SAN ANTONIO, Texas—Many students and graduates of Texas A&M University are celebrating the end of the school year and finally receiving their beloved Aggie Rings.
The Aggie Ring is one of the oldest traditions at A&M and the person who helped craft the way students and alumni know the ring today just happens to be the oldest Aggie—and he’s got quite a story to tell.
Colonel “Ike” Morris has a lifetime of stories and he’s hit many milestones.
“I’m getting to be a rather old gentleman,” said Morris.
At 106 years-old, Morris is a veteran, a former cattle rancher, and he’s a graduate of Texas A&M. He’s part of the Fighting Aggie Class of ’33. That’s 1933, by the way.
Morris was in the Corps of Cadets while at A&M, and he says at that time, all students were part of the Corps.
It was during the Great Depression and Morris said the money ran out. So, he got a job working in the mess hall, waiting tables every meal of the day, earning just $21 a month to pay for his education.
Even though he was an athlete in high school, Morris didn’t think he was big enough to try out for the Aggie football team. However, one day a Corps of Cadets leader told him to go to the gym and get a uniform. So, he played football for one year, but was a hurdler on the track team for all four years.
During his junior year, Morris remembers fondly, something that he says “turned out to be quite a big deal.”
“I was appointed by the class president to be on the Ring Committee. Things were not being handled properly,” Ike remembers.
The next year, he was selected as Chairman of the Aggie Ring Committee. In that position, Morris had a major part in changing the way the ring could be purchased.
According to Morris, the Class of 1933 was given credit for changing the requirements for students to earn their Aggie Ring.
After he graduated, Morris worked as a teacher and coach for a year before joining the Army and then serving in World War II.
“Our division was in on the invasion of D1 on Omaha Beach,” said Morris. “That was a rough one.”
What he thought would be one year of service turned into many more.
“I’m glad to be here,” said Morris.
He later met up with his old college buddy, Earl Rudder, who later became the president of Texas A&M.
“I’ve known Earl forever. I’ve visited him in his home there on campus,” said Morris.
At one point, Morris followed his dream of raising livestock, always remembering the advice of one of his professors.
“Find a rancher’s daughter, and marry her real-quick,” Morris laughs.
He didn’t marry a rancher’s daughter, but instead Morris married his high school sweetheart.
“We had 77 years of marriage. She died in ’99,” Morris said.
Then, somewhere along the way that “pretty big deal” came up again.
Morris created an endowment to give scholarships to Aggies who lack finances to get their ring.
This year, Morris presented an Aggie Ring to a veteran from the Class of 1980.
“I’m happy that I can contribute a little to someone who was unable to pay for it,” Morris said.
However, the story doesn’t end there- there was another “big deal” for Morris. Last month, he was inducted into the esteemed Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor.
So now, his picture will forever hang in the Hall of Honor, and through the Aggie Ring Scholarship, his legacy will continue to be in the hearts of Aggies all over the world.
As time moves on, the story will get longer, and Colonel “Ike” Morris, the oldest Aggie, will have another memory to recall as being a really “big deal.”