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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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‘The Heart of Aggieland’

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Photo by Cover courtesy of Kristin King

Kristin King ‘03 honors her late husband and proud Aggie with children’s book depicting Texas A&M.

Kristin King, Class of 2003 and 2005, lost her husband Christopher Cooper, Class of 1997, in a tragic car accident 14 years ago. In honor of the love they shared for Texas A&M University, she wrote a children’s book about what it means to be an Aggie. 

With pictures depicting the iconic parts of the flagship College Station campus and sweet Easter eggs, King wrote “The Heart of Aggieland” to give readers a glimpse into why her family has loved A&M for decades. 

Originally from Corpus Christi, King is a two-time Aggie with a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness and a Master’s in Marketing. During her time as a student, King served as a Fish Camp counselor, an Aggie Fish Club leader, a member of the Traditions Council, a member in Freshman Leadership Organizations and as a tour guide for the Appelt Aggieland Visitor Center.  

“I still say, to this day, [being an Aggie tour guide] was the best job I ever had,” King said. “It was a real honor to get to work [at A&M].”

During her time as a tour guide, King met and fell in love with former student Cooper. Born and raised in College Station, Cooper attended A&M Consolidated High School. Cooper’s mother Maryvonne Cooper, Class of 1985, taught for College Station Independent School District and his father, S. Kerry Cooper, was a Distinguished Professor at the Mays Business School and heavily involved in multiple other departments. 

“[Cooper’s] Aggie roots ran really deep,” King said. “From the time that [we] started dating … [College Station] is where I wanted to be.”

Cooper worked in Dallas for a few years after graduating from A&M. In 2004, King and Cooper got married. In 2008, King gave birth to their daughter Colleen. Over the course of their marriage, King and Cooper often attended A&M football and basketball games. 

“We were living the Aggie dream,” King said. 

In 2009, on the way to the hospital to support Cooper’s sister who had gone into labor, Cooper and King were hit by a distracted driver. King suffered numerous broken bones and Cooper lost his life. 

“I was very, very blessed to have … my Aggie family just absolutely rallied around me,” King said. “To love me and help me through that period of time.”

When King applied to work at the Visitor Center, she was required to write an essay. She chose to write hers over the different features of the A&M campus and how they symbolized the different qualities of being an Aggie. 

“That idea was something that meant something to me,” King said. 

During the summer of 2019, King began writing. After finding a publishing partner and working with an illustrator to get every detail of the College Station campus true to reality, “The Heart of Aggieland”was born. 

“This is a project … that is meant to honor [Cooper],” King said. “[And] to support the university that has done so much for every part of my family.”

Illustrated by Jenny Phelps, the children’s book features animated pictures from around the A&M campus and those from Cooper’s life. One of the first pages shows Cooper with a maroon A&M hat, his Aggie ring, Colleen in his lap and a framed picture of him and his father in the corner. A few pages later, the book shows King’s children, Colleen and Aaron, and dogs walking under the Century Tree as she and her now husband Will King, Class of 1997.

An Easter egg that King wanted to highlight is in the corner of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Readers can see the silhouette of two people. The characters are meant to represent the picture of George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, turned lovingly towards each other in the corner window of the museum. 

Proceeds from book sales will be donated to the Texas A&M Foundation to fund the Chris Cooper ‘97 Heart of Aggieland Endowment. To learn more about “The Heart of Aggieland,” visit its website.

Editor’s Note: Changes have been made to correct quotations and grammatical errors. 

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