General Earl Rudder American Freedom Avenue of the Flags Endowment
(Dedicated 5 March 2024)
The Class of ’69 and friends secured the continued placement of 50 American Flags along the East Gate entrance to Texas A&M by creating an endowment. Through the support and generosity of A&M Administration—special thanks to President Banks and CFO John Crawford!—a University matching fund of $75K was established to help complete a $150K endowment needed to insure placement of flags for three national holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day), Family Weekend, and seven home football games.
The Class of ’69 seeded this endowment with $20K from previous donors and an additional $5K anonymous gift to the Texas A&M Foundation. This was matched by the University funds, bringing the total to $50,000. We then successfully raised another $50K from donations, matched with $50K from the University funds, to complete the $150K endowment.
This tribute and “beautification” of East Gate was initiated by General Rudder and conceived by our classmate Landis Cervenka at the end of our senior year. It continued for more than 30 years before encountering a lapse. In 2016 the Class of ’69 got it started again through ad hoc contributions, but its permanency is now established through this endowment.
Those 50 American Flags placed along East Gate recognize the current students on campus who come from our 50 states and beyond. And without question, those beautiful flags signify how we value our American Freedom and cause us to remember the cost of freedom that has been paid for by generations before. We all know how General Rudder felt about the American Flag, the values it represents and the sacrifices made to preserve Freedom—and our Class also understands.
Note: To read the back story on this project and more, see this article published by the Texas A&M Foundation.