Thousands of Aggies and other Texas A&M supporters are expected to converge on Reed Arena Friday, Sept. 6, for memorial services for the university’s retired mascot, Reveille VII. The 12-year-old American Collie died on May 30, but a university decision was made to postpone the memorial services until after all students returned to campus and had an opportunity to settle in after the start of the new school year.
Rev VII served as the university’s mascot from 2001 until 2008 and during that period participated in hundreds of events, including numerous Aggie football games.
The services for Rev VII are set for 7:30 p.m. in the 12,500-seat arena. In addition to the multitude of Aggies, including the entire Corps of Cadets, Rev VII’s successor, Reveille VIII, is scheduled to be on hand, along with several individuals who will make brief remarks, among them University President R. Bowen Loftin and Student Body President Reid Joseph, according to a spokesperson for the broad-based committee planning the ceremony. Also, the program will include a video tribute highlighting some of Rev VII’s most memorable moments and a performance by the Singing Cadets, the university’s well-known choral group.
The “Remembering Reveille VII” event is free and open to the public, and free parking will be available at several lots around and near Reed Arena.
The committee planning the ceremony includes Tina and Paul Gardner, the College Station couple who cared for Reveille VII in their home since her retirement in 2008. They too will participate in the memorial services. Mr. Gardner is a 1966 Texas A&M graduate.
“It would be our hope that all available Aggies, including former students, and anyone who loves Texas A&M University, come share Reveille VII’s last official event,” the couple stated. “We will be honoring her life as “˜The Queen of Texas A&M University’ and “˜The First Lady of Aggieland.’ While on active duty for 7 1/2 years, and even some while during her official five years of retirement, Reveille VII earned the recognition and the right to be honored in this manner. It will be an evening full of wonderful memories to share and add to your growing list of Aggie memories in your lifetime.”
“Having Reveille VII with us for five glorious years has been one of the greatest things to happen to us during our 46 years of marriage,” Mr. and Mrs. Gardner said in a statement immediately following the retired mascot’s death. “Besides our son, Todd, and his family, wife Stacey, and our three precious grandchildren — Avery, Addison and Adam Gardner — Reveille VII was right up there in our hearts and eyes.”
Mr. and Mrs. Gardner were asked by university officials to open their home to Reveille VII because of their active involvement with the university, especially the Corps of Cadets, for more than 40 years. Their son, Todd, is a member of Texas A&M’s Class of 1994 and was a member of Company E-2, the corps unit with which the university’s mascot traditionally resides.
The couple established a fund in 1998 to help cover out-of-pocket expenses for the cadet in Company E-2 designated to be the mascot’s primary handler. Additionally, they established a $50,000 endowment for the benefit of the Small Animal Clinic at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences “to give back to the university for the prestigious honor of taking care of Reveille VII during her retirement.”
The Tina and Paul Gardner Reveille VII Research Endowed Fund was established through the Texas A&M Research Foundation for basic science research. The couple invites others to make tax-deductible donations of any amount payable to the fund. Individuals desiring to contribute to the fund are requested to make their checks payable to the “Tina & Paul Gardner Reveille VII Fund” and mail them to the attention of Leo Paterra, Texas A&M Research Foundation, 400 Harvey Mitchell Parkway South, Suite 300, College Station, Texas 77843.
Free parking for the memorial service will be available after 5 p.m. in lots 100A, 100B, 100C, 100F, 100G and 100J. Overflow parking, if needed, will be in lots 61 and 97. Parking lots and related information can be found here.
Media Contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4662