Editor's Note: This is the 13th in a series of 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 those in this series, have made their “mark” in this area. Perhaps some of these persons can be included in future stories. Thanks are due Vickie Swam and Diane Rodriguez, administrative assistants in the President's office at Tarleton State University, in obtaining information on today's featured person.
By STUART CHILTON Special Contributor
This individual is one, who might be termed, “A Man of the Soil.”
His preparation and background was in the field of Agronomy. He's a native of Oklahoma. To be more specific, he was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma on Nov. 1, 1920.
His public school education was in Anadarko, where he graduated from high school in 1938. During his early school days, he went by his middle name - Oren. His activities in high school primarily consisted of being a member of the debate team, participating in various livestock judging events and playing football one year.
In 1942, he graduated from Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) in Stillwater. His major was Agronomy.
Shortly after his college graduation, he married Altha Florence Tucker on Aug. 2, 1942. The couple would later have two children - a boy and a girl.
Following his marriage, he entered the United States Army. He completed his military service in 1946. Soon after his discharge, he entered a graduate program at Ohio State University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1949. His major was Soil Fertility, while his minor fields were Plant Physiology, Soil Chemistry and Soil Physics.
He devoted 40 years of service to the field of education. He also worked in Agricultural Experiment Stations in Ohio and Texas. His higher education experience began at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls as Chairman of the Department of Agriculture. He later became Head of the Department of Soils and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University.
He came to Tarleton State College (now University) as the twelfth president on Sept. 1, 1966. He served in this job for 16 years, stepping down from the presidency in 1982 to return to the classroom as a Professor of Agronomy at Tarleton. He taught until his retirement in 1988.
Many new degree programs were added during his presidency, including master degrees. He has authored more than 30 articles in professional journals.
His civic interests included being District Governor in the Rotary Club, member of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Erath County Mental Health Association.
He also served as a Sunday School teacher at the First United Methodist Church for a number of years. He also held memberships in many other organizations.
In the late 1990s, a building on the Tarleton State University campus was named for him and his wife. His wife, who was known as Flo, died July 24, 2000.
A Name to Remember - Dr. William Oren Trogdon
Dr. Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville. He occasionally writes for this newspaper