The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Letter from the Editor: Editor’s ‘Last Ride,’ take two

Photo courtesy of Douglas Pils

Douglas Pils in front of The Battalion’s former office in the Reed McDonald Building in December of 1991, shortly before his term as editor in chief in the spring semster of 1992.

“Every song on the radio, every utterance of conversation and every street corner brought out a feeling of consciousness that our lives were indeed changing,” Douglas Pils, 1992.

This week marks the final week of work for Student Media’s beloved adviser and general manager, Douglas Pils. While everything at The Battalion and The Aggieland is made by students — whether it be the words, photos or designs — none of this would happen without the tireless work and burning passion of Pils.

The best way to describe Pils and his mentorship is through a metaphor of his own. He gives us, the students, the ball and lets us play. I can add, at least from my time here, that he’ll let you call the plays, pick the players, play as rough as you’d like, but if someone gets hurt, if the ball runs low on air, or if someone else tries to take the ball away, he’s right there. 

I can talk all about my two years with Pils and the influence he’s had on me, on my confidence, my leadership skills, the way I communicate with people, but this story is about him, not about me. 

Pils started as a full-time employee at The Battalion in 2014 and has raised and taught generations of staffers, from our days printing five times a week to our current weekly paper and multi-platform content. He’s sold advertisements, helped us with administrative problems, talked us through disagreements, and in many ways, has kept us afloat when massive waves of change come our way.

Though eight years of service is impressive in itself, Pils’ love for this newsroom and Aggie student journalism started long before, when he joined The Battalion as a sports writer in 1990. This love of sports would take him far upon graduation, across Texas, to Waco and Dallas and San Antonio, out of state to cover the University of Arkansas and across the country, in print, as a writer for the Associated Press — even back in his beloved Battalion. 

But before the sports journalism career, Pils found a home at the old newsroom, in Reed McDonald. He covered Aggie sports, rose through the ranks, made lifelong friends and got into spats with the “strangest editorial board” he’s ever seen. In the spring semester of 1992, “Dougie” served as editor-in-chief, mentored by his adviser, Bob Wegener. 

Between now and then, even when his job title didn’t include Student Media, Pils has been a constant for The Battalion and The Aggieland. He advocates for free speech, for the importance of education, for children with special needs and always supports young people in any way he can. I now pronounce these eight years, from 2014 to 2022, to be the “Pils Era,” and without him, I don’t know that we would have made it to be an almost 130-year-old student publication.

Though wrangling 18 to 23-year-olds is difficult, and arguably noble, Pils’ next adventure is with his family. Out of the trenches of the newsroom, alongside his wife and three children, supporting them as the family begin their next chapter. 

We’re going to miss you, that’s for certain, but we know you won’t be far. Let’s enjoy the last days, the final part of this ride. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Pils, from the bottom of our hearts, from the hearts of every student who was fortunate enough to learn from you, from the deepest part of the Memorial Student Center basement and the depths of Reed McDonald, thank you.

Michaela Rush is an English senior and the editor in chief of The Battalion.

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