal for a substantial expansion of the school. Over the coming years, Texas A&M augmented and upgraded to its physical plant and facilities while diversifying and expanding its student body by admitting women and minorities. Additionally, membership in the Corps of Cadets became voluntary beginning in the fall semester of 1963. [35] Initially, the decision to admit women made the student body very unhappy. [36] Though initially resisted and some minor efforts persisted for several decades, the positive impact of these changes was rapid. By 1972, on-campus housing was dedicated for women and the student body elected its first black student body president in 1976. [36] In the same series of actions, the Texas legislature also officially renamed the school "Texas A&M University" [37] 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 the time of 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. [37] [38]

In the 35 years following Rudder's death, Texas A&M more than tripled its enrollment from 14,000 students to more than 45,000. [39] 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. [40] 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. [41] In 1997, the school became the home of the Bush School of Government and Public Service and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, one of fifteen American presidential libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. [42] [43] Former President Bush remained actively involved with the university, frequently visiting the campus and participating in special events until his death. He was subsequently buried on school grounds in 2018. [44]

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. [45] As the student population increased, so did the school's diverse academic offerings. 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 retention 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 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

Then-President George W. Bush with parents, former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush at Texas A&M's December 2008 convocation. Bush Family Texas A&M Commencement Dec. 12, 2008.jpg
Then-President George W. Bush with parents, former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush at Texas A&M's December 2008 convocation.

Administration and organization

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 of Texas to six-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. [56] [57] [58]

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 responsible 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. [56] [57] The university and colleges are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and associated professional organizations offering degrees in 130 courses of study, over 260 professional and graduate degrees via its 17 colleges and further opportunities in 21 research centers and institutes. [59] [60] [61]

Student body

Admissions statistics
2021 entering
class [62] Change vs.
2016 [63]

Admit rate63.0%
(Decrease Neutral.svg −2.8)
Test scores middle 50% *
SAT EBRW580–680
(Increase2.svg +50 median)
SAT Math580–700
(Increase2.svg +30 median)
ACT Composite26–32
(Increase2.svg +2 median)
High school GPA
Top 10%65.84%
(Decrease2.svg −1.8)
Top 25%91.53%
(Steady2.svg +0.8)
Top 50%98.96%
(Steady2.svg +0.4)
  • *Among students who chose to submit
  • Among students whose school ranked

As of the fall semester in 2021, Texas A&M was the largest American university, with an enrollment of 72,982 students [7] [64] pursuing degrees in 17 academic colleges. The student body includes people from all 50 US states and over 120 foreign countries. Texas residents account for 86.27% of the student population, while 7.42% are of international origin. [65] The demographics of the student body are 52.9% male and 47.1% female. [66] Members of ethnic minority groups make up 42.2% of the student population (22.4% Hispanic, 8.8% Asian, 7.2% international, 3.4% black, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Native Hawaiian, and 3.4% undetermined.) According to U.S. News & World Report, Texas A&M has a student teacher ratio of 19:1, and an average freshmen retention rate of 92%. [66] [67] The institution self reports, that in 2019, the school had a four-year graduation rate of 59% and a six-year graduation of 81.7%. [68] The TAMU College of Engineering had the largest enrollment of 29.6%. The College of Liberal Arts and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences followed, enrolling 12% and 11% of the student body, respectively. The College of Education and Human Development and Mays Business School each enrolled 9%. The College of Science enrolled 6% of the students and the remaining schools enrolled less than 5% each. In addition, slightly more than 3% of the student body had not declared a major. [69]

As of 2019, the university enrolled the seventh highest total of National Merit scholars in the United States and third among all public universities. [70] [71] As of 2021, about 72% of the student body receives about $810 million in financial aid annually. [72] The admission rate for students who applied as undergraduates in 2020 was 63%. [73] The school is rated as "more selective" by U.S. News & World Report. [74] [75]

Rankings

Academic rankings
National
Forbes [76] 50
THE / WSJ [77] 79
U.S. News & World Report [78] 68
Washington Monthly [79] 21
Global
ARWU [80] 151–200
QS [81] 164
THE [82] 193
U.S. News & World Report [83] 140

