The Bush School is kicking off our month-long celebration of Black History Month. We are celebrating the rich history of Black public servants who have devoted their lives to public service at the university, local, state, national, and international levels.
FEB. 27: Colin Powell
Secretary Colin Powell made history for his groundbreaking achievements in government service. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War, as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan from 1987-1989, and eventually served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1989-1993.
From 2001-2005, he served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, the first Black Secretary of State. He played a critical role in stabilizing American foreign relations after 9/11.
Secretary Powell was a leading voice in international affairs and national security for decades, providing his insight to multiple presidents in a variety of roles.
FEB. 23: Ruby Bridges
Many remember the iconic photo of a little girl entering an elementary school, the first African American student to attend an integrated elementary school in the South. What many of us don’t know is that Ruby Bridges has gone on to create the Ruby Bridges Foundation, committed to ending racism and other forms of bullying through education. Through her foundation and other volunteer efforts, Ruby Bridges continues to be a voice for equity in education and continued civil right efforts.
FEB. 21: O.W. Sadberry, Sr./Oliver Wayne Sadberry, Jr.
On February 21, 2022, Bryan ISD announced its new intermediate school would be named the O.W. Sadberry Sr. Intermediate School. This school is named after a true Bryan, Texas hometown hero, a man who worked for decades as an educator, a mentor, and a leader in Bryan’s community, O.W. Sadberry Sr., known in the community as Professor Sadberry. This school name could not have been possible without the leadership of his son, Oliver Wayne Sadberry Jr. (Wayne). This father-son duo dedicated their lives to helping others through education and community building.
FEB. 16: Dr. Grace Butler
Dr. Grace Butler was the first Black woman to earn the title of full professor at Texas A&M University, and later become an administrator. She is also the founder of the nonprofit “Hope Through Grace” which is committed to ending colon cancer through education and enhanced early detection. Dr. Butler continues to uplift others and live a life of public service.
FEB. 14: Frank Ashley
Dr. Frank Ashley, Executive Associate Dean for the Bush School, is a pillar in the Texas A&M community, having served across campus in a variety of administrative roles. Read a full interview with Dr. Ashley for more of his story and what he has seen of diversity initiatives at Texas A&M.
FEB. 10: Jane Bolin
The first Black woman to serve as a judge in the United States was Jane Bolin. She was also the first Black woman to attend Wellesley College, and the first African American graduate from Yale Law School.
In 1939, she was appointed as judge of the Domestic Relations Court in New York City. While a judge, she advanced civil rights and the rights of children. One major accomplishment was abolishing segregationist policies regarding color-based assignments for probation officers.
Jane Bolin embodies Black excellence, as a trailblazer, judge, and as a public servant.
FEB. 8: Fred McClure
Fred McClure embodies a life of public service that has spanned many decades. As a student at Texas A&M, Mr. McClure broke new ground for student leaders when he served as the first Black student body president in 1976-1977.
In the years after graduation, Mr. McClure served as Associate Deputy U.S. Attorney General, a Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs under President Ronald Reagan and Assistant for Legislative Affairs under President George H.W. Bush.
For his achievements, Mr. McClure was honored as the 115th Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus in 1991. In 1995, Mr. McClure was appointed to the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
Currently, Mr. McClure is Associate Vice President for Leadership & Engagement at Texas A&M University. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer for the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.
Mr. McClure is a lifelong public servant, and we are proud to have him as a friend of the Bush School.
FEB. 3: Matthew Gaines
Key to the founding of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, now Texas A&M, was Matthew Gaines. The former Texas State Senator was born into slavery and eventually became a leader of the Black community in Washington County. He went onto represent Washington County as one of the first African American state senators.
During his time as a state senator, Gaines was influential in the passage of the Morrill Act, which granted the sale of federal lands to institutions of higher education, including the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.
The Bush School nor Texas A&M would not be the same today without the leadership of Matthew Gaines, and for that we are grateful.