Campus Life

Year In Review: Stories That Defined 2023 At Texas A&M

From historic campus milestones to the final frontier of human exploration, here are 12 things that made Aggieland great this year.
By Luke Henkhaus, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications December 20, 2023

a graphic with the text "2023 year in review" accompanied by the Texas A&M logo and a small photo collage showing scenes such as the Reveille statue unveiling, the Texas A&M Fort Worth groundbreaking, and Parsons Mounted Cavalry riding through Kyle Field
New additions to the Texas A&M campus in 2023 include a statue of Reveille at Kyle Field and a two-toed sloth taking up residence at the Winnie Carter Wildlife Center.

Graphic by Eugenie Sutio/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications


Gen. Mark A. Welsh III Named Texas A&M President

Following his seven-year tenure as dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, the former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff was unanimously voted interim president of Texas A&M University on July 30, later being named permanent president on Dec. 12.

A graduate and former commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, the four-star general came to Texas A&M in 2016 after four decades of military service. In addition to his time on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Welsh has served as commander of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO’s Air Command at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, among other roles.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our incredible faculty, staff and students to map out the road ahead for Texas A&M,” Welsh said following his approval by the Board of Regents. “I’m ready to get started.”

A photo of Mark A. Welsh III
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III is the 27th president of Texas A&M University.

Barry Berenson/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications


Reveille Statue Unveiled

A bronze sculpture of the Texas A&M mascot was installed on the north side of Kyle Field, depicting the beloved “First Lady of Aggieland” running atop an arch of six circles meant to represent the rising and setting sun — a tribute to all Reveilles who have come and gone since the mascot made her debut in 1931.

At an unveiling for the new monument on March 3, sculptor Jim Scannell said he wants it to be “an enduring representation of this valued tradition throughout many generations.”

a photo of two collies in Texas A&M blankets sitting in front of a large bronze statue of the same
Reveille X and Reveille IX were both in attendance during the dedication ceremony for the Reveille statue on March 3 at Kyle Field.

Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications


Texas A&M Named No. 1 University In Texas By The Wall Street Journal

New rankings published by The Wall Street Journal place Texas A&M among the best institutions of higher education in the country, putting the flagship university in College Station at No. 1 in the state of Texas and No. 6 among all U.S. public universities.

The Journal’s rankings incorporated new methodology meant to highlight a university’s overall contribution to its students’ success, recognizing factors like on-time graduation rates and post-graduation salaries.

A graphic showing Texas A&M University's Academic Building with the Words No. 1 in Texas.
Texas A&M University was listed as the top university in the state in the Wall Street Journal’s 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S. rankings.

Eugenie Sutio/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications


School Of Public Health Celebrates 25 Years

After a quarter century tackling the most pressing public health issues of our day, A&M’s world-class School of Public Health is looking to the future, applying their much-needed expertise to growing problems like opioid addiction and overdose, global pandemics and the unique health challenges facing rural and underserved populations across the country.

The school was established in March of 1998, with a class of just 23 students. Today, it is the fifth-largest public health school in the U.S., with last year’s enrollment totaling 2,303 undergrads and 485 graduate students.

exterior of the school of public health building
The School of Public Health building is located on Texas A&M’s West Campus.

Texas A&M Health Science Center


Mike Elko Named Head Football Coach

Football fans welcomed the former Texas A&M defense coordinator back to Aggieland this November, as Athletics Director Ross Bjork announced that Elko would fill the position of head coach. A New Jersey native and University of Pennsylvania graduate, Elko previously served two seasons as head coach at Duke, where he was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2022.

“Coach Elko has a vision for Aggie Football, and a specific plan for innovation and greatness which is exactly what our program needs right now to compete in the modern era of college athletics,” Bjork said.

a photo of Mike Elko in a Texas A&M cap speaking at a podium
Texas A&M head football coach Mike Elko addresses the crowd during his welcome ceremony at the Ford Hall of Champions on Nov. 27.

Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications


System Announces Texas A&M Space Institute

As part of Texas A&M’s long-standing commitment to advance research and exploration beyond our planet, the Board of Regents OK’d $200 million for a state-of-the-art facility next to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

As described by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, the Texas A&M Space Institute will ensure Texas remains at the forefront of the growing field of space travel, using A&M’s expertise to solve problems ranging from aeronautics and robotics to lunar and Martian exploration.

