One of the University's most beloved and long-standing events, the LBJ Picnic began in August 1982 as an occasion to commemorate Johnson's birthday. The picnic also served to honor new faculty and staff while welcoming back returning faculty. President Robert L. Hardesty and his wife Mary hosted the first picnic at the president's residence, where 1,400 attendees ate barbeque, listened to live music, and enjoyed a six-hundred pound cake decorated with replicas of Old Main, the White House, and a bust of Johnson.
Lady Bird, former university presidents, and friends of Johnson became regular fixtures at later LBJ Birthday Celebrations. These birthday parties have evolved into the annual LBJ Picnics, which continue to gather the Texas State University community to mark the beginning of each school year.