Lavergne is a veteran guest and commentator on almost every major network and
cable news show. Click
to see a list of his past appearances. He is also noted for
his sharp wit. Click
for just a few of his more memorable quotes.
(c) 2018 by Gary M. Lavergne
Gary Lavergne Joins Dr. Hemella Sweatt-Duplechan, UT Law Dean Ward Farnsworth, and President Greg Fenves in the Unveiling of a Portrait of a Civil Rights Hero
From David Furlow, Executive Editor, the Journal of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society: "On February 15, 2018, UT and Texas historian Gary Lavergne, UT Law School Dean Ward Farnsworth, Hemella Sweatt-Duplechan, MD and others celebrated the legacy and character of Houston postman and civil rights pioneer Heman Marion Sweatt, whose lawsuit and U.S. Supreme Court case ended racial segregation at UT Law School, in Texas, and throughout the U.S.
These speeches tell an inspiring story about a man and a family who triumphed over adversity and the oppression of the Jim Crow. Heman Marion Sweatt deserves our gratitude and respect. Heman Marion Sweatt's story is worth remembering."
Excerpt from Gary's speech: "During the five years I spent writing a book about Mr. Sweatt, I was as profoundly moved by the story of the Sweatt family as I was by the Sweatt v Painter saga. Just yesterday, during a conversation with your Alumni Association President, I shared with her what the Sweatt family has meant to me and what a great gift they are to those of us who know them. And it has been suggested that I use my time here to make a deeply personal statement. I'm hesitant to be that self-centered, but I will say that in this room alone, we have two Drs. Sweatt who walked through the doors first opened by the man in this portrait. On occasions like this, it is a worthy to ponder what Jim Crow cost us as a nation. How many more architects could we have had to build magnificent structures? How many more scientists could we have had to make unimaginable discoveries? How many more physicians could we have had to treat us when we were sick and cure the diseases that plague us? How many more artists could we have had to make our world more beautiful? And yes, how many more lawyers could we have had to pursue justice? Beyond Sweatt v Painter, that is what Heman Marion Sweatt means to me. That is why, when his daughter, Hemella Sweatt, calls me her brother, my heart skips a beat. He is what we desperately need more of today. He never responded to bad manners with more bad manners. He responded to hate and intolerance with class and dignity. His response to ignorance was scholarship. He was a quiet and humble man who did great things and asked for nothing more than to be treated, in this country, as an adult and citizen."
Read David Furlow's excellent article by clicking here.
Click here or on the photos to watch Gary's speech.
Click here to watch President Greg Fenves's speech.
Gary Lavergne contributes Op-Ed on CNN.com "When a sniper shot many from a tower... in 1966"
Gary M. Lavergne: The Las Vegas shooting rampage resembles the University of Texas tower tragedy
Both shooters shot from elevated positions to inflict massive harm and remind Americans just how vulnerable we are to violence, writes Lavergne.
"The truly frightening part is that we don't know who these evil people are. Often, we are surprised when their identities are revealed. That was true of the tower sniper and first reports are that it is likely true of the Las Vegas shooter."
Read Gary's Op-Ed by clicking here or on the photo.
Gary Lavergne to deliver the opening address at the 2nd Annual Michigan Active Assailant Conference
Troy, Michigan: September 13, 2017. This conference is intended for law enforcement, fire department, ambulance service, and emergency management personnel and will provide firsthand collaborative debriefs of some of the largest active assailant incidents ever from representatives of the lead law enforcement and fire service agencies involved. Presentations will also include information on what administrative and operational changes have been made in the aftermath of these tragedies, which will include: The University of Texas Tower Incident (August 1, 1966), The Chardon High School Incident (February 27, 2012), The Sandy Hook Elementary School Incident (December 14, 2012), The Washington Navy Yard Incident (September 16, 2013), The Paris Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (November 13, 2015), The Pulse Nightclub Incident (June 12, 2016), The Dallas Incident (July 7, 2016), The Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport Incident (January 6, 2017).
CBS Austin, 2017
Gary Lavergne interviewed by the CBS Austin on Admissions and Social Media
Harvard's decision to revoke admissions offers in the wake of some applicants' social media postings brought CBS Austin to Gary's office on the UT Campus. "We don't review social media accounts." said Gary Lavergne of the Admissions Office at The University of Texas at Austin. "It's not a practical thing to do for the number of applications we receive," he added.
