WILLIAM LAMBDIN PRATHER
William Lambdin Prather, president and former regent
of The University of Texas at Austin, died on July 24, 1905. He was
President Prather was born on May 1, 1848, in Chestnut
Grove near Paris, Tennessee. He grew up on a plantation outside Waco,
Texas. He earned an LLB degree in law from Washington and Lee University
President Prather was admitted to the bar and practiced
law in Waco for 28 years. He served as Waco city attorney from 1875
to 1878. From 1895 to 1896 he was president of the state bar association.
In 1887 he was appointed to the UT Board of Regents.
He served as vice chairman of the board in 1895 and as chairman in 1899.
He was named acting president of the University in 1899 and president
Under his administration enrollment increased and the
institution won favor with the legislature. President Prather also provided
the University with the words "The Eyes of Texas are upon you," which
later became the title of the institution's official song. As a student,
he reportedly heard Washington and Lee University President Robert E.
Lee tell students, "Young men, the eyes of the South are upon you."
President Prather changed the words slightly and used them as opening
and parting comments he made to students. "The Eyes of Texas are upon
you" was placed under trademark registration in 1936.
The 1906 Cactus was dedicated to President Prather.
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 and the New
Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association,