Texas A&M University at Galveston

Texas A&M University at Galveston
Type State university
Branch of Texas A&M University
Established 1962
Endowment $5.6 billion
President Rear Admiral Robert Smith III, USN (Ret.)
Academic staff
Students 2,324 (Fall 2015)[1]
Undergraduates 2,162 (Fall 2015)[1]
Postgraduates 162 (Fall 2015)[1]
42 (Fall 2015)[1]
Location Galveston, Texas, US
Campus Suburban, 135 acres (0.546 km²)[2]
Colors Maroon and white         
Nickname Sea Aggies
Mascot Reveille IX
Affiliations AAU, SEC
Website www.tamug.edu

Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) is an ocean-oriented branch campus of Texas A&M University offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees that are awarded from Texas A&M University in College Station. Students enrolled at Texas A&M University at Galveston, known affectionately as 'Sea Aggies', share all the benefits of students attending Texas A&M University (TAMU) campus in College Station. TAMUG is strategically located on Pelican Island, offering many benefits the ocean has to offer for its maritime focused majors.

The ocean-oriented academic programs are accredited regionally and professionally. Academic programs are distinctively ocean-focused, and include marine biology, marine fisheries, marine engineering technology, marine sciences, marine transportation, maritime administration, maritime studies, maritime systems engineering, oceans and coastal resources, university studies (curriculum focused on marine environmental law and policy), and others (see below). It is the home of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy and has a Navy-option-only NROTC unit on campus. (Marine Corps-option NROTC cadets must attend the main campus in College Station, TX.)


Texas A&M University at Galveston began in 1962 as a marine laboratory and as the home of the Texas Maritime Academy of Texas A&M University (which is now known as Texas A&M Maritime Academy).[3][4][5] The federal government donated the first training ship, the Texas Clipper, to the Maritime Academy in 1965. In 1968 the campus was expanded with a 100-acre (0.40 km2) donation by George P. Mitchell on Pelican Island. Land was donated again in 1993 with an additional 35 acres (140,000 m2) as well as 14 acres (57,000 m2) on Teichman Road to house TEEX, the sailing and rowing teams. Since then, the academics at Texas A&M at Galveston have been distinctively focused on the ocean: in the fields of marine biology, marine sciences and oceanography, administration, and engineering. Enrollment included 91 students in 1971.


Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate science programs offered by TAMUG include Majors in Marine Biology, Marine Sciences, and many others. Engineering programs include Marine Engineering Technology and Offshore Coastal and Systems Engineering. For students wishing to pursue programs in liberal arts and social sciences, you can pursue the major in Maritime Studies.[6]

The Texas A&M Maritime Academy offers a unique program that trains licensed United States mariners as either Third Mates or Third Assistant Engineers through the Maritime Transportation, Marine Engineering Technology or Master of Maritime Administration and Logistics license option programs.[7]

Minors in a separate subject area can also be pursued in addition to the declared undergraduate majors. Some Minors are administered solely by TAMUG whereas others are jointly administered by Texas A&M University in College Station. Minor fields of study include: Anthropology, Chemistry, Economics, English, Geology, History, Marine Biology, Maritime Administration, Military Studies, Ocean and Coastal Resources, Oceanography, SCUBA Diving Technology and Methods, and others.[8]

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs at Texas A&M University at Galveston are administered by the Departments of Marine Biology, Marine Sciences, and Maritime Administration. In the Department of Marine Biology, students may pursue either a PhD or Master's (thesis or non-thesis) in Marine Biology. In the Department of Marine Sciences, students may pursue at Master's of Marine Resources Management that can be completed as either a course-based or thesis-based Master's program. The Department of Maritime Administration administers a Master of Maritime Administration and Logistics (MMAL).

