Monday, November 22, 2004

Fightin' Texas Aggie Card

This afternoon I went through the A&M recarding process. The University realized a number of years ago that issuing student identification cards with the student id number the same as the student's social security number wasn't a good idea. I don't have strong opinions on the subject, I just realize the potential for abuse in the system and am glad the University did something about it. The final step in the University's process is to issue a new identification card to everyone, faculty, staff, and student. The process was painless enough for me. It is rainy today, and at 4pm on the first day of recarding for graduate students no one was in line. It took five minutes to take a new picture and print the new id.

I'll miss my old id. It had character. Over the years the A&M student id card has changed several times, evolving into the clean and generic Aggie Card. My old id was maroon with a picture of the Academic building in the background. In my opinion it looks a lot better than my new id. I will get used to the new id, not a big deal. However, I will miss the badge-like effect my old id had around campus. It was an id that was recognized for its age and let all those that saw it know just how long I had been here. If it didn't get me a little revered treatment it at least was a good ice breaker.

The best example of this was this year as I was entering Kyle Field for the game against Kansas State. I got my id out to show the gatekeeper and the guy in the crowd next to me exclaims in an awe-struck tone, "Man, you are old!" "I'm class of '02 and though I'D been here for a long time." This effect is what I will miss. Now I am just one of the mass again with my plain, white, "Aggie Card."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

We will never forget...

those who passed away in the collapse of Bonfire '99.

Miranda Denis Adams
Christopher D. Breen
Michael Stephen Ebanks
Jeremy Richard Frampton
Jamie Lynn Hand
Christopher Lee Heard
Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr
Lucas John Kimmel
Bryan A. McClain
Chad A. Powell
Jerry Don Self
Nathan Scott West

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of the collapse of Bonfire '99. I've been able to think of little else today. My many years in Aggieland have allowed me the opportunity to make many memories that I will always have. There are three that stand out much more vividly than the rest.

The most recent was standing in the stands of Kyle Field during Red, White, and Blue Out. After the attack on the World Trade Center a group of A&M students organized an effort to get the crowd at the football game against OSU to wear red, white, and blue. As I stood in the student section I was amazed at the unity of the Aggie family. During a very difficult time for the entire nation we had come together and sent a message to the nation that our thoughts and prayers were with those affected by the attacks.

There have been few times I have ever felt alone on campus. Going to campus the morning after the Bonfire collapse is one of them. My father had called and woken me with the news of the collapse before 6am. My friend Mike Sconzo was an RA in a dorm on campus that year, and had been camping out to pull our tickets for the football game against t.u. (The University of Texas in Austin for those non-Ags out there). We knew he needed to be in his dorm helping residents, so I went to campus to hold our place in line. I parked in the Zachry parking lot, adjacent to where Bonfire had stood just a few hours before, and began my walk across campus to Kyle Field. The only sound I could hear as I neared the deserted engineering section of campus was the thumping of rotor blades as the news helicopters from Houston circled above reporting on the collapse. I have never felt more alone.

The most vivid memory I have of my time in Aggieland is from later that day. After struggling through a day of classes I went to the Bonfire Memorial Service with my friends. At the end of the ceremony, after the benediction and as the distinguished guests on the floor began to leave, none of the students moved towards an exit. We just stood there. Without speaking a word the crowd moved to put their arms around one another, the entire arena held in an embrace. Someone started singing "Amazing Grace", and the everyone joined the chorus. At that moment I knew that no matter how alone I had felt earlier I was part of something larger here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

When will you graduate?

I thought an appropriate first post would be the answer to the question I hear most frequently. Since I completed my master's degree in August 2002 the standard answer has been "two years." That was wishful thinking on my part back in 2002, probably an accurate answer had I been a super motivated grad student in 2003, and now more than two years later it seems that it is a good approximation. I finally have a topic for my dissertation that has been partially blessed by my advisor (Dr. Lawrence Rauchwerger, who will be referred to as Lawrence in future posts). I hope to do my preliminary exams and dissertation proposal in January when Lawrence returns from his sabbatical. Once the proposal and prelims are complete all that remains is to do the work set out in the proposal and write the dissertation. I think in order to do what I think will be a good job with the topic that I will take two years. Yes, I hope to finish college in two years.

Now I've just got to get busy so I'm not explaining why I'll be graduating in two years come 2006.