Howdy – “Howdy” is the official greeting of Texas A&M University. It is our way of ensuring that no one feels like a stranger. The exact origin on this tradition is not known. However, “Howdy” is what sets us apart as the friendliest campus in the world.
Gig ’em – Gig ’em At a yell practice before the 1930 TCU game, A&M board of regent Pinky Downs ’06 shouted, “What are we going to do to those Horned Frogs?” His muse did not fail him as he improvised, borrowing a term from frog hunting. “Gig ’em, Aggies!” he said as he made a fist with his thumb extended straight up. And with that the first hand sign in the Southwest Conference came into being. [ For a fuller history of the Gig ’em thumb signal, read “Football Hand Signals” by Paul Burka, Texas Monthly ]
Reveille – Reveille, the first lady of Aggieland, is the official mascot of Texas A&M University.
Aggie Ring – One of the greatest moments in the life of any Aggie is the day that they receive their Aggie Ring. The ring worn by all Aggie graduates is the same except for the class year. This serves as a common link for former students. When an Aggie sees the ring on another Aggie’s hand, a spontaneous reunion occurs.
Aggie Muster – Every April 21, Muster brings together more Aggies worldwide on one occasion than any other event. The Muster ceremony includes a Roll Call for the Absent. The Roll Call honors Aggies that have fallen since the last Muster roll was read. As the names are read, a friend or family member answers ‘Here’, and a candle is lit to symbolize that while those Aggies are not present in body, they will forever remain with us in Aggie Spirit. Muster is how that Spirit is remembered and will continue to unite Texas A&M and the Aggie family. A&M may change, but the Spirit never will.
Silver Taps – A final tribute is held the first Tuesday of the month when a student has passed away the previous month.
Aggies who have given their lives in wars are honored in this living memorial. To honor these Aggies, we remove our hats in the MSC & do not walk on the grass surrounding the building. The Memorial Student Center reopened on April 21, 2012 after major renovation and expansion.
Twelfth Man – The tradition of the Twelfth Man was born on the second of January 1922, when an underdog Aggie team was playing Centre College, the nation’s top ranked team. As the hard fought game wore on, and the Aggies dug deeply into their limited reserves, Coach Dana X. Bible remembered a squad man who was not in uniform. He had been up in the press box helping reporters identify players. His name was E. King Gill. Gill was called from the stands, suited up, and stood ready throughout the rest of the game. When the game ended, Gill was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the Aggies. Gill later said, “I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me.” Although Gill did not play in the game, he had accepted the call to help his team. He came to be thought of as the Twelfth Man because he stood ready for duty in the event that the eleven men on the gridiron needed assistance. That spirit of readiness for service, desire to support, and enthusiasm helped kindle a flame of devotion among the entire student body; a spirit that has grown vigorously throughout the years. The entire student body at A&M is the Twelfth Man, and they stand during the entire game to show their support. The 12th Man is always in the stands waiting to be called upon if they are needed.
Bonfire – Bonfire has symbolized the burning desire of the Aggies to beat the University of Texas in the annual football game. Starting in 1909, Texas A&M students worked together each year to build a massive bonfire. This tradition began when a group of cadets gathered trash on Simpson Drill Field and burned it in preparation for the following day’s game with UT. This annual tradition continued (except in 1963, when the Bonfire did not burn following the assassination of President Kennedy) and eventually came under the leadership of the Aggie Bonfire Committee until 1999. The stack of logs collapsed on November 18, 1999, killing twelve students and injuring at least 27 others. Bonfire was cancelled that year.
Midnight Yell – At midnight before each home football game, Aggies gather to pump up the Twelfth Man for the next day’s big game.
Maroon Out – Maroon Out began in 1998 as a way to build unity among the Aggie community. It has become a highly anticipated tradition each year in which everyone shows his or her Aggie spirit by wearing maroon to the chosen football game. Each year one football game is specially designated for Maroon Out.
Elephant Walk – The annual walk around campus is done to symbolize the Seniors’ dying usefulness to the 12th Man.
Parents’ Weekend – Parents’ Weekend is a time honored tradition at Texas A&M. Since 1919, Aggies have set aside one weekend during the year to show their appreciation for their biggest supporters and fans – their parents. Parents, grandparents, siblings and other friends come to visit students in College Station. In typical Aggie style, there are many activities planned to make the weekend enjoyable for everyone.
Century Tree – The Century Tree, located in the heart of campus near the Academic Building, is a place many Aggies choose to propose. The tree, a live oak, was one of the first trees planted on campus. Tradition says if a couple walks under the branches of the Century Tree, they will eventually marry. If the proposal takes place under the branches, the marriage is supposed to last forever.