In addition to the local graduate programs administered by the Texas A&M University at Galveston campus, many faculty hold joint graduate or joint appointments in other departments at Texas A&M University at College Station (TAMU). This allows graduate students to enrol in PhD programs at TAMU, yet complete the PhD in residence on the Galveston campus with the appropriate faculty advisor. Other common graduate programs completed at TAMUG include a PhD Oceanography, Master's of Wildlife and Fisheries, etc. As such, students can leverage the positioning of Galveston on the ocean to gain a unique graduate experience in ocean-related research.[6]

3+2 Programs

Undergraduate students who immediately know they wish to pursue some graduate school may benefit from a "3+2" program, which allows students to concurrently pursue an undergraduate and master's degree. The duration of the program is 5 years, and the student will receive two Texas A&M University degrees (Bachelor's and Master's). These programs are 1 year less than it usually takes to complete these degrees separately (6 years), which provides considerable added value to your educational career. Two programs are currently offered at TAMUG in this fashion: (1) Bachelor of Ocean and Coastal Resources with a Master's of Marine Resources Management in the Department of Marine Sciences, and (2) Bachelor of Maritime Administration and a Masters of Maritime Administration and Logistics in the Department of Maritime Administration.

Student Life

A common trait of TAMUG students is a desire to work and study amid an ocean environment. Enrollment at TAMUG increased from 551 in 1987 to more than 2000 students in 2012, with projected growth to 3000 students in the coming years. Students originate from 49 different states and the District of Columbia. Science and engineering majors number 75 percent of the student body; 43 percent are women; about 50 percent reported themselves to have been in the top 20 percent of their high school class. Fifty-seven percent plan to pursue a master’s or Ph.D. degree and about 65 percent receive some type of financial aid.

On campus housing is available and may be required for some students. The campus offers volleyball courts, a gym, pool, tennis courts, indoor basketball court, a student center, and many other amenities. Changes and modernizations are happening fast, with recently added residential dorms and a new corps dorm being built for completion early 2016.[9]

Texas A&M Maritime Academy

The Texas A&M Maritime Academy (TMA) is one of only seven United States maritime academies that trains U.S. Merchant Marine officers, and the only one located in the Gulf of Mexico.[10] The program provides an opportunity for cadets to learn how to maintain and operate unlimited tonnage ocean-going vessels. Students sail aboard the TMA training ship and commercial ships during three summer cruises to gain practical experience in navigation, seamanship, and engineering operations. In addition the cadets receive classroom instruction and hands on training during the regular school semester. Training facilities include the training ship, simulators, diesel and steam labs, various small boats, davits, and other hands on resources. At the culmination of their study, License Option or Strategic Sealift Officer program cadets are tested to become licensed as unlimited tonnage third mates or third engineers (officers) in the U.S. Merchant Marine. This is per Title 46 Code of the Code of Federal Regulation Part 11.[11] The academy also commissions reserve and active duty Naval Officers.[7]


On January 26, 1962, a long sought after idea of a Texas-based Maritime Academy came to fruition when the Texas Governor Price Daniel and the president of Texas A&M General Earl Rudder, signed the agreement authorizing the Texas Maritime Academy. General Earl Rudder subsequently named retired Navy Captain Bennett M. Dodson as the first superintendent of the Texas Maritime Academy. Monday, September 17, 1962 was to be the opening day, and Captain Dodson had put the first class of twenty three "Saltwater Aggies" under the guidance of the first Marine Corps company at College Station. This was to inspire maritime cadets with a sense of discipline and tradition at sea. Dodson is quoted saying "I wanted my students to get Marine Corps discipline and knowledge of Naval tradition during their early college life." The maritime cadets were assigned to Dorm 11 as Company I, 3rd Brigade, (I-3). After their freshman year at the main campus in College Station, the cadets were then moved to Galveston to complete their maritime related classes. The academy operated between the two campuses for eight years, up to 1971.[4]

In the summer of 1963 as the fledgling academy awaited its own training vessel, some 50 A&M Cadets got underway aboard the Empire State IV with SUNY Maritime for their first official cruise. A&M President Earl Rudder had promised TMA its own ship by the summer of 1965. In that year the U.S. Maritime Administration announced it would donate the American Export Lines vessel Excalibur, but the vessel was sold instead. In March, the academy acquired the luxury liner USS Queens and in June was refitted to become the USTS Texas Clipper, the academies first training ship. May 26, 1966 marked the first license ceremony with thirteen seniors and A&M president General Rudder gave the keynote address. Two days later, the graduating cadets were driven to College Station to attend the Aggie commencement and receive their diplomas. This back to back practice continued for 19 years until Galveston starting holding its own.[4]

Currently cadets/midshipman do the entire program at the Galveston campus, but participate in two march-ins at Kyle Field per year with the College Station Corps of Cadets. License ceremony and commencement currently takes place at the Galveston Island Convention Center (2015).[12]


