Campus Life

Profiles In Student Leadership: Head Yell Leader Ryan Crawford

As a leader among his fellow Aggies, Crawford, a senior and member of the Corps of Cadets Company E-2, says that since becoming head yell leader, he strives even more than ever to apply the Aggie core values to his daily life.
By Lesley Henton, Texas A&M Marketing & Communicationse September 20, 2013

Head Yell Leader Ryan Crawford
Head Yell Leader Ryan Crawford

When word got out in the Division of Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M University that Head Yell Leader Ryan Crawford was in the building, the office ladies swarmed like bees to honey. It became apparent why within the first few minutes of the interview: Crawford is polite, friendly and the epitome of the Aggie Spirit – and the uniform doesn’t hurt either.

As a leader among his fellow Aggies, Crawford, a senior and member of the Corps of Cadets Company E-2, says that since becoming head yell leader, he strives even more than ever to apply the Aggie core values to his daily life, whether it’s in representing the university on and off-campus, mentoring younger cadets or taking to the football field to yell for the team.

“As head yell leader, I’ve started realizing and personifying the core values [excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service],” he notes. “I want to be able to say honestly that I am a selfless servant, and 20 years from now, I’ll have no regrets – I’ll know I tried my best.”

When Crawford takes to the field with his fellow yell leaders, to the crowd’s roar, he says he feels a mix of emotions. “I feel very proud, and at the same time, I’m humbled to be a part of such a beloved tradition,” he says. “I look at the students and I turn around and look at all the alumni, and just the feeling of all those people watching us it’s humbling. Hearing them yelling the same words, it’s very powerful.”

yell leaders
Yell Leaders (first row from left:) Roy May ’15, Patrick McGinty ’15; (back row from left:) Hunter Cook ’14, Ryan Crawford ’14, Chris Powell ’14

Crawford says it’s exciting when people want to meet take pictures with him, but he insists that the roles of other less-visible student leaders are just as vital to the university as the yell leaders’. “There are so many student leaders on campus that are just as busy and influential as we are, but they don’t get the same recognition as we do,” he explains. “The Big Event director, Fish Camp leaders, the student body president – I have so much respect for them and what they do.”

For his own part, Crawford says he tries to lead by example. “I’m not perfect,” he admits. “But I do my best to be an uplifting leader, and a happy and motivated person.”

In addition to the honor of being head yell leader, Crawford has enjoyed another sacred privilege during his sophomore year, he was Reveille’s handler. “It’s a full-time job,” he recalls. “Being 19 years old and in charge of the university’s mascot was so incredible. And it says a lot about the Aggie Spirit and student leadership opportunities because they put their full faith in the handler.”

Crawford says that being Reveille’s handler gave him the privilege of meeting many current and former students, and he jokes that the beloved collie is the ultimate “chick magnet.”

“There are certain privileges when Reveille met a pretty girl, so did I,” he recalls.

He shares one particularly fond memory of an evening with Reveille, when at a dinner party with Crawford family friends, the usually well-mannered First Lady of Aggieland saw an irresistible opportunity.

“Rev and I had reached the point in our relationship where I could tell when she was trying to manipulate a situation (for treats, table food, etc.),” he explains. “So when the tray full of chicken breasts was pulled out of the oven, well, I could see it in her eyes. She roamed around, picked out her spot strategically off to the side where you wouldn’t suspect she was thinking about the food. When we bowed our heads and closed our eyes to pray, not 14 seconds later, Reveille was gone, and so was one of the chicken breasts! We found her lying down in the living room, front paws crossed, elegantly eating her prize.”

Hey, you can’t blame a mascot for trying.

Crawford says now that he’s no longer Rev’s handler and spends most of his time handling yell leader duties, his Corps duties are minimal, but does mention his membership in the General O.R. Simpson Corps Honor Society and his duty as a White Belt mentor. “White belt seniors are each assigned a freshman to meet with,” he explains. “Normally we have a very professional relationship with freshmen cadets, but this allows us to be a bit more casual and offer them advice and friendship. Investing in freshmen cadets is important because eventually they’ll take over these leadership roles.”

As for his own future, Crawford, who is set to graduate next May, says he is actively pursuing a Marine officer contract, adding, “My mom is still crying! I want to join the military because I think it’s the best way for me to continue selfless service.”

Crawford says he’s looking forward to a great season of Aggie football and many more opportunities to meet Aggie fans, provided they don’t say one thing: “It bothers me when people say ‘I don’t know how you have time to do it all.’ It’s my privilege to do what every Aggie would want to do.”

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