Texas State bids farewell to former First Lady

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
July 13, 2007

Texas State University-San Marcos lost a close friend this week when former First Lady of the United States Lady Bird Johnson died July 11.

Johnson’s ties to Texas State were evident through so many years because of her husband, former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, and grandson, Lyndon Johnson Nugent, receiving their degrees from Texas State. Mrs. Johnson received an honorary doctorate from Texas State in 1983. In honor of that connection, the Texas State Student Volunteer Connection, along with Student Foundation, placed a memorial for Johnson in front of the LBJ statue in the Texas State Quad.

A condolence book in front of the LBJ statue on campus is available for students, faculty and staff to sign, and will be maintained through Wednesday, July 18.  The notebook, emblazoned with a Texas State logo, reflects a “student perspective on the life of Lady Bird Johnson,” said Cassandra Ragin, SVC president.  “We wanted people to see the student touch, so what better than a Texas State notebook?

“We felt that this would be a great tribute to Lady Bird Johnson for all of her civic contributions to the lives of so many people around the world,” she said. “You cannot drive anywhere in Texas without seeing beautiful wild flowers along our highways.  This is just one of the many important legacies she has left for all of us to enjoy.” 

Matthew Priest, Student Foundation president, said Johnson had an important impact on the Texas State campus and beyond. 

“Her legacy of serving others and beautifying our environment is seen throughout the Texas State campus and the State of Texas,” Priest said. “She has shown us as students the importance of assisting one another and the positive impact civic engagement has on our communities.” 

Jerry Parker, coordinator for commuter and volunteer services at Texas State, said he was proud to see the Student Volunteer Connection and the Student Foundation work together to celebrate the life of Johnson. 

“This is the very reason why Cassandra and Matt are president of their respective groups--because of their huge hearts, creativity and altruistic traits seen by those who work with them every day,” Parker said. “Lady Bird Johnson and her entire family have continued to show Texas State students the importance of student leadership and civic engagement to better our society. 

“Although we have all lost a great friend and community leader, her teachings, along with her family’s continued impact on our campus, will continue to guide Texas State students to put servant leadership at the forefront of what they do throughout their lives,” he said.