Educator James Cash made history at TCU, now he has a campus statue in his honor

James Cash, wife Clemmie and the statue. (Photo by James Anger)

James Cash made history as TCU’s first Black student-athlete and the first Black basketball player in the Southwest Conference, then went on to landmark accomplishments in education and business. On Friday (Nov. 11), the 1969 graduate’s legacy was permanently and visibly  enshrined on the TCU campus as his alma mater dedicated a statue in his honor in front of the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

Adding further significance to the occasion: Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. presented Cash with an Honorary Doctor of Science.

“Through your courage and determination, you used your experiences and perspectives to move TCU – and other organizations you touched – forward,” Boschini said.

A plaque on the sculpture bears a memorable and appropriate quote from Cash: “TCU helped me accomplish more than others thought possible, by teaching me to care more than others thought wise, which empowered me to take more risk than others thought was safe.”

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After receiving his bachelor’s degree from TCU, Cash earned master’s and doctorate degrees at Purdue University in Indiana. He joined the Harvard Business School faculty in 1976, teaching in each of the school’s major programs, and in 1985 he became the first Black faculty member to receive tenure. He is now the school’s James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus.

When a renovated building on the campus of the Harvard Business School was named for Cash, Boschini and several members of the TCU Board of Trustees traveled to Harvard to attend the ceremony.

Cash is on the board of directors of several corporations, including General Electric; The Chubb Corporation; Phase Forward, Inc.; Walmart; and Veracode. He also served on the board at Microsoft. In 2003, Cash joined the Boston Celtics’ ownership group, where he helped launch community-based initiatives focusing on racism and racial inequality.

Cash, an Academic All-American at TCU, led the Horned Frogs basketball team to the 1968 Southwest Conference championship and was named First Team All-Southwest Conference. One of five players in program history with at least 1,000 points and 800 rebounds, Cash’s jersey is one of only four retired at TCU.

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“Your achievements on this campus were just the beginning of what would become an extraordinary career,” Boschini said. “For TCU students, you are the ultimate role model for ethical leadership and responsible citizenship.”

The statue of Cash was dedicated at a ceremony hosted by TCU Athletics and attended by Cash’s family and teammates, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks, TCU Board of Trustees President Mark Johnson, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeremiah Donati, TCU Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon, and many other TCU leaders and alumni.

The statue was one of seven recommendations presented to the Board of Trustees following the Race & Reconciliation Initiative’s First Year Survey Report in April 2021. The recommendations, all of which were unanimously approved by the board, included the suggestion to commemorate the efforts of underrepresented groups who contributed to TCU’s development as an educational step toward creating a more inclusive community. Rather than removing statues or other items, TCU has committed to honoring its diverse Horned Frogs by telling a more complete story.

Following the statue dedication, cash participated in a panel discussion, “History in the Making: The Impact of James Cash at TCU and Beyond,” hosted by the Race & Reconciliation Initiative.

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Information for this article was provided by TCU.