News and Personal Appearances

About Gary Lavergne

News

Articles

Book Reviews

BEFORE BROWN

A SNIPER IN THE TOWER

BAD BOY FROM ROSEBUD

WORSE THAN DEATH

Cajuns


Television Appearances

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Author Page


Gary Lavergne is a veteran guest and commentator on almost every major network and cable news show. Click here to see a list of his past appearances. He is also noted for his sharp wit. Click here for just a few of his more memorable quotes.

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 their 2014 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 !!





    Click
    here to read the Texas Tribune article.

     


    Click here or on the image to read the paper

    "Murder and Mayhem on the Texas Supreme Court"

    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 – 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 — 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 Marion Sweatt.

     

     

    The price for diversity
    by Libby Lewis, CNN

    'Sweatt v Painter': Nearly Forgotten, But Landmark Texas Integration Case
    by Andrea HSU

    Mailman brought case that desegregated UT
    By Allan Van Fleet and Craig Jackson

    (click on the story titles)

     

    CO tragedy evokes 1966 tower killings: kxan.com

    CO tragedy evokes 1966 tower killings
    Charles Whitman introduced public to mass murder


    Chris Sadeghi, Reporter

    AUSTIN (KXAN) - It has been 14 years since Gary Lavergne wrote the book “A Sniper in the Tower.”

    With the country’s eyes focused on the movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO, Lavergne’s 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.

    “The University of Texas tower shooting in 1966 was America’s introduction to mass murder as we think of it today.”

    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 page 17.

    Download the entire Spring issue now: TSCHS_JournalSpring2012 (pdf)

    Download Gary's article only now: TSCHS-Spring2012-excerpt.pdf
     

    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.

     

    Before Brown 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.

    From NPR

    Part 1
    Part 2

    In Black America Podcast: Before Brown:Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall and the Long Road To Justice – Part I

    In Black America Podcast: Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall and the Long Road to Justice with Gary M. Lavergne – Part II

    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 school’s academic qualifications, Heman Marion Sweatt was denied admission because of his race. He challenged the university’s decision in court, and the resulting case, Sweatt v. Painter, went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in Sweatt’s 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
    FREE


    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.


    Panel Presentations:

    Learning from the Prairie View Interscholastic League
    Robert Brown, Board Chair, Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches' Association


    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
     

    Moderator:
    Jennifer Stayton, Morning Edition Host, KUT RADIO, Austin, TX
     

     

    BOB BULLOCK TEXAS HISTORY MUSEUM

    presents

    Integration and Race Relations in Texas

    Wednesday, June 22, 7 p.m.
    Texas Spirit Theater
    FREE


    Alum Lavergne Wins Top Prize from Texas Institute of Letters

    Dallas — UL alumnus Gary Lavergne’s 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 Letters’ (TIL) awards banquet Saturday, April 30, 2011...
     


    See the Cedar Park Citizen coverage of the Collins Award and Tullis Prize... “It was a beautifully crafted account of a case that set extremely important precedent,” said Rico Ainslie, Carr P. Collins Award committee chair for the Texas Institute of Letters. “The research and craftsmanship and the writing was quite exceptional.”
     

    April 30, 2011

    Before Brown 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

     

    Before Brown 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:

    http://www.dralvinjones.com/content/01%20Gary%20Lavergne.wma
     

    'Diverse in the Heart'

    A Texas admissions expert tells the long-forgotten tale of a pioneer in integration

    By Eric Hoover

    Austin, Tex.

    "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...."

    Click here to read the entire feature

    Heman Marion Sweatt: The Unsung Civil Rights Hero

    As a guest blogger for the American Constitution Society, Gary Lavergne discusses his new book Before Brown ...


    Gary Lavergne: Staff member by day, author by night

    by Marjorie Simoens
    Published: Oct. 15

    "Nestled in a corner office in the Main Building sits Gary Lavergne, director of admissions research.

    He’s an unassuming man, with Excel spreadsheets covering his computer monitor, and stacks of admission papers anchoring the corners of his desk... " click here for the entire article...
     

    From NPR: Station KUT 90.5FM
    THE "UNSUNG" SUPREME COURT CASE IN THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS


    Gary Lavergne says the Sweatt decision may have been overshadowed by the decision in Brown v. Board of Education four years later, but its impact was still monumental. Gary Lavergne talked with KUT’s Jennifer Stayton about his book Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice.
     


    ALCALDE, the magazine of Texas Exes, the UT Alumni Association, features an excerpt of BEFORE BROWN with an introduction by Gary Lavergne in its September/October 2010 issue. Click here to read the excerpt.
     


    'Before Brown'
    September 8, 2010

    When people talk about the demolition of the doctrine of "separate but equal," the case everyone focuses on is Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1954 ruling. Four years earlier, however, the Supreme Court rejected that doctrine in a higher education case -- one that set the legal framework for Brown and helped shape the strategy of Thurgood Marshall in his assault on Jim Crow in education... See more including an interview with Gary M. Lavergne...
     
