Founding Year: 1876
Colors: Maroon & White
The United States Congress’ Morill Act of 1862 led to the establishment of the Texas A&M University, which became the first public institution of higher education in the State of Texas.
The donation of public land was authorized by Morill Act granted that its purpose is to fund higher education whose "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 mechanic arts."
On April 17, 1871, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas was constructed. Actual classes began in 1876 and admission was limited to white males who, in exchange, were required to attend military training.
Under the presidency of Gen, James Earl Rudder, during the 1960s, the obligatory military training was switched to voluntary, in addition, the college diversified by allowing admission of women and African-Americans. In 1963, the school was officially renamed to Texas A&M University. The "A" and "M" was kept due to its symbolic link to the school's past, however, it no longer stood for "Agricultural and Mechanical."
Today, Texas A&M is ranked 4th among national public universities in "Best Value Schools" category and 3rd in nation among all universities based on "research, service, social mobility, and contributions to society. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the university is the 1st in Texas in 6-year student graduation rates — both overall and for minorities.
ABOUT THE TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY CLASS RINGS
One of Texas A&M University’s most time honored and a sacred tradition is the Aggie Ring. As the most recognizable symbol of the Aggie Network, the Aggie Ring is something earned not given.
One of the greatest moments during an Aggie’s time at Texas A&M is the day he or she receives an Aggie Ring. As the most visible sign of the Aggie Network, the Aggie Ring is a unique representation of achievement, as it can only be ordered when an Aggie completes specific academic requirements.
The tradition of the Aggie Ring dates back to 1889, when the first Rings featured the letters “AMC” entwined on the crest. E.C. Jonas, Class of 1894, designed the Aggie Ring that includes many of the same symbols used in today’s design. Slight modifications would be made to the Ring through 1933 when a committee was formed to bring greater standardization and control to the manufacturing of the Ring. As a result, the Aggie Ring has remained mostly unchanged since 1933, with one exception: in 1963, the Texas legislature changed the name of Texas A&M from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas to Texas A&M University, and the name on the Ring was changed accordingly.
Traditionally, students wear the Texas A&M University Class Ring with the class year facing them to signify that their time at A&M is not yet complete. During commencement ceremonies, The Association of Former Students leads a ceremony in which Aggies students turn their Rings around to face the world proudly, just as the Aggie graduate is now ready to face the world.
Every element on the Aggie Ring is symbolic. The top of the Ring features a shield that symbolizes the protection of the good reputation of the alma mater. There are 13 stripes in the shield that symbolize the 13 original states and an Aggie’s patriotism. The five stars found in the shield refer to the five phases of Aggie development: mind or intellect, body, spiritual attainment, emotional poise, and integrity of character. The eagle on the top of the Aggie Ring symbolizes agility and power and ability to reach great heights and ambitions.One side of the Aggie Ring holds a large star, which symbolizes the seal of the State of Texas, encircled with a wreath of olive and live oak leaves joined together by a ribbon near the bottom of the Ring. The wreath of olive leaves symbolizes achievement and desire for peace, while the live oak leaves symbolize the strength to fight. The leaves are joined at the bottom by an encircling ribbon to show the necessity of joining these traits to accomplish one’s ambition to serve.
The other side of the Aggie Ring contains an ancient cannon, saber, and rifle, symbolizing that the citizens of Texas fought for their land and are determined to defend it. The saber stands for valor and confidence, while the rifle and cannon stand for a preparedness and defense. The crossed flags of the United States and Texas recognize an Aggie's dual allegiance to both the nation and state.
Source: Texas A&M University
Courtesy of Texas A&M University Alumni Association
The Aggie Ring Day is a special event where Aggies celebrate the acceptance of their Aggie Rings. This is held at the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni center and is well attended by thousands of Aggies, along with their family and friends. Receiving an Aggie Ring is a momentous occasion and that marks a great academic milestone.
The Ring Dance began in 1936 and is one of the oldest school traditions that exists almost as long the school itself. The dance is considered as the last social function of a student’s time in Aggieland.
The seniors take advantage of this occasion to take photos with giant replicas of the Aggie Ring. By this time they also turn their rings so that the class year no longer faces them.
AGGIE TRADITIONS & TRIVIA
Pennies on Sully
Before taking their exams, it has been customary for students to leave pennies on the base of the statue of Mr. Lawrence Sullivan Ross aka Sul, for good luck. Sul was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas’ president from 1891 – 1898 and the tradition to “put a penny on Sully” is more than just a petition for good luck. It is said that Ross would help students with their homework, and when students would ask how they could repay him, Ross would reply with, “A penny for your thoughts.”
as its name implies, the century tree is well over a hundred years old. It was one of the first trees planted on the campus and is a favorite setting for Aggie marriage proposals, weddings, and tourist snapshots. This is not only because of its immense size and its unique drooping branches; many have chosen to declare their love on this spot because according to tradition, if a marriage proposal takes place under the tree, the marriage will last forever.
The Elephant Walk tradition is an annual event that is held prior to the last regularly scheduled home football game. It’s one of the oldest traditions at A&M which marks the end of the Aggie seniors’ usefulness to the student body. During the walk, seniors wander through campus while holding hands, listening to speakers at signature campus landmarks.
The symbolic nighttime walk through campus can be credited to the senior class of 1926. Two lost games in the football season of 1922, inspired the freshmen class to march around Kyle Field led by a piccolo player and a brass horn to the tune of a mournful funeral march, hoping that it break the team’s “curse.”
Three years later, when the same freshmen became seniors, they decided to take a final walk around campus to reminisce their time spent in Aggieland. That was when the Elephant Walk tradition was born. According to those who saw the seniors walking in a single file, with their hands on the shoulder of his friend before him, observers noted that “looked like elephants, about to die."
Texas A&M University Class Rings with RingWraps
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