Reflections of a Rudder as General's Biography Comes Out

"Rudder: From Leader to Legend"
Click Here for Book Details

The life of an Aggie legend has been chronicled in a just-released biography, one a son of that legend says he thinks his father would be happy with reading.

James Earl "Bud" Rudder Jr., the son of former Texas A&M President Gen. James Earl Rudder, was a guest on Brazos Valley This Morning Tuesday to talk about the new book, "Rudder: From Leader to Legend", and his father's legacy.

"I believe Dad would be very pleased with the work (author) Tom Hatfield has done in documenting his history and his accomplishments and what took him to where he arrived before his death," Rudder said.

Gen. Rudder, a 1932 graduate of Texas A&M, went on to a distinguished military career. On D-Day, Rudder led his battalion of Army Rangers up the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc on Normandy Beach against German forces in one of the most noteworthy moments of World War II. When he returned home, the general held a number of positions, including Texas Land Commissioner, before become the president of his alma mater.

One of the most revered and significant leaders in university history, Gen. Rudder set in motion a number of changes that would shape A&M for decades to come, including making service in the Corps of Cadets optional and allowing women to attend school there. The student body nearly doubled in size during his tenure. In fact, the school's name itself changed under Rudder. Before, it was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.

Bud Rudder says Hatfield did thorough research on his father's life, including finding people in West Texas who grew up with the general.

"It's just an amazing journey from Eden, Texas to Texas A&M and all the things he accomplished in his life," Rudder said. "It's just a great book, and the research was well done."

Since his death in 1970, the name "Rudder" has been added to a variety of things, including buildings on campus, a Bryan high school and the main roadway through the region.

"It's gratifying to see how Dad is so well remembered and so often honored," Rudder said. "It's a tribute to him and a tribute to Texas A&M -- and the communities here, too -- that his deeds are still remembered and still held in high regard."

To see the entire interview from BVTM, click on the video with this story. An additional interview done after the show is below.

"Rudder: From Leader to Legend" by Thomas Hatfield is available through Texas A&M University Press. A link to more information is provided above.

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