Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross was president of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas — later renamed Texas A&M University — from 1891-98. He was known for his legendary efforts to keep the college open and is often called the embodiment of the Aggie Spirit.

Ross was also a former governor of the state of Texas and was affectionately known as "Sully." The statue of Sully is one of the most iconic landmarks on the Texas A&M campus and is located on the Academic Plaza. Those passing by the statue will notice stacks of pennies piled on its base. Each penny was placed there by a current student.

The tradition to “put a penny on Sully” is an homage to Ross. The saying goes that he would help students with their homework, and when they asked how they could repay him, Ross would reply, “A penny for your thoughts.”

Students leave pennies (and other trinkets) at the base of Sully's statue for good luck before taking their exams. The items are collected each semester and donated to a local charitable organization.

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More Texas A&M Traditions

Explore more of the traditions that unite our current and former students, build camaraderie and foster the Aggie Spirit.