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Buzbee Leadership Learning Center opens at Texas A&M

Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012

Updated: Sunday, August 26, 2012 22:08

Buzbee Learning Center

Roger Zhang - The Battalion

Tony Buzbee, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Regents Chairman Richard Box, Regent Jim Schwertner and Commandant of the Corps General Ramirez cut a ribbon Friday evening during the opening ceremony of the Buzbee Leadership Learning Center.

Light pours into an empty room, the silence broken only by Texas A&M anthems on repeat, awaiting the arrival of those who made the Buzbee Leadership Learning Center possible.

Inside the Sam Houston Corps of Cadets Center, distinguished guests from across the Texas A&M University System and the state of Texas gathered to celebrate the opening of the LLC Friday evening.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to get a chance to stand up a new building, the first really new building we’ve had on the Quad in over 73 years,” said Brig. Gen. and Commandant of the Corps of Cadets Joe Ramirez, Class of 1979.

The building is being ushered in alongside the largest number of cadets in decades.

“We’ll start the year with 2,302 cadets; that’s the largest Corps we’ve had in 30 years and that’s something we’re very proud of,” Ramirez said.

Gov. Rick Perry was among those to speak. Perry, Class of 1972, was a member of the Corps of Cadets like Tony Buzbee, after whom the building is named. Both he and his wife Zoe made the contribution.

“The name of this building is the epitome of honor, sacrifice and courage,” Perry said of Buzbee.

Buzbee graduated from Texas A&M in 1990 when he was commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps. Perry said during his service in the Persian Gulf and Somalia, he received the Navy Commendation Medal. After serving in the military, Buzbee became a lawyer, and has since become one of the most successful trial lawyers in the U.S. According to Perry, it was during his time in the Corps that Buzbee acquired the necessary skills to be successful.

“The Corps of Cadets honed Tony Buzbee’s instincts and his abilities, as it still does today with everyone of those cadets,” Perry said.

The building itself, located on the western edge of the also Quad — connecting Harrell Hall and Lacy Hall — was first conceptualized as an academic resource for cadets. Buzbee said it was for this reason he decided to donate the money necessary for the building to be built. Something he said was an easy sell.

“You get asked a lot for donations for this and that and a lot of the time you’re like ‘prove to me why I should give the money,’” Buzbee said. “To have a center that can bring a young person in and help them with their study habits, help them with their tutoring, computers, lounges. I hope it makes a difference.”

Lt. Gen. and Vice President for Student Affairs Joe Weber, Class of 1972, said the building was an initial step as the Corps continues to grow and establish its place on campus.

“It’s the first step of many toward ensuring the existence of a Corps of Cadets in perpetuity to our beloved Texas A&M University,” Weber said. “This facility will be the cornerstone that supports our cadets in their quest for both academic excellence and leadership development.”

The construction of the building took about 15 months, according to the Media Relations Coordinator for the Corps Annette Walker, Class of 1988. The project has coincided with dorm renovations that are currently taking place. Walker said there is a plan for another leadership center on the eastern edge of the Quad, and that funding is already in place.

The building’s opening comes at a time of transition on campus as the school continues to grow and enters into the SEC. But the Corps is something that isn’t going to change in regards to its value and role, Perry said.

“There’s one thing that will never change in Aggieland, and that is that the Corps of Cadets will always be the heartbeat of this great school,” Perry said. “It is here that boys and girls are transformed into men and women.”

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