Major General James Earl Rudder Class of 1932 was the 16th President of Texas A&M, assuming those responsibilities in 1959. He added the responsibilities of the 3rd Chancellor of the Texas A&M System from 1965 until his death in 1970.
As a Lieutenant Colonel he was the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Ranger Battalion on D-Day and became famous for the heroic assault up the cliffs of Point de Hoc during which he was twice wounded. He went on to heroically distinguish himself at the Battle of The Bulge and the Hürtgen Forest.
Following the war he was the Mayor of Brady, Texas before being elected the Texas Land Commissioner. He would rid it of graft and corruption before he became the Vice President of Texas A&M followed by the Presidency in 1959.
During his tenure he made the Corps of Cadets optional, opened the door to women and led the effort to desegregate. These measures were not often popular but his standing and force of will prevailed. In so doing he took a small, all male, military, land grant college and transformed it. This set Texas A&M on the path to become the renowned university it is today.