Just about all of the traditions upon which the famous Texas A&M spirit is based can be traced back to events that occurred during the first 25 years of the school's operation. It was during these formative years that A&M:
- Formed the Corps of Cadets (1876)
- Published its first Newspaper (1878) and Student Yearbook (1895)
- Assembled what has become the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band (1894)
- Organized an elite drill team (1887, now the Ross Volunteers)
- Designed and cast the first A&M class rings (1889)
- Began a perpetual football rivalry with t.u. (1894)
- Formed an alumni association (1880)
- Held its first Silver Taps (1898) and A&M Muster
These traditions and more all began amid much turmoil as A&M struggled to define its curriculum, to survive the politics of lawmakers in Austin, and to curb the internal feuds of its own faculty in College Station. The school was forced to respond to a critical press and to compete fiercely for operating funds from the state. More than once during these early days, A&M found itself at the brink of collapse.
Ultimately, however, both the faculty and the students of A&M were able to rise above each of these obstacles to survival. In the process, they created the foundation for an institution of higher education in Texas that now ranks among the leading universities of the world.
By examining the events that took place more than a century ago, we are better able to understand the spirit and traditions that define Texas A&M University today. We hope that you enjoy the journey back to A&M's earliest days.