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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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Governor Perry welcomes graduating class to the Aggie network

Gov.+Rick+Perry%2C+as+convocation+speaker+for+the+December+commencements%2C+discussed+the+importance+of+Aggie+tradition+with+the+graduating+seniors+in+attendance.
Gov. Rick Perry, as convocation speaker for the December commencements, discussed the importance of Aggie tradition with the graduating seniors in attendance.

Students were called upon in Thursday’s commencement convocation to represent Texas A&M’s values to the world and to live lives worthy of the sacrifices countless Aggies made to grant them a “legacy of freedom.”
Gov. Rick Perry, Class of 1972, was the convocation speaker for Texas A&M’s December graduating class. He spoke on what makes Texas A&M unique, both before and after graduation. Perry said students should be prepared to be recognized as an Aggie wherever they go, whether it be a restaurant, a job interview or just walking down the street.
“For the rest of your life, you will bear the seal of our great university when you wear your Aggie Ring,” Perry said. “That ring means something to people. It means loyalty and reliability, excellence and devotion to causes greater than yourself. The Aggie brand is unique amongst all universities.”
Phil Adams, chairman of the Board of Regents, introduced Perry. He said in Perry’s 14 years, 168,354 students have graduated from Texas A&M. Adams said Perry has been instrumental in the development of Texas A&M facilities, including the Texas Institute of Preclinical Study, the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine and the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing.
Perry also addressed his decision to urge Texas A&M’s Board of Regents to not name the Academic Building after him. The possible renaming sparked two days of opposition by A&M students and alumni before Perry released his statement declining the honor.
“I do so because there are places on this campus, like our most cherished traditions, that transcend any one individual,” Perry said. “They are bigger than any one of us, and they represent our shared heritage. I want to keep it that way. I want the Academic Building to be called the Academic Building in 2114.”
Nathan Surprise, photo science senior, said he thought Perry was an ideal speaker for convocation.
“Out of everyone in Texas, I think he’s one of the best people to invite to speak on behalf of the convocation because he is a graduate himself,” Surprise said. “Having him here shows that an Aggie can achieve the highest office in Texas, which is significant and inspires people to achieve success themselves.”
Elise Kowald, interdisciplinary studies senior with an emphasis in special education, said she thought Perry’s speech demonstrated the Aggie spirit.
“I was welling with pride just to be an Aggie,” Kowald said. “He made so many points about Aggies and our network, and he touched on the different traditions and the meaningful places on campus, and I was just welling with pride by the end of his speech.”
Surprise said he took away two messages from the evening.
“One, to achieve the most you can in your life, and two, to adhere to the values of Texas A&M and to maintain the brand that the previous generations of graduates have created,” Surprise said.
Perry said students should remember the Aggies who have come before them, especially those who have fought overseas for freedom. He referenced this year’s 70th anniversary of the Battle of Bulge, a turning point in WWII that involved Aggies such as Sul Ross.
Perry also encouraged students and faculty to keep A&M unique in its traditions.
“The value proposition of Texas A&M remains in its culture, in our traditions, in our values, in the unique Aggie experience that you get here,” Perry said.
Interim President Mark Hussey said graduates are encouraged to stay in touch and remain connected with the university for years after their graduation day, calling the act of being an Aggie a lifetime commitment.

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  • Gov. Rick Perry, as convocation speaker for the December commencements, discussed the importance of Aggie tradition with the graduating seniors in attendance.

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