From the White House to TAMUC: Alumnus Makes “Historic” Gift

As a White House liaison for the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, Ted Crim was privileged to watch American history unfold from a front-row seat. Now, the Lion alumnus will share his impactful life and career with Texas A&M University-Commerce through a bequest intention using both real estate and other personal property assets. A gift through a bequest is a simple and generous way to support one's alma mater in perpetuity, regardless of the type of assets used. 

The centerpiece of Mr. Crim's commitment is the Ted Ray Crim Distinguished Professorship in American History. Once established, the endowed professorship will support a faculty member in teaching, research and service activities. Mr. Crim envisions that the selected faculty member will pursue a deep understanding of the history and evolution of our nation and share that insight with students, colleagues and the community.

“An endowed professor provides a university the important capability of delving deeper into the past to enable a more informed present and a potentially more promising future,” Mr. Crim said.

In support of the professorship, Mr. Crim will also gift his exclusive library of signed books from U.S. presidents and first ladies, which he collected throughout his life. The collection also includes manuscripts and historical documents from noted authors and journalists. One volume in his collection is a leather-bound pictorial biography bearing President Ronald Reagan's signature with a personal note to Mr. Crim.

Mr. Crim intends that his planned gift will direct attention to A&M-Commerce and shine a light on the university as a top-tier institution of higher education.

“After 130-plus years of existence, A&M-Commerce deserves to be among those schools whose name alone evokes a sense of excellence, academic distinction and the pursuit of truth,” he said.

Mr. Crim enrolled at East Texas State University (now A&M-Commerce) after graduating from Farmersville High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Master of Science in psychology and economics. One of his lasting college memories is attending the Forum Arts Series, where renowned artists, performers and dignitaries made presentations at the university. The series was intended to supplement the students' education with a dose of arts and culture. Forum Arts presenters included actor Hal Holbrook, who presented “Mark Twain Tonight!;” Walt Rostow, a noted advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson; Dr. Joyce Brothers, a prominent psychologist; and John Connally, former governor of Texas.

In 1973, Mr. Crim entered federal service with the United States Office for Civil Rights. As an investigator and later a special assistant to the regional director, he worked with the governors of six states and the U.S. Congress. In that role, he interpreted and enforced federal civil rights laws and regulations in secondary and post-secondary schools. Mr. Crim's first-hand experience with civil rights compliance in the American South is, in part, what led him to establish the endowed professorship at A&M-Commerce.

“The historical origins of societal discrimination, differential treatment and systemic prejudice extend to the very core of the concept of democratic ideals,” he said. Mr. Crim envisions the history professorship as an opportunity to “cultivate and encourage a more inclusive, tolerant and participatory American society.”

In 1986, Mr. Crim was appointed to serve as a White House liaison for the Office for Civil Rights. The post required that he meet annually with the President of the United States to brief him on the status of civil rights compliance in Region VI. During that time, he met with Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Upon his retirement in 2004, Mr. Crim refocused his attention on serving A&M-Commerce. Since then, he has initiated, led or contributed to many impactful projects, including restoring Heritage House, installing the Sam Rayburn statue on campus and renovating Professor Mayo's gravesite. Mr. Crim has also broadened the university's historical archives by donating several significant items over the years, including a gavel personally used and signed by Sam Rayburn when he was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mr. Crim hopes his commitment will encourage other alumni to consider deferred giving as a means to accomplish their philanthropic and financial goals.

“Ultimately, I hope to make a tangible and lasting contribution to the reputation and prestige of my alma mater,” Mr. Crim said.

His unique gifts and selfless service to A&M-Commerce promise to elevate and enrich the university long into the future. To learn more about gift planning at A&M-Commerce, visit or contact the Office of Gift Planning at 903.468.8681.