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John B. Connally

John B. Connally

B.A., The University of Texas at Austin, 1939
LL.B., The University of Texas School of Law, 1941

John B. Connally, Jr., thirty-eighth governor of the state of Texas, was born on a farm near Floresville, Texas, one of eight children of Lela and John Bowden Connally, Sr. Governor Connally earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from The University of Texas and was elected president of the UT Student Association for 1938-39. While at UT, Governor Connally met and married Idanell (Nellie) Brill. They had four children.

Much of Governor Connally's life was spent in public service. Following exemplary combat duty in the Navy during World War II, Connally returned to Austin to engage in business and the practice of law. He also served as manager of Lyndon Johnson's successful congressional and senatorial campaigns. Connally was appointed U.S. Secretary of the Navy by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. In 1962, he won his first political race as a candidate for governor of Texas. On November 22, 1963, he was critically wounded by the assassin who killed President Kennedy, but recovered to win reelection in 1964 and 1966 by overwhelming margins. After leaving office voluntarily in 1969, Governor Connally served President Richard Nixon, first as a member of the president's Foreign-Intelligence Advisory Board and, from 1971-72, as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

Governor Connally's highest priority always was public and higher education. With his emphasis on education, he transitioned the state from an agricultural and mineral based economy into the technology era. Believing that access to quality education was the best way to address pressing social problems, Governor Connally developed a master plan for education which included establishment of the state's first scholarship program, raising teacher's salaries, providing significantly more funding for libraries and scholarly research, and the creation of a new doctoral and other degree programs to meet the needs of a changing society. Known as the "education governor", John Connally provided the leadership that has made The University of Texas one of the premier centers of learning in the nation today and laid the foundation for an unprecedented era of growth and prosperity for the state. In 1999, Texas Monthly magazine selected him as the foremost governor of the 20th Century.

This building that bears his name stands as a permanent tribute to his many contributions to The University, the state, and the nation which, like Governor Connally himself, were of heroic proportions.