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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Bryan-College Station Regional participants announced
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 27, 2024

For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Bowen reflects on time at A&M

Focusing on Texas A&M’s 125 years of tradition-rich history, University President Dr. Ray M. Bowen just wants to “stop [his] normal activities and talk about issues which will affect [Texas A&M] in the future.”
Yet it is Bowen’s experience as a former A&M student that plays a heavy role in defining his appreciation for the campus of today.
“A&M in those days was a very good, solid kind of regional university,” Bowen said. “The graduates in agriculture and the graduates in engineering were highly regarded within Texas. Nobody had any problems getting jobs.”
The Corps of Cadets, a symbol of A&M’s heritage, also played a major role in defining Bowen’s strong ties to the campus.
“The Corps was a big deal, and a lot of the graduates were spending some time in the [service],” he said. “The feeling of threat was so significant people thought it was natural [to] spend a little time in the military.”
Beyond the armed services, Bowen said he is confident that he and his fellow Aggies were well prepared for their careers.
“There is no doubt that I would be able to be successful in engineering practice,” Bowen said. “I went to Cal Tech from here [and] didn’t doubt my ability to work at that level.”
Although Bowen regarded the university highly at that time, A&M has grown in prestige an notoriety, he said.
“What you learned when you got out of Texas was that most people didn’t know [A&M’s] academic strength,” Bowen said. “That’s what’s really changed in the last many years.”
As the president of one of the largest universities in the United States, Bowen said, the success leading into the monumental 125th year anniversary has stemmed from the talents of those who paved A&M’s history.
“When I came here, A&M was on a strong pathway to having even greater academic recognition for the strength of all its programs,” Bowen said. “I’ve done little to change that, since I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to sustain the good work of people that came before me.”
Despite great strides in the academic world, Bowen readily admits the problem of A&M’s limited diversity.
“You can’t rationalize a history where African-Americans could not go to this university,” said Bowen. “That was wrong. That should have occurred the day that we opened in 1876. If it had happened, our state would be in better shape than it is now, in terms of having a robust, strong middle-class African-American population.”
Bowen speaks of rocky progress with no immediate solution handy.
“We were making good, but not excellent, progress,” said Bowen, “There are no barriers to it in terms of our private thoughts and our commitment to the idea, but the remedy is to put the results on the table to show the progress. [This year] we had, for example, the largest number of Hispanic applicants ever in A&M’s history.The dilemma is that it did not translate into the largest number of enrolled Hispanics in our history.”
Bowen blames legislation for the impotent application statistic, primarily a 1996 Texas vs. Hopwood decision that forbade consideration of race in admissions.
“We have this restriction related to Hopwood where you can’t get minority scholarships where a lot of [out-of-state] universities can,” he said. “In the competition to get people to accept the offers, we are somehow disadvantaged.”
When he finally descends from the centerstage of A&M as University president, Bowen plans to teach mechanical engineering, but he says he will not be at a loss.
“I won’t be leaving anything behind — I’ll still be here,” Bowen said. “I won’t have the daily responsibility of being the University president, but I intend to be part of the University community and be able to partake of everything that takes place here. So I won’t leave with the feeling that I’ve lost something. I guess the principle loss will be losing a good parking place.”
Until then, however, Bowen has a series of celebrations honoring A&M’s 125th anniversary to attend.
Describing the upcoming events — including a conference and a convocation — Bowen said he hopes to inform the public of A&M’s caliber of education. Headline events for the celebration will include an invitation by Schuyler Houser, speeches by noteworthy Aggies (including Brooke Leslie Rollins, A&M’s first female student body president), a quiet coffee and reception, and a performance by the Aggieland Orchestra.
In addition to the anniversary’s highlighted events, a gala commemorating the University’s 125 year history will provide another outlet of celebration.
Although the festivities will include only 1,000 guests, primarily donors, employees, and alumni, Bowen said A&M’s anniversary should be recognized by all Aggies.
“[The 125th anniversary] is a milestone year that will provide our faculty, staff, students, former students, and other members of the Texas A&M family the opportunity to take a brief glance back on the institution’s array of accomplishments and a long look forward as we continue on the road to excellence.”
While the gala will provide festivities for those associated with the campus, a conference will allow those not affiliated with A&M to appreciate the qualities the campus has to offer.
“The conference [will discuss] topics which are highly relevant to the kind of university we want to be,” said Bowen. “We’ll have people at the convocation from all over the United States to hear about this university, and hopefully leave with a greater appreciation of who we are.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *