Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of 10 weekly articles on individuals who made positive contributions to Stephenville, the Cross Timbers area and/or the State of Texas.
Many other noteworthy individuals, other than these 10, have made their “mark” in this area. Perhaps some of these names can be included in future columns.
By STUART CHILTON Special Contributor
This individual was born in Waco in 1900, graduating from Waco High School in
1918. He received the bachelor of science degree from Texas A&M College in 1922 with a major in chemical engineering. He later earned a master's degree from Texas A&M with a major in economics. Two honorary doctorates were bestowed on him - one from Howard Payne University in Brownwood and the other from Daniel Baker College, also in Brownwood. He initially worked for the Gulf Oil Company in Port Arthur. It was in Port Arthur, where he met his future wife, Ruth. Shortly after their marriage in 1923, the young couple moved to Stephenville, where he had accepted the job as an assistant professor of chemistry at then John Tarleton Agricultural College.
In 1924, he was named Registrar and Commandant at Tarleton. He served in this
capacity until 1930, when he accepted the job as assistant registrar at Texas A&M. Two years later he was promoted to registrar. He was called to active duty in the U.S. Army in 1940 and served until 1945, rising to the rank of colonel.
In 1945, he returned to Tarleton as the Dean and Chief Executive Officer. Three years later, when the Texas A&M College System was created and John Tarleton Agricultural College became Tarleton State College, he was appointed president.
During his 21-year tenure (1945-1966) as the CEO at Tarleton, 13 new buildings were constructed. When Tarleton became a four-year college in 1959, he guided the college through its transition from a junior college to a degree-granting college. The couple had two children - a daughter, Nancy, who resided in Beaumont at the time of her death in 2004; and a son, Jim, who presently lives in North Carolina.
This individual died in 1977 and is buried here in the West End Cemetery along side his wife. In 1997, a building was named for him on the Tarleton campus. His endowed scholarship has assisted many students attend Tarleton.
A Name to Remember - Dr. E.J. Howell
Dr. Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville. He occasionally writes for this newspaper.