The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955 Page: 23
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David F. Houston's Presidency of Texas A. and M. 23
or their representatives were present, it was decided to let each
man appear in person and speak for himself. After the executive
session was over, J. A. Baker of College Station, the board secre-
tary, notified the applicants that each would be given fifteen
minutes if he desired to be heard. Apparently the method was
embarrassing even to the most eager applicant, for the Waco
Times-Herald reported, "There was a silence of some seconds."3
After a while, however, the speechmaking began. R. T. Milner,
representing T. R. Day of Henderson, made a strong speech.
John Garrett of Calvert presented the name of General H. B.
Stoddard of Bryan, but declined to make a speech. Others fol-
lowed, some of them choosing to speak, some merely presenting
the names of their favorites. In the afternoon, the board again
went into executive session and admitted no outsiders. At about
5:00 P.M., after four hours of inconclusive balloting, someone
brought up the name of David F. Houston, who was then dean
of the faculty at the University of Texas. Here was a chance to
break the deadlock. Houston was elected, no doubt because his
name offered the board an opportunity to compromise,' but his
election was settled only after Governor Sayers telephoned, with-
drawing his own name from consideration."
Since Houston had not applied for the position, a board mem-
ber, Jefferson Johnson of Austin, telephoned him to ask if he
would accept. Houston, completely surprised by the offer, asked
until after supper to give his decision. A letter written years later
reveals that he made his decision after seeking the advice of his
close friend, Colonel E. M. House, who advised him to accept.
Shortly after 8:oo P.M. Johnson was called to the telephone booth
and in a few minutes came out and notified the board and the
press that Texas A. and M. had a new president."
Houston's appointment met with general approval throughout
the state, except at the University of Texas where the faculty
regretted losing an able teacher and dean. An editorial in the
Austin Daily Statesman congratulated the A. and M. board of
directors for "the wisdom of its selection." The news was en-
8Waco Times-Herald, April 8, 19o2.
5Dallas Morning News, April 8, 19o2.
0Waco Times-Herald, April 8, g9o2.
7Austin Daily Statesman, April 8, 19o2.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955, periodical, 1955; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101158/m1/42/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.