Twelve Days Countdown–12/11/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a statewide network of 11 universities, as well as seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center. Day 11 celebrates the 11 universities in the System:

  1. Texas A&M University
  2. Prairie View A&M University
  3. Texas A&M University-Commerce
  4. Tarleton State University
  5. West Texas A&M University
  6. Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  7. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
  8. Texas A&M International University
  9. Texas A&M University-Texarkana
  10. Texas A&M University-Central Texas
  11. Texas A&M University-San Antonio
  12. Texas A&M Health Science Center

A&M System members educate more than 120,000 students and reach another 22 million people through service each year. With more than 28,000 faculty and staff, the A&M System has a physical presence in 250 of the Texas’ 254 counties and offers programs in every one. The System provides educational programs, outreach and community enhancement services, and research to improve the lives of people statewide, nationally and globally.

Fun Facts from the Texas A&M University System website:

• More than one in five students in a public university in Texas is enrolled in an A&M System institution.
• Texas A&M consistently ranks in the forefront among public universities in Texas in retention rates—keeping students enrolled and on course for graduation
• A&M System students received about $247 million in scholarships and grants annually.
• The A&M System awarded 24,377 degrees in FY 2010.
• The A&M System’s faculty include recipients of the Nobel Prize, National Medal of Science, Pulitzer Prize, World Food Prize and Wolf Prize, as well as members in the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

Works Cited

Texas A&M University System. Website: http://www.tamus.edu/about/. Date accessed: December 11, 2012.

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Twelve Days Countdown–12/10/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Day 10 of the Twelve Days Countdown represents the 10 colleges at Texas A&M University:

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Architecture
  • Bush School of Government & Public Service
  • Mays Business School
  • Education and Human Development
  • Dwight Look College of Engineering
  • Geosciences
  • Liberal Arts
  • Science
  • Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

A&M offers more than 120 undergraduate degrees, 240 graduate degrees, and a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. This Tier-1 University, ranked 65 in the nation in U.S. News and World Reports, is consistently a Top 10 school for number of National Merit winners who enroll. Texas A&M ranks at the top statewide in student retention and graduation. One out of every ten veterinarians in the United States graduated from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Texas A&M has five campus locations; the university library system has access to over 4 million volumes and 400,000 e-books. It ranks 13th nationally among academic libraries in U.S. public institutions and 2nd in spending on electronic serials.

Texas A&M offers a University Honors Program that is one of the most comprehensive of its type anywhere in the United States. Every year, Texas A&M offers more than 300 Honors classes and benefits from the participation of approximately 2,500 undergraduates in its programs.

Vision 2020: Creating a Culture of Excellence articulates Texas A&M University’s bold recognition of necessary institutional evolution required to achieve its mission as a land, sea, and space grant institution of global preeminence. Adopted in 1999, with an explicit vision for acceptance as a consensus leader among peer public institutions, more than 250 stakeholders worked to identify benchmarks, which if achieved, would enhance the value of Texas A&M to The Texas A&M University System, the State of Texas, and the nation.

Vision 2020 identifies twelve specific areas of focus, which are underscored as well-crafted imperatives that define accepted precepts and goals that the university will target over the course of two decades: 1. Elevate Our Faculty and Their Teaching, Research, and Scholarship
2. Strengthen Our Graduate Programs
3. Enhance the Undergraduate Academic Experience
4. Build the Letters, Arts, and Sciences Core
5. Build on the Tradition of Professional Education
6. Diversify and Globalize the A&M Community
7. Increase Access to Knowledge Resources
8. Enrich Our Campus
9. Build Community and Metropolitan Connections
10. Demand Enlightened Governance and Leadership
11. Attain Resource Parity with the Best Public Universities
12. Meet Our Commitment to Texas

The Forsyth, Stark, and the MSC Reynolds Student Art Galleries work to provide free, accessible fine arts and programming to students, faculty, staff and guests on campus, thereby helping fulfill the mission of Vision 2020. We invite you to come and visit our galleries and explore the world of art!

Works Cited

Texas A&M. Website: http://www.tamu.edu/academics/index.html. Date accessed: December 11, 2012.
Texas A&M. Website: http://vision2020.tamu.edu. Date accessed: December 11, 2012.

