Old­est liv­ing Ag­gie turns 107, still get­ting school hon­ors

Ike Mor­ris, grad­u­ate of Class of 1933, now in Cadets’ fame hall.

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Lind­say El­lis Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.