Landmarks Of Aggie Park
From lawns to benches, tributes and a creamery, each carefully crafted component of Aggie Park, which was developed by The Association of Former Students, contributes to memories made in the green space. For those who visit, there may be a few new fixtures among the familiar.
Standing across Throckmorton Street from the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center, the first landmark you encounter might be a familiar one. The likeness of J.V. “Pinky” Wilson, Class of 1920, stands proud, looking across the Freels Family Field toward Kyle Field. Wilson authored the Aggie War Hymn while serving in World War I. The hymn was adopted by the student body and is still sung over 100 years later by Aggies as they lock arms and sway, as depicted by the War Hymn Monument. Located on the east side of Kyle Field, this statue depicts 12 Aggies swaying as they sing the War Hymn. The likeness of Wilson was moved from the Sanders Corps Center to Aggie Park to look upon the monument that depicts his legacy at Texas A&M.
Along Throckmorton just a few yards off of the sidewalk, the Class of 1978 honored their late Classmate, Andy Duffie ’78, by planting seedlings from the Century Tree. Duffie started the Aggie Century Tree Project in 2010 as a way to raise funds for an A&M scholarship by selling seedlings sprouted from acorns from the iconic tree outside Bolton Hall. After the scholarship was fully funded, many Aggies still wanted their own Century Tree seedlings. From 2014-20 Duffie grew hundreds more seedlings until his passing. As a sign of appreciation, the Class of ’78 donated three Century Tree seedlings to grow in Aggie Park.
Just west of the Class of 1978 Century Tree Legacy Project stands the Bonfire Memorial Statue, called “The Spirit of Bonfire.” Given by the Class of 1987, the statue depicts a bonfire stack being built and then burned, along with an axe, pliers, a chain and a helmet. The memorial statue originally stood where the J.V. “Pinky” Wilson, Class of 1920, statue stands today; it was moved farther into the green space during the park’s construction.
“It was super important to our Class to give that memorial,” Class Agent Franklin Byrd III ’87 said. “By the time we fundraised, found the artist, built the project and got it dedicated, it was 1997. Just a few years later, after the stack collapsed, it was even more meaningful. I remember the night before the 1999 t.u. game, they held a candlelight memorial service at Polo Field and walked to Kyle Field. That next morning, my buddies and I walked over to see the memorial, and it was just covered in candles, some of them still warm to the touch. I’m glad we had given that as our gift, for those kids.”
Class Gifts are donated to the university, or university-affiliated entity, such as The Association, by each year’s graduating Class in recognition of their legacy at Texas A&M. Initial Class Gifts are provided through the money raised by Class traditions like Elephant Walk and Ring Dance. Upon graduation, The Association and Class Agents work to fulfill the gift chosen by their Class.
Continue down the sidewalk and see the Dallas A&M Club Food Truck Alley. Local food trucks can park here to serve on Texas A&M’s campus during school days or events like Aggie Ring Day.
Just next door is the Anteater Field House and Moore Family Creamery. Read more about the Moore Family Creamery at tx.ag/MooreCreamery. The Anteater Field House was a gift from three brothers and their spouses, Bobby ’81 and Janice ’82 Jenkins, Raleigh ’83 and Kimberli ’83 Jenkins, and Dennis ’85 and Jennifer ’85 Jenkins. The family owns and operates ABC Pest Control. The company’s mascot is an anteater, which inspired the building’s name.
“It was important for our family to give to Aggie Park because Aggie Park will make a significant difference in the lives of A&M students,” said Bobby Jenkins ’81, 2023 Chair Elect of the Board of The Association. “Having this type of park and green space will help to keep students connected to the campus and engaged at A&M.”
Continuing through Aggie Park, passing the central garden and the Swaim Amphitheater is ClayDesta Point and the Rudder Oak. Modesta Williams, wife of the late Clayton W. Williams, Jr. ’54, funded this area that now hosts the Rudder Oak. This tree was originally located in front of the President’s House on campus, about 350 feet from where the tree currently stands. The house was designed by Margaret Rudder, the wife of Maj. Gen. Earl Rudder ’32, a beloved past president of Texas A&M. When Gen. Rudder passed away in 1970, the Aggie Women’s Club — formerly the Social Club — planted the tree near the President’s House in his honor. If you peek under the Plank Bridge from ClayDesta Point (derived from the names “Clayton” and “Modesta”) you might see some of the waterfowl that have made the lake their home. You can read more about the ducks in Aggie Park at tx.ag/AggieParkDucks.
Across the lake is the Distinguished Alumni Tribute. Gifted to Aggie Park by donors including lead donors Distinguished Alumnus Dan Allen Hughes ’81 and his wife, Peggy ’82, the tribute honors those who have received the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University. The structure was designed by Shelley ’78 and Jeff ’78 Potter, both Distinguished Alumni themselves, to reflect and inspire excellence in those who visit. Another Distinguished Alumnus, Jim Thompson ’68, built the tribute with his construction company, Thompson Inc.
Walking toward the Williams Alumni Center, a stretch of turf leads to the Haynes Ring Plaza. This stretch of green, called the Williams Ring Lawn, was given by Modesta and the late Clayton W. Williams, Jr. ’54 family and is lined with the Pillars of the Aggie Network. Each pillar tells a different Aggie’s story, imparting wisdom and inspiring generations of Aggies who visit the Williams Alumni Center.
Aggie Park might have changed the way the Texas A&M campus looks, but one thing is certain, each inch of the premier green space was designed to embody the Aggie Spirit, inspiring Aggies for generations to come.
Want to leave your mark on Aggie Park? Contact Allison Seibert ’11 at Allison.Seibert11@AggieNetwork.com or 979-845-5714.