In a comparison of educational quality, faculty quality, and research output, the Center for World-Class Universities placed Texas A&M 57th nationally and 151st internationally in its 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) rankings. [84] 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. [85] The 2021–2022 QS World University Rankings [86] placed the university 168th overall in the world. In its 2022 edition, the Center for World University Rankings placed Texas A&M as the 74th university globally and 41st university nationally. [87] In the 2022 edition of the U.S. News & World Report ranking of national universities, the school was placed 68th nationally and 130th globally. [88] [89]

The Washington Monthly assessed Texas A&M 21st nationally in 2021 based on their criteria that weighs research, community service, and social mobility. [90] In 2021 Forbes rated the school as the 17th best public university in the country and 50th overall. [91] 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. [92] [93] As of 2017, according to Best Value Schools, [94] Texas A&M graded first in the nation for the best college for veterans, based on a return on investment. As of 2015, Texas A&M was rated the second-best university for veterans in USA Today [95] and ninth for "business schools for veterans" by the Military Times. [96]

Endowment

The Memorial Student Center TAMU MSC 2022-02-14 3.jpg
The Memorial Student Center

The Texas A&M University System has an endowment valued at more than $12.7 billion, 2nd among U.S. public universities and 7th overall. [97] 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 and investment assets, totaling $2.6 billion in value as of 2021, is run by the private Texas A&M Foundation. [98] 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. [99] [100]

Research

Zachry Engineering Education Complex Zachry Engineering Education Complex.jpg
Zachry Engineering Education Complex

Texas A&M has an extensive research program in various academic, scientific, and commercial fields and, as of 2017, ranked 19th nationally in research and development spending with total expenditure of $905.5 million. [101] 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. [102] The school is classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity" as of 2021. [103] 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. [104] Texas A&M University is a member of the SEC Academic Consortium. [105]

Texas A&M works with state and university agencies on various local and international research projects to develop 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. [106] [107] [108] 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 1,500 patent applications relating to a portfolio of over 2600 inventions. On average, Texas A&M files over 50 patents and closes 25 license agreements per year. [109] [110]

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. [111] 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. [112] In 2016, the university was targeted by animal rights group PETA, who alleged abusive experiments on dogs. Texas A&M responded that the dogs in question were given several experimental treatments in order to improve/cure a genetic condition that also affects humans. During this period, they were under the care of board-certified veterinarians and other highly trained staff with oversight from multiple agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. [113] [114]

The university is also engaged in significant scientific/exploration projects. In 2004, Texas A&M joined a consortium of universities and countries, as part of its responsibilities under the space grant program, to build the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile. [115] [116] 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 mirror 24.5 meters (26.8 yd) across and 10 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope. [117] [118] 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. [119] In 2013, geographic researchers named the largest volcano on Earth, Tamu Massif, after the university in honor of their research contributions. [120]

Worldwide

Two professors, a graduate, and an undergraduate student at the TAMUQ branch campus TAMUQ Profs and Students.jpg
Two professors, a graduate, and an undergraduate student at the TAMUQ branch campus

Texas A&M ranks second the Southern United States and fourteenth in the country in total annual research expenditures and conducts research on every continent. [121] [122] Among the numerous agreements and joint 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. [123] [124] In the 2018 school year, over 5,600 Aggie students, primarily undergraduates, studied abroad in 110 countries. [121] Marine research occurs on the university's branch campus, Texas A&M University at Galveston. [125] It also has collaborations with international facilities such as the Hacienda Santa Clara in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. [126] [127]

The university is 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. [128] 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. [129]

Texas A&M has a campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar. The campus is part of Qatar's efforts to expand higher education opportunities in the country by enlisting the assistance of elite institutions from the United States. [130] Texas A&M University at Qatar (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. All degrees at the Qatar campus are granted by the university's TAMU College of Engineering. [131] TAMUQ was opened in 2003, and the current contract extends through 2023. [132] 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. [133] 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. [130] The curriculum is designed to emulate the academic rigors in College Station, but critics question whether this is possible due to Qatar's strict stance on some of the freedoms granted to U.S. students. [133] [134] TAMU has also been the subject of criticism over its Qatari campus due to Qatar's alleged ties to Islamic terrorism and the country's human rights record. [135] [136] 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. [137] [138]

