In this 1943 painting, Reveille I is depicted gracefully standing in front of the Class of 1938 Memorial Fountain with the Corps of Cadets marching behind her. This likeness of the original First Lady of Aggieland takes Aggies back in time to the beginning of one of Texas A&M University’s most beloved traditions.
There are varying stories of Aggieland’s first mascot, but the most widely accepted origin is an account given by George Comnas ’35. In 1931, a group of cadets nursed back to health an injured black-and-white mutt they found on the side of the road on their way back to College Station from Navasota. She lived with students in the dorms and participated in Corps activities, becoming the first four-legged cadet.
In his 1980 Muster speech, Comnas recalled how the mutt got her famous name: “I unconsciously said to the B-Troop Cavalry one day, ‘Here comes our Reveille,’ referring to the bugle call for reveille that occurred just about the same time we were doing our morning exercises. The name stuck.”
After leading the band onto Kyle Field in 1932, Reveille became Texas A&M’s official mascot and has captivated generations ever since.
Immortalized on Canvas
Determined to see Reveille I commissioned as a general in the K-9 Division of WAGS (a World War II war dog training program), a group of Aggies formed the General Reveille Fund Committee in 1943. To realize their goal and honor the aging mascot’s memory, the committee undertook a fundraising effort to commission a portrait of her.
The committee selected the late Marie Haines, a nationally renowned College Station artist, to paint the portrait, which was later unveiled during the 1943 Aggie Bonfire by the university’s president at the time, the late Dr. Frank C. Bolton. “Reveille is more than an animal. She is a tradition—a tangible, visible connecting link,” he said at the ceremony. “I am happy to unveil this painting. May it preserve to future generations of Aggies the tradition of Reveille, a faithful, lovable dog.”
Shortly after the presentation, Reveille I passed away on Jan. 18, 1944. Hundreds of current and former students and members of the Bryan-College Station community attended her funeral in Kyle Field.
A LOST TREASURE
Around 1989, Reveille I’s portrait went missing during renovations of the Military Science Building (Trigon). After 10 years, searches for the beloved painting fizzled out until October 2014, when Col. Jim Woodall '50 picked up the case in a final effort to locate the piece of Texas A&M’s history. Woodall held a personal attachment to the painting, as it had hung in his office while he served as Corps Commandant from 1977 to 1982.
At Woodall’s request, former Texas A&M archivist David Chapman ’67 reran an article from a 1999 edition of Texas Aggie magazine about the missing painting and posted it online to maximize search efforts. After receiving a tip on its whereabouts, University Police Lt. Allan Baron ’00 located the person in possession of the painting, which had been in storage in San Antonio for years. “That person found the painting next to a trash receptacle during the renovation and thought it was being discarded,” he said. “The painting was delivered to UPD on Dec. 30, 2014.”
REVEILLE’S SECOND HOMECOMING
On Jan. 21, 2015, an unveiling ceremony of the recovered portrait was held at the Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Center. Retired Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez Jr. ’79, current Corps Commandant, participated in the event alongside the late Homer “Daniel” Boone ’46, a member of the original committee that commissioned the painting.
“The enduring story of Reveille I still resonates with all Aggies,” Ramirez said at the time. “We are forever grateful for Reveille’s legacy and how the tradition of the Corps’ special relationship with the university mascot endures today.”
Today, this historic painting hangs in the Sanders Corps Center, where students and visitors alike can view it and recall the unique origins of Aggieland’s beloved mascot.