U.S. News and World Reports. Website: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/09/11/frequently-asked-questions-best-colleges-rankings#4

Twelve Days Countdown–12/9/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Everyone who is remotely interested in Texas A&M, Aggie sports, college football or the Southeastern Conference knows about the phenomenal performance the Aggies gave in their inaugural SEC Football Season. Despite the predictions of naysayers and doomsday prophets, the Fightin’ Texas Aggies, led by Head Coach Kevin Sumlin, produced a jaw-dropping 10-2 football season that left them ranked 9th in the Bowl Championship Standings (BCS). That ranking provides the subject for the 9th day of the 12 Days Countdown.

According to the Bowl Championship Series website, “The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is a five-game showcase of college football. It is designed to ensure that the two top-rated teams in the country meet in the national championship game, and to create exciting and competitive matchups among eight other highly regarded teams in four other bowl games. The five bowl games are the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl presented by VISIO, Allstate Sugar Bowl and Allstate BCS National Championship Game that is played at one of the bowl sites.”

Ranking, standing and ratings are important to football fans who vie to determine which team is the absolute best. However, with literally hundreds of methodologies for determining “the absolute best,” teams face each other for final match-ups based on a variety of criteria, including quantifiable results such as number of wins, but also qualifiable (non-measurable) variables, such as injuries, heart, clutch and payback.

Victor Mather, in an article for the New York Times, states, “No matter how powerful the computer or how complex its formula, no system will ever be perfect. Programmers can make very good evaluations, but they can never know for sure who is actually going to win the games.”

Each year, contenders in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic are selected from the Big 12 Conference, (which the Aggies left), to compete against the Southeastern Conference, (which the Aggies joined in 2012). Once the Bowl Championship Series announces its bowl line-up, the Classic receives its choice of Big 12 competitors. The SEC then submits a division champion, a division runner-up, a team with a comparable record or a mutually agreed-upon team as the Big 12’s opponent.

The highly celebrated 2012 Texas A&M Football Season will culminate with a matchup in the 77th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm between the Big 12’s Oklahoma Sooners and the SEC’s Texas Aggies. The game will be played in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Forsyth Galleries would like to congratulate the entire Texas Aggie team (including all the coaches, players and support staff) on their accomplishments this year. We’ll be excitedly cheering you on as you Beat the Hell Outta the Sooners in January! The Forsyth would also like to invite our blog visitors to check out the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Art Contest, which showcases up-and-coming young artists from North Texas. Gig ‘em!

Works Cited

Bowl Championship Series. Website: http://www.bcsfootball.org. Last updated: January 16, 2012. Date accessed: December 11, 2012.

Mather, Victor. The New York Times. Website: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/sports/ncaafootball/college-football-computer-rankings-proliferate.html. Published: October 23, 2012. Date accessed: December 11, 2012.

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Website: http://www.attcottonbowl.com/visitors-guide/general-info/. Date accessed: December 11, 2012.

Twelve Days Countdown–12/8/2012.

Text by Lynn McDanielrev1

Reveille VIII, Texas A&M’s beloved official mascot, is the subject of day eight in the twelve days countdown. She is the first lady of Aggieland, and, as Cadet General and the only bearer of five diamonds awarded by the U.S. Army, she is the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets.

The first, original “Reveille” was a small black and white dog of unspecific breed that was accidentally hit as a group of cadets came back to A&M from Navasota in January of 1931. They rescued the injured dog and brought her back to school so they could care for her. Her barking response to the bugler’s early morning “Reveille” resulted in her name. She was named the official school mascot at the following football season when she led the band onto the field at halftime. Reveille I was given a formal military funeral when she died on January 18, 1944. She, and all the Reveille mascots who served after her, was buried at the North Entrance to Kyle Field, facing the scoreboard so she could always watch the Aggies outscore their opponents.

For several years, the mascots who followed Reveille I were other dog breeds and did not carry the name “Reveille.” Some of the other mascot names included “Tripod,” “Spot,” and “Ranger.” Reveille II was a Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie), which looks similar to a Collie but is a smaller breed. Reveille II was donated by Arthur Weinert (’00) after the student body was unable to raise enough money to buy a new mascot. Sam Netterville was Reveille II’s primary care-giver, and it was he who persuaded the University’s student senate to pass a resolution to allow A Quartermaster Company the honor of providing Reveille’s care. “Miss Rev” went everywhere with Netterville, including classes, beginning the tradition of Reveille being escorted at all times.

rev2Reveille III was the first purebred Rough Collie who served as the A&M mascot. A Rough Collie has a long, flowing coat, whereas a Smooth Collie has a short coat. According to the American Kennel Club website, “… the Collie is both elegant and graceful, appearing to float over the ground as it runs. Loyal and affectionate, the breed is naturally responsive to humans. Marked characteristics include the beautiful coat of the rough variety and the breed’s lean wedge-shaped head. The coat can be rough or smooth and the four accepted colors are sable and white, tri-color, blue merle and white. The best-known Collie is, of course, the famous Lassie” (followed closely, of course, by Miss Rev)!

