The College of Education has a long and rich history. In 1899, in an attempt to solve a teacher shortage, the 23rd Texas Legislature voted to start a Normal School in San Marcos to prepare teachers to serve what was then called “west” Texas, “… if the citizens could furnish land.” The San Marcos city council voted on October 16, 1899, to give 11 acres on Chautauqua Hill. On March 28, 1901, the Texas Senate accepted the gift of land and appropriated $35,000 for the erection and maintenance of buildings. Construction of the first building, Old Main, began in 1902, and it was opened for students in September of 1903.
Throughout its history, teacher education, and later, the education of counselors, administrators, and other school professionals, has held high purpose for the university. Miss Mamie E. Brown was awarded the first bachelor’s degree in education in June of 1919. In 1937, the first master’s degree in education was awarded to Margaret McClung Walker. In May of 2005, Dr. Jane Ross, Dr. Judy Bentley, Dr. Lauralee Pankonien, and Dr. Barbara Stevanson were the first to receive doctor of philosophy degrees.
The most famous alumnus of the university was the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Remarkably, Texas State University–San Marcos is the only university in Texas to graduate a US president.
Lyndon Johnson was born in Stonewall, Texas
, on August 27
, in a small farmhouse in a poor area on the Pedernales River. His parents, Samuel Ealy Johnson
and Rebekah Baines, had three girls and two boys: LBJ attended public schools
and graduated from Johnson City High School in 1924. Johnson City, Texas
, near his birthplace, was named after LBJ's grandfather, Samuel Ealy Johnson
, whose forebears had moved west from Georgia
In 1926, Johnson enrolled in Southwest Texas State Teachers' College (now Texas State University-San Marcos
). He worked his way through school, participated in debate and campus politics, edited the college newspaper, and graduated in 1931. Robert Caro devoted several chapters of The Path to Power, the first volume of his biography The Years of Lyndon Johnson
, to detailing how Johnson's years at San Marcos refined his gift of persuasion that helped his political career. This was complemented by his humbling experience of taking a year off from college, when he taught mostly Mexican immigrants at the Welhausen School in Cotulla, Texas. When he returned to San Marcos in 1965, after having signed the Higher Education Act
, Johnson looked back fondly on this experience:
"I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little Welhausen Mexican School, and I remember even yet the pain of realizing and knowing then that college was closed to practically every one of those children because they were too poor. And I think it was then that I made up my mind that this nation could never rest while the door to knowledge remained closed to any American."  (Retrieved July 18, 2006, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_B._Johnson)
Throughout its history, Texas State University–San Marcos has been and continues to be among the state’s leaders in the number and quality of new educators. As always, students thrive in a rich environment supported by dedicated and productive faculty and staff.