Who Was E.B. Cushing?
Edward Benjamin Cushing (1862-1924), Class of 1880, saved Texas A&M. In 1912, Cushing stood alone against the nearly overwhelming forces attempting to close the tiny Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. He was a man without parallel in devotion to his school. He was named President of the Texas A&M Board of Directors in 1912. His two years on the board coincided with a perilous time in the school's history. The mess hall had burned in 1911, and Old Main met a similar fate the following year. Amid the losses and confusion, state appropriations slowed to a trickle and the school showed a deficit of $87,000. As if things were not bad enough, certain members of the legislature attempted to close the school and move it to Austin. More than equal to the crises, Cushing reacted immediately and decisively to bring order out of chaos. He guaranteed Texas A&M's notes with his personal funds to obtain credit so that the school could remain in operation. Cushing then burned up the telegraph wires with messages to influential legislators inviting them to come to College Station to see for themselves exactly what the school was doing to benefit the people of Texas. He even sent his private railroad car, called the San Jacinto, to Austin to bring them to the campus. In the end Cushing prevailed, forever dispelling any notion that Texas A&M should be consolidated with the University of Texas.
When Cushing died, it was agreed that a library would be built in his honor. This is how Cushing Memorial Library, the first free-standing library on the A&M campus, came to be.