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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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Preserving Aggie stories

The+oral+history+of+12+Aggies+can+be+listened+to+at+an+exhibit+in+Stark+Galleries+until+Jan.+31%2C+and+all+recordings+can+be+found+at+tamu.edu%2FStoryCorps.
Photo by Photo by Abby Collida

The oral history of 12 Aggies can be listened to at an exhibit in Stark Galleries until Jan. 31, and all recordings can be found at tamu.edu/StoryCorps.

The paths of war heros, a world-renowned architect and several other Aggies on unique journeys converged on Tuesday to celebrate the art of storytelling.
The community was invited to attend the StoryCorps at Texas A&M opening reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the J. Wayne Stark Galleries. The exhibit — featuring 12 Aggie interviews — will be on display until Jan. 31. The complete project involving 41 stories and 82 individuals can be found on the A&M StoryCorps website at tamu.edu/StoryCorps.
StoryCorps is a New York-based non profit that has recorded people’s experiences throughout a 12-year road trip across the United States in their “MobileBooths.” The interviews are preserved in the Library of Congress Archives and on the StoryCorps website, StoryCorps.org. The company visited A&M in February of 2018, hosting pre-selected students, faculty, staff, administrators and former students in its trailer. StoryCorps invited all other Aggies to record their own stories through two on-campus recording studios throughout February.
Harold Adams, Class of 1961, and his wife, Janice, were recommended as participants in the project by University President Michael K. Young after getting to know him and his wife, Marti, on a cruise. Adams is a Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Architecture and helped grow the architecture firm RKTL into an international company with nine offices.
In their recording, Harold and Janice discussed how they met 55 years ago and how Harold began working with President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy on several federal projects three months after graduation from A&M, including LaFayette Square in Washington, D.C., the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, and later their gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery.
“It all just happened so fast — it was like two minutes on a space shuttle or something,” Adams said. “Once [the gravesite] was under construction, I didn’t go back to see it. It was so emotional. The last time I was there, I took Bobby Kennedy with me to let him see.”
Jennifer Ganter, Class of 1999, and Katy Jackson, Class of 2000, were invited to participate in the project as well. Their father owned the Dixie Chicken before the business was passed down to them, and they spent much of their childhood in and around the bar.
“I really hope [listeners] get our sense of what A&M and all of the history, the traditions, actually mean to us — that we are a part of what this is and how much it is a part of us,” Jackson said. “We’re not just opening another bar on Northgate.”
Cruz Rios, Class of 2011 and Assistant Director of Multicultural Services, spoke with his former student Luis Moreno, Class of 2018, about their experiences as first-generation college students and dealing with culture shock. The two met during Moreno’s freshman year through the organization Latino Males United, for which Rios is an adviser.
Rios said he wouldn’t normally participate in a project like this, but after his department approached him looking for volunteers, he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to share his story.
“I’m glad that I was able to do [the project] with him specifically because I was able to be vulnerable in our conversation,” Rios said. “There were certain things that I wasn’t really sure that I was going to talk about, but a lot of things actually came out during our conversation.”
According to Rios, other people should open up and share their own stories to help them realize that their experiences are valid and to connect with others on a deeper level.
“The Aggie experience is so varied and so diverse,” Rios said. “My hope is that they get to hear and listen to a lot of the stories and know that they also have a story to tell.”

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