COLLEGE STATION, Sept. 8, 2010 – Military Walk, a tradition-laden area in the heart of the Texas A&M University campus and tread by tens of thousands of Aggies over more than a century, will be formally reopened Saturday (Sept. 11), in renewed grandeur, thanks to the generosity of a 1951 graduate and former member of the Corps of Cadets, Dan A. Hughes of Beeville.
Hughes, who earned his Texas A&M degree in geology and has had a long and successful career in the oil and gas business, donated $4 million for the Military Walk restoration.
The reopening, being characterized as “a tradition restored,” is scheduled for 9 a.m., kicking off a “9/11” day of observance during which Texas A&M and the Department of Athletics will honor members of the military and first responders at the Aggie-Louisiana Tech football game at Kyle Field later in the day.
“Tradition restored” activities will include a parade — technically a review — on the walkway by the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, led by the Aggie Band, with Gov. Rick Perry, a 1972 Texas A&M graduate and a former member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, joining in the ceremonies.
In addition to Gov. Perry and Hughes, Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, Regents Chairman Morris Foster and Cadet Colonel of the Corps David M. Keim will present remarks commemorating the restoration and reopening of Military Walk.
“As you travel along this walk, may you follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before with honor and optimism — and with the intent to pave the way for future generations of Aggies who will take their own bold steps, walking this walk with integrity, dedication to excellence and commitment to selfless service,” Hughes states in the printed program for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that will formally reopen the pedestrian walkway.
When he announced his gift last year, Hughes said the project “is important to recognizing the history of Texas A&M and the tradition of leadership of the Corps of Cadets.”
The formal reopening will occur almost a year after construction was initiated to make Military Walk once again a major focal point on the campus of the state’s first public institution of higher education. The “restoration celebration” included ceremonies honoring Hughes for his gift that made possible the Military Walk transformation.
Military Walk, which is approximately 1,500 feet long, is the North-South axis of the campus, linking the Sbisa Dining Hall area to the Rudder/Memorial Student Center complex in the heart of the campus. It passes between several campus landmarks, including the stately Academic Building and the YMCA, once the center of student life and which is also being restored and expanded.
The restored Military Walk features a combination of bricks and limestone pavers with historic markers and landscaping enhancements along the way.
Military Walk evolved from a dirt road in the early 1880s to a narrow paved street in the early 1900s to a series of sidewalks laid in the 1970s. For decades, it was where thousands of Aggies, including scores of future generals and other top leaders, assembled daily when Texas A&M was small and almost all students were men and required to be members of the Corps of Cadets.
While participation in the corps is now strictly voluntary and open to both men and women — and with total university enrollment exceeding 49,000 — Military Walk is still considered a major campus focal point by students, former students and leaders of the university.
Contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4662.