Tag Archives: Texas A&M

Future A&M President Leads D-Day Invasion

Lt. Col. James Earl Rudder commanded the Second Ranger Battalion in the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944.  Under his fearless leadership, the Rangers scaled 100-foot cliffs to knock out German gun emplacements.

Eleven years later, civilian Rudder took over as state land commissioner and cleaned up the mess left by the Veterans Land Program scandal.  In 1959 he became president of Texas A&M and over the objections of old alums pushed through the changes and reforms that transformed the antiquated military institution into a world-class university.

Randy Matson Broke 70-Foot Barrier in the Shot Put

At the Tokyo Games on August 25, 1964, Texas Aggie freshman Randy Matson of Pampa moved into first place with an Olympic-record breaking effort in the shot put only to be edged out by dentist Dallas Long.

Four years later, Matson won the gold medal at the Mexico City Olympics.  The first shot putter to break the 70-foot barrier, he went on to serve as executive director of The Association of Former Students at this alma mater from 1979 until his retirement in 1999.