On April 17, 1871 the Texas legislature passed a bill that has great relevance to thousands of people today and thousands more in the past. It was the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War and Edmund J. Davis was governor. It was on that day, a Monday to be precise, that the legislature passed a bill providing for the organization of the Texas Agricultural & Mechanical College and allocated $75,000 for the construction of academic buildings and accommodations. Governor Davis placed three men on a commission of three men and gave them the task of finding a location for the college on a site no smaller than 1,280 acres of land. Brazos County and the town of Bryan, which had just incorporated as a municipality that year, won the competition, largely due to the efforts of a gentleman named Harvey Mitchell, and it was a competition because there’s no doubt that the college would be an important asset to any town or city. Some University of Texas alumni might disagree.
Final establishment and organization of the college took a little while, and A&M opened in 1876.
This college was the first public institution of higher learning for the State of Texas and, of course, grew to become today’s Texas A&M University, one of the leading research universities in the country.
The legislature renamed it Texas A&M in 1963 and today the Bryan-College Station university has a campus that covers over 5,500 acres and provides educations to over 70,000 undergrads, graduates students, and doctoral students. It is also home to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Famous alumni are too many to consider but they do include RIP Torn, Robert Earle Keen, Lyle Lovett, and Rick Perry.
Now, A&M was supposed to have opened on October 2, 1876 but this had to be delayed because only 6 students had enrolled. A couple of days later, on October 4, 1876 A&M opened for business with 40 students, all males, and 6 faculty.
Today the University has over 3,800 academic staff members and over 70,000 students making it the largest public university in the United States.
The Texas History Lessons Theme song, Walking Through History, was written and recorded by Derrick McClendon. Listen to his new album, Interstate Daydreamer! Available everywhere you find good music. Thank you Derrick! Twitter: @dmclendonmusic
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