Many would say that Preston Smith is arguably the man who put Texas Tech University on the map. To this day, he's the only Lubbock resident and Tech graduate to ever serve as governor. Chancellor Dr. David Smith says that's just a hint of who he was and what he's done.
"Preston, first of all was a presence. He was much more than a legislator, an effective Lt. Governor, a Governor, and of course, he brought so much to Texas Tech and this community. The first time I ever met Preston, he came into my office only about a week after I was there as president, hat in hand, that big cowboy hat, and he walked in and his comment, which was common for him, was let me know how I can help. I just love to help and I want you and this university to be successful, and I think that epitomizes Preston Smith and his life," said TTU Chancellor Dr. David Smith.
Tech Chancellor Dr. David Smith describes his friend, Preston Smith, as a man of character. He said when Smith walked in the room you could feel it.
"He was creative. He never gave up, and he was able to work deals -- and this is a man who was effective in business, in life, in the state capitol, and in the national level. And of course, Texas Tech would not be the same without him. The law school, the medical school, the whole horizon of Tech would not look like what it does today if not for Preston Smith," Chancellor Smith said.
Chancellor Smith also says that Governor Smith garnered leverage and support across the state to start Tech's law school and medical school. He wanted Tech to have what the other schools were getting, and he fought for it.
"We have all these doctors in West Texas because of Preston Smith. 26% of all the physicians in West Texas are graduates of this university -- and that's Preston Smith. His legacy is going to span decades if not centuries because of what he did here in West Texas. We're going to miss him. There's no doubt about it. The Tech family and this community is going to miss Preston Smith," Smith said.
A memorial service will be held Monday at 10:00 a.m. at St. John's United Methodist Church in Lubbock. A viewing will be held Tuesday morning in the Senate Chambers at the Capital. Smith will then be buried with state honors Tuesday at 2:00 in the Texas State Cemetery.