Traditions (Texas A&M Original 6 Core Value Concept) | James Muir
'Artist’s Statement: As the six core values are perceived to be inseparable in the formation of character. I see them to also be inseparable in the rendering of a physical artistic depiction. I view them as representative individuals working in harmony to accomplish the mission of perfecting the excellence of character in the A&M Graduate.
Concept: A tower of character stands steadfast upon the book of truth through knowledge and education. The form of the tower is representative of a “cenotaph”; a memorial for those who have gone before now scattered to the four cardinal directions. This tower, while still in the stages of being hewn to perfection – a rough ashlar being refined to make the perfect ashlar, in the vernacular of the stone mason/sculptor – has on each side the respective emblems of the A&M ring with the crest in relief on the front. At the very top, the six columns of the core values stand in unison.
Above the crest, stands the figure of a Ross Volunteer, offering a sabre salute in “RESPECT” for the heritage of Traditions left by all who have gone before.
At the very top of the arch of perfection is “LEADERSHIP” the Commander of the R.O.T.C., setting the example of leadership by helping his fellow “values” succeed in accomplishing their mission.
Next comes “INTEGRITY” in a firm forearm grip with Leadership. He is dressed in the simple working clothes of an engineer, the “M” in A&M. He wears a compass on his wrist signifying unfailing determination of direction and purpose.
“LOYALTY” is next and has the symbolic locked elbow grasp to Integrity above. He is dressed in the mode of a farmer/rancher, in harmony with the earth as well as with Humanity the “A” in A&M. He is bare-chested to show the muscular strength of his determination and loyalty. Over his shoulder is his bag of “good seeds” to sow in the fertile ground of character. His strong grip to the figure below is one that cannot slip or fail.
Next comes “EXCELLENCE” – “the Great Equalizer”, a female student, now on the scene after so many years of A&M’s being an all-male institution. She is in the graduation gown and cap of the aspiring graduate (tassel not yet flipped over to the “graduate” side of her “mortar-board”, as the building of character is a continuing process). In her left hand she clutches the Rose (yellow/gold) of Excellence, which will be placed upon the highest level once she has climed to the very top.
“Excellence” is being supported up the roughest base of the arch by “SELFLESS SERVICE.” This is depicted as one of the A&M recipients of the Medal of Honor, extending his hand to help others. Wearing the USAAF uniform and “crush cap” of a 1943 aviator; around his neck is the Medal of Honor – the symbol of ultimate selfless service. He is reaching out, in a challenging invitation, to all who will join in the quest for perfection of character.
At the front are carved the Six Core Values, RESPECT. LEADERSHIP . INTEGRITY. LOYALTY . EXCELLENCE . SELFLESS SERVICE, followed by the word “Truth”, upon which all values are based. The hammer and chisel of the heritage of the A.M.C., left by the original carvers, rest below on the granite Book of Knowledge."