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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 Name Game

When an audience member’s cell phone rang during Frank Muller’s leadership training class on campus, he had no clue it was part of a plan to distract him, but he remembers thinking how rude it was that the person answered and began talking. Muller, Class of 1965, was astounded as the man continued to talk, when suddenly the side doors of the classroom opened and two people ran in with balloons and a banner bearing the inscription of Camp Muller. Muller had just been honored as a Fish Camp namesake.
Muller said he was shocked because everyone in the audience knew and they tricked him.
Dave Stanfield, senior marketing major and associate director of Public Relations for Fish Camp, said because students nominate the namesakes, the selection process is more true to the goal of Fish Camp.
Students are given the opportunity each fall to nominate outstanding members of A&M’s faculty and staff to be namesakes for one Fish Camp. This year, Fish Camp received close to 200 nominations. Nominations are not strictly limited to individual students. The Department of Student Life nominated Risa Bierman, coordinator for Adult, Graduate and Off-Campus Student Services, for her positive impact on A&M students.
Namesakes often do not know who nominated them, and many times it is their own students.
Many students nominate their professors because of the personal time they are willing to give up to assist their students. Marcie McGill, a senior Spanish major, nominated Dr. Richard Curry. McGill first met Curry at orientation before her freshman year. He helped her with her classes and has been her mentor ever since. McGill said Curry is also her friend.
In her nomination letter McGill wrote, “Dr. Curry has this incredible gift to entertain his audience and that is just what he does…Entertaining means that he puts so much love and life into what he teaches that it doesn’t even seem like a class. All of his students enjoy coming everyday and rarely will you find an empty seat.”
Once the nominations are in, they go through a selection process to narrow the candidate field of 200 down to only 36. Selections are based upon what is written about each individual and his overall impact on the University and the student who nominated him. Often factors such as the number of nominations that a person receives or the number of signatures accompanying a letter can play a part in selecting each year’s namesakes.
After the nominations go through the selection process, the co-chairs of a Fish Camp plan a revelation, a time when a namesake is told in a creative way that they have been selected. Dr. Paul Busch, a marketing professor, became a namesake last year, and Stanfield participated in his revelation.
“I had a presentation that day for a class and I told Dr. Busch that I brought a video that pertained to the subject matter. The video was really a fake newscast made by the co-chairs talking about how Dr. Busch’s caring heart had touched the lives of many students,” he said. “It was neat to look over and see a huge smile on Dr. Busch’s face during the video.”
After the video was over, the co-chairs ran into the room with balloons to announce that he had been selected as a 2002 Fish Camp namesake.
“I was very surprised and flattered. When I told my children, both of them former students, they said that I must be ‘really cool’ which made me feel great,” Busch said.
Busch, like many namesakes, attended his camp. He spoke to the students and wrote part of the Camp Busch packet. He said he felt honored to be able to meet and spend time with the “new Aggies.”
He said Fish Camp is an opportunity for faculty to learn about A&M traditions and for new freshmen to get excited about college life.
Kathryn Bollinger, a math professor and namesake, and Muller echo Busch’s enthusiasm about attending their camps. Muller said being a namesake is an honor, but also a responsibility.
Muller arrived to a camp that was dancing, shouting and screaming his name. He attended every Camp Muller activity, and said it was a rewarding experience.
“Fish Camp is a unique program that does a wonderful job of making a freshman Aggie a better Aggie later on.”
Bollinger also attended her camp and said she enjoyed looking at Fish Camp from a different perspective than she had when she attended as a freshman 10 years before.
A complete list of the 2003 namesakes, announced yesterday, can be found at http://fishcamp.tamu.edu

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