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OPINION: For incoming students, involvement at A&M invaluable

Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

Howdy! It’s an incredible privilege to welcome you to Aggieland.

Each new member of the Aggie family is part of an extreme minority of applicants who were accepted to Texas A&M University, and for that I congratulate you. To be accepted to an institution of such distinct academic excellence is no small achievement and should not be taken lightly. You’ve worked hard to earn this, so be proud. You deserve this.

Because of your hard work, you put yourself in a position to make a decision that will powerfully impress upon you values that will dramatically impact the rest of your life. Never forget the magnitude of the opportunity you’ve been given and be motivated to take full advantage of your time here.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of getting plugged-in at A&M. I will reiterate the value of involvement in your college experience. But I believe that involvement is about a lot more than finding friends and having fun. Involvement is about falling in love with Texas A&M. When you find that love for your University, you will be engrained with the values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service. Weaving these values into the fabric of your being will prepare you for success in each and every aspect of your life.

On Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, I stood in front of Sul Ross to remember four Aggies who had lost their lives over winter break. The wind whipped through the air and bit through my thick jacket as the wind chill neared zero degrees. The silence in Academic Plaza was broken systematically by the sharp and calculated footsteps of the Ross Volunteers. A 21-gun salute and the hallowed sound of Silver Taps rang through the brisk night air as thousands of Aggies stood in honor of our brothers and sisters in our Aggie Family who were no longer with us. As I made my way down Military Walk and heard the deep ring of Albritton Tower, I fully realized the history and honor that surrounded me. All my experiences and memories thus far in college led me to find a true love for Texas A&M that night.

I would not have appreciated that moment without weeks of service and involvement at Texas A&M. I knew the duty I had to maintain — the tradition and honor developed more than 136 years at what was once a small male military college in a farm town in the middle of nowhere.

I wouldn’t be nearly the man I am today without this school. My only request to you, Class of 2016, is to trust that if you participate in the traditions such as Silver Taps and “Howdy,” you will enjoy your time at Texas A&M exponentially more and will grow immensely in your time here. Leave this University better than how you found it, dream big and treat others the way you would hope to be treated along the way.

God bless and Gig ‘em.


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