If you didn’t grow up in rural Oklahoma, you probably never heard the term “Aggie.” So just exactly what is it?
In its purest sense, an aggie is someone from the farm. The name was commonly given to students attending agricultural schools, and that’s where Cameron comes in. Founded in 1908 as a high school, the Cameron State School of Agriculture provided farm training and an education, along with room and board to children of rural families. It wasn’t long after it opened that students began calling themselves “Aggies.”
For more than a century, the name has stuck, but not without a few challenges. In the 1920s, CSSA became the “Cowboys” for a couple of years before returning to the Aggie name. Then, in 1968, Cameron administrators wanted us to become the Cardinals as part of our transition to a university … but students would have none of it. As recently as 2003 it was suggested that the Aggie name no longer was an accurate way to describe a Cameron student. The school came unbelievably close to changing the name of its sports team to the Cavalry – until a wise alumnus noted that “it doesn’t matter what you call us, we’ll always be Aggies.”
And so we are.
In a world where everyone wants to start new traditions, it’s incredibly important to keep old ones. Even though most Cameron students don’t come here to study agriculture, the Aggie name binds us all, whether we are one of today’s students, or one who studied here during the turbulent 1960s, or earned a junior college degree at Cameron State Agricultural College during World War II, or learned blacksmithing at the Cameron State School of Agriculture in 1911.
Some of us have fed the world through hard work in the fields or through research in the laboratory. Others have been led to feed the souls of men. Aggies teach our children, heal us when we are ill, keep our streets safe from crime and save our lives in time of disaster.
Aggies have fought in every conflict since The Great War. Eighteen earned a general’s command, and one of them became chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Far too many Aggies gave their lives so that we could keep our freedom. One earned the title of “ace” for his aerial exploits in World War II and three others were awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in combat.
Another Aggie’s work in genetic research made it possible to identify remains of American servicemen killed in action – as well as the victims of war crimes and disasters around the world – and brought closure to grieving families.
Aggies have distinguished themselves on the gridiron, the diamond and the courts, both in college and professional sports.
Some of our Aggies have walked the halls of the State Capitol enacting laws, and two were Speaker of the House. Other Aggies have built distinguishing careers interpreting those laws in the courtroom.
Some of our Aggies have been expert communicators who have been honored with Pulitzers and Emmys for covering the news. Others have been entertainers whose songs have topped the charts and won Grammys.
No matter what we do, our goal is always to be the very best. It has always been that way. Our roots go back more than a century.
Always be proud that you are an Aggie!