Marc Nigliazzo can still recall the feeling of anticipation he experienced in August 2010 at the groundbreaking for the first building on the Texas A&M University-Central Texas campus.
“All we could do was look out at the hills and trees and imagine what it might be,” said Nigliazzo, the university’s inaugural president.
On Monday, as A&M University-Central Texas officials prepared to move into the campus’ second building while campaigning for a third, the Central Texas-Fort Hood Chapter of the Association
of the United States Army unveiled individual pavers to commemorate a group of people Nigliazzo said were integral to the university’s establishment — AUSA past presidents.
“This university is here because of many, many individuals like you who simply would not let the idea die,” said Nigliazzo during the ceremony, in front of a crowd that included Ed Rhode, the chapter’s oldest surviving past president, and retired Gen. Robert M. Shoemaker. “It always amazes the students when you talk to them about people who don’t even know them willing to invest in their lives.”
The idea for the pavers — placed in front of Founder’s Hall, the university’s first building — came from past president Jim Anderson, who presented it to outgoing president Bobby Hoxworth.
“I said, ‘That’s a great idea, Jim,’” Hoxworth said. “You (past presidents) made a strong chapter. We are the largest and greatest chapter because these people rolled up their sleeves and got things done.”
The pavers were made possible by $4,200 in donations from the past presidents. Retired Col. Ralph Gauer, who served as chapter president in 2002-2003, said he was “delighted” to see his name permanently engraved in front of Founder’s Hall.
“The AUSA is, and always has been, so important to Central Texas. This is a very visual reminder of our efforts over time,” Gauer said.