Texas A&M, Arkansas Share More Than Gridiron Rivalry
Texas A&M’s inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference may be filled with new opponents and first-time experiences, but this Saturday’s upcoming football game is against a team that the Aggies know well: the University of Arkansas Razorbacks.
The football rivalry between Texas A&M and Arkansas is one of the oldest in the country — it dates back to 1903, when the Aggies played only their 42nd game in school history against Arkansas, a game that resulted in a 6-0 win for Texas A&M. The rivalry continued through 1991, ending when Arkansas left the Southwest Conference for the SEC and was renewed in 2009, as the two schools began meeting as non-conference opponents in Arlington at Cowboys Stadium. All told, the Aggies and Razorbacks have met 68 times on the gridiron.
Texas A&M and Arkansas share more than a storied football rivalry; however, the two institutions were also both established under the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862. The Morrill Act, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, provided for the creation of 77 American universities — schools which have literally changed the world with their dedication to teaching, research and service.
“Many Americans think land-grant institutions are ‘ag schools.’ They are — and much more. Others think they are ‘for kids from economically challenged families.’ It is true that land-grant colleges have provided unprecedented access to first-generation college students like me,” said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin ’71. “The bottom line is that land-grant institutions are woven into the fabric of our communities, our states and our country. We play a major role everyday life — from the food we eat to the highways we drive upon.”
Both Texas A&M and Arkansas have honored their land-grant heritage countless times over the past 150 years to serve their country and states. For instance, researchers at Arkansas are credited with co-discovering Vitamin E, a group of fat-soluble compounds with properties of antioxidant that is commonly found in sunflower oil, nuts and nut oils, as well as leafy green vegetables. Likewise, Texas A&M was the first academic institution in the world to have cloned four different species, including a kitten in 2001 that is believed to be the first cloned companion animal.
Culturally, Texas A&M and Arkansas are alike as well. For example, both institutions honor their graduates in unique ways. Arkansas inscribes the names of its graduates onto “Senior Walk,” a sidewalk that winds through campus and stretches more than five miles. The name of every graduate — dating back to the first class of 1876 — is present on the walkway. Texas A&M prefers to call its graduates, as well as any individual who has attended the institution, “former students.” By using the phrase “former student” instead of “alumnus” or “ex-Aggie,” Texas A&M keeps with its tradition of “Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.”
“You will find that the schools of the SEC are very similar not only in terms of their spirit and traditions, but also in their history and deep sense of service,” said Jason Cook, vice president for marketing and communications. “We are excited to renew our history with the University of Arkansas, now as members of the SEC.”
Look for academic collaborations and other connections between Texas A&M and Arkansas in Friday’s edition of tamutoday. Texas A&M will also commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act with a special presentation during the Arkansas football game this Saturday at Kyle Field.