Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

divider line


divider line

View in portable document format.




Auline R. Schrank was born in Hamilton County, Texas, on August 15, 1915. He died in Austin on February 15, 2001, after an extended illness. Most of the intervening 85 years were spent in Austin, where he was involved at The University of Texas in teaching and research, and, later, in administration.

He received an associate science diploma from Tarleton Agricultural College in 1934 and a BA degree from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1937. His undergraduate major was biology (with minors in education and German), and when he entered the graduate program at UT, biology became his major interest. He received a PhD in 1942 for work done under the direction of Professor E. J. Lund. This involved the classical Avena coleoptile system and the effects of electrical fields (and other physical and chemical stimuli) on the growth and, particularly, the curvature, of the coleoptile. Most of his research output (about 40 papers) was centered around this theme; his teaching efforts encompassed the broader aspects of this subject and included courses in cell physiology, human physiology, biophysics, and general physiology.

Starting in the late 1950s, "Schrank," as everyone called him, became heavily involved in administration—first in the Department of Zoology, as associate chairman (1959-63), and then as chairman (1963-70). This covered the major planning period of the new zoology building (Patterson Laboratories), and Schrank was much involved in the process. His effectiveness as an administrator was recognized when he was appointed associate dean of the newly-formed College of Natural Sciences in 1971. He became acting dean in 1973 on the retirement of the first dean of the college, Dr. Sam Ellison, and again when Ellison's successor, Dr. Paul Olum, resigned to move to the presidency of the University of Oregon. In 1976 Schrank was appointed dean. He retired from that post in 1980.

Schrank had many of the best qualities of a good administrator. He was low-key, calm, levelheaded, and fair—essential attitudes for running a heterogeneous department (as the zoology department was), with faculty expertise ranging all the way from molecular biology and biochemistry to field ecology and population genetics. In the dean's office, these same attributes served him and the college in good stead in that even broader environment.

Schrank was an avid sportsman. He participated in football, track, baseball, and basketball at Southwest Texas State, and, as with his academic career, graduated to "administration" as an official in local high school football games when his playing days were over. Later, he became a "spotter" for Wally Pryor during UT home football games. In this function, a story is told that his opposite number—the spotter for the visiting team—complained one time that each week he had to learn a new roster, whereas Schrank had the easier task of spotting the same players from the home team. "Yes," Schrank replied, "that's true, but if you make a mistake no one notices. If I make a mistake, half of Austin will be on the phone to correct it."

Schrank was also a keen outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting deer, wild turkey, and doves on his property near Dripping Springs, and fishing in the local lakes as well as the deep sea. He was one of the originals of the Society of Applied Piscatology (SAPS), a group of faculty, staff, and students, who participated in an annual fishing weekend and a subsequent dinner utilizing the "catch."

Schrank is survived by his devoted wife, Dorris, a son, Kenton, and a daughter, Karen. Both Kenton and Karen are graduates of The University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston.

Schrank had been absent from the campus for some time before his death because of a long, debilitating illness. However, his influence is still strong as a legacy in the form of the bricks and mortar of the Patterson Laboratories, and in the continued growth and development of the College of Natural Sciences.


Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Emeritus Hugh S. Forrest (chair), H. Eldon Sutton, and Fritz de Wette, and Professor Austin M. Gleeson.

The bibliography is available upon request from the Office of the General Faculty.