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Howdy!...and welcome to The Rudder Associationdedicated to preserving, defending and perpetuating the Texas Aggie Core Values and Culture for all Former Students, as well as Current and Future Students.  In other words, putting the "Aggie” back in Aggieland!

It is my firm belief that my dad, James Earl Rudder ’32, would heartily endorse The Rudder Association’s mission. It is critically important that we are aware of threats at our door. Should we fail to be active warriors in protecting our valued traditions, we will lose them.


Bud Rudder ‘62


First time applicants and member renewals

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What Else Could Be Done With a 72 Million Dollar Restroom “Renovation”?


This will likely be Part 1 of an update to The Rudder Association on Corps of Cadets facilities. The relevant documents including total costs, floor plans and rationale are public information, but nothing has been released to us–more than a month after TRA made its original request in accordance with the Texas Open Records Act. However, the following assertions have been corroborated by more than one reliable source.


The plan to change the Corps of Cadets restroom facilities to what are being called “European standards” was first brought to the attention of The Rudder Association by a whistleblower from one of the companies which bid for the project. So extraordinary did this project seem, that she or he knew there had to be more to the story. 


Why would we spend a reported $750,000 per restroom to reconfigure facilities which had just been fully updated during the Quad renovation completed less than seven years ago? Why did we need additional privacy enhancements for facilities which already had fully enclosed, private toilets and showers? 


Of further concern to The Rudder Association were the reports that the “upgraded” facilities would have only five showers instead of eight. For those of you who were not in the Corps, think of a family of six now sharing just one shower. Someone is going to be late! Adding to the intrigue was the fact that these supposedly “gender specific” restrooms would have no urinals and that the cadets were never consulted on this project.


This may not be adding up to you, but it did to us. 


At the beginning of this school year, several female cadets approached The Rudder Association concerned that a senior male cadet who had appropriated the female gender was going to be given access to their facilities. TRA stood firmly with them and no such access was authorized. We do not know what negotiations took place or what assurances were given to resolve this (now former) cadet’s demands. But we do know there were multiple high level meetings up to and including the university president regarding the conflicting state and federal guidance relative to “gender identity” issues and contingency plans to accommodate any future gender non-conforming cadets were discussed.


To date, no other plausible explanation for this project has been provided.


It is worth noting that all decision makers at Texas A&M are state employees (to clarify their chain of authority, the Commandants of the Corps of Cadets have been retired military officers and state employees since 1987). Thankfully, our elected leaders in Austin have courageously stood their ground in the face of the radical and unconstitutional directives emanating from the unelected bureaucrats of the Department of Education. Just this month, both the Attorney General of the State of Texas and our Governor have stated unequivocally that public universities need not and should not comply with such directives pending the resolution of relevant court cases.


Yet, our campus administrators have apparently capitulated to a radical gender ideology and chosen instead to burden the taxpayers and gender conforming students with this costly and ill-conceived scheme. Nor were they even given a choice in this project, which they will ultimately help pay for. Although fish Jones may soon have to choose between taking a shower after morning PT or getting to his 8 o’clock class on time.


It is quite likely that a change in federal administration or Supreme Court ruling (whichever comes first) will resolve this issue in favor of a biological definition of sex and gender. Yet, the destruction of the first, relatively new and perfectly functional facility began this week. While only one restroom in four dorms have been targeted at this time, we believe it is the intent of administrators to eventually subject all facilities to this agenda. 


We must stop this from happening. It would be an offense to Texas taxpayers, fee paying students, and the loyal donors who have just given to the recent highly successful renovation project. It is an offense to the cadets who would lose nearly 40% of their shower facilities. It is not even helpful to any incoming gender confused 18 year olds–many or most of whom would eventually accept their biological sex if not given such special affirmation. They would be better served having their other mental health needs addressed rather than reconfiguring everyone's environment to comport with their feelings. It is an offense to female cadets who will likely still see their new “privacy enhanced” facilities intruded on by male cadets due to the newly created shortage of shower facilities. It is an offense to anyone who is concerned about an agenda which would attempt to erase the innate differences between men and women.


We have shared our objections with administrators at every level of our campus to no avail. It is time that those entrusted with the governance of our state institution hear from us. It is for this reason that the Texas Education Code invests the organization, control, and management of the state’s university system in a Board of Regents appointed by our Governor.


Of course, the ultimate cost would likely far exceed the currently provided estimate. But even if it were “only” a 72 million dollar expenditure, what else could that money have been used for? In these times of relative austerity from high inflation, we all have better ideas of how finite resources could be applied. 


Texas A&M belongs to us as much or more than it does to anyone we employ and entrust with manifesting our values and stewarding our resources.  We know that reports like these are disappointing or even infuriating. But we ask that you not walk away from Texas A&M, but instead become more engaged. Do not assume that all of our Regents have been fully advised of this scheme or approved of it. Please respectfully share your concerns with them at BOR@TAMUS.EDU


The President and Board of Directors

The Rudder Association


First Annual Rudder Association Essay Contest

Thanks to everyone who participated in the second annual TRA essay contest.  Links to the winning Core Value essays are provided below. Miabella (Mia) Lopez '27

SELFLESS Ronald Ridgeway '25 John Chapa '27

The Rudder Association Annual Essay Contest 

Eligibility: Applicants are invited to participate in an essay contest sponsored by The Rudder Association (TRA). Applicants must be a US Citizen or resident alien, currently enrolled, as a graduate or undergraduate student of Texas A&M University, College Station. The Rudder Association's mission is to defend and perpetuate the Core Values of loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, selfless service and respect at Texas A&M. We provide a voice for all Aggies who honor its values, traditions and culture. We are Aggies to the Core.

Last year, we received numerous excellent submissions on academia's effect on MLK's dream of judging by character rather than skin color. This year we are asking students to submit no more than one essay with the topic being “Which of our Core Values is most significant to you and how will you live this out as a current and former student?"

Prizes: First prize $500, second $300, third place $200 in the form of a bank check. The first place paper’s author will be invited to attend and read their entry at the TRA annual members meeting on March 23rd in College Station. Prizes will be awarded in March following our annual meeting.

Format: 500 to 700 words, double spaced (approximately two pages), include author’s name, class year, major, email, phone number and hometown. Essays will be evaluated anonymously on their adherence to the prompt, logical development of ideas, persuasiveness, and utilization of facts and background information. They should be free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Any plagiarism is automatic cause for rejection.

Deadline: Papers must be received by March 1, 2024 and formatted in Microsoft Word OR PDF and should be submitted online with the above required information to Papers failing to meet the above format and information requirements will not be considered;


Judging: Joan Quintana '92, Matt Poling ‘90, Mark Browning ’88;


As a condition of this prize award, TRA would have right to publish and to use the content of the three winning papers in its mission to preserve, protect and perpetuate the Texas Aggie Culture, The Spirit of Aggieland and its Core Values and Traditions.  By submitting their papers, contestants agree to these terms.

April 21, 2024...For more information, click here

The Rudder Association honors and remembers out own fallen, but not forgotten, members:

  • Michael Beggs '68

  • Bud Rudder '62

  • Leslie Alexander '77

Softly call the Muster, Let comrade answer, "Here!"

As the holiday season unfolds, we extend our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones.  May this Christmas bring joy, peace, and the love of the season into your homes.


Let us take a moment to reflect on the blessings of the past year and look forward to the promise of hope that the new year brings.


Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Warm Regards, 

Your Rudder Association Executive Committee


Please join us Saturday, March 23rd at Pebble Creek Country Club for The Rudder Association’s Annual Members Meeting from 9 am to 4 pm.

Our keynote speaker will be Senator Brandon Creighton, Chair of the Texas Senate’s Education Committee and Higher Education Subcommittee. We will have several presentations from TRA, campus, and student leaders including Corps Commandant Patrick Michaelis ’93 who will lead us off.

This is open to current TRA members; however if you are currently not a member and would like to renew,, please go to:

We hope to see y’all there! Gig’em!

Image courtesy of: Texas Citizen Journal

The Rudder Association Honors the Life and Mourns the Loss of a true Leader, Mentor, Colleague, Friend and Aggie...
Michael Beggs
May 14, 1946 — August 13, 2023
(TRA founding member & Board of Directors)


Softly call the muster, Let comrade answer, “Here!”

James Earl "Bud" Rudder Jr. '62
5/9/1940 - 1/17/2024

Very sad news to report to the Aggie family. Privileged to know James Earl “Bud” Rudder Jr ‘62 as a friend and serve along side him in support and defense of the Texas A&M we all know and love. I was honored that my children got to know him and I especially cherished his support for The Rudder Association and its mission. Bud was a gentleman and a true Aggie hero. Let’s not just remember him but also honor him by continuing his legacy of service to our university and country.

Softly call the muster, Let comrade answer, “Here!”

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