“Being a student leader in the Aggie Muster Committee has opened my eyes to the complexities of leadership within emotional work. Balancing the logistics of Aggie Muster with the highly emotional component is delicate, but crucial to our success. As a leader, I have learned how to motivate while being empathetic, encourage while being patient, and support while being fair. As a person, interacting with the tradition of Muster so intimately has opened my eyes and heart to the difficult realities of life and the beauty of community in times of great hardships.”
Human Resource Management | Antofagasta, Chile
Muster is the Texas A&M tradition that forever unites Aggies past with Aggies present. It is Texas A&M’s most solemn and most visible tradition. Muster was first held on June 26, 1883, when former students of Texas A&M gathered together to “…live over again our college days, the victories and defeats won and lost upon drill ground and classroom. Let every alumnus answer a roll call.” No matter where Aggies are, whether it is as few as two or as many as the thousands who gather on the university’s campus, they come together each April 21 for Muster.
The first campus Muster was held in Guion Hall in 1924, and Muster has been held on campus since. Campus Muster is an all-day affair that starts with a flag-raising ceremony at sunrise. The 50-year reunion class is invited back to campus for a Camaraderie BBQ where they share old Aggie “war stories” and current students tell new Aggie “war stories.” At each Muster ceremony around the world, a speaker addresses the crowd before the “Roll Call for the Absent.” Names of those from that area who have died in the past year will be read, and as each name is called, a family member or friend will answer “Here” to show that Aggie is present in spirit. Then, a candle will be lit.
Following the ceremony on campus in Reed Arena — the largest Muster in the world — a rifle volley is fired and then a special arrangement of “Taps” is played.
“It has been such an incredible privilege to be a part of this organization for two years. Throughout this time, I have gained confidence in my own ability to lead and better understand the talent that I can bring to an organization. This committee has taught me so much about myself, but it has taught me about others as well. The individuals that I am surrounded by are the best of the best. Each one of them are intensely motivated to strive for greatness and to be exceptional.”
Sport Management | Brenham, Texas
“The tradition of Aggie Muster, I believe, is what sets Texas A&M University apart from every institution of higher education in the world. As an Aggie, you are not just a number out of thousands, you are a part of the Aggie family. There is a huge significance in choosing to celebrate an individual’s life. It is an act of respect, and in a way it is a representation of the commitment to carry on the everlasting legacy of those on the roll call and the life that they lived. Remembering the lives of others is a core component of the good in our Aggie Family. We are a family that chooses never to forget; this quality alone represents our undying loyalty to one another.”
Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences | Mobile, Alabama
“Being a part of the Aggie Muster Committee has allowed me to develop as a person and a more confident leader in several ways. It has taught me the importance of tradition, while still seeking ways to improve and innovate. It has taught me to delegate, but also to lead by example It truly is one of the most incredible ways to give back to the Aggie family.”
Biomedical Sciences | Pereira Colombia
“One of the biggest things I have learned while being on Aggie Muster is empathy. Each family that has someone being honored on the night of Muster is coming from a different place in the grieving process, so it is important to be as adaptable as possible to make sure they have an evening where they are able to honor their loved one as well.”
Communication | Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photos essay by Courtney Rhodes
Division of Student Affairs