Gov. Perry visits Tarleton
Tarleton State University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 16, 2012
STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Gov. Rick Perry, who was in Stephenville for a campaign rally for state Rep. Sid Miller, made a brief stop on the Tarleton campus today.
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and friends of the university packed the Nursing Building for a reception for the governor, who was met by cheerleaders, members of the Tarleton marching band and Purple Poo.
Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio welcomed the governor, saying it was an “extraordinarily special day for Tarleton.”
Dottavio pointed out the connections between Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System since 1917, and Perry, a 1972 graduate of A&M and the state’s first Aggie governor. He spoke about Tarleton’s beginnings as an agricultural college and the governor’s deep roots in farming and ranching, growing up on a West Texas cotton farm and later serving as Texas agriculture commissioner.
“Gov. Perry understands the tradition, pride and spirit that reflects Tarleton,” Dottavio said.
Addressing the crowd in brief remarks, Perry paid tribute to “a mentor of mine,” Gen. Earl Rudder, a Tarleton alum, World War II hero and later president of Texas A&M when Perry attended the school.
About Tarleton, Perry said Texas “is blessed to have this great institution” that we owe to pioneers “whose shoulders we are standing on.” The names on Tarleton buildings, he said, such as Clyde H. Wells, Joe Autry and Barry B. Thompson, attest to past leadership and vision.
“Daily,” he said in conclusion, “thank God you live in Texas,” before donning a Tarleton baseball cap and striking a Texan pose.
“Now I have to go meet my brother Poo,” Perry, a yell leader at A&M, said to laughter.
Prior to the Nursing Building reception, the governor stopped by Tarleton’s Military Veterans Services Center where he met Dr. James Vardalis, department head and associate professor of criminal justice, and other staff.
Vardalis told Perry, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, that the veterans center serves more than 500 Tarleton students and is a one-stop shop for veterans’ needs. The governor also chatted briefly with Jimmy Bell, president of the Tarleton Veterans Association and a two-time recipient of the Purple Heart while serving in Iraq in 2004.
While in the Tarleton Center, the governor also viewed the Congressman Charlie Stenholm exhibit and gallery and met members of Tarleton’s ROTC, as well as Tarleton Plowboys.
Perry also paid a quick visit to the Barry B. Thompson Student Center to view the huge hand-carved murals depicting Tarleton scenes, and an exhibit on Thompson, Tarleton’s president from 1982-1990 and later chancellor of the A&M System.
Tour guide Laurie Gaiser, director of School Relations/Welcome Center, also pointed out photos of Earl Rudder when he was a Tarleton student.
“He was my president when I was at A&M,” Perry said. “In fact, I dated his niece.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful,” Gaiser said.
“No, it wasn’t,” Perry responded, smiling. “I was scared to death of him.”
Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System
Contact: Joe Michael Feist