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Silver Taps To Honor Three Aggies

Scot Walker '90 February 28, 2018 3:52 PM updated: April 18, 2018 1:54 PM

Silver Taps on Tuesday, March 6, will honor the memory of three recently deceased Texas A&M students.

Silver Taps is a tribute paid to an Aggie who, at the time of his or her death, was enrolled in graduate or undergraduate courses at Texas A&M.

On the day of the ceremony, all campus flags are flown at half-staff, and the names of those to be remembered are posted at the base of the flagpole in Academic Plaza. Students are encouraged to write a note to the families of those being honored; the notes are placed in boxes located at the Academic Plaza, West Campus Library, the Quad and in front of the Koldus Building.

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Chimes from Albritton Bell Tower will play as Aggies gather in the plaza area in front of the Academic Building. Campus will be darkened at 10:20 p.m.; then at 10:30 p.m., the silence will be split by the slow, echoing cadence of the Ross Volunteers, marching from the Quad to Academic Plaza.

Following the firing of three rifle volleys, six buglers, unseen in the darkness, will play a special arrangement of “Taps” three times—to the north, west and south—to honor the memories of:

  • Marc Portell Elizondo '21, an engineering major from San Antonio who died Jan. 11. 
  • Matthew Austin Gaikema '18, an applied mathematical science major from Katy who died Feb. 4.
  • Kyle Alan Novikoff '20, an engineering major from Weatherford who died Feb. 13.

The tolling of the Albritton Tower bells signals the end of the ceremony.

In the event of severe weather, Silver Taps may be held in an alternate location or postponed.

Free parking in the University Center Garage will be available between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. For more on parking, go to

The names of Elizondo, Gaikema, and Novikoff have been added to the roll call for the 2018 Aggie Muster. Because they were students at the College Station campus when they died, their names are eligible to be called at the student-run Muster at Reed Arena. (See the criteria for the Reed Arena roll call.Their names, along with every other name on the 2018 worldwide roll call, will also be called during the live reading that will take place starting at sunrise on April 21 at the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center. (See the full 2018 roll call.) Their names are also eligible to be called at one or more of the hundreds of hometown Musters that will take place around the world. (See the list of Musters currently registered for 2018.)  

Silver Taps is a solemn and serious event, and these traditions should be honored:

  • The area between the Sul Ross statue and the Academic Building is reserved for the friends and family of the deceased.
  • Do not stand or sit on the benches lining the walkway between the flagpole and the Sul Ross statue.
  • The darkness and quiet, which cover the campus, emphasize the mood for Silver Taps. Aggies help to retain this tranquility by covering windows, keeping noise to a minimum, and walking to and from the ceremony without talking.

Formerly, Silver Taps was observed as soon as possible after the death of an Aggie. Today it is held on the first Tuesday of each month from September to April, if necessary. If the first Tuesday in September falls during the first week of the fall semester, that ceremony is held on the second Tuesday of September. Silver Taps ceremonies are not conducted during the summer when many Aggies are away from campus.

For more information about Silver Taps, visit or contact Student Assistance Services at (979) 845-3113.

Silver Taps is one of Texas A&M's greatest traditions. We express our sincere appreciation to donors to The Association for helping support it financially. 

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