Watch Jordan Bontke's report by clicking here or on the photo.
Before Brown author delivers lecture on the University of Texas' first Trip to the United States Supreme Court
Austin, TX: March 21, 2017. The UT Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) offers a diverse array of intellectually stimulating, non-credit, college-level lectures, seminars, and experiential opportunities. OLLI lectures are delivered by university and community experts and developed in partnership by peer and staff leadership. OLLI participation fosters meaningful exchange and engenders a global perspective through learning and volunteer engagement.
Photo by Matt Nager, Photographer
Gary Lavergne interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education on his role as a researcher for the University of Texas in the United States Supreme Court Case Fisher v The University of Texas at Austin (2016). Read Eric Hoover's interview by clicking here or on the photo.
Author Remembers 1991 Murder of Austin Woman. The story behind The Bad Boy From Rosebud
Austin, TX: December 29, 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of a young Austin woman named Colleen Reed. The murderer was the subject of Gary Lavergne's second book, The Bad Boy From Rosebud. Time Warner News interviewed Gary at his UT Austin office in December of 2016. Gary Lavergne remembered the victims as well as his meeting with serial killer Kenneth Allen McDuff: "I've never encountered anyone in the human form who was so completely void of virtue."
Click here or on the image to view the interview in its entirety.
by Walt Maciborski, Anchor, CBS Austin News:
An emotional and exclusive interview with Claire Wilson James and Gary Lavergne about finding the youngest of the Sniper victims: Baby Boy Wilson. Click here or on the image to watch this heartwarming interview.
Click here to watch Claire Wilson James and Gary Lavergne tell her story of love and courage.
Click here to watch a CBS Austin exclusive. Gary Lavergne walks viewers through the Tower and it's observation deck as he tells the story of the UT Tragedy of 1966.
by Michael Barnes, Reporter
"Twenty years ago, as the 30th anniversary of the University of Texas Tower shootings loomed, Gary Lavergne completed an exacting account of the events that took place before, during and after Aug. 1, 1966. Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders, published by the University of North Texas Press in 1997, has since appeared in paperback, mass market paperback and Kindle editions. We sat down with the unassuming Lavergne--by day, the UT head of admissions research, and the author of three other successful books--in his office on the ground floor of the Tower. . . Click here or on the image to read this powerful interview.
by Michael S. Rosenwald, Reporter:
"I just laid down by the grave: A mother mourns the UT Tower shooting's tiniest victim. . . Click here or on the image to read this great article.
by Tom Dart, Reporter:
Monday marks 50 years since the first US mass shooting of the modern era. It also brings a controversial gun law to campuses across the Lone Star State. . . Click here or on the image to read this unique British perspective.
by Rick Jervis, Reporter:
50 years ago, Texas campus murders ushered in new reality of mass shootings. . . Click here or on the image to read this great article.
by Stephanie Manisero, Anchor and Reporter:
The Author of A Sniper in the Tower Speaks on His Book's Relevancy. . . Click here or on the image to watch this interview from Gary's ofice at UT.
by Lauren Silverman, Producer:
Gun Violence And Mental Health, 50 Years After UT Tower Sniper Attack. . . Click here or on the image to listen to this fascinating interview.
by The Texas Standard and the University of Texas Briscoe Center for American History:
Gary Lavergne was a 10-year-old kid in August of 1966. He saw the UT Tower shooting on TV from his home in Louisiana. Lavergnes father was a police officer and he remembers his dads reaction to the Tower shooting. . . Click here or on the image to listen to this extended 49-minute interview.
Gary Lavergne featured in powerful article on how a life can change because of the path of a bullet. Read Pamela Colloff's masterpiece by clicking here or on the photo below.
New Research on Academic Success and Word Use in Admissions Essays
Gary Lavergne collaborated with a team of psychologists, linguists, and statisticians in an investigation into the relationships between the words applicants use in their college admissions essays and future academic success. The results were surprising. Check out their paper here or click on the image.
"Through the Eyes of Texas: Integration"
Gary Lavergne appears in an episode of Through the Eyes of Texas entitled "Integration." Longhorn legend and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams looks back at how the state's flagship university responded to integration. Historians, students, faculty and staff tell compelling stories of desegregation and examine the community's role in major events. This episode was first broadcast on February 27, 2015 on ESPN's Longhorn Network.
