Eleven years later, and he remembers it like it was yesterday.
"They said a plane had hit the Pentagon, and they said there was one coming for the White House, and that we needed to evacuate now," said Jodey Arrington, Vice Chancellor for Research, Commercialization and Federal Relations at Texas Tech.
At the time an associate director of personnel under former president George Bush, Arrington witnessed the 9/11 attacks from the White House, while many watched on TV.
"You heard people screaming, and you saw women taking off their shoes, their heels, and running," Arrington said. "And we all sort of evacuated. You did have security directing you in different places, but yeah. I think it was a surprise and a shock to everybody."
When the initial shock subsided, Arrington said he came away with a newfound sense of worth for his position at the White House.
"I think it just upped the ante for what we wanted to do as a team, to make our mark and to make our country and to leave our country better than when we found it," Arrington said.
And on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he said he's flooded with memories.
"It brings back the images that we all have seen that are horrific," Arrington said. "And it sometimes gets you very angry because of what the Al-Qaeda and terrorist groups did and continue to plot."
He said it's a day of mixed emotions that he will never forget.
"It was extremely sobering and sad, but it was also awe-inspiring to be there and be a part of his team, a small part of his team, and to watch up close what a president goes through in circumstances like that," Arrington said.
Though that chapter of his life is over, Arrington said what he learned during his time at the White House, he will carry with him forever.