By his own account, his mother provided the main influence on the young Bean. He has explained that his father’s work meant that he had been often absent. And like so many fathers, he went away on military service during the Second World War. Consequently, Bean credited his mother with teaching him the value of “hard work and reliability.”
After graduation from Fort Worth’s R. L. Paschal High School, Bean went on to study at the University of Texas at Austin. While still in high school, he’d won a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship to attend university. He has said that without this help he wouldn’t have been able to afford college.
Writing on his own website, alanbean.com, Bean explained his choice of degree at the University of Texas. “My goal in life, every (sic) since I was about 10 years old, was to become a Navy pilot, so I majored in Aeronautical Engineering because I thought this would make me a better pilot,” he declared.