Dossie Marion Wiggins
University Administrator, 1919
Dr. Dossie Marion Wiggins was born December 9, 1895 in Crowley, Louisiana. At an early age, he moved with his parents to Canadian, Texas, where he received his elementary and secondary educations. He attended Goodnight Junior College, transferring to Hardin-Simmons University, where he graduated magna cum laude and received his bachelor’s degree in 1919.
Afterward he moved to Burkburnett where he served a dual role as principal and coach at the high school. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and following the war, served as principal and coach at Vernon for a year. He then returned to Canadian, where he was principal and coach for two years before becoming superintendent.
Between 1925 and 1930, Dr. Wiggins received his master’s degree at Yale University, completed graduate work at the University of Chicago, and returned to Yale for his Ph.D.
He was Dean of Students and Professor of Education at Hardin-Simmons from 1926 to 1935, where he encouraged students to look to the future. In the 1929 yearbook, he is quoted as saying, “a new era of development is upon us,” and later said to students, “It is the purpose of Hardin-Simmons University to assist men and women in adjusting themselves to a new civilization. The University expresses the hope that learnings acquired on her campus may benefit you in your attack on your frontier.”
He was a strong advocate of truth and freedom. When returning to the HSU campus in 1949 to speak at the dedication ceremonies for the Sandefer Memorial Building, at the laying of the cornerstone, he said, “It would be fitting for us to dedicate this building and ourselves to the eternal quest for truth and freedom which Dr. Sandefer constantly pursued.” The 1934 yearbook gave Dr. Wiggins this honor: “His tireless efforts to build and foster a spirit of cooperation, unity, and independence among Simmons students have won the gratitude and respect of all alike. His fair, manly example has made him an inspiration to the students with whom he comes in contact.”
In 1935 he was named president of Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy (now University of Texas at El Paso), a position he held until being named president of Texas Tech University in 1948.
During his tenure as president of Texas Tech from 1948 to 1952, the university saw great expansion in programs and in facilities. Eleven new buildings and five major additions were added during his administration and the Ph.D. program was instituted. Dr. Wiggins was a forward-thinking leader who could see far into the future with the courage to make decisions, not always popular at the time, that would yield results for future generations to enjoy. He saw to the practical need and future importance of landscaping the Texas Tech campus. He launched Tech’s first major landscape improvement project and organized the university’s first sustained building program, turning a dirt-surfaced campus with just a few buildings into a hard-surfaced complex.
Dr. Wiggins resigned his position as president of Texas Tech in 1952 to become associated with Citizens National Bank (later Texas Commerce Bank). He served as president from 1960 to 1961, and became Chairman of the Executive Committee in 1962. He remained a member of the board until his death.
Dr. Wiggins was a member of the boards of the Texas Tech Foundation, the Hardin-Simmons University Board of Trustees, the Medical Research Foundation Board of Texas, and the Coordinating Board of Texas College and University Systems. He served as director of the West Texas Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Wiggins was listed in Who’s Who in Commerce and Industry and in the Biographical Encyclopedia of the World. In 1943 he was awarded the LL.D. by Hardin-Simmons, and in 1953, he received the LL.D. from Texas Tech University. He received the Hardin-Simmons University Keeter Alumni Service Award in 1966.
Dr. Wiggins married Winnie Kinard in 1918. Following her death in 1975, he married Louise Resley in 1977. He had no children.
Dr. Wiggins was described by the Texas Tech Dean of Students who worked with him as, “not a big man, physically. Short and trim, and dapper as to dress, he bristled with energy. You became aware of him the moment he entered the room. He always seemed slightly amused, his light and ready chuckle the sound effect for his concluding remarks.”
Dossie Marion Wiggins died September 1, 1978 at the age of 82. Dr. Wiggins left his mark on generations of students challenging them to look to their future.
It is the high honor of Hardin-Simmons University to recognize one of her own and to formally induct Dr. Dossie Marion Wiggins into the HSU Hall of Leaders.