Colonel W. B. Bates
Colonel William B. Bates was born in Nat, Texas and earned his elementary teaching certificate at Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) in 1911.
He graduated from the University of Texas law school in 1915 and enlisted in the Leon Springs First Officers Training Camp at the beginning of World War I. Bates was commissioned a second lieutenant in August 1917 and was twice wounded in France; he held the rank of captain when he was discharged in July 1919.
Bates returned to Nacogdoches and was elected district attorney in 1920 for the Second Judicial District. In 1923 he moved to Houston and joined the law firm of Fulbright and Crooker (later Fulbright and Jaworski) as an associate. He soon became a partner and continued as such until he retired in 1971.
Bates was an original trustee of the M. D. Anderson Foundation and became its chairman when the founder, Monroe D. Anderson, died in 1939. The foundation played a key role in building the Texas Medical Center in Houston.
He served as a member of the Houston Board of Education from 1927 to 1935 and was president of that board from 1932 to 1935. He also served the University of Houston as a regent from 1963 to 1971.
In appreciation of his support, Governor Daniel J. Moody commissioned him an honorary colonel, a title that Bates used for the remainder of his life.