January 9, 2024

From Aggieland’s own Layne’s Chicken Fingers to cinema classics, 2023 was packed with lasting memories. Here are our top 12 photos from some of our favorite stories this past year.  

Use the “Gig ’em” symbol beneath each image to let us know which photo(s) you loved the most.

Photo by Josh Huskin

After becoming the sole owner in 1999, Mike Garratt ’98 turned Layne’s Chicken Fingers into a College Station classic. Since it first opened its doors, the eatery has served more than 13 million cups of its secret sauce, and people can enjoy its famous fried chicken and Aggie hospitality in more than 10 new locations across the country. Bite into this story.


Photo by Nick Cabrera

Ever since she taught her first 8 a.m. freshman physics class, Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova has been using science demonstrations to share the wonders of physics. Today, she and her demonstrations are an online sensation that help millions of people realize physics is for everyone. Explore her story.


Photo provided by Cushing Memorial Library and Archives

Through the years, blockbuster films have starred Texas A&M locations, included Aggie Easter eggs and shown the traditions of the 12th Man. From the 1943 World War II film “We’ve Never Been Licked,” to the Academy Award-nominated legal drama “A Few Good Men,” explore these silver-screen moments through the decades. Lights, Camera, Aggies!


Photo by Josh Huskin

As host of the former Farm and Ranch TV News program, Horace McQueen ’60 helped East Texas residents start their mornings off right for more than three decades. In this role, McQueen became the voice of Texas agriculture and one of the industry’s biggest advocates in Texas and beyond. More on this agricultural legend.


Photo by John Davidson

Leading the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band across Kyle Field, drum major Cade Mahlen ’24 shares his love for Aggieland and the “spirit can ne’er be told” with 100,000 football fans. When he isn’t marching with the Aggie Band, Mahlen spends his time working on his degree in nuclear engineering, thanks to scholarship support. March into his story.


Photo by Zachary Scott

From ostriches to camels, exotic creatures large and small have found a home at the Winnie Carter Wildlife Center on Texas A&M University’s West Campus. There, the center’s director, Dr. Alice Blue-McLendon ’85 ’87 ’89, teaches students how to care for these special creatures. Enter the wild.


Photo by Josh Huskin

Dressed in maroon with violin in hand, Ivan Sanchez ’26 leads Aggieland Mariachi while pursuing a future career in real estate. As a first-generation college student and a Regents’ Scholar, Sanchez hopes to one day give back to the Texas A&M community the same way he was given his own educational opportunity. Meet this maroon mariachi player.


Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The pitmaster himself, Ray Riley ’79 ’81, teaches barbecue enthusiasts the arts to the craft at the university’s Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center. Eager to help students at any skill level perfect their smoking prowess, he dished out tips for barbecue beginners on how to create an excellent brisket. Start the grill.


Photo by Josh Huskin

Following his years quarterbacking for the Aggies, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, Stephen McGee ’08 ’09 turned his football experience into game-winning financial strategies in his financial advising career. From mastering the fundamentals to learning how to best support your team, McGee shows how to use one’s assets for the long run. Down, set, hut!


Photo provided by the Center for Maritime
Archaeology and Conservation 

Resting at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, these abandoned World War II torpedo bombers have remained undisturbed for decades due to unique circumstances. Recently, members of Texas A&M University’s nautical archeology program plunged into the depths to study these aircraft up close. Dive into this story.


Photo by Darius Tanner '19

From being Bonfire buddies to getting engaged under Century Tree before Midnight Yell, Aimee ’93 and John Mohr ’94 found a connection at Texas A&M that is still burning bright more than 28 years later. Theirs is one of many tales from couples who began their happily ever after in Aggieland. Waltz into their love story.


Photo by Josh Huskin

Both in search of a new academic adventure, Lauren ’11 and Justin Futch ’10 met during Texas A&M’s Agricultural and Natural Resources internship in Washington, D.C., and began the fairy tale start of their romance with dinner and sightseeing the first night. Now married with an adorable son, the couple has come full-circle to support the program that brought them together. Travel with the Futch family.