Since the passage of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, the position of superintendent a maritime academy is commissioned as a Rear Admiral (Upper Half) in the United States Maritime Service, which is under the United States Maritime Administration per Secretary of the Department of Transportation.[13]

Name Rank USMS From To Military Service Notes
Bennett M. Dodson[3] CPT, USN (ret) 1962 1968 CPT, USN (ret)
James D. Craik[14] RADM, USCG (ret) 1968 1971 RADM, USCG (ret)
John Smith[15] RADM, USMS 1971 1978 RADM, USN (ret)
Kenneth G. Haynes[16] RADM, USMS 1978 1983 Unknown
William H. Clayton RADM, USMS 1983 1984 Unknown Acting
Ralph G. Davis[17] RADM, USMS 1984 1988 Unknown
James M. McCloy[18] RADM, USMS 1988 1989 Unknown Interim
William E. Evans[19] RADM, USMS 1989 1996 Unknown
William T. McMullen[20] RADM, USMS 1996 2000 Unknown
Richard Lukens[21] RADM, USMS 2000 2004 Unknown
James M. McCloy[22] RADM, USMS 2004 2007 Unknown
Allen B. Worley[23] RADM, USMS 2007 2009 Unknown
William W. Pickavance[24] RADM, USMS 2009 2012 RADM, USN (ret) Alumni
Robert Smith III[25] RADM, USMS 2012 Curr. RADM, USN (ret) Alumni


Merchant Marine Licensing Program

This program includes both "deck cadets" pursuing a major in Marine Transportation or a Master of Maritime Administration and Logistics and "engine cadets" pursuing a major in Marine Engineering Technology. License Option cadets make up the majority of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. These cadets participate in all functions of the Corps of Midshipman, along with various training activities, three summer training cruises, weekly maintenance, and in-port watch-standing activities during the semesters.[7]

Strategic Sealift Officer Program

This program is made up of License Option cadets who are additionally striving for a commission in the United States Navy Reserve as a Naval Officer with a 166x designator (Strategic Sealift Officer). As another option, Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) program midshipman are eligible for an active duty commission.[26] These midshipman make up the second most popular program within the academy and participate in both license program training activities, as well as NROTC training activities and take additional naval science courses.[7]

This program also offers the cadet a competitive based student incentive payment (SIP) of $8000 per year for up to four years.[27]

Navy Reserve Officer Training Program

These midshipman are competing for a commission as a Naval officer, but are not earning a Merchant Marine license. They participate within the Corps of Midshipman, yet do not participate in most of the licensing program training. NROTC midshipman are able to major in any degree offered at the campus.[7]

Drill and Ceremonies Program

D&C cadets participate in the Corps of Midshipman without obligation to any above program. Like NROTC midshipman, they are able to pursue any major offered.[7]

US Coast Guard MARGRAD Program

Maritime Academy Graduate Direct Commission Officer Program is available to cadets who graduate with a license. Cadets apply their senior year to receive a three-year commission as a USCG Officer into critical service need specialties appropriate to their training and experience.[28][29]

Corps of Midshipman

All students in the Texas A&M Maritime Academy are required to be in the Corps of Midshipman. This is a regimented program in accordance with Title 46 Part 310 of the Code of Federal Regulations that is structured to provide discipline, leadership, team building and a professional learning environment. The TMA Corps of Midshipman has a unique heritage, with a blend of tradition and customs that originate from its historical foundation with the TAMU Corps of Cadets.

Midshipmen stand morning formations, room inspections, mandatory study periods during Call to Quarters (CQ) Sunday through Thursday, and march periodically at events.[30]

The students that make up the Corps of Midshipman are either referred to as Midshipman or Cadets, depending on the program they are involved in. Overall within the student body they are referred to as the Corps of Midshipman.


Cadet/midshipman uniforms have evolved over the years, and are similar to naval uniforms. The standard uniform worn day to day is the midshipman khaki uniform, similar to service khakis of the U.S. Navy. Other uniforms include the midshipman service dress whites for graduation or special ceremonies, midshipman summer whites, academy blue-coveralls for maintenance, and salt & peppers. SSO and NROTC midshipman wear the Navy Working Uniform to training events as well.