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. [139] The agreement led to protests from students at the Qatari campus who claimed that it was "an insult to [their] people". [136] [140] The campus was never opened. Instead, Texas A&M opened a $6 million marine biology center in Haifa, Israel, in 2016. [141]

Campus

A view of the main campus, looking north from Kyle Field. At the center is the Academic Building with its copper dome TAMUcampus.jpg
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 spans 5,200 acres (21 km2) plus 350 acres (1 km2) for Research Park. [9] [142] 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". [143] 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. [144]

The campus is bisected by a railroad track operated by Union Pacific. [145] 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. [146] 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. [147]

The Century Tree, a famous campus landmark and subject to several traditions Century Tree.jpg
The Century Tree, a famous campus landmark and subject to several traditions

Outside the main campus, the institution formally includes three branch campuses: Texas A&M University at Galveston, devoted to marine research and host to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen, devoted to Engineering, Biomedical Science, Public Health, and Food Systems Industry Management, [125] and Texas A&M at Qatar located in Education City in Doha, devoted to engineering disciplines, [148]

The Health Science Center maintains several campuses away from main campus. The university maintains a presence in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The College of Dentistry is located in Dallas. The Health Science Center also maintains a presence in Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Lufkin, McAllen, Round Rock, and Temple. [149] 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 maintains the RELLIS campus, formerly the Texas A&M Riverside Campus/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. [150]

Student life

Student body composition as of May 2, 2022
Race and ethnicity [151] Total
White 58%58
 
Hispanic 25%25
 
Asian 9%9
 
Other [lower-alpha 1] 3%3
 
Black 2%2
 
Foreign national 1%1
 
Economic diversity
Low-income [lower-alpha 2] 23%23
 
Affluent [lower-alpha 3] 77%77
 

Residential life

Sbisa Dining Hall and central utility plant water tower sporting the greeting, "Welcome to Aggieland" Sbisa.jpg
Sbisa Dining Hall and central utility plant water tower sporting the greeting, "Welcome to Aggieland"

As of 2020, approximately 20% of the student body lived on campus, primarily in one of two distinct housing sections located on opposite ends of campus. [152] Both the Northside and Southside areas contain student residence halls. While some halls are single-sex, most are co-educational. [153] Several halls include a "substance-free" floor, where residents pledge to avoid bringing alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes into the hall. [154]

Northside consists of seventeen student residence halls, including three dedicated to honors students. [155] Approximately half of the residence halls on campus are reserved for members of the Corps of Cadets. [156] The school also has four major apartment complexes for both staff and students both on and adjacent to the campus. [157] [158]

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. [159] [160] The Corps Arches, a series of twelve arches that allude to the spirit of the 12th Man, mark the entrance to the Quadrangle. [161] [162] 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. [159] [163] Reveille, a Rough Collie and the Aggie mascot, lives with her handlers in the Corps in the Quad. [164]

Corps of Cadets

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band's Bugle Rank leads the band at halftime at a football game. AggieBandFormation.jpg
The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band's Bugle Rank leads the band at halftime at a football game.
Robert Gates and senior cadets from the Corps of Cadets give the "gig 'em" sign at the Pentagon Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and members of Texas A&M University's Corps of Cadets.jpg
Robert Gates and senior cadets from the Corps of Cadets give the "gig 'em" sign at the Pentagon

Texas A&M is one of six United States senior military colleges. [165] As of 2019, the school's Corps of Cadets (or the Corps) is the largest uniformed student body outside the service academies with more than 2,500 members. [165] [156] [166] Many members participate in ROTC programs and earn commissions in the United States Armed Forces upon graduation. [167] Members of the Corps have served in every armed conflict fought by the United States since 1876. Since 1876, over 285 Aggies have served as generals or flag officers, as of 2021. [167] [166] [168] [169] Until 1965, Corps membership was mandatory. The Corps officially began accepting female members in the fall of 1974. [170]

The Corps is composed of three Air Force Wings, three Army Brigades, three Navy and Marine Regiments, and the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, whose members may be affiliated with any military branch. [171] Parson's Mounted Cavalry is the only mounted ROTC unit in the United States. [172] The Ross Volunteer Company, one of the oldest student-run organizations in the state, is the official honor guard for the Governor of Texas. [173] [174] 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 . [175]

