Meet the Mascot Corporal, Gavin Suel ’19
For most Texas A&M students, Parents’ Weekend means visiting with family and getting a couple of free meals. But for newly-selected Mascot Corporal Gavin Suel, that weekend changed his life. On April 8, Suel, a freshman kinesiology major, was named the mascot corporal in the Corps of Cadets– the primary caretaker of the “First Lady of Aggieland” – for the next year.
“I was shocked and trying to process everything that was going on and all of the responsibility that had just transferred onto me. I was so humbled to have been selected. The previous mascot corporals are heroes to me, legends. To be selected, I felt so unqualified and so humbled and honored.”
“The two words that keep coming to my mind are honor and responsibility. The weight of that is what I feel along with that excitement and emotion,” explained Jamie Suel, Gavin’s mom. “Having spent time with other families just getting a bigger picture of what this really means and what she means to so many people. The fact that we’re going to be a part of that is huge. It’s incredible.”
Reveille will live in Suel’s dorm and he will be responsible for making sure she gets to all of her scheduled events. He admits the first three weeks were not always easy.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs. I didn’t get very much sleep the first week just trying to adjust to everything and getting Reveille used to me and establishing our relationship and trust. It’s been a ton of work and a ton of fun.”
Before he was chosen to be the newest mascot corporal, Suel endured weeks of training and learning everything he possibly could about Reveille, including the legends. For example, the first Reveille had free reign over the Corps housing and dining halls. If she walked into a dorm and chose the bed for the rest of the night, the student was forced to find another spot. Suel says this happens to him more often than not.
“She has her own tempurpedic mattress all to herself, but she knows if she puts her paws on my bed I have to get down and let her on. I think she sort of enjoys it because she does it every day and every night. We end up taking the floor or sometimes we’ll sleep in her bed.”
Because of Reveille’s busy schedule, she gets a lot of naps in. Suel says that is when some of her funniest moments happen.
“In class she sleeps like a normal dog would. In the dorms, she doesn’t. She sleeps in the most peculiar positions. She’ll sleep on her back with her legs straight up in the air. The first time she did it we were really worried about her and we didn’t know what was going on. We shook her awake and she looked at us like ‘come on, I was just trying to take a nap’ and then she went back to sleep.”
Suel says the biggest challenge of being mascot corporal is budgeting time between his responsibilities and Reveille’s. When he takes Reveille to class, Suel says he has to leave extra early, allowing about 20 minutes for every 100 yards because of everyone wanting to take a picture and pet her.
“I thought I would be pretty popular around campus, but really I’m just a faceless dude and Reveille is the spotlight. I have some pretty famous legs but that’s about it.”
We asked Suel if he uses Reveille and those “famous legs” to get dates. He laughed and denied it but said he does take Reveille when he goes on dinner dates.
“She’s really well behaved. She knows that she’s a princess and she carries herself with a bit of extra dignity. You can keep her right there next to the table with you and she won’t go for the food or anything as long as you’re giving her just the right amount to stay obedient. She loves snacking on bread so I’ll give her a little pinch of bread every once in a while.”
Reveille has a lot of responsibilities as the First Lady of Aggieland, but that does not mean she misses out on the chance to be a puppy – one of Suel’s favorite parts of being mascot corporal.
“If she has a lot of free time, we’ll take her out to the field next to the dorm and throw the frisbee for her and just play around. It’s interesting because she really does know that when she has the blanket on its business time so she’s really well behaved and sits still. When she’s out on the field she knows she can be a puppy so she’s crazy obnoxious and you can’t get her to sit still. It’s really cool to see her like that.”
Suel is hoping to let the puppy side of her come out even more this summer. Reveille will be spending the summer with Suel and his family, including his younger siblings. Suel is hoping to learn more about her personality and grow their relationship before the fall semester when he has even more responsibilities including leading the Aggies onto Kyle Field.
“At night, I’ll have dreams that I accidentally step on her or trip in front of 100,000 people. It’s a crazy environment at football games and there are so many people there and so many things can go wrong. I’m looking forward to it but at the same time, I do not want to mess up.”
You can support Reveille IX and Gavin Suel ’19 with a donation to the Reveille Fund, which supports all travel, veterinary care, grooming and other costs related with being the most beloved lady of Texas A&M University.
This article was originally published by the College of Education and Human Development.
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.
For additional information about how to benefit the Corps of Cadets, contact Kyle Bryson ’09 with the Foundation at (800) 392-3310, (979) 845-7183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.