Texas A&M Announces New Mascot

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As we streamed LIVE here at KBTX.com, Texas A&M has announced its new mascot.

The dog, which will be named Reveille VIII and will be a collie is, contrary to prior reports, on campus, but will be introduced formally to the students during the home football opener against Arkansas State on August 30.

All five finalists for the mascot spot were collies, according to the university. The finalist does not have service training, but has undergone basic obedience training, and has a personality that would be receptive to more extensive training in the future, officials say.

Less than a week ago, A&M officials told News 3 they still had not located a dog to replace Reveille VII, the former mascot who was retired at the end of the 2007-2008 school year. Officials said at the time they were still following up on leads.

The best candidates, officials said at the time, were either collies or collie-like dogs. Reveille VII, like most of her predecessors, was a collie.

The university said near the start of their search that they did not want to have to go through a lengthy training process with a new mascot, as they have in the past for previous dogs.

The Reveille tradition dates back to the 1930s, when the Corps of Cadets adopted a mut a group had accidentally hit with their car near Navasota. Since then, a dog has acted as "The First Lady of Aggieland," and has been kept by the Corps.

The following is a press release sent out by Texas A&M University:

A 2-year-old female collie from Topeka, Kan., will continue Texas A&M University’s decades-old mascot tradition and serve as Reveille VIII beginning this fall.

Texas A&M officials selected Tapestry Tenacious Juell, also known as Kelly, over the weekend to become the next Reveille in advance of the upcoming fall semester at the 46,000-student university. The sable and white, AKC-registered collie will be officially introduced to the public at Texas A&M’s season-opening football game against Arkansas State Aug. 30 at Kyle Field. However, students may catch a glimpse of Reveille VIII on the Texas A&M campus over the next couple of weeks as she begins her mascot training.

“We are excited to welcome Reveille VIII into the Aggie Family and that she will continue the collie mascot tradition. I am particularly delighted to have her formally begin her reign as the university’s new mascot in time for the start of the fall semester, which I believe also is important to Aggies everywhere,” said Texas A&M President Elsa A. Murano. “I know there was concern that the process was taking quite a bit of time, perhaps too long. I, too, shared in these concerns and expressed them to those directly involved. The process worked well in the final analysis, however, and I believe we’ve made an excellent selection – a beautiful animal with all of the desirable characteristics outlined by the committee charged with helping us identify a new mascot following the retirement of Reveille VII. I would also like to personally thank everyone who served on the committee that was so instrumental in the selection process. I am confident that a great choice has been made—and I think Aggies everywhere will agree when they meet Reveille VIII later this month and in the coming months and years.”

Reveille VIII was donated to Texas A&M by Julie Hinrichsen and Russell Dyke of Juell Collies in conjunction with the Collie Health Foundation. Hinrichsen and Dyke first heard of Texas A&M’s mascot search through the Collie Club of America and later learned more about the tradition of Reveille through Becky McClintock ’98, who previously served as training director for the Texas Hearing and Service Dog Association. Although Hinrichsen and Dyke initially were not interested in Kelly leaving their family, a visit to the College Station campus beginning last Thursday along with their niece Felicia Van Cleave ultimately changed their minds.

“We both knew of Reveille and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be an honor to get involved in the tradition?’ But we didn’t truly grasp how big it was,” said Dyke. “If it doesn’t hurt a little to give her up, Texas A&M is not getting a good enough collie for what the university deserves.”

The selection of Reveille VIII ends an extensive nationwide search for Texas A&M’s next mascot following the retirement of Reveille VII in February. The search was based on the recommendations of a 16-member committee established by the Division of Student Affairs that was comprised of students, former students, faculty and staff, along with representatives of the Corps of Cadets, Athletics and the Federation of Texas A&M Mothers’ Clubs. The committee evaluated what type of dog might best serve in such a capacity, while also examining the demands placed on the university’s mascot.

“Foremost, we wanted to continue the long-standing tradition of having an official mascot that was part of the student body,” said Dr. Kevin P. Jackson, assistant vice president of student affairs, who chaired the committee and ultimately led the search for Reveille VIII. “We all agreed that Reveille needed to attend classes and live in a home-like environment on campus, while receiving top-quality care, love and attention.”

Jackson added that Reveille VIII meets all seven essential characteristics established by the committee: medium-to-large size, healthy, outgoing personality, likes people and is at ease in crowds, not afraid of noise, not highly reactive, and positively motivated. Additionally, Jackson noted that Reveille VIII meets the committee’s recommendations of being at least one-and-a-half years old, a female and having a collie-like appearance.

“You need health and temperament with this breed,” said Hinrichsen, who has been working with collies for about a decade. “We always look first at these two issues. We reviewed our pedigrees and thought we might have that in this dog, which would be a match for Texas A&M.”

Reveille is known as the First Lady of Texas A&M and is the only bearer of five silver diamonds in the 1,800-member Corps of Cadets. The cadet colonel, the ranking officer in the corps, wears four diamonds on his uniform. John Busch, class of 2011, and an accounting major from Beaumont, will serve as mascot corporal for the Corps’ Mascot Company E-2.

The first Reveille was a mongrel that, according to campus lore, was picked up by some cadets alongside Highway 6, which runs through College Station. The precise date of her arrival on campus is believed to have been 1931, and it is well documented that she died on Jan. 18, 1944, and received a formal military funeral on the 50-yardline of Kyle Field. Her name was reportedly prompted by her habit of howling when the corps bugler played reveille to wake the cadets each morning.