The academy has several unique uniform components. Freshman and sophomores wear a black belt with a blue cover. Juniors and seniors wear a white belt with a black cover. Corresponding collar devices and belt buckles are also worn depending on class and rank. Seniors are also allowed to wear a "senior fleece" with a TMA patch in place of the navy Eisenhower jacket. Seniors who have also passed license are authorized to wear a coveted maroon A&M cover, handed out by the superintendent (2015).[30]

Core Values

The core values of the Corps of Midshipman is Honor, Integrity, Selfless Service, and Discipline.[31]

Special Units

Special Units are organized groups within the corps made up from cadets of all four programs. The special units include the Hearn Honor Company, Color Guard, and Midshipman Drill Team.


The organization structure of the Corps of Midshipman is mixed with professional staff members at the top and cadet/midshipmen senior leadership. The Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Commandant and active duty Naval Officers make up the professional staff. The Regimental Commander, Battalion Commanders, and Company Commanders make up the cadet senior leadership respectively.

The Corps of Midshipman is divided into two battalions and twelve companies (2015). Eight companies are made up primarily of deck license option cadets (A1&2, B1&2, C1&2 D1&2), two of engineering license option cadets (E1&2), and two "victor" companies(V-1&2). Victor companies are made of cadets of mixed programs and are either 25 years or older, married, have a bachelor's degree or prior military. Victor company cadets are allowed to live off campus and participate less in regimental activities. They are generally regarded to set the example for other cadets with their age and experience.[30]

Texas Clipper II

The Texas Clipper & Other Training Vessels

  1. TS Texas Clipper, ex-USS Queens (APA-103) — 1965–1996
  2. TS Texas Clipper II, ex-USNS Chauvenet (T-AGS-29) — 1999–2005
  3. Sirius, ex-USNS Sirius (T-AFS-8) — 2005-2009 [32]
  4. S.S. Cape Gibson — 2009–2012[33]
  5. TS General Rudder, ex-TV Kings Pointer — January 2012 – Present[34]

The Texas Maritime Academy acquired its first training ship in 1965. Previously named the SS Excambion when sailed by American Export Lines, the vessel was renamed the Texas Clipper because of its rounded (or clipper) stern. In 1996 Texas A&M Galveston (of which Texas Maritime was now a part) retired the aging Texas Clipper. In its stead, the school acquired the decommissioned USNS Chauvenet. Built by Upper Clyde Shipbuilders of Glasgow, Scotland in 1970, the new vessel was named the Texas Clipper II as per tradition.

In the summer of 2005, the Texas Maritime Academy took delivery of the USNS Sirius. Built in 1966 as a replenishment ship for the Royal Navy and purchased by the U.S. Navy as a logistics ship, it supported two carrier battle groups in the Indian Ocean during the Iranian hostage crisis and continued its career in the Navy serving across the world, notably in the Persian Gulf. It was retired and given to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), then assigned to TAMUG under an agreement that it can be activated by MARAD at any time. During the fall of 2005, the Sirius served in New Orleans for Katrina relief, from September 10 until November 29 and at Lake Charles, LA for Rita relief until March 2. Because of its extended relief effort the Sirius was unable to undergo a refit in 2006 to adapt its new role as a training vessel and comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety standards. Because the Sirius had not undergone a refit, it could not be formally commissioned as the USTS Texas Clipper nor could it be used for summer training cruises. This is forcing the University to look to the other state maritime academies (California Maritime Academy from 2006–present) to help fulfill the summer cruise requirements until the work on the Sirius was completed. In the winter of 2009 the US Coast Guard ruled that the Sirius was unfit for training and was prepared for decommissioning while the school looked for a new training ship. On June 25, 2009, the Sirius was returned to the U.S. Maritime Administration.[35]

USNS Cape Gibson as the training ship in 2011. Other training vessels seen in the small boat basin. The gravity davit lifeboat trainer is seen on the left.

