April 10, 2021
Good Morning! It is a beautiful Day in Aggieland this Family Weekend. I am honored to be addressing you for the first time as the Federation President. So nice to see these smiling faces and I am grateful for our Zoom participants as well!
I am a loud and proud member of the Class of 1980, as is my husband, Greig. Let me tell you a little story, Ags.
My high school graduating class held close to 1000 students, his had 183. I was a city gal, and he was a small-town guy. But we both were destined to be Aggies. My Aggie connection was Daddy, Class of 1954. His came from Mom. Her dad , Col Oran C. Stovall, was all set to attend Texas A&M in the late 1920’s. Due to his mother’s illness he instead went to Tarleton College, to be closer to home, and he joined the Corps of Cadets there. This was a good thing for two reasons. One, he met the love of his life there, and two, his old lady in the Corps was a young cadet named James Earl Rudder, who attended Tarleton from 1928-29 before transferring to Texas A&M in 1930. So, there was little doubt where Greig would attend college, given that Aggie connection! Greig’s Mom even started a local Aggie Mom club when he enrolled at A&M. I remember all the goodies she would send him and his Corps buddies and thinking how cool!
Our Senior year, Greig was CO of M-1 Medical Company. Back then, the fish would haul off their CO to some location and leave him to make his way home. This traditionally happened prior to the tu game, during Bonfire construction. They decided to take him to visit the town of Latham, Kansas, population 148. They accomplished their mission and drove back to CS only to walk into the dorm and see their CO waiting for them. How did he beat them home ?? Somebody called their Aggie Mom who bartered a ride to the airport in Wichita, Kansas and had a ticket waiting at the gate for their Aggie. (His girlfriend got him from Houston to the dorm just in the nick of time.) It is a great story, and he is available after the meeting.
Our eldest son, Garrett ’08, had an interesting entry into the Corps. In the fall of 2004, he started out in Hotard Hall, and I left in tears after moving him into that dorm. Soon after, he called to say he was not feeling the Aggie Spirit we had described to him his whole life, and his dorm friends thought he should join the Corps. Road Trip! Garrett was moved onto the quad as part of a “transfer outfit” and we were excited he was able to join after the semester had started. Not for long. Seeing an email from your son in all lower-case letters saying “ i want to come home…” is a call to action. I called Aggie Dad and he called the Commandant and fish Latham, with the unanimous vote of his fish buddies, became a member of E-1 Jock Company. Mom’s dream came true!
In 2005, I was teaching First Grade and Garrett was about to start his Sophomore year. Our son Stuart was a Junior in high school. Busy time became scary time. I was diagnosed with Stage IV, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My students were not aware, but their parents knew and supported me. Who was part of the troop sanitizing my classroom and bringing healthy snacks? Moms that had attended Texas A&M. What a blessing to me at that time and some of those Aggies are now Aggie Moms themselves!
In 2007, Stuart was offered an appointment to the Naval Academy but decided to accept a military scholarship and join the Corps of Cadets at TAMU. Mom is doing the happy dance. Tailgates for Zips and fish buddies are the order of the day for football weekends for the next four years!
Both boys graduated with military honors and commissioned in the US Army as 2nd Lieutenants.
Garrett’ 08, serves in the Medical Specialist Corps as Physician’s Assistant and is now Major Garrett Latham, PhD, posted to Tripler Army Medical Center Honolulu, HI. Stuart ’07, went to Airborne and Air Assault Schools, Flight School and Ranger School. A Pilot in Command, he served as a Blackhawk Company Commander and deployed with his unit to Afghanistan. During his return from deployment on the border in 2018, while passing by College Station he received permission for his company to overfly Kyle Field prior to the 74-72 overtime defeat of LSU. Captain Stuart Latham retired from the service and now flies for American Airlines.
What is an Aggie Mom to do when her boys are grown with careers and families of their own?
I went to Bee Keeping School and became a certified Beekeeper. Then we added chickens! But I digress. I stayed involved with those Aggie Moms and joined another club when we moved to East Texas!
Aggie Moms have a mission, help our students. Chancellor Sharp loves to tell how the Aggie Moms improved the food at Duncan overnight. We heard about Aggie moms that purchased an Aggie ring for a student after her mom passed away. When a small plane crashed at Coulter Airfield and the survivor was rushed to a hospital in Bryan, Aggie moms in North Texas reached out to have Moms in the area at the hospital with support and snacks for friends waiting outside, until the family could arrive. A mom texts an Aggie Mom she has never met in person with concerns for her student and a family makes a sweet connection over the Easter Weekend and new friend. We share because we care. We want someone to be there for our Aggie, so we are ready to help all Aggies. You do not have to be in a club to be a great Aggie Mom, but it sure is a lot of fun!
