Push is on to Honor Former Aggie Professor's Legacy

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

Bob Schiffauer has been a professor of architecture at Texas A&M for over 40 years, but his passion is art.

Schiffauer's creations are currently on display at the Wright Gallery on the A&M campus.

With some of the most important faces in the history of civil rights in America looking back at him, Schiffauer has a soft spot for one in particular.

"He was one of a kind. He was an actor, director, and most of all, playwright," said Schiffauer about Charles Gordone.

Former Aggie Professor Charles Gordone is remembered in Schiffauers collection of art he calls the "Torchbearers."

"He was very active with the students here. They loved him. He was a good storyteller and everybody loves storytellers," said Schiffauer.

Gordone was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, "No Place to Be Somebody." He came to A&M in 1987 and worked there till his death in 1995. A&M alumni and comedian Thomas Miles remembers Gordone fondly.

"My sophomore year in college, I was at the point of changing my major and going on to be a businessman. I thought about it until this man (Gordone) came to my college and became a professor. It changed my whole world," said Miles.

Gordone's goal was to advance A&M's liberal arts program. Those who know him best say he made everyone feel welcome no matter their race or background.

Now an effort has emerged to tie Gordone's name in with the new liberal arts building at Texas A&M.

"To have an exhibit there of all the pieces that are devoted just to Charles Gordone would be a good way to start out," said Schiffauer.

Gordone's friend and poet Maya Angelou wrote an opinion column submitted to The Battalion asking for Charles' legacy to be honored.

She wrote that "the construction of a new liberal arts building at your university seems a perfect opportunity to provide a space to honor his memory on campus. In this way, Charles can continue to break down barriers and open hearts and minds for generations to come."

Will A&M respond and honor Gordone's legacy? Well only time will tell. For now, Bob Schiffauer is keeping Gordone's torch burning.

We tried to contact the College of Liberal Arts to see if there are any plans to honor Gordone's legacy in the works, but we never heard back from the university.

The new Liberal Arts Building will be completed later this year and cost Texas A&M approximately $46 million.

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