In 2009, the academy acquired the S.S. Cape Gibson.[33] The academy trained on this ship while it was docked at the campus, but was again unable to sail on her until a refit was done. In 2012, The vessel was towed to the government's navy reserve fleet near Beaumont and replaced with the TS General Rudder.[34] The academy's own General Rudder was the first vessel since 2005 that it was able complete summer training cruises on. The limiting size of the vessel (64 personal) however means a good majority of the cadets still sail with other maritime academies.[34]

Other Training Vessels

  1. R/V Trident: The research vessel is a 70 ft catamaran that serves the maritime academy as an underway terrestrial, engineering and electronic navigation lab. It also serves other majors at TAMUG for underwater research and exploration.[36][37]
  2. Ranger: The Ranger is a 25.5 ft push boat built to scale. The vessel is used for Tug and Tow classes, utilizing TAMUG 100 & 200 Barges that are also built to scale to simulate liquid cargo barges.[38][39]

The academy has a small boat basin with various other small boats, such as jet-drive fast rescue boats, motor lifeboats, outboard motor boats and twin-screw vessels used for ship handling, engineering and general seamanship training.[40]


Texas A&M University has many time-honored traditions, many of which began when the Agriculture and Mechanical College of Texas was established in 1876. Traditions continued to evolve as service in the Corps was no longer a requirement, causing a new generation of students an opportunity to alter traditions. Such traditions involve university sponsored events such as Silver Taps honoring students who have died, to student run events, which include the Student Bonfire.

Students attending TAMUG are known as Sea Aggies. They receive the same Aggie ring as TAMU-College Station students and have the option of attending the ring ceremony in College Station. Sea Aggies may also purchase tickets for all sporting events, fine arts performances, and concerts held in College Station.

Starting in the 1970s, the students of Texas A&M at Galveston created their own Aggie Bonfire, mirroring the traditions of the College Station student body. However, the Galveston campus ceased observance of the tradition after the structure in College Station collapsed on November 18, 1999; killing twelve students. (See Aggie Bonfire for more on the 1999 Bonfire Collapse.)

Traditions unique to the Galveston campus include underclassmen students rubbing or placing coins upon the anchor of the TS Texas Clipper in front of the library prior to an exam for good luck. To walk beneath the arc of the anchor's chain is reserved as a senior privilege. Stepping on "Senior Knoll" is also reserved only for upperclassman.

Midnight Yell Practice is done on Thursday nights instead of the traditional Friday. This allows those attending the game in College Station to have time to make the two-hour drive on Friday. A student can subsequently go to a second Midnight Yell in College Station.

After disappearing in the late 70's, the Texas Maritime Academy band was resurrected in the Fall of 2010. Under the guidance of CMDR. James Sterling '71 US Navy (Retired), who originated the TMA band as a cadet, the newly established band debuted at the 2010 Parent's Day Pass in Review ceremony.

Silver Taps is a nighttime bugle tribute paid to Aggies who were enrolled in classes at the time of their death, held at Academic Plaza in the College Station campus.

Response to Hurricane Ike

In preparation of Hurricane Ike, Texas A&M University at Galveston closed on Wednesday, September 10, 2008, at 5 p.m. and evacuation was ordered. Ike made U.S. landfall at Galveston, Texas, on September 13 at 2:10am. It was the third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States. The campus was not severely damaged; however, the infrastructure of Galveston Island as a whole was. As a result of Galveston Island not being able to support the close to 1800 students, the enormous challenge of relocating all students, administration, and staff began. Most students were relocated to College Station. where on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 fall classes resumed. TAMUG resumed operations in Galveston in the spring of 2009.[41][42][43][44]


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  14. --. "Voyager 1971". hdl.handle.net. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
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  17. -. "Texas A&M University at Galveston Catalog 87-88". hdl.handle.net. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  18. -. "Texas A&M University at Galveston Catalog 1988-89". hdl.handle.net. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  19. -. "Texas A&M University at Galveston Catalog 1989-90". hdl.handle.net. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  20. -. "Texas A&M University at Galveston Catalog 1996-97". hdl.handle.net. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
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  30. 1 2 3 -, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY AT GALVESTON (September 16, 2015). "MIDSHIPMAN INSTRUCTIONS MANUAL" (PDF). Texas A&M Maritime Academy. Office of the Commandant. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
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  32. http://www.tamug.edu/news/2009SiriusDeparture.html Sirius "Texas Clipper III" returned to the Maritime Administration
  33. 1 2 http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/13/135051.htm AK-5051 entry at Navsource.org
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  43. "Galveston students heading home".
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