“No university is better equipped for aeronautics and space projects than Texas A&M,” Sharp said.

a rendering of a satellite in orbit
The new space institute will bring together a diverse range of disciplines to assist with current and future challenges in human space exploration.

Getty Images


Texas A&M School Of Law Turns 10

The law school in Fort Worth celebrated a decade of achievement in 2023 as it continues to establish itself as a premiere destination for legal education in the state of Texas.

In just four years, the school has risen 54 places in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools ranking, cracking the top 30 this year at No. 29. The school also boasts the highest pass rate on the Texas Bar exam, topping that of the law schools at both the University of Texas and Texas Tech.

school of law exterior shot
The Fort Worth-based campus of the Texas A&M School of Law.

Texas A&M School of Law.


Dr. Alan Sams Named Provost

After serving in the role on an interim basis since August 2022, the former poultry science department head and vice president of operational innovation was named provost and vice president for academic affairs this spring.

As chief academic officer of Texas A&M and its branch campuses, Sams is tasked with maintaining a top-tier learning and research environment for more than 70,000 students.

Alan Sams portrait
Texas A&M Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Alan Sams.

Texas A&M University Office of the Provost


A&M Prioritizes Mental Health With ‘No Aggie Stands Alone’ Campaign

Amid national concerns about mental health on college campuses, Texas A&M is drawing on the Aggie Spirit to encourage students and staff to look out for one another’s wellbeing as part of the “No Aggie Stands Alone” campaign.

Those struggling with stress and other challenges are strongly encouraged to use the variety of mental health resources available on campus, whether that’s in-person counseling through Student Health Services or free 24/7 support via the TELUS Health Student Support app.

a graphic with the Texas A&M "No Aggie Stands Alone" logo at the top. The title reads "Mental Health Resources." Three boxes at the bottom direct readers to schedule a counseling appointment at, download the Student Support app, or call HelpLine at 979-845-2700.
Students and staff can visit to learn more about the “No Aggie Stands Alone” campaign and the variety of mental health resources available at the university.

Graphic by Angelyn Wiley/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications


Wildlife Center Welcomes Two-Toed Sloth

One of the newest (and slowest) residents of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Winnie Carter Wildlife Center is a young two-toed sloth named Michael Jr. Slow Poke, who came to the center from a nearby animal sanctuary this April.

Since then, he’s been hanging out in the center’s specially designed “sloth barn,” a temperature-controlled room with an outdoor fenced yard and plenty of climbing space.

“He’s going to teach students about such an interesting species that most people don’t get to see every day,” said Dr. Alice Blue-McLendon, wildlife center director.

michael hanging from a rope, eating a carrot
Michael Jr. chomps on a carrot while hanging from a rope in his habitat at Texas A&M ‘s Winnie Carter Wildlife Center.

Jason Nitsch / Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences


Parsons Mounted Cavalry Rides To 50 Years

Established in 1973, the special Corps of Cadets unit dedicated to horsemanship has become a crowd favorite at parades and Aggie Football games. Named for former commandant Col. Thomas R. Parsons ’49, the unit remains best known for firing their three-inch artillery cannon, “The Spirit of ’02,” to celebrate touchdowns in Kyle Field.

During their time in the unit, PMC cadets learn world-class horse riding and care techniques, while giving back to the community through initiatives like the Courtney Grimshaw Equine Therapeutic Program.

a low-angle photo of cadets on horses in Kyle Field
Members of Parsons Mounted Cavalry march through Kyle Field before a Texas A&M football game on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

Abbey Santoro/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications


Texas A&M Fort Worth Under Construction

The Texas A&M University System is taking initial steps to establish an innovative new campus in downtown Fort Worth, with construction of its Law & Education Building now underway. The eight-story, $150 million structure is slated for completion in 2025, with two additional buildings — the Research & Innovation Building and the Gateway Building — expected by 2027.

At a groundbreaking for the new building this summer, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said the new project is “exactly what Fort Worth needs at this moment in our history,” preparing students for careers in highly skilled fields like nursing, medical technology, engineering and law.

groundbreaking attendees posing with shovels
Texas A&M University graduates pose with Robert Ahdieh, Dean of the Texas A&M University School of Law, during the groundbreaking ceremony for Texas A&M-Fort Worth on June 21, 2023. From left, Gregory Franklin ’03, ’17; Lynne Nash ’95, ’16; John Griffin ’09; Dean Robert B. Ahdieh; Tave Doty ’17; and Will McNutt ’14.

The Texas A&M University System

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