Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Former Tarleton President George J. Nunn

100 years ago the President of John Tarleton College was George J. Nunn. He assumed the duty at the beginning of the 1911-12 term. However his tenure at Tarleton was short lived. He resigned after one year to return to Amarillo to oversee his business interests there.

Mr. Nunn, a distinguished scholar and world traveler, obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees from Vanderbilt University and also studied in Leipzig, Germany. He had traveled extensively in Europe and the Holy Land, cruising with his wife from Montreal on June 1, 1910 and sailing back from London in October 1910. He had been in the administration of Alexander Institute in Jacksonville and Polytechnic Institue in Fort Worth prior to coming to Tarleton. His wife was Stephenville native Zula Orr, daughter of William Polk Orr, who with his family, settled in Stephenville in 1882. Mr. Orr, a hardware dealer specializing in harnesses and carriages, was a member of the first city council. Mrs. Orr was a member of the Twentieth Century Club, and had served as president.

Not much happened at John Tarleton College during his one year tenure but prior to his presidency the wealthy widow Mary Corn Wilkerson had donated 370 acres of land to Tarleton. It was sold and the profits were used to build the first women's dorm on campus. The Mary Corn Wilkerson dormitory was completed by the fall of 1908 and was located where the Hunewell annex is now facing McIlhaney.

One tidbit contained in the June 16, 1911 Stephenville Empire stated that "Dr. Nunn thinks a large picture of Mrs. Mary C. Wilkerson should by all means adorn the walls of the dormitory and one is being made for that purpose!"

Chamberlain, Frank. The Early Presidents of Tarleton, Dick Smith Library Cross Timbers Historic Images Project.

Guthrie, Christopher E., John Tarleton and His Legacy.

King, C. Richard, Golden Days of Purple & White.

Stephenville Empire, June 16, 1911.

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