Arleigh Templeton
Arleigh B. Templeton

First UTSA president dies at age 90

(Oct. 30, 2006)--Arleigh B. Templeton, UTSA's first president, died Oct. 28 at age 90.

Templeton began his UTSA tenure in July 1970 when the university was little more than an idea. By the time he left in late 1972, construction had begun on the first seven buildings.

At the time, the UTSA campus was the largest new university under construction in the United States. While president, Templeton secured continuing operating revenues, hired the first faculty and staff, and won approval for 38 degree programs.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Sam Houston State University, and master's and Ph.D. degrees in education from the University of Houston. Templeton dedicated his career to Texas education, first as a high school principal and later as superintendent of schools for several school systems before serving as president of Sam Houston State University immediately before he came to UTSA.

According to a San Antonio Express-News obituary, Templeton was born April 18, 1916, in New Waverly, Texas, to Claude E. and Jennie B. Templeton. Templeton's career as a bold and imaginative educational leader spanned more than three decades. He changed Sam Houston State Teachers University from a teachers college to a state college and to a university in six years.

As president of UTSA, he directed the planning as well as helped raise the money to build the university. The university was built without student fees or state permanent university funds. At UT El Paso, he reworked the university, building $50 million worth of new buildings and establishing graduate programs including its first doctoral degree.

Templeton served for many years with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Elected president of the organization in 1967, he was the second Texan to serve as its leader. He was executive director of Governor John B. Connally's Committee on Education Beyond the High School (1963-64) and served for 30 years on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Templeton is survived by his wife of 68 years, Maxie, son Earl Wayne, daughter-in-law Judy Templeton, two grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 31 at Sunset Funeral Home in San Antonio with funeral services at the same location at 7 p.m. A graveside service will be at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 2 at Forest Park East Cemetery in Webster, Texas. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be given to the Arleigh B. Templeton scholarship funds at UTSA, University of Texas at El Paso or Sam Houston State University.