Texas A&M Announces ‘March To 3,000’ Initiative To Grow Corps Of Cadets
Texas A&M University today announces the “March to 3,000,” a new campaign to grow its Corps of Cadets to 3,000 members.
The Corps is the oldest student organization at Texas A&M and one of its most visible representations. Corps participation was mandatory when A&M opened in 1876 as a result of the Morrill Land Grant Act. In 1965 under President Gen. James Earl Rudder, membership in the Corps ceased to be a requirement. As of fall 2021, the organization has 2,143 members and is the largest uniformed student body in the nation, aside from the military academies.
“The Corps of Cadets is an important part of our long history and many graduates have gone on to serve with excellence across a broad spectrum of careers,” said Dr. M. Katherine Banks, Texas A&M president. “We have a duty and obligation to our state and nation to continue developing leaders of character and I am in full support of expanding the opportunities the Corps provides our students.”
Col. Byron Stebbins ’78, interim commandant, said Texas A&M is not Texas A&M without the Corps. “As the ‘Keepers of the Spirit’ and the ‘Guardians of Tradition,’ the Corps is devoted to upholding Texas A&M’s reputation as a top-tier institution, as well as its time-honored traditions,” Stebbins said. “The leadership experience gained through the Corps’ four-year leadership development program is unmatched and prepares cadets for careers in the military, public or private sectors.”
As part of the effort to increase the number of cadets, the university has funded two scholarships: the ROTC Patriot Scholarship Program, available to ROTC scholarship cadets, and the Maj. Gen. Raymond L. Murray scholarship for out-of-state cadets.
“The Corps of Cadets has a long, rich history at Texas A&M, and is an integral part of the overall experience at A&M, especially given that our most cherished traditions began with the Corps,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez, Jr., ’79 USA (Ret.), the previous commandant who held the position for 10 years. “I saw first-hand the positive impact that the four-year Corps experience can have on our cadets – in academics, leadership development and career readiness.”
Cadets display excellence in academic performance with the grades of freshmen and sophomore cadets consistently exceeding those of their peers among the greater student body. In fall 2021, 69 percent of cadets posted above a 3.0 GPA. In May 2021, over 90 percent of cadets were either employed or commissioning into the military at graduation.
Ramirez said the benefits of growing the Corps to 3,000 reach far beyond the Quad. “A larger Corps only enhances the overall A&M experience for all,” he said. “I am excited by this initiative, and look forward to seeing the steady growth of the Corps over the coming years.”
In addition to the university opening scholarship opportunities for cadets, Stebbins said the Office of the Commandant is evaluating both recruiting and retention strategies for the Corps to ensure best practices are being leveraged both internally and externally.
Specific efforts include a partnership with the master of science in marketing program in Mays Business School to review and make recommendations on the Corps’ current recruiting practices.
The Corps already received and is reviewing work done by a cadet-led retention task force. They are also working with an advertising agency to launch a marketing campaign this summer aimed at increasing awareness about what the Corps has to offer.
To accommodate the anticipated growth, two additional Corps dorms are scheduled to be built, with completion set for 2027-28.
Stebbins said he couldn’t be more pleased that the university is investing in growing the Corps. “The Corps of Cadets provides students at Texas A&M with the complete Aggie experience, from the day they arrive on campus to the time they cross the stage at graduation,” he said.
For more on the Corps of Cadets, visit corps.tamu.edu.