Inauguration of College President Dr. James H. McCrocklin
Even during his years as President of the United States, Johnson continued to cultivate his relationship with SWTSC. Johnson visited the college four times during his presidency. On November 20, 1964, Johnson returned to campus to speak at the inauguration of President Dr. James H. McCrocklin. This occasion is thought to be the first time in history that a current President of the United States helped to install chief executive of his Alma Mater.
He used his speech as an opportunity to announce the creation of the Camp Gary Job Corps camp in San Marcos. The camp, which opened on March 3, 1965, and continues to operate today, trained young, impoverished men and taught them valuable employment skills.
Click the adjacent image to read the full transcript of Johnson's address.
In the summer of 1965, President Lyndon B. Johhnson ordered San Marcos's former U.S. Federal Fish Hatchery to be given to SWTSC. The forty-four acre facility had closed earlier that year due to financial and spacial constraints. The land grant effectively tied the campus together and ensured its future expansion, and represents another instance of Johnson's attention to the the college's wellbeing and future development. More information about the fish hatchery is found in the University Archives' online Campus Postcards exhibit.
Surpise Campus Visit
In a surprise visit to campus on April 13, 1966, Johnson held an informal coffee and chat in Dr. McCrocklin’s office with select guests, who included current faculty, deans, administrative officers, one of Johnson’s former teachers (Dr. Alfred Nolle), and assorted student leaders. Johnson also toured the offices of The College Star, flipped through old Pedagogs, and recorded a five-minute segment for the SWTSC radio show “On Campus.”
Johnson’s final visit as President of the United States took place on August 24, 1968, when he once again spoke at the college’s commencement program. Only confirmed the night before, Johnson’s appearance surprised most of the 545 graduates; indeed, two programs had been printed in preparation, one with Johnson’s name and one with Dr. McCrocklin as the featured speaker. In his address to the audience of over four thousand attendees, Johnson challenged the young graduates to be optimistic about the future and work to better mankind. Johnson also received a world leadership award at the ceremonies.