end of World War II in 1945 brought a rapid influx of veterans
going to college with financial help from the G.I. Bill. The
Gilmer-Aikin Bill in Texas brought many teachers back to take
classes in the summer. By the late 1940s, colleges and universities
were expanding facilities to accommodate the growth.
At North Texas, the drafty old Quonset huts used for housing and
classrooms were being abandoned, and new buildings were going up.
Bruce Hall was under construction, and I hauled materials for Foxworth-Galbraith
Lumber Co. for its completion.
The new science building, to be called Masters Hall after W.N.
Masters, a prominent former head of the chemistry department, was
follow. The chemistry and biology departments were to share the
In 1950, as a senior pre-medical student and laboratory assistant
for the biology department under Drs. J.K.G. Silvey and David Morris,
I had helped move all the equipment, materials, specimens and supplies
from the old science hall on Avenue A and Hickory to the new building,
just south of Marquis Hall. We had almost completed the move but
were still in the old building.
One early morning, after chasing run-away Phi Alpha Tau (now Sigma
Phi Epsilon fraternity) pledges until after midnight, I left my
home on Locust Street and drove to school in my 1927 Model T Ford,
"Betsy" ( her photo can be seen here).
On my desk was a note informing me that Dr. Morris had had emergency
surgery and I was to take over his anatomy and physiology class
for home economics and medical technology majors for the
rest of the semester — beginning that day.
After having been responsible for only the lab portion of the class,
I now would also be responsible for the lectures, testing and grading.
I was a biology major but
had never actually taken that particular class.
There was no time to indulge in fear
or excitement, honor or prowess; the first class began in 10 minutes.
It went well,
as did the remaining ones in the course.
Before the semester was over, we moved into the new science building,
and I felt privileged to deliver the first lecture in
the new, modern, state-of-the-art lecture hall with the electrically
controlled projection screen — a real thrill for a young
Although no faculty member ever contacted me to find out how I
or what I was doing, I did have some help grading papers from a
friend to whom I will be married 50 years in 2004.
I finished the remaining six weeks of the semester smoothly, and
everyone passed. By the time Dr. Morris returned,
I was in medical school at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Looking back on it, that North Texas teaching experience, as well
as my time on the senior men’s debate team, gave me the self-confidence
and gift of speech I needed to feel comfortable talking to any
group — one-on-one, as would be required in my medical practice,
or larger groups.
This ability continues to serve me
well. Some even say it’s hard to get me
to shut up.
King ('51) received his medical degree from Northwestern
University in Chicago in 1955. He served in the Army and
had a general family practice in Pueblo, Colo., before
working in radiology in the North Texas and Oklahoma areas.
In addition to teaching and debating at North Texas, he
was a member of Phi Alpha Tau fraternity, the Gammadions,
Alpha Chi, Blue Key, Beta Beta Beta, the W.N. Masters Chemical
Society and the Religious Council. He married medical technology
major and paper-grading assistant Eugenia Ruth McKinney
('52) in 1954.