     

    Cedar Park man writes for a new perspective Wednesday, August 18, 2010 by Amy Fowler of the Cedar Park Citizen
    click here for a printer-friendly copy

     

    Gary Lavergne is the subject of a feature article by Maggi Davis in the Spring 2010 issue of  burntOrange magazine. burntOrange is published twice a year by magazine students working under the guidance of faculty members. The magazine has finished first (2007) and second (2008) for General Excellence (Single Issue, Ongoing Magazine) in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication national magazine contests.
    Gary Lavergne honored by UT President William Powers with Outstanding Staff Service Award
    On May 7, 2009 University of Texas President William Powers presented certificates and bonuses to thirty university employees during the The President's Staff Awards reception in the Texas Union Ballroom. Gary was one of those honored. The Outstanding Staff and Supervisor Awards Program recognizes non-teaching UT Austin employees who have made outstanding contributions to the continuing success of the university. Click here for a video tribute prepared by the University's Human Resources staff.
    Gary Lavergne represents American Higher Education in Paris symposiums
    On April 14, 2008, the French Ministry of Higher Education, convened a conference exploring equity and access to France’s premier colleges and universities. Two American researchers... 

    Gary Lavergne makes appearance on ABC's Good Morning America
    Gary was interviewed for an appearance on Good Morning America on August 1, 2009 on the anniversary of the UT Tower Tragedy. Click here to see his appearance.

    Gary Lavergne receives the Trailblazers Award at annual banquet
    Gary Lavergne delivers brief remarks after accepting the Trailblazers Award. Shortly afterwards he and Laura made another donation to the Lodge's charitable efforts.

    Gary Lavergne chosen to moderate 2004 Texas Book Festival session
    "Today I have the honor and pleasure of moderating this session, entitled "Inside the Mind of a Killer..."

    Gary Lavergne appears on MSNBC to comment on the DC Sniper
    On October 16, 2002, Rick Sanchez, morning anchor of MSNBC Live, interviewed Gary Lavergne about the similarities and differences between the Washington, DC-area sniper and Charles Whitman, the University of Texas Tower sniper. Nine days before the alleged snipers were apprehended, Gary warned that "[the sniper] kind of defies a lot of what you hear profilers saying...

    Gary Lavergne honored as Outstanding Alumnus by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette
    For each of the past twenty-six years, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's College of Education has honored one or more persons as an Outstanding Alumnus of the College. This tribute for those graduating from the Class of 1976 was paid on the evening of April 19, 2001... "



    CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS

    E! Entertainment Network

    Gary appeared in a special entitled Going Postal: 15 Shocking Acts of Violence! He commented on the UT Tower Tragedy of 1966. It was first broadcast on April 25, 2008

    DATELINE NBC--MSNBC--CNBC

    In his second appearance on DATELINE NBC Gary appeared as a commentator during a show entitled 10 Amazing Crimes Caught on Tape. The Charles Whitman Murders was "#2" on the countdown show and featured Gary Lavergne, the author of A Sniper in the Tower.  Click here to see an excerpt. Check your local listing for time and channel for reruns on NBC and cable affiliates!

    Biography -- A&E Network

    Gary appeared in a one-hour episode about Charles Whitman, the University of Texas Tower Sniper. Check your local listing for time and channel.


     

    True Crime Authors -- The History Channel

    Gary Lavergne was the subject of a one hour special in a History Channel series called TRUE CRIME AUTHORS. Check your local listings for reruns. 

    DATELINE NBC--MSNBC--CNBC

    Special on the Charles Whitman Murders featured Gary Lavergne, the author of A Sniper in the Tower first broadcast on DATELINE NBC. Check your local listing for time and channel for reruns on NBC and cable affiliates!

    AMERICAN JUSTICE -- The A&E Network

    This episode, hosted by Bill Kurtis, was entitled "Free To Murder Again" and was the story of Kenneth Allen McDuff, the title character of Gary's book Bad Boy From Rosebud. Parts of the special were filmed in Gary's home in Cedar Park, Texas. 

    THE PROSECUTORS -- The Discovery Channel

    This was THE PROSECUTORS first show in its regular time slot. It featured an hour-long docudrama on Kenneth Allen McDuff, the topic of Gary's book THE BAD BOY FROM ROSEBUD. The title of the episode was "Release Me."

    DR. G: MEDICAL EXAMINER -- The Discovery Health Channel

    Using cutting-edge forensic science and technology to solve the mysteries of life and death, Dr. G: Medical Examiner explores the cases that come through a medical examiner's office in Florida. In this epsiode, Dr. G looks back at the UT Tower shooting.

     

    TALES OF THE GUN -- The History Channel

    In an episode called Guns of Infamy, part 2, Gary commented on the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Huey P. Long. There was also a large segment on the Charles Whitman murders at The University of Texas at Austin in 1966.


    Where has Gary appeared? Click here to see where he has been.

    | Gary's Bio |Before Brown| Worse Than Death| Bad Boy From Rosebud | Sniper in the Tower | Cajuns |