C-SPAN/Book TV Discussion of Bad Boy From Rosebud
C-SPAN crews made a stop in their2014 Cities Tour in Austin, Texas, from December 2-6, 2014. Working with the Time Warner Cable local affiliate, they visited literary and historic sites where local historians, authors, and civic leaders were interviewed. Gary Lavergne was one of a few authors chosen to represent the literary life of Austin. On the State Capitol grounds he talked about his book, Bad Boy from Rosebud: The Murderous Life of Kenneth Allen McDuff, the reasons behind Mcduff's release from prison and how his case brought about the restructuring of the third largest criminal justice system in the United States.
Click here or on the image to view the interview in its entirety.
"A Crime to Remember"
Gary Lavergne Makes an Appearance on the Emmy Award Winning Investigation Discovery Channel
Click here or on the image to view this powerful episode in its entirety!!
Click here or on the image to read the article on the New York Times Website.
Gary Lavergne Featured in New York Times and Texas Tribune
Click here or on the image to read Reeve Hamilton's excellent article. It is a sad but inspiring story of courage and faith !!
Gary Lavergne Presents Paper to the Texas State Historical Association and the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society
The Texas Supreme Court Historical Society sponsored a very special event at the annual meeting of the Texas State Historical Association in San Antonio on March 7, 2014. In a packed session, featured speakers were Gary and Judge Mark Davidson. In "Murder and Mayhem on the Texas Supreme Court," Gary told the tragic but fascinating story ot the murders of Associate Justice William Pierson and his wife, Lena, in Austin in April of 1935. Like a good history teacher Gary told a story with many bizarre twists, turns, family secrets, and even insanity.
The event took place at the Wyndam Hotel in San Antonio.
Click here to read Gary's paper. It is a story you won't easily forget !!
Click on the image to watch video
Gary Lavergne Appears Longhorn Network feature of UT's Tower Memorial Garden
The Longhorn Network, part of the ESPN family of cable stations, recently did a feature on UT's Tower Memorial Garden and Turtle Pond. In 1999 the Garden was dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Tower Tragedy of 1966. In 2007 the University installed a memorial to the victims and their families. He appeared in a documentary in the Tower Garden, which is an area just north of the UT Tower.
Click on the image to watch video
Before Brown and the Sweatt v Painter case featured in a KLRU/PBS documentary about the United States Supreme court case Fisher v University of Texas.
Admissions On Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Education, is narrated by legendary newsman Dan Rather and provides background and context to help understand the Fisher case â what's being debated, why the case was brought and how universities currently use race in the admissions process. Viewers learn about the Fisher case through interviews with key players at the heart of this debate. And they discover the deep roots of this story, beginning in 1946, eight years before Brown v. Board of Education when an early civil rights pioneer named Heman Marion Sweatt began his fight to integrate graduate programs at The University of Texas and at other segregated schools across the South. Gary Lavergne vividly tells of Sweatt and his times and a story of courage and perserverence.
Click here or on the image to see the documentaries
Gary Lavergne Appears in State Bar of Texas Educational Videos
The State Bar of Texas' Law-Related Education Department has created Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay!, an engaging and interactive site geared toward helping students (and their teachers) explore the court decisions that have helped shape our country and the state of Texas â and, most important, how these decisions have affected our everyday lives.Some of the documentaries were filmed in Gary's home office in Cedar Park, Texas. He appeared in the documentaries on Plessy v Ferguson, Sweatt v Painter, and Grutter v Bollinger. Click here to see the documentaries.
U.S. Supreme Court Case
Fisher v University of Texas draws attention to Before Brown and the story of Heman
CO tragedy evokes 1966 tower
Charles Whitman introduced public to mass murder
Chris Sadeghi, Reporter
AUSTIN (KXAN) - It has been 14 years since Gary Lavergne wrote the book
âA Sniper in the Tower.â
With the countryâs eyes focused on the movie theater shooting in Aurora,
CO, Lavergneâs book details every known movement of Charles Whitman in
the days leading up to the Texas Tower shooting.
A crime that set the precedent for mass murder in a public place like the
one that happened Friday.