I knew that the only place I would want my children to attend college was Texas A&M. I knew they would be safe on campus; physically, mentally, and spiritually. The Faculty and staff truly care, I know because I experienced that care.
Since joining an Aggie mom club, I have had the benefit of meeting university and student leaders on campus through functions of the Association and the Federation. This has given me a peace of mind I wish I had known as a fish Mom. It would have made that transition a lot easier, especially with my son having to cope with his Mom’s health scare at the start of his sophomore year. I want to help spread the word to new Aggie Moms that we are here, and we hear you.
The common thread of being there for students and their families and serving them leads me to announce that my theme for next year is “ Aggie Moms – Standing Ready”, just like the 12th Man.
I never aspired to this office, only to serve where needed. I loved my time as an appointed officer, serving as Hospitality, Parliamentarian and Corresponding Secretary for three consecutive years. I owe a nod to Suzan York ’86 for planting the seed to try for an elected position that was only possible once we moved from Lucas, Texas in Collin County to Tyler, Texas.
To the wonderful ladies with whom I have served on this board from 2012 to the present. Thank you for your trust and guidance while serving together. I have learned from the best and was blessed to see real leadership rise in times of local need and world crisis. These bonds of friendship are lifelong. I am part of a precious sisterhood, steeped in selfless service and integrity.
In the Spring of 2012, I met Dawn Powell, our speaker at a Collin County Aggie Mom meeting. Dawn was the incoming Federation President. After her talk I introduced myself and I offered to help her if she needed anything. Turns out she did. ! I learned so much that first year and Dawn and Troie have a very special place in my heart. I thank them for their presiding over our Officer Installation today.
I would like to thank the Tyler Aggie Moms for supporting me and allowing me to represent the Tyler Club on the Federation Board for the past five years. I am excited to have a fellow Tyler Rose serving in an appointed position with me this year and looking forward to serving together.
To my husband Greig, I say thank you for loving Jesus and for loving me. Thank you for your leadership in our home and rearing our sons to be Godly men of honor and integrity, as Eagle Scouts, and leaders in the Corps of Cadets and US Army. You have always loved, encouraged, and inspired me to be the best I can be, and I am so proud to be your wife and the mother of these fine young men.
To my children, Garrett, ‘08, and his wife, Elizabeth, their children Benjamin, Michael, Lucas and Julianna, and Stuart, ’11, and his wife, Abby, and our future grandchild, and siblings, I am so proud of you all. Thank you for the blessings and memories of being an Aggie Mom through your college years and beyond. I am hoping for that chance for some of my grandchildren! I love you all very much.
My parents are no longer with us. My dad was class of 1954 but left Texas A&M early and joined the Navy. He returned with his young bride to complete his degree in 1957 and I was born in December of that year. I loved that they lived in the old barracks turned married student housing and that Mom worked in the Administration Building, I was able to see those places with them and hear their stories as we walked across campus. I love that they were able to watch their grandsons march in Kyle Field, graduate and commission into the Army and were proud Aggie Grandparents. Thank you, Mom and Daddy for letting me follow my dream of being an Aggie and cheering me and then your grandsons as they traveled Military Walk.
I thank my brothers, Clay and Pete, their sweet wives, KC, and Nora who all graduated from that other school in Austin, for graciously allowing us to celebrate the few times we were the victors at Thanksgiving gatherings. I am so proud of our nephew, Reid that earned his Aggie Ring and made his Mom a proud Aggie Mom!
Thank you to my husband’s siblings, Kate, Bob, and Deb for supporting their Aggies and coming to Aggieland for Ring day as our niece, Kayla and nephew, John were presented their Aggie Rings on Thursday by their proud Aunt Katie! What a wonderful day!
I am so thankful for my in-laws, Dr. and Mrs. Max G. Latham and the many miles they drove as students supporting their brother Pat Latham ’63 and his wife, Judy, during their time at A&M. The Aggie Mom hospitality and love that showered their son and his friends over the years was a shining example for us to follow. They leave a legacy of love & support for A&M, service to their community and their Lord. I am proud to be part of their family.
To my Aggie friends and Class of 1980 Classmates. I have always been so proud of our Class for commissioning the 12th Man Statue as our class gift. Thank you for the memories of our undergraduate years, the reunions past and the reunions to come here and in realms above. I am so proud to bring E. King Gill to the table for the start of his Centennial celebration of Standing Ready.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve the Federation as President for the next year. It is an honor and a privilege to give back to the University I love.
God Bless Us, Everyone. And God Bless Texas A&M.
Katherine McMordie Latham’80