Higher Education Act Anniversaries

The Higher Education Act's Twentieth Anniversary

The first University tribute commemorating the signing of the Higher Education Act took place November 7 and 8, 1985. The event explored how the act has benefitted thousands of students as well as the American economy and society while also studying the government's role in supporting higher education's continued excellence.

The twentieth anniversary celebration began with the dedication of a commemorative sculpture by artist Scott Wallace. Wallace's sculpture, "Reflections," won a national competition held by the university that called for entries of outdoor sculptures that referenced education's importance in American society. Wallace described his 13-foot, 1,500-poud stainless steel creation as consisting of "forms associated with the change of seasons, particularly fall," the season traditionally associated with new school years and educational beginnings. The sculpture was installed at the LBJ Memorial Student Center Mall, now known as the Academic Services Building, where it remains today.

Congressman William D. Ford, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education and member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, delivered the eighth Lyndon B. Johnson Distinguished Lecture. In addition to speaking, Ford presided over the public reauthorization hearing on the Higher Education Act. Texas Governor Mark White led a discussion on higher education in Texas, while President Robert L. Hardesty lectured on the act's impact and legacy.

The Higher Education Act's Fortieth Anniversary

The 40th Anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act took place on the university’s campus on November 8, 2005. The one-day event included a panel discussion on the HEA’s legacy and its impact on the future of higher education. Introduced by President Emeritus, Robert L. Hardesty, Luci Baines Johnson delivered the event’s keynote address. Many of Johnson’s former students from the C.A. Welhausen Elementary School in Cotulla attended the event.

The Higher Education Act's Fiftieth Anniversary

The HEA's 50th Anniversary event occurred on October 26, 2015. Similar to the 40th Anniversary, the one-day commemoration likewise included a panel discussion on the HEA’s legacy and its impact on the future of higher education. This panel featured Roderick Paige and Margaret Spellings, two former U.S. Secretaries of Education. The presiding U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, provided a taped speech, while the President of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, David Warren, delivered the keynote address.