Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, president of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas from 1891-1898, was known for his legendary efforts to keep the college open; he is often credited as the embodiment of Aggie Spirit and tradition. A statue of the former Texas governor — affectionately called “Sully” — now stands as one of the most iconic landmarks on campus, situated in the heart of campus in the Academic Plaza. Those passing by the statue will notice stacks of pennies piled on the statue’s base, each placed there by current students. The tradition to “put a penny on Sully” is another homage to Ross. It is said that Ross would help students with their homework, and when students would ask how they could repay him, Ross would reply with, “A penny for your thoughts.”
Students leave pennies (as well as assorted bills, gift cards, and other trinkets) at the base of Sully for good luck before taking their exams. The items are collected each semester and donated to a local charitable organization.