COLLEGE STATION - The man behind Texas A&M’s iconic bell tower has died.
Texas A&M and Governor Rick Perry’s office confirm Ford D. Albritton Jr. passed away Sunday in Dallas. He was 93.
University officials have not yet been made aware of funeral arrangements.
Albritton and his wife Martha donated the bell tower in 1984. The 138-foot tall landmark is located on Old Main Drive at what is the original entrance of campus. The tower contains Westminster chimes, which ring every 15 minutes, and 49 bells which can be programmed to play music such as the "Spirit of Aggieland." It includes an inscription that reads: “I ring with pride and honor for past, present and future students of Texas A&M University.”
Albritton, a World War II veteran, graduated from Texas A&M in 1943. He served on the Board of Regents from 1968-1975 and was president of The Association of Former Students in 1969. Booth during a period of major growth and transition at Texas A&M. he served under two University presidents, General Earl Rudder and Jack K. Williams. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1977.
Mr. Albritton lived in Bryan during much of his life and career. He founded Albritton Engineering Corporation, which makes aluminum products, before moving to the Dallas area.
“Throughout his life, Ford gave his all to his country, his community and his beloved Texas A&M University,” said Governor Perry. “His sacrifices on the battlefield, his business acumen and his dedication to the causes he believed in will not be forgotten. Anita and I send our deepest condolences to his wife, Martha, his family and his friends during this difficult time.”
Remembering Ford Albritton Jr. for his military service, business acumen and dedication to his family and community.— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) January 27, 2014
In addition to the bell tower, Mr. and Mrs. Albritton made numerous donations to the university, including the sculpture at the entrance to the Olin E. Teague Research Center. He also helped establish the President’s Endowed Scholarship Program.