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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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Eddie Davis, Class of 1967, to draw on worldwide Muster experiences as 2017 speaker

Photo by Morgan Engel

Eddie “Ed” Davis will be the Aggie Campus Muster speaker this year.

Having spoken at Aggie Musters around the world — including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Heidelberg and New York City — former Texas A&M Foundation president and Class of 1967 Eddie Davis has been called “home” to speak at the 2017 campus Aggie Muster.
For more than 114 years, the tradition of Aggie Muster has honored the lives of Aggies who have died in the last year. At the ceremony, a roll of the names of the Aggies is called, and the audience responds “here.” This year will be unique in particular — Davis graduated from A&M in 1967, which is also the Sul Ross 50th featured reunion class to be honored at the ceremony. During his senior year of college, Davis held the position as the Commander of the Corps and served four years on active duty as a colonel in the Army Reserve.
Davis said being the speaker at Aggie Muster will be one of the highest honors he has ever received.
“It will be exciting because of my class being back, and the fact that I’ve sort of lived what I would call a very unique Aggie experience in that I came to school here … and spent most of my adult life at the place,” Davis said. “So I’ve watched what’s happened to it since 1963 and that’s a lot of change all in a positive direction … I am going to talk a little bit about the change and why even with the change, A&M has retained these very classic and very important traditions.”
Because the members of his graduating class will be present in the audience at Muster, Davis said he intends to honor his classmates as well as share stories from his A&M years.
“Coming here in a period when the university was going through dramatic change, also in a period when most of us knew we were going to be going to Vietnam because it was sort of in middle of the height of the Vietnam experience,” Davis said. “I want to talk a little bit about President Rudder, who was [university] president while we were here. And tell some stories about what it was like to be here during that time period.”
Davis has attended Muster gatherings around the country and the world and said he looks forward to speaking on campus because it will be a different and unique experience than in the past.
“I think you learn while you’re a student the importance of Aggie Muster — like the tradition says, it’s about gathering with your friends and Aggie fellowship and talking about past days on campus, but also honoring those who have passed before in the last year, so that’s meaningful,” Davis said. “It’s an experience that I’ve always enjoyed being a part of, and I think as an Aggie, you should celebrate it every year, wherever you are.”
For last year’s Muster, Davis spoke at a BBQ bar in New York City in front of about 100 Aggies. Davis said the New Yorker crowds were loud, making the speech difficult to hear.
“I told the Aggie group, ‘We’re going to have to shut these people down so you can hear me,’ and so I said, ‘Howdy’ as loud as I could and everybody in there sort of stopped what they were doing and looked at me,” Davis said. “But it was a way of getting everybody’s attention and they were respectful for awhile, and then we just had to do it again.”
Davis said Muster is a special tradition at A&M in many aspects, mainly because Aggies gather together no matter where they are.
“We always talk about how unique A&M is, and I think Muster is one of those things that make it unique because first of all, it was started as a way for Aggies everywhere to gather,” Davis said. “I don’t know of any other university that does that, that has a unique tradition like that … I think it’s paying respect to your fellow Aggies, to the institution that you care about, and to those who have passed on.”
President of the Texas A&M Foundation Tyson Voelkel said in addition to Davis’ title at the Foundation, he held other significant positions during his time with the university.
“He was instrumental in helping grow the Foundation to its current level, and also he worked for the university before that,” Voelkel said. “He was the chief financial officer for the university at one point, he was also the vice president for finance for the university system back in the early 80s. And another interesting data point is he was actually the interim president of Texas A&M for a little over a year as well, so he also served in that capacity.”
Communication senior and speaker executive for Muster Committee Bailey McCracken said after receiving nominations and a thorough process, the committee voted Davis to be the featured speaker at the ceremony, which will be held in April.
“The reason we picked Ed is because he has had continual involvement at A&M,” McCracken said. “He has been actively involved at A&M in many different capacities … Ed really displays the core values in all of his work.”
McCracken said she has the utmost confidence that Davis will relay the impactful message of Muster and encourage students of its importance.
“I can’t stress enough the humility I’ve seen in Ed — he takes this as an honor and a responsibility and that’s what he’s done with all of his involvements with A&M,” McCracken said. “And he’s made it a better place … but most of all, it’s his passion and love for this university and Muster that is going to make that ceremony so special.”
Voelkel said he can’t think of a higher honor than to be asked to be the Muster Speaker, and the selection of Davis as the speaker fulfills the honor in an exceptional manner.
“It’s absolutely fitting and amazing to have the Class of ‘67 in the audience as the Sul Ross reunion class and Dr. Davis as the Muster Speaker,” Voelkel said. “He’s a man of integrity who has consistently lived a life of purpose for the benefit of Texas A&M University.”

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