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, the nation's largest precision military marching band, provides music for university functions and presents halftime performances at football games. [176] [177] Some band drills are so complicated that they require band members to step between each other's feet to complete the maneuvers. [178] [179] 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. [180]

Activities

The Texas A&M University Singing Cadets TAMUsingingcadets.jpg
The Texas A&M University Singing Cadets

Texas A&M has over 1,000 student organizations, including academic, service, religious, social, and common interest organizations. [181] Texas A&M is home to 58 nationally or internationally recognized Greek Letter Organizations (GLO). About 10% of the undergraduate population is affiliated with a GLO fraternity or sorority. [182] [183]

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. [184] Texas A&M Hillel, the oldest Hillel organization in the United States, was founded in 1920 at the original college. [185] [186] Since 1955, the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs has held conferences, lectures, and other programs to discuss national and international issues with speakers. [187] [188] [189] 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. [190] 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. [191] The Graduate Student Council, founded in 1995, serves as the student government for Texas A&M University's graduate and professional students. [192]

Student organizations have had a nationwide impact. 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. Such events are now also held at other schools as well. [193] [194] 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. [195] [196] GLBT Aggies, formerly Gay Student Services (GSS), successfully sued the university for official recognition and the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Constitution required public universities to allow such student organizations under the students the First Amendment's "freedom to assemble" clause. [197] [198]

Media

The school newspaper, The Battalion , has been in production since 1893. [199] 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. [200] [201] The university houses three public broadcasting stations: KAMU-TV , a PBS member station since 1970, KAMU-FM , an NPR affiliate since 1977, [202] and the student-run KANM, "the college station of College Station". [203] W5AC, a student-run radio club, broadcast the first live, play-by-play broadcast of a college football game at Kyle Field in November 1921. [204]

Traditions

Aggie ring for the class of 2004 AggieRing.jpg
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, as author Paul Burka described, "the idealized elements of a small-town life: community, tradition, loyalty, optimism, and unabashed sentimentality". [205] Texas Monthly posits that Texas A&M students' respect for school traditions and values is the university's greatest strength. [206] These traditions enable and encourage students and alumni to cultivate the Aggie Spirit, a strong sense of loyalty and respect for the school. [207] They dictate many aspects of student life, including how to greet others (using the official school greeting of "Howdy!"), [208] how to act at an A&M sporting event, and what words a student may use in conversation. [209]

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. [210] [211] Although unsanctioned by the university, many students "dunk" their newly acquired Aggie Rings into a pitcher of beer and drink the entire pitcher in a matter of seconds. [212]

The Ross Volunteers perform a rifleman's salute as candles are lit for the deceased at the 2007 Aggie Muster at Reed Arena AggieMuster.jpg
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 a ceremony of remembrance held annually on April 21, the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, to honor students and alumni who died the previous year. In addition to being a ceremony to honor the recently deceased, Aggies typically spend time socializing and remembering their time at the school. Over 300 Musters are held around the world, with the largest taking place at Reed Arena on the Texas A&M University campus. [213] 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, and is traditionally followed by a three-volley salute. [214] [215] The event received nationwide attention during World War II, when 25 Aggies held a brief Aggie Muster during the battle for the island of Corregidor. [216]

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. [217] 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 three-volley 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. [215]

Sports

The 2007 Student Bonfire 2007-SBF.jpg
The 2007 Student Bonfire

Aggie students are called the 12th Man, meaning in the context of football that the students support the eleven players on the field and would be willing, if it were possible, to enter the game if necessary. To symbolize their zeal and motivation, it is traditional for students in attendance to stand throughout the sports game. [218] 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. [219] In recent decades, the 12th Man is represented on the field by a walk-on player who wears the number 12 jersey and participates in kick-offs. [220]

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. [221] 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. [208] [222] 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. [222] [223] Sports Illustrated named Midnight Yell as one of the "100 Things You Gotta Do Before You Graduate". [224] At home football games, the 12th man comprise 36,000+ of Kyle Field's and form the largest student section in all of college football. [225] When singing the war hymn, they cause the stands to literally sway to the point that visiting press are warned prior to the game. [226]

