March 27, 2024


It’s a beautiful day for a drive in Aggieland.

From her home on the south side of Bryan-College Station, Cheryl Holland Bridges backs her dark blue 1964 Rolls Royce out of the garage. If traffic isn’t bad, she’ll drive through campus and smile as she sees the Jack K. Williams Administration Building, Kyle Field, Simpson Drill Field, the Memorial Student Center and Mays Business School’s Wehner Building.

The vintage vehicle with a red leather and polished wood interior is more than a piece of Bridges’ personal history. It’s also a dear friend. She talks to the car while driving, pointing out her favorite landmarks and reminiscing.

This outing also reminds her of a greater journey—one that began in College Station but expanded to exploring the country and world through a rewarding retail marketing career. But as all roads lead to home, Bridges found her way back to Texas A&M University, sharing her journey to help others drive forward.

Mad for Maroon

Bridges’ love affair with Aggieland started young. “I remember going to the Aggie Bonfire with my parents at about 3 years old and sitting on my dad’s shoulders,” she recalled. “I can still hear the Yell Leaders, smell the smoke and see the fiery ashes floating over us.” Both of her parents earned degrees at Texas A&M, and she grew up in College Station, so “Howdy,” “Whoop” and “Gig ’em” have been on her tongue since she learned to speak.

After graduating from A&M Consolidated High School, Bridges enrolled at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) near Dallas. While women were allowed to attend Texas A&M by 1963, there were still very few co-eds other than the wives and daughters of university employees. TWU was considered Texas A&M’s “sister school,” and it was a tradition to name one student per year as the Aggie Sweetheart. Nominated ladies would visit College Station for interviews and be selected by Texas A&M students.

Details of Retail

After graduating from TWU with a music degree in 1968, Bridges was hired by Sanger-Harris as a management trainee. She discovered she had a passion for fashion and the details of retail. It wasn’t long before she moved up the ranks to assistant buyer, branch manager, buyer and eventually to divisional merchandise manager. In just five years, she had become the vice president of merchandising for fashion and product development. Soon, she was managing the fashion direction for everything in the store except furniture.

Executive positions in retail would take her around the world on buying trips, then to settle in New York City and Kansas City for several years, but her heart was always in Texas. In fact, it was her heart that eventually led her back to College Station. A high school friend wanted to set her up with someone, but Bridges wasn’t interested—until she learned her would-be date was an Aggie.