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Spirit® is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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Time Capsule

Welcome, Mr. President!

A chronological look at U.S. presidents who have ventured to Aggieland.

By Clare Fusselman '21

Marketing Writing Student Worker

Welcome, Mr. President!

A chronological look at U.S. presidents who have ventured to Aggieland.

By Clare Fusselman '21

Marketing Writing Student Worker

Since 1876, Texas A&M University has hosted 10 U.S. presidents for numerous occasions and events, including Muster speeches, the opening of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and most recently, the One America Appeal Concert. 

Here’s a look at all the presidents who have visited Aggieland.

1909: William Howard Taft

Soon after President William Howard Taft’s inauguration, Charles Taft, the newly-elected president’s half-brother and director of the 165,000-acre Taft Ranch located in San Patricio County, Texas, extended an invitation to his sibling to visit Texas and the ranch community to rest after a strenuous campaign.

Beginning in September 1909, President Taft began an excursion that carried him from his summer home in Beverly, Massachusetts, to 30 states in five sections of the nation. The presidential train arrived in Texas on Oct. 18, 1909. After a four-day stay at the ranch, Taft’s train continued its route through the state. A large crowd gathered to meet the president at each station through which the train passed. Arriving in Bryan-College Station on Oct. 23, Taft addressed a group of students from the then relatively young Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.

1937: Franklin D. Roosevelt

President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited campus early in his second term on May 11, 1937. He addressed more than 20,000 students in Kyle Field and reviewed the Corps of Cadets. To express appreciation for the visit, university officials gave the president a Hereford calf for his farm in Georgia.

1946: Dwight D. Eisenhower

In 1946, Dwight D. Eisenhower, then chief of staff of the U.S. Army, visited campus to deliver a Muster address. After spending years as president of Columbia University after World War II, Eisenhower ran for the U.S. presidency in 1952 and served two terms.

  • William Howard Taft

    From the back of the train, President William Howard Taft addresses a group of students from the then relatively young Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas on Oct. 23, 1909.
  • Franklin Roosevelt

    President Franklin Roosevelt addresses a crowd at Kyle Field on May 11, 1937.
  • Dwight Eisenhower

    In 1946, Dwight Eisenhower, then Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, visited campus to deliver a Muster address.
  • Lyndon Johnson

    Vice President Lyndon Johnson on a 1962 visit to Texas A&M, during which he toured the Activation Analysis Research Laboratory, a hotbed for nuclear science research.
  • Gerald Ford

    Gerald Ford first visited Texas A&M in the spring of 1974 as vice president, where he delivered a commencement address to graduates at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

1962: Lyndon B. Johnson

Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Texas A&M in 1962 and toured the Activation Analysis Research Laboratory, a hotbed for nuclear science research. Johnson developed a close relationship with former Texas A&M President Gen. James Earl Rudder ’32. When Rudder passed away in 1970, Johnson, a year removed from the White House, returned to campus for his funeral.

1974: Gerald R. Ford

Gerald R. Ford made his first visit to Texas A&M in the spring of 1974 as vice president, where he delivered a commencement address to graduates at G. Rollie White Coliseum. He said, “I know you can all be counted on to stand up for America. All of us must be the 12th Man.” 

Shortly after his visit, he was sworn in as president after Richard Nixon resigned. He later returned to Aggieland in 1997 for the grand opening of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

1984: George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush’s first major interactions with Aggieland began in the 1980s.  During a visit in May 1984, he delivered a commencement speech while serving as vice president. Bush returned to campus in May 1989 as president to deliver another commencement address that doubled as his first major foreign policy speech.  

The friendliness he experienced during those trips, along with his admiration for Texas A&M’s military history and Aggies’ commitment to selfless service, led him to choose the university as the site of his presidential library in the 1990s. Part of the allure was the offer of an accompanying school of government in his name that would emphasize public service.

Through the decades, President Bush remained actively engaged with students, faculty and administrators from the Bush School. Today, he and former First Lady Barbara Bush, as well as their daughter, Robin, are laid to rest on Bush Library grounds.

  • George H.W. Bush

    Former President George H.W. Bush has the longest-standing relationship with Texas A&M. His admiration for the university's military history and Aggies’ commitment to selfless service led him to choose Texas A&M as the site of his presidential library in the 1990s.
  • Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton

    Nearly 20 years after his time in the White House, Jimmy Carter made his first visit to Texas A&M for the opening of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in 1997, where he was joined at the ceremony by Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, who was serving his second presidential term.
  • George W. Bush

    George W. Bush delivered commencement speeches in 1998 and 2008 (pictured here).
  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama first came to Aggieland in October 2009 after being invited by George H.W. Bush to participate in Points of Light, a forum on public service and volunteerism.
  • One America Appeal

    Former U.S. presidents gather at The One America Appeal, a benefit concert hosted at Texas A&M in 2017 following the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. With the exception of George H.W. Bush, each of them addressed the crowd with messages of unity and resilience.

1997: Jimmy Carter & Bill Clinton

Nearly 20 years after his time in the White House, Jimmy Carter made his first visit to Texas A&M for the opening of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in 1997. In his dedication remarks, Carter praised George H.W. Bush for his role in helping secure peace between North and South Sudan. Carter was joined at the ceremony by Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, who was serving his second presidential term.

2008: George W. Bush

Due to his father’s love for the university, George W. Bush made frequent visits to campus before, during and after his presidency. He attended the opening of the elder Bush’s presidential library in 1997 and delivered commencement speeches in 1998 and 2008. In 2014, he visited the Bush Library again to speak on his book, “41: A Portrait of My Father.”

2009: Barack Obama

President Barack Obama first came to Aggieland in October 2009 after being invited by George H.W. Bush to participate in Points of Light, a forum on public service and volunteerism. Obama addressed cadets and Bush School students, noting his appreciation for Texas A&M’s dedication to public service. He returned again in 2017 along with George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter to attend “Deep from the Heart: The One America Appeal,” a benefit concert hosted at Texas A&M in the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. With the exception of George H.W. Bush, each of them addressed the crowd with messages of unity and resilience. 

Contact:

Dunae Reader '15

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