Much of Texas A&M University’s 144-year history is recorded in its architectural landscape, revealing stories of exploration, leadership, philanthropic legacies and innovation. The people behind the names of many of Aggieland’s buildings played an important role in the university. Their stories speak to the history of Texas A&M, the university’s values and mission, and Aggies’ efforts to live out the core values. 

Read on to learn about five campus namesakes and their positive contributions to Texas A&M.

 

Frank C. Bolton: Bolton Hall

Originally constructed as the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Building, Bolton Hall was renamed in 1939 after Texas A&M President Frank C. Bolton. In 1989, Bolton Hall was renovated for the Department of Political Science. Today, the building houses the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts. 

Bolton first came to Texas A&M in 1909 to serve as head of the Electrical Engineering Department. During World War I, he was head of war training activities and coordinated the education of U.S. Army soldiers receiving specialized training on campus. In 1922, Bolton was named dean of the College of Engineering and given the title of dean of the A&M College in 1931. Later, Bolton served as interim university president during the integral years of World War II. When the campus again served a dual purpose as a state college and a specialized training base for soldiers during World War II, Bolton was the campus liaison between college and military personnel.

During Bolton’s tenure as interim president, he oversaw the unveiling of a portrait of Reveille I. Years after the painting was presented, it went missing. Painted by local artist Marie Haines, it was believed to have disappeared after being put in storage during a renovation of the Military Science Building (Trigon) during the 1990s. All hope in returning the painting to campus seemed lost until it was miraculously found in 2015. Today, it resides in the collections of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives.

 

  • Bolton Hall

    In 1989, Bolton Hall was renovated for the Department of Political Science. Today, the building houses the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Frank C. Bolton '34

    Originally constructed as the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Building, Bolton Hall was renamed in 1939 after Texas A&M President Frank C. Bolton. Bolton is pictured here with his wife, Jo Ann.

David G. Eller ’59: David G. Eller Oceanography and Meteorology Building

As the tallest building on campus at 15 stories—and as the tallest building between Houston and Dallas at one time—Texas A&M’s Oceanography and Meteorology building is hard to miss. The building’s impressive stature is a fitting testament to the man it’s named after: David G. Eller. 

Eller’s relationship to Texas A&M is rooted in his family’s early ties to the university. Texas A&M’s campus is located on land granted to Eller’s great-great granduncle, Joseph Euclid Scott. The land passed through generations before eventually being sold to the State of Texas for the creation of the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Eller graduated from Texas A&M in 1959 with a degree in geological engineering. After graduating, he served in the Army Corps of Engineers and worked in Germany. Eller then transitioned his career from engineering to business and has been an executive in a multitude of biotechnology companies since then.

From 1983 to 1989, Eller served as chairman of the Board of Regents and as chancellor for The Texas A&M University System. During his time on the board, Eller initiated and oversaw significant advancements, such as a $50 million upgrade to Easterwood Airport and the creation of the Institute of Bioscience & Technology. In recognition of his role at the university, the Board of Regents unanimously voted to name the Oceanography and Meteorology Building after him in November 1988. 

 

  • The Oceanography and Meteorology Building

    As the tallest building on campus at 15 stories—and as the tallest building between Houston and Dallas at one time—Texas A&M’s Oceanography and Meteorology building is hard to miss.
  • DAVID G. ELLER ’59

    From 1983 to 1989, Eller served as chairman of the Board of Regents and as chancellor for The Texas A&M University System. In recognition of his role at the university, the Board of Regents unanimously voted to name the Oceanography and Meteorology Building after him in November 1988.

Margaret Rudder: Rudder Hall

Known as the First Lady of Aggieland, Margaret Rudder was the wife of Texas A&M University President, Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder ’32. 

As a soldier, land commissioner and president of Texas A&M, Gen. Rudder is a staple in Texas A&M’s history. Rudder is credited with transforming the university in many respects. Specifically, he made membership in the Corps of Cadets optional, opened enrollment to women and led efforts to integrate campus. Margaret and James met during the summer of 1933 when Margaret was on break from attending The University of Texas. They were married in 1937.

Despite being a graduate of The University of Texas, Margaret was deeply a part of the Aggie family. At Texas A&M, she was designated an honorary member of the Singing Cadets, and today, a Memorial Student Center outstanding service and leadership award bears her name. In 1990, Rudder Hall was named in her honor. The dormitory is one of the few campus buildings with a female namesake. Margaret remained active in both university and community affairs, continuing her involvement after her husband’s death and up until her own passing in 2004.

 

  • RUDDER HALL

    In 1990, Rudder Hall was named after Margaret Rudder. The dormitory is one of the few campus buildings with a female namesake.
  • MARGARET RUDDER

    Known as the First Lady of Aggieland, Margaret Rudder was the wife of Texas A&M University President, Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder ’32.

Ford D. Albritton Jr. ’43: Albritton Bell Tower

Ford D. Albritton Jr. ’43, a World War II veteran, served on the Board of Regents and as president of the university’s alumni association during a period of major growth and transition of the institution—during the presidencies of Maj. Gen. Earl Rudder ’32 and, following his death in 1970, that of his successor, Jack K. Williams ’34.

Albritton is perhaps best known to most Aggies and others for the landmark bell tower that he and his wife, Martha, gave to the university in 1984. Formally known as the Albritton Bell Tower, it is located at the entrance of Old Main Drive. The inscription on the bell tower reads, “I ring with pride and honor for past, present and future students of Texas A&M University.” 

The 138-foot tower has Westminster chimes and 49 carillon bells. The bells and chimes are programmed to sound every quarter hour. They can also play hymns during Silver Taps and “The Spirit of Aggieland” during special events. The cornerstone of the tower contains a time capsule for the class of 2076, Texas A&M’s bicentennial year. Along with donating the funds for the tower and the bells, the Albrittons also set up a permanent endowment for maintenance. 

The bell tower was one of numerous donations made to the university by the couple. They funded “Exploration in Space,” the sculpture that sits at the entrance of the Olin E. Teague Research Center, while Albritton also helped establish the President’s Endowed Scholarship program.

 

  • Albritton Bell Tower

    Located at the entrance of Old Main Drive, the Albritton Bell Tower is 138-feet tall and has Westminster chimes and 49 carillon bells. The bells and chimes are programmed to sound every quarter hour. They can also play hymns during Silver Taps and “The Spirit of Aggieland” during special events.
  • Ford D. Albritton Jr. ’43

    Ford D. Albritton Jr. ’43, a World War II veteran, served on the Board of Regents and as president of the university’s alumni association during a period of major growth and transition of the institution.
  • Bell Tower Opening Ceremony

    Albritton is perhaps best known to most Aggies and others for the landmark bell tower that he and his wife, Martha, gave to the university in 1984. The inscription on the bell tower reads, “I ring with pride and honor for past, present and future students of Texas A&M University.”

Oveta Culp Hobby: Hobby Hall

As a journalist, politician and civil servant, Oveta Culp Hobby was dedicated to serving her community and her country throughout her lifetime. As one of the most prominent women in government in the 1940s and 1950s, Hobby was the original director of the Women’s Army Corps and later became the nation’s first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a member of President Eisenhower’s cabinet, Hobby made great strides in social programs.

While Hobby held a number of positions in publishing and public service, her other activities included sitting on the board of Rice University and serving on the National Advisory Commission on Selective Service at the request of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Hobby is well known for her commitments to improving rehab programs for people with disabilities and for requiring employers to pay federal taxes on domestic workers. She was married to William P. Hobby, who served as governor of Texas from 1917 to 1921.

Hobby died on Aug. 16, 1995. During and after her lifetime, she received numerous awards. Although she never completed a university degree, she was recognized by a number of higher education institutions for her great contributions to the nation. In 1980, Hobby was given the honor of being named namesake of Hobby Hall in recognition of her public service. Hobby Hall was the first non-Corps coed dormitory on campus.

 

  • OVETA CULP HOBBY HALL

    In 1980, Oveta Culp Hobby was given the honor of being named namesake of Hobby Hall in recognition of her public service. Hobby Hall was the first non-Corps coed dormitory on campus.
  • Oveta Culp Hobby

    As a journalist, politician and civil servant, Oveta Culp Hobby was dedicated to serving her community and her country throughout her lifetime.
Contact:

Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor
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