Campus Life

Silver Taps Will Honor 7 Deceased Texas A&M Students Tuesday

September 1, 2017


By Keith Randall, Texas A&M Marketing and Communications

Silver Taps will be held at Texas A&M University Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 10:30 p.m. to honor the memory of seven Aggies who died recently.

Being honored are Candace Renee Benefiel, a graduate student in English from College Station who died of cancer; Brian Edward Bullock, a senior from Burnet majoring in ocean engineering who died in a car accident; Sarah Elizabeth Flanagan, a sophomore from League City majoring in chemical engineering who died in a boating accident; Benjamin Langston Hopper, a senior from Amarillo majoring in molecular and cell biology who died of unknown causes; Sapphire Marie Jones, a junior from Southlake majoring in psychology who died of unknown causes; Caroline St. Clair Killian, a senior from Irving majoring in marketing who died in a car accident; and Mahmoud Yakub Ma’Aruf, a graduate student from Nigeria majoring in environmental health who died of unknown causes.

The first Silver Taps was held in 1898 upon the death of the university’s president, Lawrence Sullivan Ross, and it has changed little from that time.

On the day of the ceremony, all campus flags are flown at half-staff and a list of the names of those to be remembered is posted at the base of the flagpole in the Academic Plaza. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to write a short letter or note to the families of those being honored and place the notes in boxes located at the Academic Plaza and West Campus Library, as well as the tables on the Quad and in front of the Koldus Building. The family of each student to be honored is notified of the ceremony and sent a floral arrangement by university officials.

In honor of these students, the campus will be darkened at 10:20 p.m. In the darkness, students, family and friends will silently gather in the plaza in front of the Academic Building. At 10:30 p.m., an honor guard from the Ross Volunteer Company will march across campus from the Corps of Cadets area to the plaza, where its members will fire three rifle volleys to honor the memory of these students. Buglers from the Aggie Band, unseen in the darkness, will play a special arrangement of “Taps.” The tolling of the Albritton Tower bells will signal the end of the ceremony.

Free parking in the University Center Garage will be available between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. For more information, go to In the case of severe weather, Silver Taps will be held in an alternate location.

For additional assistance, contact Student Assistance Services at (979) 845-3113.


Media contact: Keith Randall, News & Information, at (979) 845-4644 or

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