Bill Howell ’69
We would like to recognize those special people who have worked, imagined, created, and built this Spirit Plaza:
First is the long standing committee that is heart and soul of this effort: Classmates Tom Woodbury, Bill Zemanek, Freddie Wong, Bill Maddox and Bob Lynch. These men have been true project warriors. And joining them was local artist Benjamin Knox, monuments man Tony Watson, and landscape architect Mike Teal and his former student Claire Britton. Without their effort and guidance, we would not have the beauty and peace that you experience in this plaza. We also want to recognize the early work by Classmate and architect Mikeual Perritt for his early design that got this project underway. And a very special thanks to Classmate and Class Agent Larry Lippke who has been our eyes, ears, and financial officer throughout the long effort. And to military historian, Classmate and Vietnam veteran Jim Willbanks, we thank you for your narrative on Silver Taps summarizing the research done by the committee.
There were many students that also participated, especially from the Traditions Council, Muster Committee, Fish Camp and more recently, the Class of ‘19.
We especially thank the following students:
- Madeline Schulz ’16 for introducing and initiating work with Traditions Council,
- Devin Lubin ‘18 from the Traditions Council Silver Taps Committee who delivered the student-inspired name “Spirit Plaza” to the project,
- Katy DeLeon ‘18 from the Campus Muster Committee who made sure we got Muster right,
- Our Fish Camp Crew partners whose Silver Taps & Muster program inspired us and have been with us all along over these years.
- And to those Fish Camp and Fish Camp Crew co-chairs and counselors who continue to support and teach the traditional values of Texas A&M, we offer our heartfelt gratitude.
- And Amy Sharp and Helena Shakesby and their Class of ’19 Class Agents who have enthusiastically embraced responsibility for the Spirit Plaza into the next 50 years.
And of course, we wish to thank the Association of Former Students, especially Josh Reinbolt ’99, Freddy Rodriguez ‘12, and Linda Suarez for being our home base for our Class, our efforts, and our banking. Thanks also to the Texas A&M Foundation, both Anne Lovett ‘81 and Jesse Natal ‘92, for their assistance in making the many funding efforts possible.
Special recognition goes to the Class Agents and Classes of ’91 and ’95 for previously placing commemorative sculptures of Silver Taps and Muster here and working with us to fund their relocation. And of course, thanks to Professor Rodney Hill who created these beautiful sculptures and offered guidance to us throughout the project. And to the Class of ’72 for your enthusiastic support to create and fund the memorial marker for the Donald Coward letter. And thank you for lending Chancellor John Sharp ’72 to us this evening as our banquet speaker. Thanks to all these classes for joining our Class of ’69 in this effort.
And to the people who turned the ideas into a reality: The leadership and guidance of University Architect Lilia Gonzales, Communications Director Karen Bigley, and Planner David Brown who along with Tom Reber from the Student Affairs Office have been exceptional to deal with in this University setting. Our thanks to project manager Mildred Trevino of the campus contract management company SSC and her supervisor Dennis Gray and special thanks again to Mike Teal who moved over to SSC and has been the on-site engineering and landscape liaison.
And now to Classmate Wick McKean and JaCody Construction: We owe an enormous debt to Wick and his company for his willingness to take this project on and to do such a magnificent job working with his subs to complete the Spirit Plaza on a short timetable. Please note the design and beauty of the markers and compass which Tony Watson and Watson Monuments have provided. Tony’s work expresses the character and endurance of the Aggie Spirit. Both these men put a labor of love into the Spirit Plaza and provided their efforts at their cost.
Finally, to our members of the Class of ’69 who have supported this Spirit Plaza and the other Class Projects which we leave as Legacy to our beloved Texas A&M, we wish to thank those individuals that provided financial support for this project. Many contributed and they are recognized in this Spirit Plaza by the plaque at the entry simply noting the Class of ’69. “We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we”…… What more can be said? WELL DONE!!!!, AGGIES!!!
And now, along with all gathered here and with special thanks to members of the Aggie Band and the Ross Volunteers, we will formally dedicate the Spirit Plaza. We call upon Classmate and Veteran Tom Woodbury, who put heart and soul into bringing the Spirit Plaza forward, to initiate the dedication: