I seem to be the kiss of death for institutions of higher education. Of course, I didn’t attend the more well known universities, such as Yale or Harvard. And lucky for those fine schools that I stayed here in Texas and attended smaller, less well known places.
I obtained my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. My specialization area was Foods and Nutrition and I earned a teaching certificate in this field. I later went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Education from Corpus Christi State University.
This may sound fine to you, but I happen to know that neither of these institutions exist anymore. I mean, what’s this all about?
Here in Texas we have the University of Texas with the Texas Longhorn mascot named Beevo. Attendees are so proud of their school, they sometimes refer to it as though it’s the only university on the planet. THE UNIVERSITY, they say. And they have their own hand sign to proudly display at sporting events. This sign is to raise your hand and extend your thumb and little finger while tucking the other fingers down, thus resembling the eponymous longhorn. Shouts of “Hook ‘em, Horns” can be heard and the hand symbol seen at sporting events and spontaneously elsewhere when UT fans merge. The burnt orange school color, while not a very flattering shade, can be found abundantly in the fine city of Austin, Texas. And when the University of Texas Longhorn Band comes raging onto the field (other bands march) and play The Eyes of Texas, I admit that I’m thrilled to the core.
Texas is also home to Texas A & M University. Another institution with proud and long-standing traditions. The Texas Aggies, as they are called, did not always admit women, although now the campus is abundantly populated by the fairer sex. A&M has ”The Corps” and while I’m not quite sure what that is all about, I gather it is a para-military group that shave their heads and play soldier (I’m soooo gonna hear about this one) The A&M mascot is a dog named Reveille which relates back to the militaristic beginnings. The Aggies have their own traditions and hand sign, which consists of a fist with the thumb extended in what would otherwise be considered a “thumbs up” sign, but the Aggies are fervent in yelling “Gig ‘em, Aggies!” while displaying this hand sign. Yeah, this sounds pretty crude when taken out of context, but the Aggies persist in “gigging” all over the place.
Now what does all this have to do with me? Not too much at all. Southwest Texas State University did have sports teams. The Southwest Texas Bobcats were the football team and while this sounds okay, imagine the stands full of people making the Bobcat hand sign. This consists of making a scary, “I’m going to get you” claw hand and waving that from back to front overhead. There was no particular chant, but a few feeble, “Go Bobcats” could be heard. Southwest Texas did have a football team and basketball team and the students were supportive, but without the frenetic fervor of the two aforementioned institutions. Is it any wonder that Southwest Texas State University evaporated? Oh, there is still a university located in the beautiful hilly campus south and west of Austin, but the name is currently Texas State University…So my diploma is from a place that only exists in memory. <sigh!>Then to add insult to injury, I earned my MS from Corpus Christi State University and it promptly aligned with another university and changed the name to Texas A & I University at Corpus Christi…Most recently it has realigned with another institution. Now my former school is called Texas A & M Corpus Christi…Does this mean that I’m an Aggie by attrition? I’m sure the heads of the larger and more prestigious institutions are gratified that I didn’t enroll there. Can you imagine what Yale could be re-named? The Ivy Covered University at Yankeeville? Or Harvard might be Stuffy University at Stuffyier Place. Oh, my! I’ve offended the elis and the boola-boola people now. Stick around. I’m pretty sure I will offend everyone eventually. <sigh!>