Historic sketch of the Quad.
Joining the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M was a life-changing experience for me. It taught me many lessons, allowed me to develop lifelong friendships and gave me a foundation in leadership that served me well as an officer in the United States Army upon graduation. I came to Texas A&M to become a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, not knowing much about the university’s traditions, the Corps’ military structure or the band. But during my four years, I learned just how special being an Aggie truly is and began to understand how much my experience in the Corps would impact the rest of my life.
When I returned to Texas A&M as Commandant in 2010, I was struck by how much had changed since I last walked on campus as a cadet in 1979. Unfortunately, walking onto the Quad had the opposite effect: I was struck by how much had stayed the same. There were minor upgrades to the dorms and landscaping, but the sidewalks had the same undulations and cracks, the grounds were more dirt than grass and the E.V. Adams Band Hall looked exactly the same as 40 years prior.
It became obvious to me and my staff that we needed a “strategic plan”—a blueprint for turning the Quad into a modern living-learning environment to grow the Corps and attract high-caliber cadets to our ranks. In 2011, after working with Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects and gaining the support of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and Chancellor John Sharp ’72, we embarked on the largest renovation to the Quad since its construction in 1939.
We completed Phase 1 in August 2016, which included a complete overhaul of dorms 1 through 8; new landscaping, benches, trees and lighting on the north end of the Quad; and the opening of the Susan & Michael J. Plank ’83 and Stephen C. Ash ’87 Leadership Learning Centers (LLCs). This brought the total number of LLCs on the Quad to four, following the opening of the Tony Buzbee ’90 LLC in 2012 and the H. Grady Ash Jr. ’58 LLC in 2014. Funded through private donations to the Texas A&M Foundation of more than $20 million, these centers offer open-access computer labs, study group rooms, and comfortable lounges and couches for cadets to utilize as they focus on their academic success.
Our Phase 2 renovations, to be completed before the fall semester begins, consist of revamping dorms 9 through 12 and completing landscaping and paving on the south end of the Quad. In addition to creating a safer, more efficient space for cadets to live, these upgrades improve our recruiting efforts by showing prospective students and parents that we are committed to fostering a positive living and learning environment for our cadets.