Sunday, September 13, 2015 – The Boots of the Statue
In my ongoing attempts to enlighten people…
Several of you mentioned the photograph of the boots of the statue on the campus of Texas A&M on Friday’s Here’s What I’m Thinking post. Here is the story told when I toured campus a few years ago – with my wonderful thoughts added. Any of you old Ags out there, please correct any Bad Bull.
The statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross stands in front of The Academic Building on the campus of Texas A&M. http://uart.tamu.edu/thegraduate
The Crazy Texas Legislature (I know, that is redundant, but this crazy Lege was back in the late 1880’s). But they tried to close the land grant college because the state only needed one university and it was in Austin. It was Lawrence Sullivan Ross – the first president of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, now called Texas A&M University – that stood before The Lege and “saved” the little college where the train stopped – College Station.
Today when Aggies face a major test, both literally and figuratively, we leave pennies at the base of the statue of Sully. This is to give us luck and strength to face the challenge before us.
So where do the coins go? The coins are picked up daily – more often during finals week – and the money goes toward the purchase of our beloved rings. When you order your ring, half of the cost is picked up by Ring Funds. Given what the other half costs that you pay for is one of the many reasons our rings do not come off of our fingers. Ring replacements are not halved with Sully funds.
Lawrence Sullivan Ross is one of the most interesting people in Texas history. It took a hell of long time for “the good of the girls” to become the improving influence, but it was there in thought all along. Thank you Sully.
Here are a few factoids from Wikipedia. So glad some of the names of clubs changed or hopefully disappeared.
His family lived on the frontier of Texas where his family founded Waco where he attended Baylor as a teenager. FYI – Baylor Family – it was when Baylor was in Independence. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Florence, Alabama in 1859.
He was the 19th governor of Texas who oversaw the dedication of the new Texas Capitol building.
He is credited with saving the land grant college from closure, and his tenure saw a large expansion in college facilities and the birth of many school traditions. After his death, the Texas legislature created Sul Ross State University in his honor.
Although enrollment had always been limited to men, Ross favored coeducation, as he thought the male cadets “would be improved by the elevating influence of the good girls. In 1893, Ethel Hudson, the daughter of a Texas AMC professor, became the first woman to attend classes at the school and helped edit the annual yearbook. She was made an honorary member of the class of 1895. Several years later, her twin sisters became honorary members of the class of 1903, and slowly other daughters of professors were allowed to attend classes.
During Ross’s seven-and-one-half year tenure, many enduring Texas A&M traditions formed. These include the first Aggie Ring and the formation of the Aggie Band. Ross’s tenure also saw the school’s first intercollegiate football game, played against the University of Texas.
Many student organizations were founded in this time period, including the Fat Man’s Club, the Bowlegged Men’s Club, the Glee Club (now known as the Singing Cadets), the Bicycle Club, and the College Dramatic Club. In 1893, students began publishing a monthly newspaper, The Battalion, and two years later, they began publishing an annual yearbook, known as The Olio.