AUSTIN, Texas — Tuesday’s inauguration – the oath of office for Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on the steps of the Capitol – has been shaped by decades of tradition that stretches back more than a century.

Governors of the state of Texas stretch back to James Pickney Henderson, who fought in the original Texas Revolution for independence. Records of gubernatorial inaugurations, organized by the Legislative Reference Library, begin with James Stephen Hogg’s inauguration in 1891 and included an inaugural ball and banquet.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Greg Abbott will be inaugurated for his third term today.

  • Inaugurations over the years have included victory dinners, prayer breakfasts and multiple balls.

  • Tuesday's inauguration will include an oath of office, followed by lunch on the Capitol grounds.

  • Abbott is expected to address his goals for the legislative session.

Every subsequent inauguration has had multiple committees to organize and raise funds for the event. Frequently, the mayor of Austin chaired one of the committees and the invitations came in the name of the City of Austin, with wording such as,“The Citizens of Austin request your presence at the inauguration …”

Abbott will be sworn in for his third term today, and he’s one of five governors who have been sworn in three times. Allan Shivers, Price Daniel, Sr., John Connally, Jr. and Rick Perry all were sworn in for three terms.  

Inauguration events in Texas could be sparse or elaborate. Shivers requested a simple oath-taking ceremony in 1951 after Pres. Harry Truman declared a state of emergency after Chinese intervention into the Korean War. The first inauguration for Daniel, in 1957, included a parade down Congress Avenue – with twirlers, high school bands and military units – as well as a fly-over from Bergstrom Air Force Base and the Texas Air National Guard.

Often, the governor would host an afternoon concert and an early evening reception of guests, either in the Capitol Rotunda or at the Governor’s Mansion. Gov. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, a well-known radio personality, abandoned invitations altogether in 1941 and used his Sunday radio address to invite everyone down to the Capitol for free barbeque after his inauguration. O’Daniel shot a 2,000-pound buffalo on the Schreiner Ranch for the occasion.

Inaugural balls were typically hosted in multiple locations. When Daniel was sworn into office in 1957, the formal inaugural ball, with a master of ceremonies, was at Gregory Auditorium on the University of Texas campus. Daniel and his wife, along with Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey and his wife, started their evening there, then went on to balls at the Commodore Perry Hotel, the Stephen F. Austin Hotel and the Driskill Hotel. The City Coliseum, which was demolished in 2002, was reserved for square dancing.

The inaugural ceremony itself has remained fairly constant. The chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court administers the oath of office to both the lieutenant governor and governor. Both the lieutenant governor and governor make speeches. In 2019, Abbott incorporated the University of Texas Longhorn band and the Aggie Band into the celebration.