Texas A&M regents on Friday named the newest facility in the university’s research park for a former student and state highway department head who initiated a transportation research program that has spanned more than half a century.
When Texas Transportation Institute personnel move into the new building this fall, it will bear the name of Gibb Gilchrist ’13. After serving as the State Highway Engineer of Texas during two separate periods, Gilchrist went on to become dean of engineering in 1937 and president of the A&M College in 1944. He became chancellor of the A&M System in 1948, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1953.
While at A&M, Gilchrist was active in promoting transportation research as an essential part of developing a reliable transportation system for Texas. The Cooperative Research Program, as it was known, was established in 1948, during the early years of the Interstate Highway System construction. State officials regard the Program as one of the main reasons why Texas is known to have one of the finest highway networks in the nation.
The research program begun by Gilchrist led to the creation of the Texas Transportation Institute. Though he never formally held the title, Gilchrist in many respects served as the first director of TTI.
TTI, a member of the Texas A&M System, is now the largest university-affiliated transportation research agency in the U.S. Patented TTI innovations have been credited with saving lives, time and money for motorists and industries throughout the nation.