News of the passing, on March 13, 2013, of beloved Texas A&M professor, Dr. John R. Hoyle, ’57—scholar, teacher, author, athlete, and faithful Aggie—was sent out on Twitter from the Aggie Network just hours ago. As hard as it is to believe that this wonderful example of a Texas A&M former student is no longer among us, reality is that John Hoyle will forever be among us, an example of what it means to love your alma mater with all of your heart, for all of your life.
Many Aggie former students met John Hoyle five decades ago, either in the Corps, the classroom or on the baseball field, where a young man from Oklahoma arrived at Texas A&M to learn about education and life. The left-hander worked hard, with spirit and a good sense of humor, and he excelled on the diamond, as a letterman playing for the 1955 Southwest Conference Champions Texas Aggie baseball team, as well as in the classroom. It’s safe to say that John never stopped learning; and once a teacher, he never stopped teaching.
As a career administrator at Texas A&M, Hoyle helped shaped the styles and attitudes of hundreds, if not thousands, of future teachers and principals in Texas. Hoyle’s courses in Educational Administration brought about numerous scholarly works on Educational Leadership, Instructional Leadership lessons for educators across the nation (see accompanying slide show).
Plus, John taught an unforgettable, dynamic course in Futures Studies, designed for students to envision what their lives and the constructs for their lives, as they dreamed them. Many lives were changed from that simple exercise in a semester-long class that helped adults realize dreams along their career path could be realized. He served as committee chairman and committee member to countless educators and administrators enrolled at Texas A&M’s College of Education. John’s final title at A&M was as Professor Emeritus, but that didn’t mean he stopped working, teaching, consulting, or giving back to the university. Far from it.
On September 4, 2012, Hoyle was one of four authors to address a large crowd assembled in the Flag Room of the Memorial Student Center for the MSC’s Grand Opening’s Traditions Day. Hoyle was joined by Aggie authors Henry Dethloff, Col. James Woodall and John Adams, speaking of Aggie traditions as they knew them and had written about them.
Hoyle, the author of a series of books called “Good Bull,” shared humorous stories from “back in the day” that almost seem a bit unrealistic to have happened, now that Texas A&M is such the cosmopolitan, multifaceted landscape filled with skyscrapers and modern graphics, but they did. The “Good Bull” series shows the heart of what it meant to be an Aggie, back in the days of Texas A&M College, with traditions that made it through to the next-gen Texas A&M University, today a part of the Texas A&M University System with international impact and outreach, big-city stuff.
Whether new student or old-timer, farmer or city-slicker, dirt-poor or luxury-driven, we are the Aggies, the Aggies are we, and John Hoyle stood daily, with arms open wide, reaching out to bridge the gap between generations, instructing pupils along the way to be all they could be, and to give back to their school as much as they can, whenever they can.
It was both poignant and fitting that Dr. Hoyle’s final most important role at Texas A&M would be as the campus Aggie Muster speaker in the final year of his lifetime. In his Muster speech in April, 2012, Hoyle addressed the largest Muster group in the world, on the Texas A&M campus and said, “I feel like we’re all in a one-to-one conversation here.” There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Hoyle uplifted the hearts of Aggies as he reminded all watching via television and Internet as well, that Class of ’37, ’49, ’78, and ’12 are all part of one grand family, whose futures and pasts are forever intertwined, “because we wear our rings.”
Former Texas A&M Student Body President and 2010 Campus Muster Speaker, Stephen Ruth ’92, was a Lt. Col. With the OSC-1 Command Group in Baghdad, Iraq last year at Muster time. Hoyle referenced Stephen’s achievements and remarks from Ruth’s 2010 Muster speech during his own Muster 2012 remarks, noting how special a young man Ruth was as an Aggie leader. Today, Ruth is the Commandant and Dean of the West Point Prep School, another in a long line of excellent student leaders whom John Hoyle had a role in mentoring, by example, in his Aggie career. Ruth said at the time, “He’s truly been an inspiration to me for over 20 years.”
A true Aggie loves his or her university for all of their lifetime, with their whole hearts, and remains devoted to furthering its reputation by excellent example, just the way John Hoyle did.
When those faithful to Texas A&M, and all of its magnificent traditions, gather on April 21, 2013 at Reed Arena, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that there will be a groundswell of people answering “Here,” when Dr. Hoyle’s name is called. Because of his faith in God, the remembrance of his faith and faithfulness to his Lord, and to his university, while poignant and bittersweet, will be simply as it should be, as the final farewell to one who loved Texas A&M for all of his lifetime. And thus it will be, according to Hoyle.
Well done, thou good and faithful servant, John Richard Hoyle, ’57 (February 2, 1935 – March 13, 2013). Softly call the muster, and Gig ‘em.