Menu

Spirit Archives

Spirit is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

View the full magazine archive

Also In This Issue

On Campus: News From Across Texas A&M

Where Art Thou, Shakespeare?

Calling all star-crossed lovers of English literature: Texas A&M University was selected as the Texas host site for an exhibit of one of the world’s most treasured books: First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare.

Published in 1623, the First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. The Folger Shakespeare Library is touring multiple copies of this original edition in 2016 to all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Texas A&M is hosting the First Folio from March 8 to April 3.

“With this traveling exhibit, Aggies will experience Shakespeare through accompanying Texas-sized performances, lectures, readings, workshops, a film series and interactions with historical artifacts,” said English Professor Laura Estill, who helped write a grant to bring the folio to College Station.

The First Folio is on display in the Stark Galleries at the Memorial Student Center, while an exhibit at Cushing Memorial Library and Archives showcases items from Texas A&M’s collections related to the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Visit lonestarfolio.tamu.edu for more details.

A-Maize-Ing Maze

To educate the local community about agriculture, the Texas A&M Agronomy Society created a four-acre, mile-long corn maze centered around the shape of the Texas A&M logo near West Campus last fall.

“The maze raised awareness about agronomy, or the science of crop production, through education and entertainment,” said David Cottrell ’17, president of the agronomy society.

Over the course of five weekends in October and November, more than 1,900 people navigated the maze and learned about agriculture through educational displays, farm equipment and interactive exercises. “We covered topics like soil quality and properties, as well as methods for improving famers’ yields while conserving the environment,” Cottrell said.

With help from the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, students designed the maze by plotting points in the corn patch using a geographic information systems program and then mowing out pathways in the field.

Futuristic Travel

The world may be one step closer to rapid human transit thanks to a SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition hosted by Texas A&M University in January.

To revolutionize the way humans travel, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the idea for a new high-speed ground transportation system called the Hyperloop in 2013. His futuristic rapid-transit system involves transporting passengers, theoretically as fast as 800 miles per hour, via pods in pressurized tubes above ground.

While SpaceX is not developing a commercial Hyperloop, it sponsored the pod competition to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype.

More than 120 national and international teams designed and built half-scale pods—equipped with braking, levitation, communications and monitoring systems—and presented them to a judging panel of Texas A&M professors as well as SpaceX and Tesla Motors engineers.

The best designs will be tested in June 2016 on a one-mile Hyperloop test track built by SpaceX in Hawthorne, California.

Game Over!

A 48-hour Game Jam competition hosted by the Department of Visualization in October brought together budding student video game developers from across the nation to test their skills in front of industry professionals.

“Game Jams allow video game designers, artists, programmers and enthusiasts to learn more about game production, explore new ideas or concepts, or just have a blast making games,” said André Thomas, a game development instructor at Texas A&M.

This year’s competition consisted of 35 students who, working alone or in teams limited to four members, created one or more desktop games using the software of their choice. Throughout the two-day, non-stop competition, industry professionals roamed the floor, offering contestants game development advice and networking opportunities.

Adrianne Lynch ’13, Kyle Purser ’18 and Justin Steptoe ’16 were declared the victors by a judging panel of professional game developers, event sponsors and a select group of young gamers who ranked the games based on innovation, quality, completeness, design and sound. Their 2-D game, “Winners Circuit,” requires players to navigate a circuit board world while dodging enemies and solving puzzles.

Class Notes

  • A Place to Call Home

    Forty-eight acres east of Penberthy Park will become home sweet home to more than 3,400 students in August 2017. Known as Park West, the new student housing development will include facilities ranging from studio apartments to three-bedroom, garden-style units.
  • All Aboard!

    The R/V Trident, a new $2.5 million vessel at Texas A&M at Galveston that holds 44 passengers, will expand underwater research and educational opportunities for maritime students and faculty at the coastal campus.
  • Big Recognition for a Big Event

    Big Event, the largest annual student-led community service project in the nation, won the 2015 Texas Governor’s Higher Education Community Impact Award, which recognizes a university that encourages civic engagement and volunteering as a core value.
  • In Three, Two, One...

    And we’re on! Thanks to a partnership between Bryan Broadcasting and the agricultural communications and journalism program, Texas A&M now has its own rock radio station called Fusion FM. Students who staff the station will gain hands-on experience in the inner-workings of commercial radio.
  • Honing in on Health

    Texas A&M’s Health Science Center and AgriLife Extension Service launched Healthy South Texas, an initiative to reduce preventable diseases like diabetes and asthma across a 27-county region spanning South Texas. The program promotes personal behavior changes and improving quality of medical care.
  • Texas A&M Expands Reach

    Texas A&M will open a satellite campus near McAllen, Texas, in 2017 to increase educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. Enrollment is expected to reach 750 students in the first five years.
  • Calling All Engineers

    Supported by a $5 million gift from Chevron, the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academies offer aspiring engineers an innovative way to earn their degree. Students who qualify for the newly-formed program will complete their first two years at one of four selected two-year colleges in Texas before finishing their engineering degrees in College Station.