Reveille IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII (current mascot) all played their part in establishing new traditions at Texas A&M. Their stories were documented in a book by Rusty Burson and Vannessa Burson called, Reveille: First Lady of Texas A&M, which can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.

The sight of Reveille brings excitement to all Texas A&M students, who typically whip out their cameras and ask if they can have their picture taken with the popular mascot. She is frequently the portrait subject of local artists and photographers, proudly representing her school with grace and dignity.rev3

Reveille Art and Portraits
1. Reveille I Portrait
2. Reveille ready for her SEC debut
3. Tech commissions painting of Reveille for new A&M president
4. Benjamin Knox Gallery

Works Cited

American Kennel Club. Website: http://www.akc.org/breeds/collie/index.cfm. Date updated: 2012. Date accessed: December 10, 2012.

Burson, Rusty; Burson, Vanessa (2004), Reveille: First Lady of Texas A&M, College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. Wikipedia. Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reveille_%28dog%29. Date accessed: December 10, 2012.

Texas A&M. Website: http://aggietraditions.tamu.edu/symbols/reveille.html. Date accessed: December 10, 2012.

12 Days Countdown–12/7/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Museums house a wide variety of items, from fine art to biological specimens, or historical artifacts to objects with cultural importance. The Sam Houston Sanders Corps Center is home to a museum that houses thousands of Aggie artifacts and a library with over 3,000 military research volumes.  For day seven in the 12 Days Countdown, we recognize the seven former A&M students who are Medal of Honor Recipients. The Medal of Honor is the highest award that a member of the United States Armed Forces can receive and is awarded for valor against an enemy force.

