Traditions at Texas A&M



Aggie Traditions Timeline




12th Man 


This story of the 12th man, E. King Gill, is a story known far and wide, one of perseverance and dedication that continues still today. Our student body stands for each and every football game in honor of the young man who started it back in 1922 in a football game against Centre College. To understand more about this continuing tradition, click on the button below.


The Story of the 12th Man 


Aggie Ring


Every Aggie looks forward to the day when they can visually share their Aggie Spirit by wearing their Aggie Ring. A tradition that started in 1883, the Aggie ring is one of the most recognized symbols that connects Aggies long after they have graduated. In order for an A&M student to order their ring, they must have completed 45 credits at Texas A&M, have a total of 90 credits, a cumulative 2.0 GPA and be in good standing with the University. Click on the link below to learn more.


The Aggie Ring


Big Event


Nothing shows the Aggie tradition of service like the Big Event--the largest one-day student-run service project in the nation. Big Event began unceremoniously in 1982 with six Aggies volunteering to clean up a local cemetery. Since that time, an ever-increasing number of Aggies have volunteered their time in order to create, as they say, "one big day, one big thanks, and one Big Event." In 2015 more than 22,000 Texas A&M students, faculty and staff came together to say "thank you" to the residents of Bryan/College Station for supporting and hosting them while they attend Texas A&M. Spreading throughout the community, Aggie Volunteers worked on approximately 2,500 community service jobs.


Big Event has expanded to 110 other schools across the nation and, in 2014, it went international for the first time, with schools participating in Spain, Australia, Germany, Pakistan and Italy.


40 Years Of The Big Event



The Big Event


Corps of Cadets


When Texas A&M was established in 1876, its students were all members of the Corps of Cadets. Although membership in the Corps is no longer mandatory, cadets are known as "The Keepers of the Spirit" because many of A&M's most cherished traditions grew out of the Corps, including Muster, Silver Taps, and Midnight Yell Practice. The Corps of Cadets has been training leaders who have served their state, nation and world with distinction. One corps unit--the Ross Volunteers--actually serves as the official honor guard for the Governor of Texas. More than 2,300 strong today, the men and women of the Corps form the largest uniformed student body in the U.S. and commissions more officers into the military than any institution, outside of the national service academies.


The Corps of Cadets




At a yell practice before the 1930 TCU game, a dedicated fan and member of the Texas A&M Board of Regents named Pinky Downs '06 shouted, "What are we going to do about those Horned Frogs?" Improvising, he borrowed the name of a sharp-pronged frog hunting tool, called a gig. "Gig'em, Aggies!" he said as he mad a fist with his thumb extended straight up. With that, the first hand sign in the old Southwest Conference was born.


Today the words and the thumbs-up sign are found outside the football stadium and have come to signify that the person is an Aggie or an Aggie fan. Usually done with the right hand, the Gig'em sign also shows the Aggie Ring, which is worn on that hand. More than that, Gig'em signals optimism, determination, loyalty and the Aggie Spirit.


Good Bull


“Good Bull” is a phrase used to describe anything that embraces or promotes the Aggie Spirit or the traditions of Texas A&M. It is also used to signify approval of virtually anything.


Fightin' Texas Aggie Band


Our Fightin' Texas Aggie Band is the largest military marching band in the United States. All members are in our Corps of Cadets. In 1894, the band was created for the very first A&M football game. Read more about our nationally acclaimed band below!


The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band 


 Former Student


"Former student" is the preferred term for an individual who is no longer a Texas A&M student. This term dates back to the university's early days, when many students would attend school long enough to gain the necessary training and education but would not always graduate. Regardless of the length of time spent on campus, the devotion of these Aggies to Texas A&M remained strong. "Alumnus" is an acceptable term for graduates; however, "ex-Aggie" is not. Aggies strongly believe that, "once an Aggie, always an Aggie!"





In true Aggie Spirit, "Howdy" is the official greeting of Texas A&M. The university is known for its welcoming attitude and for making sure no one who visits the campus feels like a stranger.


