An update from President Denise M. Trauth of Texas State University

Fall III
Dear Friends,

Today we are celebrating a very important milestone in the history of higher education and Texas State University. Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson, our first Distinguished Alumnus, signed the Higher Education Act in the old gymnasium – now the Music Building – on the Texas State University campus. The ceremony was open to our students and faculty.

President Lyndon B. Johnson delivering his speech in the old gymnasium

President Johnson could have chosen the White House or an Ivy League school as the location for signing this landmark legislation. Instead he chose Texas State, not just because it was his alma mater, but also because it was an institution that served many hard-working students – such as himself – who struggled to pay for college. For a video highlighting this historic event, click here.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Higher Education Act
In recognition of this event, we are joined today by approximately 300 of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) presidents and chancellors, their spouses, and distinguished guests for a celebration of this transformational legislation. Along with AASCU, this event is also cosponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
This key act of the Great Society established for the first time broad-based federal financial aid, and thus made higher education accessible to millions of Americans who otherwise would not have been able to afford college. I suspect that many of you reading this today were beneficiaries of that landmark legislation which authorized the funding of grants and student loans. Today at Texas State University, 56 percent of our students receive some form of financial support from these programs first authorized by President Johnson. Without that support, a college education would be a distant dream.
The program today consists of remarks from various officials of national organizations including Dr. Muriel Howard, President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Mr. Peter McPherson, President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, video remarks from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and former Secretaries of Education Richard Riley and Lamar Alexander. 
The central part of the program includes a panel discussion featuring former Secretaries of Education Roderick Paige and Margaret Spellings and moderated by Mark Updegrove, Director of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.
I am also particularly pleased that Luci Baines Johnson, and her husband, Ian Turpin, are able to join us for this historic celebration as well as Alice Hardesty, whose late husband Bob Hardesty was one of Texas State’s past presidents and who was a speechwriter for President Johnson.
To commemorate this 50th anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act, we have engaged noted artist Alice Aycock of New York to produce a sculpture. Her sculpture will depict a series of spiral vortexes – a metaphor for the manner in which ideas connect in dynamic and unpredictable ways. The sculpture will be erected outside of the new Engineering and Science Building, scheduled for completion in spring 2018.
Digital rendering of Alice Aycock's sculpture in front of the forthcoming Engineering and Science Building

I am proud that Texas State University could serve as the setting for this 50th anniversary celebration and hope you join me in reaffirming President Lyndon Johnson’s belief in educational opportunities for all our citizens.


Denise M. Trauth
Office of University Advancement
601 University ​Dr. • San Marcos, ​TX ​78666
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