J.P. Hannigan Colt Pistols


A Piece of History

These are the Colt Pistols of Brig. Gen. James P. Hannigan, First Dean of Students, Texas A&M University.
Hannigan was the first ever Texas A&M University Dean of Students, appointed on May 1, 1959.
He was recommended for the position by Hugh Milton, Undersecretary of the Army, former Texas A&M University Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

While he held this prestigious position, Hannigan was responsible for supervising the operation of Dean of Men, Dean of Women, Commandant’s Office, Memorial Student Center, University Health Center, University Police, Housing, YMCA, Veterans Affairs, and Foreign Student Advisor Offices.

From the TAMU Student Affairs website, About – Student Affairs (tamu.edu). ‘The Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas was founded in 1876 as an all-male military institution. Membership in the Corps of Cadets was mandatory and the Corps commandant was responsible for most student activities and students. By the 1950s student population had grown to such an extent, President James Earl Rudder ’32 appointed Brig. Gen. James P. Hannigan as the first dean of students.’


Hannigan later served as Founder and Advisor for the Texas A&M University chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity.
He retired as Dean of Students on August 31, 1973.
During his tenure, student enrollment at Texas A&M University grew from 5,000 to 18,000 students.
Hannigan was awarded Dean Emeritus by TAMUS BOR on the recommendation of Dr. John J. Koldus, 1974.
Hannigan passed away on May 14, 1986.

Military Decorations

Hannigan was awarded the Legion of Merit on July 20, 1942, ‘for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States from January 13, 1953 to July 31, 1959.’
He received a Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, an Army Commendation Ribbon, a European Theater of Operations with two battle stars, a French Croix de Guerre, and a Korean Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star.

Hannigan's Colt Pistols

Pistol Number One – Colt Government Model Automatic Pistol, serial number C160965


This pistol was manufactured in January of 1931 and factory inscribed, ‘Presented to Lt. J. P. Hannigan by Men of the Gray Horse Battery’. It was shipped to a dealer, DN Walford, with locations in Washington DC and Annapolis, MD. Also included with the pistol are the factory test target and original pamphlets.


Pistol Number Two – Colt Model 1903 Hammerless Pocket Automatic Pistol, serial number 566945


This pistol was manufactured in mid-1944, US Property marked, and shipped to Springfield Armory who then distributed them to officers. The Colt Archive Letter is attached. The letter does not tie this pistol to Hannigan; however, John W. Brunner wrote a book which has become an industry standard on the 1903 titled, The Colt Pocket Hammerless Automatic Pistols. I obtained a copy, and this serial number is listed as issued to Hannigan (attachment ‘1903 Issued to Hannigan’).