DAVID FRANKLIN HOUSTON
David Franklin Houston, retired president and professor
of government, died on September 2, 1940. He was 74.
President Houston was born on February 17, 1866, in
Monroe, North Carolina. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University
of South Carolina in 1887. He received a master's degree from Harvard
University in 1892.
President Houston became an adjunct member of the faculty
of The University of Texas at Austin in 1894. After being promoted to
associate professor in 1898, he was named dean of the faculty in 1899.
President Houston left the University for three years, when he was named
president of Texas A&M University in 1902. In 1905 he returned to
UT Austin to serve as its president. During his three-year administration,
the University organized its doctoral program and raised admission standards
for freshmen and for law and medical students. A new law school building
was also completed. President Houston left the University in 1908 when
he was selected chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.
In 1913 President Houston was appointed secretary of
agriculture in the cabinet of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. A record
number of agricultural laws were passed by Congress during his seven-year
tenure. Important legislation included the Farm Loan Act, the Warehouse
Act, and the Federal Aid Road Act. During the last year of the Wilson
Administration, President Houston served as secretary of the treasury.
After leaving government service, he became president
of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. President Houston
also served as a director of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company,
the Guaranty Trust Company, and the United States Steel Corporation.
He was an overseer of Harvard University and a member of the board of
trustees of Columbia University.
President Houston published A Critical
Study of Nullification in South Carolina. He later published a two-volume
memoir of his experiences as a cabinet member, Eight Years with Wilson's
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
Biographical sketch prepared by Teresa Palomo Acosta
and posted on the Faculty Council web site on January 5, 2001.
Additional biographical sources can be found in the Barker Texas
History Center, UT Office of Public Affairs, and the New
Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association,