Q&A: Granddaughter of former chancellor A.D. Bruce tells of legacy
Andrew Davis Bruce was not only the University of Houston’s third president: He also founded the military post Fort Hood, became a lieutenant general and he was a grandfather.
On Oct. 13, the late A.D. Bruce’s granddaughter, Roberta Josey, visited the A.D. Bruce Religion Center as part of a tour through Texas universities. What followed was a panel of questions, featuring members of the Campus Ministries Association, about Josey’s late grandfather, his legacy on the school and the center named after him.
The Cougar: Can you tell us about your grandfather?
Roberta Josey: Well, he went to Texas A&M University and he was in the ROTC there, so when he graduated he went into the Army. He fought in World War I, World War II and was a general in Korea, though he went before the war actually started. I also remember he was in Panama for a bit while in the Army. After, he came and was chancellor and president of UH and he loved that, but when he retired he went to his ranch and hunted. That was one of his favorite things.
TC: What do you remember the most about your grandfather?
RJ: Oh, a lot of things. A story, though, is when once I asked him, “How do you take care of all these men you’re in charge of?” and I remember clearly he said, “You have to have discipline in order to change lives.” He always had different sides to him; there was the chancellor side, the general side and his grandfather side. Yet, with us he was always such a gentle man; he was able to separate those sides.
TC: Did you get to visit the center when it first opened? What was your first impression?
RJ: I wasn’t actually here the first time it opened. I visited for the first time in 1993 and then again about eight years ago. I wasn’t here, but I remember my grandfather talking about it.
TC: What do you think is the significance of the center?
RJ: The way that the center is about inclusion and about what brings us together or makes us similar rather than what makes us different. It’s about bringing all kinds of religions and denominations together despite differences.
TC: How has the University changed since your grandfather’s time as president? Do you think anything has been lost with the growth?
RJ: Oh, no, I don’t think anything has been lost; I feel that he would just be so thrilled that this is what the University is like now. I remember that when he was chancellor, the students had to do a survey of their religion. Once all of that data had been collected, he would go out to the community and talk to the churches and temples and centers and have them reach out to the students. I don’t think anything has been lost. I see a lot of diversity, but also a lot of inclusion.
TC: How has your tour of Texas gone?
RJ: I went to A&M yesterday and I actually saw the hall that they dedicated to him. They only have eight halls dedicated to cadets, and I was able to see that, and today I’m going to visit the rest of UH and see the whole campus.
TC: What do you think has been your grandfather’s legacy to the school?
RJ: Well this, the center and everything that the people that work at the center have contributed, how they work and bring people together. All of the events that they’ve been doing, he would be so pleased and proud of what the center and the University have achieved.