Governor of the State of Texas, 1968-1972
Bachelor of Business Arts, 1934
When Preston Smith came to Texas Tech as a freshman in 1930, he already knew he would one day be Governor of Texas. Born in 1912, Preston was one of 13 children of a poor tenant farmer, but had already announced his intention to hold the highest office in the state by the age of nine. Preston held office as State Representative, State Senator and Lieutenant Governor before winning the race for Texas Governor in 1962.
Many Texans remember Preston's term in office for his enactment of the first minimum wage laws in the state, the first effort of law enforcement to fight drug abuse and his "Drive Friendly" campaign. Preston did not forget Texas Tech - the university that prepared him to achieve his dream. As governor, Preston established the schools of law and medicine at Texas Tech and devoted himself to increasing student funding for higher education.
His commitment to Texas Tech continued through service as special advisor to presidents and chancellors until his death in 2003.