Special to the Empire-Tribune
Dr. O.A. Grant, a longtime faculty member at Tarleton State University, will be honored posthumously during a dedication ceremony on Saturday. The current Humanities Building will be renamed the O.A. Grant Building in memory of his dedication and far-reaching involvement with the university.
The dedication will be at 11:30 a.m. at the building entrance and Dr. Don Zelman, social science professor, will be the moderator for the ceremonies. Other speakers include Peter Grant Jr., grandson of Dr. Grant; Rod Gorman, Tarleton alum and former student of Dr. Grant's; and Dr. Michael Pierce, retired department head of social sciences.
A reception will be held in the building's foyer following the dedication ceremony. The public is welcome to attend.
“I know how much this would mean to him,” said Betty Grant, Dr. Grant's wife, who is a Stephenville resident. “He would certainly be shocked to know that a building was going to be named after him.”
Grant joined the Tarleton family in 1948 as a political science professor. He was later appointed as department head of social sciences in 1967 and served in that capacity until 1976, at which time he relinquished the position to return to teaching full time.
Betty recalled that her late husband never set out to win awards or take credit- he just simply loved teaching.
“He really cared about students,” Betty said. “He cared about them all. And he didn't give grades away-you had to earn them. He really enjoyed Tarleton because he loved being at a place where he could be involved with students.”
In 1954, he was awarded the Ford Foundation Grant for a year's study at Stanford University. Grant was Tarleton's first professor to receive the Minnie L. Piper Award for outstanding teaching in Texas colleges and universities, which he was awarded in 1962. He received the Outstanding Educator of America in 1973.
The university recognized Grant with the Tarleton Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981. He was also honored by the Tarleton Alumni Association with the Distinguished Faculty Member award in 1983.
After 39 years of outstanding service to the university, Grant retired in 1987. In light of his numerous contributions to Tarleton, Grant was conferred with the “professor emeritus” title by The Texas A&M University System on June 1, 1987. The Tarleton Alumni Association and the Tarleton Alumni Relations Office also honored Grant by establishing the O. A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes Tarleton faculty members who have had a profound effect on the lives on careers of Tarleton students.
Grant is fondly remembered by many students, faculty, staff and Stephenville citizens for his outstanding character, integrity, sense of humor and especially for his unyielding dedication to Tarleton's students. Grant passed away on Aug. 19, 2004, at the age of 86.
“Grant and Betty broadened many students' horizons by inviting them into their home and taking them to Fort Worth and other places for various cultural events,” Zelman said. “He had such an impact on the cultural growth here at Tarleton. He left a huge legacy of love for education.”