MSC reopening attracts thousands
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07
The Memorial Student Center came back to life as Aggies once again occupied its couches, walked its halls and paid respects to military heroes after the building was opened and rededicated on Aggie Muster day. Students readily welcomed the campus living room’s return.
Saturday morning, Aggies gathered outside the Loyalty entrance as state and University leaders shared their experiences and thoughts about the three-year project. President R. Bowen Loftin said the MSC is a testament of the University’s future.
“This student center is a part of this complex organic entity we call Texas A&M University,” Loftin said. “It is something that not only lives, but over time, changes and we’ve all seen those changes occur, changes for the better. [Now we have] an extraordinary student center in which to recreate, congregate, remember and think ahead about.”
The keynote speaker, Gov. Rick Perry, emphasized the MSC’s important role on the A&M campus and in the lives of students.
“[The MSC holds] untold stories of friendships, of first dates that led to marriages,” Perry said. “On occasion a young student having that breakthrough and truly beginning to understand what being a Texas Aggie is all about occurred in this building.”
Perry said for many, the MSC is where a love for A&M started.
“You can make a good case the Memorial Student Center is where the heart first started beating for any number of young Aggies,” Perry said. “Because of those renovations, the current students haven’t been able to really grasp what the student center meant to previous generations. Starting today, it will quickly become a part of their Aggie experience, as well.”
Students were quick to utilize the MSC once more, filling the MSC’s rooms on Sunday as if it had never closed. Former and current students, like Kyle Lewallen, Class of 1992, and Colby Lewallen, sophomore mechanical engineering major, took the opportunity to tour the new MSC the day after Muster.
“There’s a lot of connections back to the old building like the Flag Room,” Kyle said. “Even the courtyard, as many changes as there are in the courtyard, I still have a reminiscence like I was here before.”
Colby said he had visited the MSC when he was younger, but only remembered the long hallway entrance — now the Loyalty Entrance — and the Flag Room.
“It’s definitely a lot more open and newer and nicer,” Colby said. “The Flag Room seems about the same.”
Kyle said he and his son enjoyed seeing all the natural light that now illuminates the building’s interior and the students who have moved back in.
“There’s a lot of light, a lot of energy,” Kyle said. “We’ve been impressed by how many students are hanging out in here and studying. It always sort of acted like a central hub for the campus.”
One of the MSC’s most iconic attributes is the piano that sits in the Flag Room. Matthew McBride, senior urban and regional sciences major, played several numbers for an audience of studying, napping and visiting students.
“One of my favorite changes is the Hall of Honor,” McBride said. “I was really impressed with how they went from having a little wooden plaque with the Medal of Honor and piece of paper with a paragraph about their story to this beautiful permanent display.”
Like many upperclassmen, McBride said he’s upset he won’t be able to enjoy the MSC for long, only because of how much he used to visit it before it was closed.
“I’m kind of upset I’m only going to have it for one more semester just because when I was a freshman and sophomore I enjoyed coming here all the time. I walked through every day,” McBride said. “I loved the atmosphere here, and as far as I can tell, that has come back.”