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On Campus: News From Across Texas A&M

Aggies Dedicate Spirit Plaza

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Class of 1969 gifted Texas A&M University a new campus landmark. The Spirit Plaza commemorates the sacred traditions of Muster and Silver Taps—ceremonies that honor Aggies who have recently passed—as well as the Aggie Honor Code and the Aggie core values. The Classes of 1972, 1991, 1995 and 2019 were also involved in the $560,000 gift.

“We wanted this plaza to be a place where people can reflect on the essence of being an Aggie, so it was important that we place it in the heart of campus,” said Bill Howell ’69. The Spirit Plaza’s unique location centers it near Academic Plaza, Military Walk and the statue of Sul Ross.

The plaza will bind Aggies together from generation to generation. “What sets Texas A&M apart are the values we embed in our students as they get their education,” said Texas A&M President Michael K. Young. “The Spirit Plaza will be a constant reminder of what it is to be an Aggie. We are grateful for this wonderful gift and know that it will be remembered by all Aggies in perpetuity.”

Texas A&M Launches Aggie ACHIEVE

This fall, the College of Education and Human Development introduced the state’s first residential, four-year higher education program for students with learning and developmental disabilities. Designed by Dr. Carly Gilson, assistant professor of special education, Aggie ACHIEVE allows students to live on campus, experience college life, immerse themselves in the campus community and prepare for future employment.

The program is funded by private gifts through the Texas A&M Foundation. Donors include Elizabeth ’90 and Michael Bradley ’91, Marie and The Honorable Larry Gonzales, H-E-B Tournament of Champions, HillCo Partners, David Osburn ’81, and Massey and Cindy Villarreal. During their first two years, students are introduced to college life through seminars focused on independent living, career awareness and self-determination. The last two years prepare them for future careers through job preparation and on- and off-campus internships.

“This program will provide a rigorous education, academics and employment experience that will prepare these young adults to work in jobs they are interested in that match their strengths,” Gilson said. Although Aggie ACHIEVE students will not receive a diploma, they will earn a certificate upon completing the program. The first cohort includes five students from across Texas.

Sea Aggies Fundraise for Ring Statue

The Maroon Delegates of Texas A&M University at Galveston, a student ambassador group, are leading a fundraising effort that will fund the commission and construction of an Aggie ring statue for their island home.

Discussions for a ring statue at the campus have been ongoing for several years and stem from a desire by leadership and students to have traditional imagery found on the Texas A&M College Station campus brought to Galveston. Sea Aggies receive Aggie rings just like students in College Station, and wearing the ring is a cherished tradition.

“Our Galveston students are proud Aggies in every way, and nothing more prominently displays that pride than the Aggie ring,” said Col. Michael Fossum ’80, COO of the Galveston campus. “We have other items on our campus reflective of our heritage as the premier sea component of Texas A&M’s land-, sea- and space-grant mission, and it makes perfect sense to add an Aggie ring statue to those offerings.”

A plaque in front of the statue will recognize the Maroon Delegates as the organization that spearheaded the project. To contribute to the Galveston Aggie ring project, give online here.

Engineering a Musical Masterpiece

Binomial Rhapsody, a unique design project in the College of Engineering, challenged students to compose music using scientific and mathematical formulas. The challenge is part of ENGR[x], a new academic requirement in which engineering students must participate in a high-impact learning experience and submit a reflection on what they learned.

The Binomial Rhapsody experience gave Aggies like Ritika Bhattacharjee ’22, who is trained in classical piano, voice and Indian classical dance, the opportunity to combine her talent for math with her love for music. She and an ensemble of students composed a classical music piece inspired by Newton’s second law, which states that force is equal to mass times acceleration, by converting output from the equation to notes on the western classical chromatic scale.

“I found that music and engineering really do complement each other,” Bhattacharjee said. “Engineers are creative, and our analytical side helps us bring our art to life.”

As the Binomial Rhapsody program continues, Shayla Rivera ’83, professor of practice and director of ENGR[x], hopes to guide engineers in unleashing their creativity. “The best way for students to learn is to let them set their own parameters and be creative in solving problems, which is exactly what this program does,” she said.

  • Ready to Launch

    For the 18th consecutive year, Texas A&M hosted nearly 1,000 Texas middle and high school students at the ultimate battle of scientific wits: the Science Olympiad. Throughout the two-day event, 60 teams tested their science, engineering and technology knowledge through various competitions, such as constructing gliders, battery-powered cars and indoor bottle rockets.
  • Here to Help

    EpiAssist, a service-learning program housed in the School of Public Health, continues to aid state health services in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Undergraduate volunteers traveled to Rockport, Texas, earlier this year to conduct door-to-door surveys assessing the community’s resource needs. The gathered data will help the city as it continues to rebuild and recover.
  • Opening Doors

    Earlier this year, the College of Architecture opened COA North, a new facility in downtown Bryan. The building provides more flexible classroom and studio space where students and faculty can host public exhibitions, adding to the vibrant arts community in historic downtown Bryan.

Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor