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History Peeps: Mary Speelman, Administrative Associate V

Mary Speelman, the History Department’s Administrative Associate, is not originally from Bryan-College Station, but she promises that she got here as fast as she could. Born in Raymondville, Texas, she moved to Aggieland with her family when she was four, and hasn’t looked back since. Although the town has grown considerably since her childhood to accommodate the burgeoning student population, its best traditions have remained the same, she believes, particularly the strong sense of politeness and good manners that is rare now in too many other college towns. Her house is close to campus, and on football game nights she can hear the fan cheers from Kyle Field whenever the Aggies score. This is not common, however, since one of Mary’s great joys is attending home games in person. Even on days she hasn’t nabbed a ticket, she’ll often join friends and family for a tailgate BBQ on Simpson Drill Field.

Mary previously worked as an administrator in the real estate field, but wanted to work for an institution that put a higher priority on staff health and wellbeing. She was drawn to Texas A&M both by its community reputation and by the recommendations of numerous relatives who already worked for the system.

Mary describes the friendly atmosphere that prevails in the History Department business office as “just like working with family,” and to some extent it has been. Her sister-in-law is an IT specialist who retired from Evans Library. When she joined A&M six years ago, one of her nieces worked on main campus. Her husband now works in the maintenance department of the Engineering Extension program and her daughter-in-law has a job on Rellis campus.

Mary says she enjoys working with historians because of their fun stories, including Dr. Lorien Foote’s fascinating research on animals who went to war. The two enjoy chatting about their mutual love of dogs. When not working, Mary likes to join her family for deep-sea fishing off the Gulf Coast. Although she’s caught some impressive fish, including a ladyfish recently that broke her fishing line, her ambition is to catch the king fish of the region: an Atlantic Blue Marlin.

To which historical figure would Mary want to say “howdy,” given the chance? She wishes she could meet one of her distant ancestors from Spain and ask them why they braved the dangers and challenges of emigration. “I would want to ask them why they made that choice,” Mary Speelman reflects.

Patrick Grigsby ‘27