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President Lyndon B. Johnson greets citizens of Cotulla, 1966

President Lyndon B. Johnson greeting the crowd at Wellhausen School, Cotulla, Texas.

On November 8, 1965, President Johnson signed the Higher Education Act, which funded scholarships to undergraduate students. The setting was his alma mater, now Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas. In his address at the bill’s signing, President Johnson traced the Higher Education Act’s beginning to his experience in Cotulla. He said, “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. So here, today, back on the campus of my youth, that door is swinging open far wider than it ever did before.”

President Lyndon B. Johnson greets citizens of Cotulla, 1966. Photograph by Mike Geissinger. Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum.