Texas A&M President Reveals Decision On Renewing Aggie Bonfire Tradition

In light of their renewed rivalry with the Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M has made their decision as to whether or not to bring back the annual Aggie Bonfire tradition.
Nov 24, 2011; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Jeff Fuller (8) catches a pass over Texas Longhorns cornerback Adrian Phillips (17) during the second half at Kyle Field. Texas won 27-25. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US Presswire
Nov 24, 2011; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Jeff Fuller (8) catches a pass over Texas Longhorns cornerback Adrian Phillips (17) during the second half at Kyle Field. Texas won 27-25. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US Presswire / Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
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The Texas A&M Aggies and Texas Longhorns are set to renew one of the most storied rivalries in the nation this fall, with the two set to square off for the first time since 2011 in College Station on Nov. 30.

After forming an exploratory committee to research ways to celebrate the rivalry's revival, one of the ideas that came to light was the return of the traditional Aggie Bonfire.

However, after consideration with that committee, Texas A&M President Mark Welsh announced on Tuesday that the bonfire would not be returning.

"After careful consideration, I have decided it is not in the best interest of Texas A&M and the Aggie Family to bring Bonfire back to campus," Welsh said in a statement. "I heard from many of you, as well as former students and friends of the university on this topic, and I thank you for your honest, thoughtful feedback. While the input varied, the majority of those who reached out were not in favor of reinstituting Bonfire. Among those who supported bringing Bonfire back, most highlighted the bonding experience and leadership and organizational skills learned by student body participants during the cut and build phases of Bonfire.

"Therefore, if students weren’t organizing, leading, and building the Bonfire, then they didn’t think we should bring it back. The committee was also clear in its position that the only legally viable option for the return of the campus Bonfire was for it to be an engineer-designed, contractor-built project. After careful consideration, I decided that Bonfire, both a wonderful and tragic part of Aggie history, should remain in our treasured past."

The last bonfire was officially held in 1999. During that event, the bonfire collapsed, resulting in the deaths of 12 students, and injuries to 27 others.

In the light of that, Welsh made the decision to bring the bonfire back. The Aggies will hold the a Bonfire Remembrance ceremony on Nov. 18 at 2:42 a.m. on campus to honor the victims.

"The lives of the 12 Aggies lost and 27 injured on Nov. 18, 1999, are commemorated at the Bonfire Memorial, and that sacred place will remain the centerpiece of how we remember the beloved tradition and the dedication of those involved in the tragic 1999 collapse. I look forward to joining many of you at Bonfire Remembrance this year at 2:42 a.m. on Nov. 18 to honor our fallen Aggies on the 25th anniversary of their loss. We will continue to hold them and their families close at that event and always.

"As we look forward to football season and welcoming t.u. to the SEC this fall, we will continue to celebrate the many traditions that unite Aggies and add some new activities to help reignite a rivalry that has shaped our university in so many ways."


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Matt Galatzan

MATT GALATZAN

Matt Galatzan is the Managing Editor and Publisher of LonghornsCountry.com, AllAggies.com, and MizzouSportsTalk.com, as well as the Editor-In-Chief of InsideTheBears.com, TheGroveReport.com, RamDigest.com, AllSeahawks.com, and TexansDaily.com. Galatzan graduated from the University of Mississippi, where he studied integrated marketing communications, with minors in journalism and business administration. Galatzan started in the sports journalism industry under Mike Fisher at DallasBasketball.com in 2014, which at the time was part of the 247Sports network. He also spent two years covering the SMU Mustangs for PonyStampede.com on the 247Sports network. When DallasBasketball.com and CowboysCountry.com moved over to Sports Illustrated's Fan Nation network in 2020, Galatzan followed suit, eventually being taking over as the Managing Editor and Publisher of LonghornsCountry.com and AllAggies.com a year later. Through the years, Galatzan has conducted a handful of high-profile one-on-one interviews to add to his resume — in both writing and podcasting. Some of his biggest interviews have been with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, former Longhorns players Dan Neil and Phil Dawson, and many other recruits, and current/former players for each of the teams he has covered. Galatzan is also a full-time employee in the digital media department for Audacy and KRLD FM's 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, which is the official radio home of the Dallas Cowboys. You can find Galatzan on all major social media channels. For any inquiries, please email matt.galatzan@gmail.com