Braving the cold temperatures and winds, many gathered in front of the Becky Gates Children's Center for the chance to say hello to the Gates family.
Texas A&M's former first family returned to Aggieland, to see the matriarch receive a special honor. Shortly before leaving A&M, the university's children's center was named in Becky Gates' honor.
However, the children's center's benefactors, Artie and Dorothy McFerrin, decided Mrs. Gates' passion for children's education needed to be personified. On Saturday, the Gates of Learning Statue was unveiled.
Mrs. Gates says she was wowed by what she saw.
"I'd seen it in progress, so it's really exciting to see it finished and it looks like me," Gates said cheerfully.
Artist Bill McGlaun created a sculpture, that depicts a teacher, with the likeness of Mrs. Gates, leading three children to the gates of learning. The sculpture also bears the likeness of the McFerrins' granddaughter, Alexandria McFerrin Bohner.
The other two children depicted are kids Mrs. Gates actually lead to school, her children Brad and Eleanor Gates. Younger versions of the two were created.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was pleased with how his wife was honored.
"This sculpture is an added amazing thing," said Secretary Gates.
Knowing his wife's commitment to education, he says Saturday's unveiling was truly a special moment.
"She dedicated 27 to 28 years of her life to education, so to be recognized in this way and for the children is just very special for her," Secretary Gates said.
Mrs. Gates says she felt honored to be recognized in this fashion because her love of children's education is just like the sculpture: timeless.
"It's just wonderful to be associated with somebody, something forever. And to know that you care a lot about the children and all these little Aggies," Mrs. Gates said.
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