Tag Archives: Texas A&M University

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 – “An Uncommon Ability to Inspire Men and Lead Them to Exceptional Achievement”

Wednesday, June 05, 2019 – “An Uncommon Ability to Inspire Men and Lead Them to Exceptional Achievement.”

Watch the news and see those WWII soldiers who stormed the Beaches of Normandy. They are now in their 90’s and return to the beaches where many gave the greatest sacrifice. You will see them tear up as they remember that day. They were 18 and 19 years old. They saw their friends and buddys blown away in front of their eyes. They took bullets. They will tell you they were scared, but doing what had to be done.

We owe these brave men our gratitude, our respect and most of all our freedom. He is the story of one.

James Earl Rudder

May 6, 1910–March 23, 1970

The German army considered Pointe du Hoc a perfect spot for defending the coast of France from Allied forces during World War II. From atop its hundred-foot cliffs, German guns could reach both Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. The Germans thought their position was secure. And it was—until June 1944, when Texan James Earl Rudder and his Second Ranger Battalion began to climb those cliffs.

Rudder graduated from Texas A&M University in 1932 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Reserves. He taught high school and college and coached football until he was called to active duty in 1941. He trained U.S. Army Rangers for one of D-Day’s most dangerous operations: taking Pointe du Hoc.

During the assault, over half of Rudder’s men were killed or wounded, and Rudder himself was shot in the leg. But the high ground was seized, and the German guns were silenced.

After the war, Rudder continued to take on tough challenges. As president of Texas A&M, he supported optional membership in the Corps of Cadets and helped open the university to women, despite great opposition.

When he died in 1970, Rudder was celebrated for his courageous leadership in both war and peace. An inscription on Rudder Tower, located on the A&M campus, remembers Rudder’s “uncommon ability to inspire men and lead them to exceptional achievement.”

For More about James Earl Rudder

In June 2011, Humanities Texas published an excerpt from Thomas M. Hatfield’s 2011 book Rudder: From Leader to Legend in our monthly e-newsletter. The excerpt details the Second Ranger Battalion’s first night on Pointe du Hoc.

The James Earl Rudder Collection, 1918–2001, is held by Texas A&M University’s Cushing Library. The collection includes materials from Rudder’s time in the service during World War II, clippings from newspapers, posters, magazine issues, memorabilia, and Rudder’s awards.

In recognition of the significance of Rudder’s tenure as president of Texas A&M University, the university erected a sculpture of Rudder in 1993. The statue, which was designed by Lawrence M. Ludtke, was originally located in front of Bizzell Hall, but was moved in 2009 to stand at the south end of Military Walk.


James Earl Rudder’s Legacy Was Born 75 Years Ago At D-Day

Monday, August 14, 2017 – Charlottesville

Monday, August 14, 2017 – Charlottesville

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

George H. W. Bush Library. Photo by me.

As the Nazi and white supremacy groups prepare to bring their hateful rhetoric and bigoted spewing propaganda to the campus of Texas A&M and to Earl Rudder Plaza, please know the following five facts:

  1. General James Earl Rudder commanded Pointe du Hoc in the Invasion of Normandy to rid Europe of the hatred and bigotry they endorse. They shame his heroism and his memory.
  2. The organizers ARE NOT graduates of Texas A&M University. TAMU is a public institution and by law cannot deny a public group a meeting place regardless of the message.
  3. Texas A&M does not endorse or tolerate any of the thoughts, actions or values portrayed by such hate groups.
  4. The Texas Aggies have sent more soldiers to wars to fight the Nazis and those like them than you will ever see. The Twelfth Man is not only for athletics.
  5. The Maroon Wall is forming to counter the protests. On September 11, in the shadows of Earl Rudder Tower and on Earl Rudder Plaza, I WILL be part of the Maroon Wall. You are not taking me, my alma mater, my state, my country to a world of oppression and hatred.

    My Aggie leavings at a Traveling Wall for John R Baldridge Jr. MIA Vietnam Conflict. Texas Aggie and hero whose POW/MIA bracelet I wore in college. Photo by me.

    Pray for those in Charlottsville. Pray for peace in the USA.

Thursday, October 15, 2015 – Cooper Goodson? Where Are You? Or The Commandant and the Doctor

Thursday, October 15, 2015 – Cooper Goodson? Where Are You? Or The Commandant and the Doctor

Cooper Goodson? Are you out there in Facebook land? If you are I hope you are well and happy. I wanted you to know that during high school at Magnolia High School I had the biggest crush on you. Did you think I sat in the back of the band bus to sit by the bass drum?  Of course I could seldom think of anything to talk about and if there was a conversation it always seemed to end with you saying “Yeah, but girls can’t go to A&M.” If you only knew how that pissed me off.

Therefore I wanted you to know that girls now do go to Texas &M. Here is a photo of two of them. Presenting the first female Commandant of the Corps of Cadets, Alyssa Marie Michalke, and The Doctor, Yours Truly, Class of 1985. Photo by http://reddragonphotos.com/

The Commandant and the Doctor (602x800)

I hope to see you one day and give you a big hug. After I slap you with my Aggie Ring. WHOOP!

BTHO – Alabama

Sunday, September 13, 2015 – The Boots of the Statue

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

Campus tour 7.5.2014 2014-07-05 057 (522x800)

Taken July 5, 2014

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.

Campus tour 7.5.2014 2014-07-05 056 (2) (600x800)

July 5, 2014

Sully's Boots

Check the coins the day after The Fourth of July.

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.