âThe University of Texas tower shooting in 1966 was Americaâs
introduction to mass murder as we think of it today.â
Spring Issue of the TSCHS
E-Journal Now Available
Issue 3 of the Society's new e-journal was distributed to members in late
February. It features the second half of David Furlow's article on the
Castiian influence on Texas law as
well as an article on the Sweatt v. Painter desegregation case by Gary
Lavergne. His article begins on
Gary is presented with the
prestigious Heman Sweatt Symposium Award of Appreciation...
Gary Lavergne received Heman Sweatt
Symposium Award of Appreciation for Before Brown. The award was
presented on February 8, 2012 during the opening ceremonies by Dr. Greg
Vincent, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, in John
Hargis Hall at The University of Texas at Austin.
Awarded the Writers' League of Texas Award for Best Book of Non Fiction
With over 200 entries, the 2011 Writers'
League of Texas Book Awards Contest was more competitive than ever before.
A big congratulations to the four winners below! The WLT will recognize
the winners at our January Third Thursday meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday,
January 19 at BookPeople in Austin.
On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr.
speaks with Gary M. Lavergne, author of Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt,
Thurgood Marshall and the Long Road To Justice. On February 26, 1946, a
33-year-old African American mail carrier from Houston, TX applied for
admission to the University of Texas School of Law. Although he met all of
the schoolâs academic qualifications, Heman Marion Sweatt was denied
admission because of his race. He challenged the universityâs decision in
court, and the resulting case, Sweatt v. Painter, went to the U.S. Supreme
Court, which ruled in Sweattâs favor. The Sweatt case paved the way for
the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka rulings that finally
opened the doors to higher education for all African Americans and
desegregated public education in this country.
34th Annual LASE/LASS Joint Conference
"What Goes Around: 25 Years of Strateegeery"
Keynote Address by Gary M. Lavergne, Author and Educator and Director of
Admissions Research at the University of Texas at Austin
Sunday, 2:30pm, November 13, 2011
Crowne Plaza Hotel Executive Center
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Integration and Race Relations in Texas
Wednesday, June 22, 7 p.m.
Texas Spirit Theater
Come to the fabulous Texas History Museum for an intimate evening of
presentation, discussion, and dialogue as we explore the critical issues
of integration and race relations as seen in law, education, and sports in
Texas. Presentations will focus on the legal case Sweatt v. Painter that
integrated the law school at UT Austin, and Texas high school football's
segregated Prairie View Interscholastic League.
The discussion will be moderated by
Jennifer Stayton, Morning Edition Host for KUT.
Learning from the Prairie View Interscholastic League
Robert Brown, Board Chair, Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches'
A Lesson in Democracy: The Story of Heman Marion Sweatt
Gary Lavergne, author Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood
Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice
Jennifer Stayton, Morning Edition Host, KUT RADIO, Austin, TX
Dallas â UL alumnus Gary Lavergneâs
account of the struggle to desegregate the University of Texas law school,
Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall and the Long Road to
Justice was the top winner for nonfiction at the Texas Institute of
Lettersâ (TIL) awards banquet Saturday, April 30, 2011...
See the Cedar Park Citizencoverage of the
Collins Award and Tullis Prize... âIt was a
beautifully crafted account of a case that set extremely important
precedent,â said Rico Ainslie, Carr P. Collins Award committee chair for
the Texas Institute of Letters. âThe research and craftsmanship and the
writing was quite exceptional.â
April 30, 2011
Awarded the Carr P. Collins Award for Best Work of Non Fiction at
the Annual Awards Banquet of the Texas Institute of Letters...
The Carr P. Collins Award is awarded annually to the best
non-fiction book published during the calendar year. This year the awards
banquet was held on April 30th in Dallas.
March 4, 2011
Awarded the Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Best Book on Texas
History at the Annual Meeting of the Texas State Historical Association
The Tullis Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the best
book on Texas published during the calendar year. This year the awards
banquet was held on March 4th in El Paso.
February 14, 2011 -- Gary Lavergne
appears on the Dr. Alvin Jones Radio Show. You can hear it at:
A Texas admissions expert tells the long-forgotten tale of
a pioneer in integration
By Eric Hoover
"Long before James Meredith became the first black man to
enroll at the University of Mississippi, before a handful of black
college students started a sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter in
Greensboro, N.C., and before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a
bus in Montgomery, Ala., a 33-year-old mail carrier walked into the
registrar's office at the University of Texas. His name was Heman Marion
Sweatt, and he sought admission to the university's law school. He might
as well have chosen to walk into a hurricane...."