Almost every year since 1909, A&M students have built a large bonfire to celebrate their rivalry with the University of Texas. [227] Aggie Bonfire was traditionally lit around Thanksgiving in conjunction with the festivities surrounding the annual college football game between the schools. [228] Although it began as a trash pile, [229] Aggie Bonfire evolved into a massive six-tiered structure eventually achieving a then-world-record height for a bonfire of 109 feet (30 m). [228] [230] [231] On November 18, 1999, the Aggie Bonfire 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. [232] 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, [233] and a federal appeals court dismissed the remaining lawsuits against the university in 2007. [234] Following the collapse, the university suspended the official sanction of the bonfire, but the tradition continues off-campus. [235] [236]

Athletics

A view from the student section of Kyle Field during a 2007 football game Kyle Field Montana State vs A&M Sept 1 2007.jpg
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 since 2012. [237] [238] 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 twenty sports teams are known as the Aggies, and the school's colors are maroon and white. [239] As of 2021, Aggies had earned 173 conference titles and 19 national championships. [240] [241]

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. [242] [243] Other long-standing rivalries include Texas Tech, Baylor University, the University of Arkansas, and Louisiana State University. [244] [245] [246] [247]

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. [248] 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". [248] 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". [248]

Football

Founded in 1894, the football team has won eighteen Southwest Conference championships, three Big 12 South Division championships, and one Big 12 championship. The university also claims three national championships. [249] [250] As of 2021, the team has appeared in 42 bowl games, winning 20, [251] [252] [253] [254] [255] 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. [256] [257] Since 1904, home football games have been played at Kyle Field, a stadium with a current capacity of 102,500. [258] As of 2022, the football team is led by Jimbo Fisher in his fifth season as head coach. [259]

Basketball

A men's basketball game at Reed Arena in January 2008 Lss 2008 bb damion james.jpg
A men's basketball game at Reed Arena in January 2008

Founded in 1912, the men's basketball team won eleven Southwest Conference championships and two Southwest Conference Tournament championships. The team has appeared in the National Invitation Tournament six times and in the NCAA Tournament eleven times, of which three resulted in Sweet Sixteen appearances, most recently in the 2015–16 season, the highest round to which the Aggies have advanced. [260] As of 2021, the basketball team is led by Buzz Williams in his tenth season as head coach. [261]

The women's basketball team has one Southwest Conference Tournament championship, one regular season Big 12 Conference championship, two Big 12 Tournament championships, and two SEC Tournament championships, most recently in 2021. As of 2022, the women have advanced to sixteen NCAA Tournament appearances including fourteen consecutive seasons, winning the National Championship in 2011. They have also competed in the WNIT twice, winning that tournament in 1995. [262] The women's team was coached by Gary Blair from 2003 [263] to his retirement in 2022. [264] His replacement, Joni Taylor began coaching the team in March 2022 [265]

Both the men's and women's basketball teams play in the 12,889-seat Reed Arena which opened in 1998. [266] [267]

Other sports

As of 2021, the women's soccer team, formed in 1993, has been in every NCAA Tournament appearances since 1995. [268] The women's volleyball team is a frequent qualifier for the annual NCAA tournament including thirteen consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 1993 to 2005. [269] [270] Texas A&M also fields teams for men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, cross country, track and field, softball, baseball, and equestrian [271]

Notable alumni and faculty

The Clayton W. Williams, Jr., Alumni Center is the home of The Association of Former Students. TAMU FormerStudents1.JPG
The Clayton W. Williams, Jr., Alumni Center is the home of The Association of Former Students.
Specimen Medal of Honor displayed at the Memorial Student Center for Horace S. Carswell Horace S. Carswell, Jr. MOH.JPG
Specimen Medal of Honor displayed at the Memorial Student Center for Horace S. Carswell

