On Saturday morning, members of the Sul Ross Group met to pay tribute to Lawrence Sullivan Ross on the 100th anniversary of the dedication of his statue.
The group, made up of Aggies from classes that have celebrated at least 55 years since their graduation, formed in 1947 when several classes decided to enjoy one reunion rather than have individual reunions, according to the Association of Former Students website. Now, when a class reaches the 55th anniversary of their graduation, they are inducted into the Sul Ross Group.
Also in attendance for the ceremony were Student Body President Mikey Jaillet, Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel Pugh, Corps Commandant Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez and Corps Chief of Staff Col. Byron Stebbins.
Located in the heart of campus, the statue, affectionately referred to as “Sully,” is most commonly known by current students as a place to leave pennies for good luck before an exam. It is said that when students asked Ross how they could repay him for helping them with school work, he would simply say “a penny for your thoughts.” The tradition of Silver Taps started as a tribute to Ross and now takes place in front of his statue.”
“[Sul Ross] is much more than putting pennies at his feet,” said Tom Wisdom, Class of 1960 and President of the Sul Ross Group. “He is much more than a place to have Silver Taps. This man is important.”
Wisdom said the centennial of the statue’s unveiling gave the group a chance to show their respect for Ross and commemorate the role he played in A&M’s history.
Ross was the third president of Texas A&M, serving from 1891 to 1898. He played an integral role in saving both the College Station campus and Prairie View A&M at a time when both were struggling young colleges with low attendance rates, according to Wisdom.
“The men and women of A&M today owe a great deal to this man,” Wisdom said. “We want to place this wreath in honor of Sul Ross, who did so much for A&M and for the state of Texas. Without him, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Harry Brand, Class of 1962 and a member of the board of the Sul Ross Group, said Ross is meaningful to him because without Ross, A&M could never have become the major university it is today.
“When you talk about leaders at A&M, the culmination of all of their efforts and their hard work is seen today in the 60,000 students who attend Texas A&M,” Brand said. “That’s why I’m here today to honor Sul Ross for his work and his dedication to the university which means so much to me.”