Illustration by Kelly Burroughs, The Battalion and Xavier Maldonado.

Help Students Honor Texas A&M’s Pioneers

Support the Matthew Gaines-12th Legislature Commemoration Fund

Give Now

Senator Matthew Gaines passionately and unflaggingly supported the forward movement that established the first public school system for all Texans. The first African-American state senator from Washington County, he was instrumental in the 12th Texas Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 276, which created the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas under the Land-Grant College Act of 1862, also known as the Morrill Act.   

In 2017, the Texas A&M University Student Government Association, Graduate & Professional Student Council, and Residential Housing Association each passed legislation in support of commemorating Gaines and the 12th Texas Legislature on the Texas A&M campus.

Join these and other Texas A&M students to increase awareness and to raise an estimated $350,000 by May 2019. These funds would allow Texas A&M students to commission, construct and maintain a statue honoring Matthew Gaines and the 12th Texas Legislature on the College Station campus.

“The legacy of Matthew Gaines is intertwined with the founding of Texas A&M University. To myself and other members of my community, this initiative to recognize him on campus is an acknowledgement of the tenacity of a man who personified the Aggie core values. It is these core values that bind us together, even in the face of a world of differences.”

Gentill Abdulla '19, Black Student Alliance Council

Goal : $350,000

About Matthew Gaines

Senator Matthew Gaines


  • Courageous advocate for public education
  • Texas State senator
  • Promoted creation of The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas through the Morrill Act
  • Community leader and Baptist minister

Senator Gaines was a firm supporter of education and worked tirelessly to pass legislation that enabled Texas to take advantage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act, an act of Congress that provided grants of land to states to finance the establishment of colleges specializing in ‘agriculture and the mechanic arts’.”

Matthew Gaines Statue Commemoration Bill, Student Senate Bill 70-10
Texas A&M University | November 2, 2017

Matthew Gaines Student Art Exhibit
January 15 – February 29, 2020
MSC Reynolds Gallery

Students – Submit your works of art to honor the legacy of Matthew Gaines and enter to win one of eight tickets to the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast hosted by MSC Woodson Black Awareness Committee (on January 14, 2020).


To learn more about how you can be part of the initiative to recognize Sen. Matthew Gaines on campus and the various ways to give, contact:

Matt Jennings ’95
Senior Director of Development
Texas A&M Foundation

Megan Pulliam ’09
Assistant Director of Development
Texas A&M Foundation

You may give online with a credit card (including recurring payments) or mail a check made out to the Texas A&M Foundation. Please include “The Matthew Gaines – 12th Legislature Commemorative Fund” in the memo line.