The seven Texas A&M former students who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor are:
keathley1. Sergeant George D. Keathley ‘37–Keathley joined the Army in May of 1942 and was assigned to the 338th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division at Fort Shelby, Mississippi.  His unit went into action in Italy in April 1944.  On September 14, 1944 his company attacked to capture Monte Altuzzo and break through the Gothic Line.  He was killed in this action while leading two platoons to defeat a determined enemy.  His last words were, “Please write my wife a letter and tell her I love her and I did everything I could for her and my country.  So long.  Give ‘em hell for me, I’m done for.”
carswell2. Major Horace S. Carswell, Jr. ‘38–Carswell piloted a B-24 bomber in a one-plane strike against a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea on the night of 26 October 1944. Taking the enemy force of 12 ships escorted by at least 2 destroyers by surprise, he made 1 bombing run at 600 feet, scoring a near miss on 1 warship and escaping without drawing fire. He circled, and fully realizing that the convoy was thoroughly alerted and would meet his next attack with a barrage of antiaircraft fire, began a second low-level run which culminated in 2 direct hits on a large tanker. A hail of steel from Japanese guns, riddled the bomber, knocking out 2 engines, damaging a third, crippling the hydraulic system, puncturing 1 gasoline tank, ripping uncounted holes in the aircraft, and wounding the copilot; but by magnificent display of flying skill, Maj. Carswell controlled the plane’s plunge toward the sea and carefully forced it into a halting climb in the direction of the China shore. On reaching land, where it would have been possible to abandon the staggering bomber, one of the crew discovered that his parachute had been ripped by flak and rendered useless; the pilot, hoping to cross mountainous terrain and reach a base, continued onward until the third engine failed. He ordered the crew to bail out while he struggled to maintain altitude, and, refusing to save himself, chose to remain with his comrade and attempt a crash landing. He died when the airplane struck a mountainside and burned. With consummate gallantry and intrepidity, Maj. Carswell gave his life in a supreme effort to save all members of his crew. His sacrifice, far beyond that required of him, was in keeping with the traditional bravery of America’s war heroes.
whiteley3. Lieutenant Eli L. Whiteley ‘41–On Christmas night 1944, Whiteley’s company attacked Sigolsheim, a small village west of Colmar, France.  The attack was beaten back by the Germans, but the Americans attacked again the next day.  By this time Whiteley’s platoon was reduced to eight men.  He led the attack in house-to-house fighting and is credited with killing nine of the enemy and capturing twenty-three others.  He suffered wounds to the head, shoulder, arm and leg.  He was returned to the States in March 1945 and was hospitalized at Dibble Army Hospital in Menlo Park, CA.  He was discharged as a captain in May 1946 and returned to Texas A&M where he was a lecturer in freshman agronomy classes.  Following a short stay at A&M he resumed his graduate studies at N.C. State University, receiving his master’s degree in September 1949.  Returning to A&M he began a career in teaching and research.  He earned his Ph.D. in January 1959.  He retired in 1979 as a distinguished professor.
leonard4. Lieutenant Turney W. Leonard ’42–Lt. Turney W. Leonard, Class of 1942, was commanding a platoon of tank destroyers at Kommerscheidt, Germany, during a fierce three-day battle.  Leonard repeatedly put his life at risk trying to direct the fire of his tank destroyer, going on lone reconnaissance missions, taking out an enemy machine gun emplacement, and leading broken units whose officers had been killed. Leonard received a wound early in the battle, but stayed in the fight until a high-explosive shell hit him.  Leonard was last seen at a medical aid station, but the enemy later captured it.  Leonard was awarded for leadership and brave actions that held off enemy forces while destroying six enemy tanks.
harrell5. Sergeant William G. Harrell ‘43–Harrell landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945.  On the night of March 2, Sgt. Harrell and PFC Andrew Carter were assigned to a narrow foxhole on a ridge, some twenty yards forward of the company command post.  About five o’clock the next morning, March 3, Carter saw a number of shadowy figures coming toward their position.  They shot several of the advancing enemy until Carter’s rifle jammed.  While Carter returned to the command post to obtain another weapon, the assault on Harrell continued.  An enemy grenade severed Harrell’s left hand and fractured his thigh.  Due to the severity of his wounds and thinking he was dying, Sgt. Harrell ordered his companion to retire to safety.  Carter left only to retrieve another rifle; during his absence Harrell used an enemy grenade to kill his attackers, but lost his right hand in the explosion.  By dawn, the enemy had withdrawn leaving twelve dead around the foxhole. In a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, President Harry S. Truman presented the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Harrell on October 5, 1945.  He was discharged in February 1946, and returned home to Mercedes.  In 1949, he moved to San Antonio where he was employed by the Veterans Administration, eventually becoming Chief of the Prosthetics Division.  He died on August 9, 1969 and is buried in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.  Harrell was the seventh Texas Aggie to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
hughes6. Lieutenant Lloyd H. Hughes ’43–Second Lt. Lloyd H. Hughes was awarded the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry in action and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” during the air raid of August 1, 1943, on the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania.  He was the pilot of a heavy bombardment aircraft flying in the last element of a formation.  As he approached the target area, through intense antiaircraft fire at a dangerously low altitude, his aircraft received several direct hits.  The plane was seriously damaged, with fuel streaming from both the bomb bay and the left wing.  Although he had the option to make a forced landing, Hughes proceeded to the target.  With the full knowledge of the possible consequences of flying into the blazing target area with an already leaking and burning aircraft, he proceed to drop his bomb load with precision.  Only then did he attempt to crash land. By then the fire had progressed so that his aircraft crashed and burned.  His heroic decision to continue the mission at the risk of his life contributed to the defeat of the enemy.  The posthumous medal was presented to his wife, Mrs. Hazel Dean Hughes, at Kelly Field, San Antonio, on April 18, 1944.  Hughes was buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in April 1950.  A dormitory at Texas A&M University and a residence hall at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona were named in his honor.
fowler7. Lieutenant Thomas W. Fowler ’43–After a short assignment in the states, Lt. Fowler was shipped to North Africa in October 1943 and then to Italy in February 1944 as a replacement officer assigned to the 191st Tank Battalion that was fighting on the Anzio beachhead.  After joining the 191st, his first duty was as a liaison officer to a regiment of the 45th Infantry Division engaged in the effort to break out of the beachhead.  Advancing on foot, he came upon two completely disorganized infantry platoons held up in their advance by an enemy minefield.  Fowler immediately took command and reorganized the units, making a personal reconnaissance through the minefield, clearing a path as he went, by lifting the mines out of the ground with his hands.  After he went through the 75-yard belt of deadly explosives, he returned to the infantry and led them through the minefield, one squad at a time.  Then he led supporting tanks through the minefield.  As he moved forward, he came upon several dug-in enemy soldiers and, having surprised them, dragged them out of their foxhole and took them prisoner.  Twice, when he met resistance, he threw hand grenades into enemy dugouts killing the occupants.  Under intense enemy fire, he brought the tanks forward, and when one of the tanks was hit and set afire, he attempted to save the wounded crew.  Only when the enemy had almost overrun his position, did he withdraw a short distance where he rendered first aid to nine wounded infantrymen.  Ten days later while commanding a tank platoon he was killed in action.  Second Lieutenant Thomas W. Fowler ’43 was the second Texas Aggie awarded the Medal of Honor.

