Oldest living Aggie turns 107, still getting school honors
Ike Morris, graduate of Class of 1933, now in Cadets’ fame hall.
Texas A&M University’s oldest living former student has had quite the year.
Last August, members of the Corps of Cadets saluted him during a campus visit. His time in College Station was featured in a video played at Kyle Field at a football game last fall.
He was inducted into the Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor in April, too.
Col. Tom C. “Ike” Morris celebrates his 107th birthday Tuesday, after a weekend party in San Antonio. Aggies shared photos of Morris’ party on social media, wishing him well and recalling his story.
Morris, who graduated in 1933, worked five jobs while on campus during the Great Depression, according to Texas A&M’s Association of Former Students.
He helped shape the requirements to earn an Aggie Ring, including restricting the purchase to seniors. He ran hurdles on the university track team, and at his birthday party, he received a black A&M baton as a gift. He went on to serve in World War II after graduation.
Texas A&M looks very different today from when Morris studied there. In 1940, Texas A&M awarded its first Ph.D. degree. Now it has about 90 doctoral degree programs. Cadet Corps membership, once required, was made optional in 1954, and about 2,500 students participate now.
The university’s board of directors allowed women to enroll in 1963, and as of last fall, the undergraduate student population was about 48 percent women. Enrollment has soared, even in the last decade, to more than 66,100 last fall from about 45,380 in 2006.
Morris initially attended Texas A&M when his high school sweetheart said they couldn’t marry unless he was educated, according to the Association of Former Students.
And he keeps coming back to the Aggies, long after graduation. A representative of the Association of Former Students attended his San Antonio birthday party on Saturday, at which he wore a maroon striped tie.
He posed for photos with his hand forming a “gig ’em” thumbs up – a tradition formed while he was a sophomore.
His birthday cake, decorated in maroon and white, had his class year scrawled in frosting.