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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Class of 1972 returns to Aggieland for 50th reunion

Photo by Photo by Cameron Johnson

Former head women’s basketball coach Gary Blair and Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp at the front table of the Class of 1972’s 50th Anniversary Reunion in Kyle Field. 

From the election of former President Richard Nixon to the launch of Apollo 8, the Texas A&M Class of 1972 saw a unique set of historic events during their years in college. 

Fifty years after their graduation, over 500 class members and guests have gathered in College Station, for one of the largest 50-year reunions, to attend Campus Muster in Reed Arena and reconnect with old classmates. The reunion featured class get-togethers including various dinners and receptions, a golf tournament, tours of the Memorial Student Center, the Quad and Music Activities Center, with continued activities on April 21 for the 2022 Campus Muster.  

The group was history-making for the university, with the first two African American cadets in the Ross Volunteer group, the first Black female graduate and one of the first female Naval Aviators. 

“We attended A&M during an unconventional time in our nation’s history. In September 1968, we arrived with 3,343 of our fish buddies on a campus with an enrollment of 12,733,” organizers said in a release. “1968, a leap year, proved to be a seismic, watershed year with the increasing protests of the Vietnam War, racial unrest, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy; simply put it was difficult to attend A&M during these turbulent times.”

Serving as the last stand-alone reunion before the class is inducted into the Sul Ross Group for their 55th anniversary in 2027, Louis Rodriguez, Class of 1972, said he wanted to be sure to attend a reunion with his class after not being able to attend years before.

“It is a wonderful feeling [to be back alongside my classmates],” Rodriguez said. “I’ve always wanted to make a reunion and I saw this was the last one officially and I said, ‘I gotta make it.’”

Rodriguez said he has seen so much change in Aggieland since his time in college through his daughter Helena Rodriguez, a visualization graduate student, who accompanied him to the event. Though a lot has changed with new construction and a whole new group of students, Louis and his daughter have had the privilege of having the same professor for a photography class, who they plan to get together with while they are here.

On Wednesday, April 20, the class gathered for a dinner hosted by A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, Class of 1972, filled with many A&M celebrities including Reveille X, former women’s basketball coach Gary Blair, football coach Jimbo Fisher and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Class of 1972. 

With having his classmates back in town the past few days, Sharp said he was happy to have one of the most active classes back in Aggieland.

“This is a class [who] come[s] back a lot, this is a pretty active bunch,” Sharp said. “These reunions, especially a big one like this, are a lot of fun.”

Fisher provided an update on the football atmosphere, including a look at new recruits, and fielded questions from the class, many of whom told Fisher they were looking forward to the upcoming season and were ready for another national championship.

“There’s not a fan base in the world that deserves more than y’all,” Fisher said. “I say this all the time: we have tremendous assets — we[‘ve] got tremendous facilities, we got everything here. The key components, an important thing [are] the people. I’ve never been around a genuine honest group of people who sincerely love their university more than y’all.”

Another guest speaker for the group was Blair, who just completed his final season as the head women’s basketball coach, and proposed a challenge to the class to find their ‘why’ and encouraged them to continue to give back to their communities, wherever that may be.

Though he did not attend A&M, Blair is a part of Texas Tech University’s Class of 1972, after experiencing setbacks during his college journey causing him to graduate later than anticipated.

“It’s now time for us to figure out this last chapter of our life,” Blair said. “I’m gonna keep giving back to this university and I’m gonna keep giving back to this community, and I want you to do the same thing, wherever your community is.”

Additionally, a group of Fish Camp crew members joined the dinner to showcase the Silver Taps and Muster programming which is presented to freshmen at Lakeview each summer. 

The Class of 1972 will hold a private Muster ceremony on Thursday morning for classmates who have been lost since their last reunion and also will be in attendance at the Campus Muster in Reed Arena to pay tribute to Aggies lost during the 2021-22 year.

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