The Sam Rayburn Statue, located outside the front entrance of the Rayburn Student Center, was created by local artist and alumnus Gordon Thomas. The solid bronze statue stands over eight feet tall and was funded by private donations. Rayburn received a degree from East Texas Normal College in 1903 before serving in the House of Representatives and as Speaker of the House. The statue stands behind a speaker’s rostrum just as Rayburn did in the House. He holds a gavel in the right hand and points with the left as if recognizing a member of the House to speak.