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Matthew Gaines Statue


The year is 1862, 30 men gather in the Texas Senate to discuss the Morrill Land-Grant Act. This act would make it possible for states to receive revenue from the sale of federal land to found higher education institutions. Among those men is Senator Matthew Gaines, a former slave whose acts of public service and years of support for a public school system for Texans have lead him to this moment. Although the Senators decide to pass the Morrill Act, Texas would not yet be able to take advantage of it due to their Confederate status during the Civil War. Senator Gaines would continue to spend the next few years pushing legislation that allow Texas to make use of the land-grant. 4 years later, in 1866, Texas was provided 2,416 acres that was to establish the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. Since then, students and faculty have advocated for ways to recognize and honor Senator Gaines for his support of public education and his efforts in the Senate that lead to the founding of Texas A&M University. Today, a bronze statue of the senator stands on granite stair steps representing his investments in public higher education for all Texans. Mounted on the sides are bronze replicas of the Texas State Seal and Senate Bill 276 (The Morrill Act). Engraved is a short biography and description of Senator Gaines and his contribution to A&M’s founding. This statue is not only a reminder to all of A&M’s roots but, for many it is a symbol of 100 years of persistence, diversity, and Aggie core values such as selfless service, leadership, and excellence.

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