Alumni

With over 508,000 alumni, [272] A&M has one of the largest and most active alumni groups in America. [273] Many Aggies have attained local, national, and international prominence. 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. Congressman Louie Gohmert is also a graduate. [274] William A. Pailes, Michael E. Fossum, and Steven Swanson became NASA astronauts. [275] Holly Ridings, mechanical engineer, became the first woman to be chief flight director at NASA. [276] Phyllis Frye is a residing judge in Houston, Texas, and the first transgender judge in the United States. [277] Twin sisters Mary Lockett Hutson Nelson and Sophie Palmer Hutson Rollins were the first women to complete the civil engineering program in 1903 at A&M but they didn't received their degrees until 99 years later because the school’s charter at the time made no provision for female students. [278]

Several notable alumni have excelled in sports including Heisman Trophy winners John David Crow and Johnny Manziel and Heisman runner-up, legislator, and actor John Kimbrough [279] and Randy Barnes, indoor/outdoor shot put world record holder. In popular culture, Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett, who played on the porch of their Northgate home on the university's campus, have become country singers. [280] Aggies in business include Lowry Mays, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Communications; [279] George P. Mitchell, chairman and CEO, Mitchell Energy and Development Corp.; [274] Khalid A. Al-Falih, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco; [281] and Eduardo Castro-Wright, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores USA. [282]

Many Aggies have become leaders in the armed forces. General Bernard Adolph Schriever, the architect of the Air Force's ballistic missile and military space program, became the namesake of Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. [283] [284] General Michael Moseley is a former Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. [285] 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 [286] Clarence E. Sasser received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War prior to enrolling at the school. [287] [288]

Notable faculty

Notable faculty include eight Nobel Prize laureates, among them: Derek Barton [289] [290] Sheldon Glashow [291] Robert H. Grubbs, [292] Dudley R. Herschbach, [293] Jack Kilby, [294] David Lee, [295] [296] and Vernon L. Smith. [297] In addition, Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was one of only five people in history to have won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. [298] US Senator Phil Gramm taught economics. [299] In addition, Pulitzer Prize recipient Charles Gordone also taught at Texas A&M. [300] Aviation pioneer Fred Weick did much of his post-war research at Texas A&M. [301] Robert Gates served as the president of the university between his stint as Director of Central Intelligence and his appointment as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense. [302]

Notes

  1. The school was first given this name in 1871 (the year the Texas Legislature appropriated funds to begin A&M's construction), but did not open for instruction until 1876 [2]
  2. The seal contains the date 1876, the year in which Texas A&M began classes. 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 context of the usage. [2]
  3. 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. [9]
  1. Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets</span> Military unit

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The Aggie Yell Leaders are a group of Texas A&M University students that lead Aggie fans in a series of "yells" during athletic events or other school events. The Yell Leaders are composed of five students who are elected annually by popular vote of the student body.

Midnight Yell Practice, known locally as Midnight Yell or Yell Practice, is a tradition at Texas A&M University. Midnight Yell is similar to a pep rally. On the night before each home football game, Midnight Yell takes place in Kyle Field at midnight; two nights before each away game, a Yell Practice is held near the Quadrangle on the south side of campus. At midnight on the night before an away game Midnight Yell is held in or near the opponent's city.

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Aggie Muster is a tradition at Texas A&M University which celebrates the camaraderie of the university while remembering the lives of alumni who have died, specifically those in the past year. Muster officially began on April 21, 1903, as a day for remembrance of fellow Aggies. Muster ceremonies today take place in approximately 320 locations globally. The largest muster ceremony occurs in Reed Arena, on the Texas A&M campus. The "Roll Call for the Absent" commemorates Aggies, alumni and current students, who died that year. Alumni, family, and friends light candles and as they answer “here” when the name of their loved one is “called”. Campus muster also serves as a 50th-year class reunion for the corresponding graduating class. Some non-campus muster ceremonies do not include the pageantry of the campus ceremony, and might consist simply of a barbecue.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fightin' Texas Aggie Band</span> Official marching band of Texas A&M University

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band is the official marching band of Texas A&M University. Composed of over 400 men and women from the school's Corps of Cadets, it is the largest military marching band in the world. The band's complex straight-line marching maneuvers are performed exclusively to traditional marches.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of the Brazos</span> American college football rivalry

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Campus of Texas A&M University</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">1999 Aggie Bonfire collapse</span> Fatal accident at Texas A&M University

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