Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Friday, May 04, 2001  •  Speech

Howdy!  Thank you Eric and Jessica (student body presidents).  Superintendent Scales, Principal Hester, Principal McGowen, friends with the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural Science, and students:  I am honored to have a few minutes to visit with you, and to do so in this great learning lab: the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.

Since that August day in 1972 when I received my diploma from that great institution down the road, Texas A&M University, I have been afforded many wonderful opportunities, including the chance to visit many foreign lands.

I enjoyed those travels, I will always keep a fond place in my heart for my farming roots in rural West Texas, and I have even learned to enjoy living behind the Orange Curtain in Austin.

But there is a wonderful old saying about Aggieland that remains true to this day, “the world may be your oyster, but College Station will always be your home.”  It is good to be home in Bryan/College Station. 

The message I have for you is quite simple: there is no dream to lofty, no ambition to great for a Texan who works hard and pursues a college education.

If the son of tenant farmers can one day be your governor, then I will testify there is not a one of you in this room who does not have the capacity to achieve your goals, you just have to pursue them relentlessly.

The Texas of tomorrow will be led by you.  You are the future doctors, engineers, teachers and elected officials who represent the greatest hope for generations to come.

But to get in the game of life, you must get a stamped ticket: a college degree.

My passion is to open the doors of higher learning to more Texans.  We must say to young Texans, the young men and women in this room today, “we don’t care where you come from, but where you are going.”

Whether five generations of your family have attended Texas A&M, or no one in your family has attended college, higher learning is for you.

And we are working on some important measures so more students are able, and prepared, to enter college.

I have been working with legislators to create a new math initiative.  We have seen great improvement in reading, now we must do the same for math.

Math and science are critical to preparing you for the high-tech jobs of the future.  That’s why we are going to focus new energy on mathematics instruction, and that’s why we are going to work with colleges and universities to increase the pool of engineering and computer science graduates.

I want to express my great pride in the work so many of you have done in building science projects.  A curious mind, when properly cultivated, has no limits.

As this museum shows, there is no end to the fascinating potential of science.  Those of you committed to mastering the principles of science and math will have a leg up on the competition.

I am also firmly committed to expanding college scholarship opportunities for deserving young Texans.  No young Texan’s future should be limited because their family’s finances are limited.

I would urge you to look at the TEXAS Grant Scholarship Program if you need financial help to attend college one day.

I am delighted to see so many promising, young faces in this room.  As I said, you truly are the future of this state and nation.  Who knows, in this room there may be a future medical expert who will find a cure for cancer, or just a future Aggie Governor.

But you have to aim high, and never take your sights off the goal.  Education spells opportunity.  Study hard, work hard, and never give up on your dreams.

Thank you, and gig’em.

And since we have a few minutes, let me open the floor to the students for any questions you may have of me.

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