COLLEGE STATION, TX — Texas A&M University's Matthew Gaines Initiative has reached their $350,000 goal to build a statue in honor of the Senator who was instrumental in the creation of the University.
Senator Matthew Gaines supported the forward movement that established the first public school system for all Texans. The first African-American state senator from Washington County, he was instrumental in the 12th Texas Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 276, which created the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas under the Land-Grant College Act of 1862, also known as the Morrill Act.
"We wish to thank the many who have supported this initiative, including past and present student leaders, campus and former student allies, and our Vice President for Student Affairs," the statement said. "Both Dr. Pugh and President Young supported our group during the process, advocating on our behalf over the last two years."
In 2017, the Texas A&M University Student Government Association, Graduate & Professional Student Council, and Residential Housing Association each passed legislation in support of commemorating Gaines and the 12th Texas Legislature on the Texas A&M campus.
The group had a goal of reaching $350,000 by May 2019. The funds would allow Texas A&M students to commission, construct and maintain a statue honoring Matthew Gaines and the 12th Texas Legislature on the College Station campus.
The have now exceeded that goal.
This comes as campus protests and petitions continue on whether to remove the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue on campus.
Texas A&M President Michael Young has created both a task force and commission to review race relations and historic representations on campus, including a review and recommendation on the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue.
The Matthew Gaines Initiative says they will issue a "call for artists" through a request for proposal process in July. They will then select three artists who will compete in order to pick who will create the statue.
"Today, in paying tribute to the University's founding by Senator Matthew Gaines and the entire 12th Legislature, we welcome a new beginning for the current and former students of Texas A&M," the statement said.
— TAMU Matthew Gaines Initiative (@GainesTAMU) June 19, 2020