For many families coming to Aggieland for this Friday’s Ring Day, it will mean watching their students receive a ring. This ring symbolizes the blood, sweat and tears shed to reach the milestone of 90 hours at Texas A&M. But for others, Ring Day also means a legacy passed from generation to generation of the many Aggies in their family.
James Taylor’s family has a unique Aggie story with a significant coincidence. Ron Rhodes, James’ father-in-law, graduated in 1970 with a degree in finance; James graduated in 1995 with a degree in industrial distribution. In May 2020, his daughter, Hallie Taylor, will graduate with a degree in kinesiology, and this Friday, she will receive her ring. Their Aggie family legacy spans 50 years, exactly 25 years apart among the three generations.
James is from Eden, Texas, home of James Earl Rudder. One of his influences to attend A&M was his high school science teacher who brought him to an A&M football game.
“All you have to do is visit the campus once, and you will know and feel that A&M is unique,” James said in an email to The Battalion.
James and his wife, Kelly, brought Hallie to an Aggie football game when she was two years old, and she stood the entire time. Years later, she attends A&M and carries on the tradition that stands strong today. Rhodes said he didn’t have to hope his granddaughter would be an Aggie, because he knew she would be.
“Hallie had all types of Aggie clothes even when she was a baby,” Rhodes said. “There was no question that she was going to be an Aggie. ... I am very proud that 50 years later I have another Aggie.”
Hallie will receive her ring on Friday, but she has been putting her grandfather’s ring on since she was young, her father said.
“Hallie understands what the Aggie Ring symbolizes,” James said. “I am extremely proud of her achievement, and I hope she does not lose her ring or forget where she put it.”
Growing up, Hallie never saw her dad or grandfather without their rings, and she remembers always being in awe of them.
“This ring is so symbolic to me,” Hallie said. “It holds a lot of value academically as it represents the hard work and many late nights spent in Evans to get it, but also personally represents the tradition it holds in my family.”
Hallie said receiving her ring is very meaningful to her, but also for her dad and grandfather.
“It is probably very surreal for my grandpa to see me receive my ring because it represents the tradition he truly began in my family," Hallie said. “To return 50 years later and see a third generation of the family carrying a tradition is the thought I can’t even fathom. Although my dad’s bank account is hurting a little after ordering my ring, I know he is so proud. All of his brainwashing finally paid off. I can’t wait to flex our rings together at Thanksgiving.”
James said attending Silver Taps and Aggie Muster are some of his strongest memories from his days in Aggieland, along with meeting George H. W. Bush at Tom’s BBQ. He also remembers walking across the stage, receiving the white tube that held his diploma and opening it up. James hoped not only his diploma was actually in there, but also that all of his parking tickets were paid. Rhodes, James and his wife also had the experience of attending the last Aggie Bonfire on campus.
“It is a great feeling to have Hallie having many experiences similar to mine and then telling me about them, from Silver Taps to Sbisa and from sunburned football games to Northgate,” James said. "I am proud of Hallie for attending Texas A&M University, for I know and understand the many of life’s ups and downs that A&M will help you experience.”
Hallie said she could not be more proud to be an Aggie, especially because of the meaning it holds for her family. She knew A&M would become her home, and she is grateful that it is now. Her grandfather and dad played a big role in her decision to come to A&M.
“I am so, so thankful for the two most important men in my life making incredible efforts to help me on my journey to get here,” Hallie said.