About LBJ

Distinguished Alumnus′ legacy
remains strong at Texas State

Lyndon B. Johnson in the U.S. Navy during World War II

Lyndon Baines Johnson, a graduate of the Southwest Texas State Teachers College class of 1930, was the 36th president of the United States, and the only commander-in-chief to graduate from a Texas university. He was also the first individual to be honored with the Texas State University Distinguished Alumni Award, in 1959.

Born Aug. 27, 1908, Johnson grew up in a small farmhouse in the Hill Country town of Johnson City. He learned first-hand the hardships and struggles of the poor; his upbringing helped shape his Great Society ideas, which were aimed at attacking the roots of poverty in the United States.

Johnson's boyhood home in Johnson City, Texas

Johnson graduated from Johnson City High School in 1924 at the age of 15. Three years later, he enrolled in Southwest Texas State Teachers College, and in 1930 he received his bachelor of science in history, as well as a permanent teaching certificate.

He was appointed secretary to U.S. Rep. Richard Kleberg in 1931. In 1936, Johnson won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in 1948 he was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1960, he was elected vice president, as running mate to John F. Kennedy. Johnson succeeded to the presidency when Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, and won re-election in 1964.

While president, Johnson returned to the Texas State campus to sign the Higher Education Act of 1965, which provided financial assistance and other resources for students pursuing post-secondary and higher education.

Talking with college students at his alma mater

In fact, Johnson returned to the Texas State campus throughout his life, including the years after he left Washington. He died on Jan. 22, 1973, and is buried in the Johnson family cemetery at the LBJ Ranch.

Noteworthy achievements:

  • Johnson was elected majority leader of the Senate in 1955. During his tenure, he served as chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, Democratic Steering Committee and Democratic Conference of the Senate.

    Johnson's campaign for the U.S. Senate included traveling the state by helicopter.

  • As leader of the Senate, Johnson successfully worked for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights bill in 82 years.
  • As running mate to John F. Kennedy, Johnson was elected vice president of the United States on Nov. 6, 1960.

    1960 Democratic Campaign Poster

  • On Nov. 22, 1963, Johnson became the 36th president of the United States following Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.

    Lyndon B. Johnson took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One on Nov. 22, 1963.

  • On July 2, 1964, Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in a televised ceremony at the White House. The far-reaching law included provisions to protect the right to vote, guarantee access to public accommodations, and withhold federal funds from programs administered in a discriminatory fashion.

    Signing of the Civil Rights Act

  • Johnson returned to the Texas State campus to sign the Higher Education Act of 1965, which provided financial assistance and other resources for students pursuing post-secondary and higher education.

    Signing of the Higher Education Act

  • Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited states from establishing voting qualifications or standards in a way that resulted in denial of the right to vote on account of race.

    Signing ceremony for the Voting Rights Act

  • Johnson appointed Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court in 1967. Marshall was the first African-American to serve as a Supreme Court Justice.

    Meeting with Thurgood Marshall

Learn more about the life and legacy of President Johnson at the LBJ Student Center on campus, the LBJ Museum of San Marcos, the LBJ National Historic Park and LBJ State Park in nearby Johnson City, and through Texas State’s LBJ scholarships and LBJ Outstanding Senior Award.

Compiled by Britney Munguia

4 responses to “About LBJ

  1. I miss the Ole SWTSC. I was a freshman in 1964 and stayed in Harris Hall. Roy Head’s band played at the student union, we would skin dive in Aquarena and eat chili dogs at a small cafe in town. Drive to the county line to buy cheap bourbon. What a great time.

  2. Judith (Judy) M. Hays..Class of '67

    I miss the ole SWT, too. I was a freshman in 1963, playing the trumpet in the Bobcat Band, majoring in BioChemistry and graduated with a B.S. in 1967. My college memories were many. I lived in Berretta, Laurel, and Summit Oaks Apts. Like you, I remember Roy Heads and the Traits playing for dances in the Lair. One of my roommate’s brother, was his drummer, so it made it more enjoyable. My studies kept me at bay from getting into too trouble, as I had classes 8-12n SAT.,too. In my spare time(DUH!), I swam at Sewell Park, went to B Back’s for liquid refreshments and STUDIED a bunch, carrying anywhere from 18-21 hrs. a semester. After football season was over, the band continued to march around “The Friendly Hill”, M-F 4-6p, as we were invited to be LBJ’s Inagurual Band in Jan. 1965, proudly leading the parade. To our enjoyment, the Texas Longhorn Band had to march in the “T’s” section. SWT showed their gratitude by presenting each of us with a picture our entourage marching down Pennsylvania Ave., with the Capitol in the background. It hangs next to my horn, bringing such a honor and grand experience to mind. It will always be “SWTSC” to me!!!!! Go “Cats!!! Eat ’em up…..

  3. I, too, lived in Harris Hall. First lived off campus in houses the school owned, then into Harris Hall. And yes, Roy Head played at the Student Union. Used to go into town to a place that served great chili dogs and played pin ball to earn some spending money. Skin diving at the ice house and would sneak into Aquarena and swim under the glass bottom boats. Great days. Too bad they had to tear down the old Harris Hall. Oh, I was also friends with Stacy Southland (lead guitar for 13th Floor Elevators) and did a couple gigs with my band, One Way Street in Austin.

  4. I lived in Harris Hall in 1979 and would love to see if I could find a picture of it. It had a great courtyard with some very old trees.

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