Marquis Alexander took a round-about way of becoming an Aggie, but now he’s the top Aggie in Texas A&M University’s thriving Corps of Cadets.
Alexander, a soon-to-be-senior majoring in international studies, knows a lot about the corps — both the Texas A&M Corps, which he will be leading next year, and the Marine Corps, in which he served before enrolling at Aggieland.
Events were supposed to have unfolded in a more conventional manner.
Alexander, who grew up in Houston, had throughout his high school days planned to enter Texas A&M in the traditional manner: receive his high school diploma in the spring of 2007, enroll at Texas A&M that fall, graduate and then go on active duty in the military. He was so “gung-ho” military that he participated in Texas A&M’s Junior Cadet Accessions Program while still in high school.
His plans changed when he did not get an acceptance letter from Texas A&M in the timeframe that he expected. Since Texas A&M was the only university to which he applied, Alexander decided to go to Plan B — enlist in the Marine Corps.
He did just that — and about a week later his acceptance letter from Texas A&M arrived.
True to his word and commitment, Alexander went off to boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego and spent a year and a half on active duty. He subsequently reverted from active duty status and is serving the remainder of his enlistment commitment in the Marine Corps Reserves.
He reapplied for admission to Texas A&M in 2009 and was promptly accepted.
“From the first time I set foot on campus in October of 2007, I knew that I wanted to be an Aggie, and a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Cadet Corps. When I decided to come back to school, that goal was still in my mind. Reapplying to the university two years later, I stepped out on faith and only applied to A&M — best gamble.”
Alexander is not the first veteran to join the Corps of Cadets after serving on active duty, but he is the first to be selected to lead the corps.
He was selected following a rigorous review process in which a host of cadets are considered when leadership selections are made each year, notes Corps Commandant Brig. Gen Joe Ramirez, Jr. (U.S. Army Ret.)
“After a very thorough selection process, Marquis Alexander was selected from a very talented group of men and women to become the corps commander for school year 2012-2013,” Gen. Ramirez says. “The competition was extremely tough, and all of those who applied and interviewed were exceptional cadet leaders. But Marquis proved to be the best candidate for this key leadership position, and I feel extremely confident that he will do a superb job of leading our corps next year.
“I am very proud of all the cadets who interviewed for the position, and look forward to working with Marquis and Bryson Sutterfield, the deputy corps commander, and all the other cadet leaders next year in what I’m sure will be a great year for the Corps of Cadets.
In addition to being the first veteran to lead the corps, Alexander also will be the first African-American to earn that distinction.
Getting back into the classroom mode took a bit of adjusting, Alexander notes, who is now 22 years old, but he had no problem adjusting to life in the corps — this time the Corps of Cadets. He thrived in the campus military lifestyle and was selected to serve this year as sergeant major of the corps, the top position for a junior in the corps.
Soon he will assume duties as cadet colonel of the corps, the 2,100-member organization’s top leadership position — also known as corps commander — and one of the three top positions on campus, along with that of student body president and yell leader.
“The corps’ leadership development and guidance were extremely instrumental to me making the difficult transition back to a student,” Alexander notes. “I am extremely honored and humbled at the opportunity of serving the university and giving back to the corps next year as the corps commander. I can only hope that through this position I am able to share with others, what I have been blessed to receive.”
Alexander will formally assume his new command position on May 5 when the corps conducts its traditional Final Review, a parade at which this year’s seniors lead their units for the last time and then are honored as reviewing officers when next year’s officers lead their units for the first time — with Alexander commander of them all.
To view an article written after Alexander was selected as the corps’ sergeant major, visit here.
Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services at (979) 845-4662