Since its unveiling in 2009, the 12-foot-tall bronze replica Aggie ring statue in Haynes Ring Plaza has become an iconic fixture on Texas A&M University’s College Station campus. Every year, thousands of students and visitors gather around the ring to pose and take pictures, many anxiously awaiting the day they receive their own Aggie ring. More than an architectural flourish, the ring statue—a gift from the late Harold J. Haynes ’46 and his wife, Reta—takes the tradition’s prominence on campus and realizes it in a physical space as a gathering place for Aggies past, present and future.
Almost 150 miles away at Texas A&M University at Galveston, a fundraising initiative is underway to bring a similar monument to the seaside campus. The Maroon Delegates, a Galveston campus student ambassador group, are spearheading an effort to fund the commission and construction of an Aggie ring statue on the Galveston campus.
The proposed statue would be smaller in stature than its College Station counterpart but would further establish the campus’ Aggie pride. Unlike most schools in The Texas A&M University System, students at Texas A&M Galveston identify closely with Aggie culture and traditions, so much so that they are colloquially referred to as “Sea Aggies.” Galveston students have their own Yell Leaders, purchase sports passes for athletic events in College Station and, pertinently, receive Aggie rings upon meeting scholastic requirements.
Campus leadership has expressed interest in bringing more “main campus” symbolism to Galveston for years. Andres Barboza ’18, who was president of the Maroon Delegates during his senior year at Texas A&M Galveston, said the idea for a ring statue arose during a visit to the College Station campus with the Delegates’ vice president, Deidra Dittmar ’19. “Some of the delegates were walking by the smaller ring statue next to the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center, and Deidra asked, ‘What if we had something like that on our campus?’” Barboza said. After Dittmar approached Barboza with the idea, the two decided to formally present it to Texas A&M Galveston administration.
Barboza envisions the ring statue acting as both a visual motivator for underclassman and a symbol of the ring’s prestige. “It would mean so much to see the ring represented in a central part of campus,” he said. “It’ll remind students what they’re working toward every day and reinforce what it means to wear the ring as a member of the Aggie family.”
Though exact details of the statue’s design and its placement on the Galveston campus have not been finalized, fundraising efforts for the project are in full swing. Barboza and Dittmar have both graduated since launching the initiative, but current Maroon Delegates are working diligently with the Sea Aggie Former Student Network, the Galveston Board of Visitors and other individual donors to see the project through.
Col. Michael Fossum ’80, COO of the Galveston campus and a former astronaut, lent the project his abiding support. “Our students are proud Aggies in every way, and nothing more prominently displays that pride than the Aggie ring,” he said. “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.”
For Sea Aggies, the Galveston ring statue won’t just be a replication or reflection of its College Station counterpart. It will act as a reminder that Aggieland extends far beyond Brazos County—farther than the campus overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, even. It’s a place that follows every former student wherever they go, encapsulated in the gleaming, golden band around their finger.
To give online to the Galveston Aggie ring statue project, visit give.am/MaroonDelegateAggieRingStatue. For more information, contact Jason Tieman '97 below.