Visitors often say they find the friendliness of the campus remarkable. They tell stories of looking lost only to have an Aggie walk up, say "Howdy," offer to help and, to their amazement, walk with them to make sure they arrive at their destination.


While the exact origin of this tradition is not known, "Howdy" has come to be a tradition that sets Texas A&M apart as one of the friendliest campuses in the world, where all are welcome.


Maroon Out


Each football season, Maroon Out Shirts build unity among the Aggie Community. The Maroon Out Tradition began in 1998 when tens of thousands of Aggies attending the Texas A&M vs. Nebraska game were encouraged to wear their Aggie Colors and create a sea of maroon in Kyle Field. So many maroon shirts were purchased that it led to a temporary national shortage of maroon T-shirts. Even the Nebraska fans acknowledged after the game that the intensity of the Maroon Out spirit made a difference in the game leading to A&M's 28-21 victory.


As the Daily Nebraskan expressed on October 12, 1998: "A game that was dubbed a 'maroon-out' for Texas A&M fans proved to be a lights out for Nebraska. The fans dressed themselves in maroon T-shirts in an attempt to wash out the red and white that opponents have gotten used to. It worked."


Midnight Yell


Aggies, never known to lack enthusiasm for their school and their team, don't have cheers - they have yells and yell leaders. The night before every home game, Aggies hold Midnight Yell at Kyle Field. It is regularly attended by more than 25,000 people. Midnight Yell is also held for every away game, usually at a location in or near the city where Texas A&M will play their opponent. The yell leaders lead the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band and current and former students into the stadium. Once there, the yell leaders lead the crowd in yells dating back to the earliest days of the institution. The crowd will also sing the "Aggie War Hymn" and listen to stores from the yell leaders, telling how the Aggies are going to beat the opponent on the field the next day.


A recent addition to Midnight Yell is the "GatheRing and Yell Practice" where the incoming freshman students gather for free food, an opportunity to try on their class ring and join current and former students to kick of the year with the first official on-campus Yell Practice!


Midnight Yell  




Miss Reveille, the First Lady of A&M, is the mascot of Texas A&M. She outranks even the commanding officer, and if she starts barking during class, she is officially dismissing the students--as she must be bored. The story on how a group of cadets hit and cared for a small dog who later became the official mascot can be read below.


The Story of the First Lady of Texas A&M


Silver Taps


Each month on the first Tuesday of the month, a final tribute is held for any current graduate or undergraduate who has passed away during the previous month. This, like Aggie Muster, is a sacred and significant tradition at A&M. The tribute begins as flags are flown at half-mast. Details of each student being remembered are placed on cards at the base of the flagpole in the Academic Plaza and on the Silver Taps Memorial. Throughout the day, students can write letters to the families of the fallen Aggies. This continues into the night and at the end, "Taps" is played three times. To see all the details and read the poem that goes with Silver Taps, please click on the links below.

Silver Taps Poem

More About Silver Taps


Symbolism of the Aggie Ring



Softly Call the Muster.....

Words that are spoken world wide each April 21st to honor all Aggies Past, Present and Future. Aggies gather together wherever they are (even on an airplane or during a war) to honor those who have passed away since the previous April.


More about Aggie Muster

Yell Leaders


One thing you will notice is that Texas A&M does not have traditional cheerleaders at our football games. Our university's roots began as an all-male military institution. The tradition of yell leaders began when some upperclassmen ordered freshman cadets to go out on the field and entertain the crowd during a football game. They had so much fun and it went over so well, that the tradition began; the upperclassmen decided that the honor should be reserved for them. Each year, three senior and two junior cadets are elected to be the next year's Yell Leaders by the student body. Read more of the story below! 

Yell Leaders - how it all began  




Aggie upperclassmen and graduates will often say “Whoop!” as an expression of approval or excitement. It is most often used at the end of an Aggie yell. Underclassmen are not supposed to say the word until they have reached either junior or senior status.