Most of the actual medals, as well as other memorabilia, are on display in the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center.  For more information about the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center and the memorials and artifacts there, please contact Lisa Kalmus, Curator.  Lisa has been a museum professional for 19 years.  She has experience and knowledge in museum education, collections management, and exhibit design, development, and implementation.  In addition, she holds two degrees in history; undergraduate from Trinity in San Antonio, and a Master’s degree from Texas A&M.

medals

Works Cited

Object label information by Lisa Kalmus, Curator, Sanders Corps of Cadets Center.

Leatherwood, Art. “HUGHES, LLOYD HERBERT,” Handbook of Texas Online Website:  http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhu72.  Published by the Texas State Historical Association.  Date accessed: December 7, 2012.

The Battalion Online.  Website:  http://www.thebatt.com/2.6043/lt-turney-w-leonard-1.2832285.  Date published: March 29, 2012.  Date accessed: December 7, 2012.

12 Days Countdown–12/6/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Day six of the 12 days countdown addresses one of my favorite topics related to Texas A&M University—the six core values defined by the University in its vision for students, staff, faculty and former students. Working on campus is such a pleasure, because (almost without exception) the students I interact with each day are uplifting, positive role models who are seeking ways and opportunities to better themselves through education.

Here at the Forsyth, at the Stark and in the University Arts Department, we seek to provide students with the opportunity to see and experience fine art, to interact with professors and programming opportunities that will enrich their lives, and to educate our guests about the importance of the paintings, sculptures and memorials on campus. These goals are in conjunction with the core values outlined by the University, which are:
1. Excellence—Set the Bar.
2. Integrity—Character is Destiny.
3. Leadership—Follow Me.
4. Loyalty—Acceptance Forever.
5. Respect—We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we.
6. Selfless Service—How can I be of Service?

We, in the University Arts Department, strive to set the bar for excellence by providing world-class art exhibitions, which inspire students to cherish and respect art. We believe in integrity—our gallery attendants and docents help educate our guests on the proper, respectful way to view and interpret art. We are leaders in art appreciation—we strive to help our guests understand the history and importance of art. We are loyal to the University, to our patrons and to those who love and contribute to the world of art. We respect not only the artists who have different visions for what art is, but also our patrons who may or may not appreciate those visions. We strive to serve our patrons by providing education and opportunities for interaction, interpretation and personal growth.

For more information about the six Core Values at Texas A&M and the various programs and visions associated, please click here. For more information about the University Arts Department, please click here.

12 Days Countdown–12/5/2012.

Text by Lynn McDaniel

Texas A&M sports fans don’t need a lot of prodding when it comes to cheering for their teams, however, five Yell Leaders do a superb job of heightening the Aggie Spirit during games and special events. Each year, the student body elects five students (three seniors and two juniors) to represent the official spirit organization. Females can run for the Yell Leader positions, but traditionally the student body has elected males. These five Yell Leaders do not do cheerleader-type gymnastics or cheers; instead, they use hand signals, called “pass backs,” to get fans excited and direct the yells of the crowd.

First Yell, which occurs on the weekend of the first home football game, started in 1999 as a way of welcoming all Aggies back to campus. Midnight Yell began in 1931, when freshmen corps cadets were ordered by senior Yell Leaders Horsefly Berryhill and Two Gun Herman from Sherman to be at the YMCA building at midnight. Today, Midnight Yell is held the night before a home game in Kyle Field and also in a designated site in the opponent’s city for away-games.

Farmers Fight
[Pass Back: Closed fists rotating around each other in alternating directions]
Farmers fight!
Farmers fight!
Fight! Fight!
Farmers, farmers fight!

The Forsyth, located just across the street from Kyle Field, provides a cool (or warm) respite for Aggie sports fans who want to get out of the heat or cold just before or just after a game. We’re open Tuesday – Friday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm and Saturday – Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm (not during Midnight Yell!) Come by and see us…we’re sure you’ll enjoy fine art exhibitions from the Runyon collection–well, maybe not enough to yell about, but we do encourage you to give a shout-out to your friends and tell them about our galleries!