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as 102-year-old Aggie "Ike" Morris gets his Aggie Ring at the San Antonio A&M Club Muster
It’s been 80 years since Tom "Ike" Morris ’33 graduated from Texas A&M.
Two weeks ago, at age 102, he walked into the Clayton W. Williams Jr, Alumni Center to order his third Aggie Ring.
Normally, the week before Ring Day the Alumni Center is quiet and focused, but with when word spread that Morris was in the building, the Ring Office was suddenly busy.
This man, who was president of his senior Class and was part of the committee that helped secure the Aggie Ring tradition by restricting Aggie Rings to seniors, has seen and experienced a Texas A&M at a depth to which no other living former student can compare.
Everyone wanted a picture with him.
“Gig ’em, Granddad,” said Morris’ granddaughter, Jane Weeden, prompting Morris to stick out his thumb for a snapshot.
He precedes the tradition, she said. Morris was already a sophomore when Pinky Downs, Class of 1906, shouted out “Gig ’em,” as the answer to his own question of “What are we going to do to those Horned Frogs?” It wasn’t an Aggie custom by the time he graduated.
He precedes “Howdy,” too.
This man, who waited tables with Earl Rudder '32 in the athlete’s dining room, doggedly held down five jobs while a student during the Great Depression, and served in all campaigns in the ETO (including D-Day plus 1 on Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge),
wanted to replace his Aggie Ring.
“It’s part of my life,” he said.
It’s part of his remarkable life. He came to Texas A&M because his high school sweetheart said she wouldn’t marry him unless he had an education. He and his darling Margaret enjoyed a 76-year marriage before her death in 2010.
“I don’t know if I ever thought of any other university. It just didn’t dawn on me,” he said.
Morris remembers when Reveille was brought to campus—“Ah, yes. The little puppy. We would see that dog all the time,” he said. He remembers going in with five buddies to buy a cheap 1926 Model T Ford for $35 when they needed to travel for military training.
“There was not a top, so we stayed warm with a blanket,” he said. And he recalls when the block froze and it was abandoned in a faraway field. “I guess that old Ford is still out there on the farm,” he laughed.
He was a junior when Walton Hall was completed. “I spent my sophomore year in an old coal-burning World War II barrack,” he said. His senior year, he hitchhiked his way home from San Antonio and was picked up by the one-and-only E. King Gill ’24.
“My Ring serves as a reminder to enjoy pleasant memories,” he said. “If I can only wear it one day, that will be fine,” he said. “Its importance has really been impressed upon me over the last six months. Just recently, a person looked at my hand and asked
me where my Ring was.”
“Before I lost my Ring, I wore it 24 hours a day. Never took it off,” he said. “I’m proud of the Ring.”
Porter S. Garner II ’79, President and CEO of The Association of Former Students, is proud of the Aggie Ring, too. And as Morris’ finger was sized, Garner couldn’t help but notice that they wear the same Ring size.
Slipping his own Ring off his hand, Porter asked a favor.
Would Morris please wear his Class of ’79 Ring until his arrived?
It’s too much, Morris said.
He couldn’t, Morris protested.
But, Garner was adamant in his esteem, and when Morris slipped it on, it was a perfect fit.
His Ring reminds him to remember pleasant memories, Morris said tearfully.
Morris’s Aggie Ring was presented to him in a special ceremony during the San Antonio A&M Club's Muster gathering on April 21. When General David Rubenstein'77, a member of The Association's Board of Directors, presented the Class of '33 Ring, it was accompanied
by a letter from George Bush, Sr. and the applause and cheers of around 500 Aggies attending Muster.
Weeden estimates that Morris shook hands with at least 100 people. "He is a humble man and was truly overwhemed," she said. Despite the overflow of emotion, Morris had a kind word and extra story for each handshake.
Morris is looking for any Classmates from 1933 and would enjoy correspondence with his fellow Aggies of all Class years.