Glenn Terrell

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For the Florida Supreme Court justice, see William Glenn Terrell.
Glenn Terrell
President of
Washington State University
In office
Preceded by C. Clement French
Succeeded by Samuel H. Smith
Personal details
Born (1920-05-24)May 24, 1920
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
Died August 30, 2013(2013-08-30) (aged 93)
Sequim, Washington
Alma mater Davidson College
Florida State University
University of Iowa

William Glenn Terrell, Jr. (May 24, 1920 – August 30, 2013) was an American academic, and the former president of Washington State University, serving from 1967–1985.

Early life and education[edit]

Terrell was born May 24, 1920 in Tallahassee, Florida, the son of William Glenn Terrell and Esther Collins Terrell.[1] Father and son shared the full name William Glenn Terrell, and both used Glenn as their given name in their professional and personal lives.

The younger Glenn Terrell attended Davidson College in North Carolina for his bachelor's degree in political science, awarded in 1942. Terrell served in the U.S. Army during World War II, in the U.S. and Europe. He received his master's degree in psychology from Florida State University in 1948, and his doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Iowa in 1952.[2][3]


Terrell began his academic career as a psychology instructor at Florida State and rose to associate professor before he moved to the University of Colorado in 1955.[4] He was appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1963, becoming dean of faculties there in 1965. He was selected by the Board of Regents as the seventh president of Washington State University in 1967 and began his duties July 1st, succeeding C. Clement French.[5][3]

Terrell led WSU during a period of substantial growth in several aspects of the institution. Enrollment increased 50%, from 11,000 students in 1967-68[6] to 16,500 in 1984-85, the academic year in which he retired. Both the 50,000th graduate (1971) and the 100,000th graduate (1983) received their diplomas from President Terrell.[7] Funding for research through grants and contracts grew from $11 million in 1965-67 period to $68.5 million in 1983-85, reflecting the university's increased emphasis on faculty research and scholarship during the Terrell years.[8]


In 1985, the year Terrell completed his service as WSU's president, he was honored by the University of Iowa with its Distinguished Alumni Award. He was recognized for the transformation of WSU, a predominantly undergraduate state college, into a comprehensive public research university.[9]

Also in that year, Washington State University recognized his many contributions to the institution by establishing the Glenn Terrell Scholarship Endowment and naming the mall at the heart of the Pullman campus the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall.

In April 2006, WSU honored the president emeritus by dedicating the new humanities and social sciences library the Glenn Terrell Library. The building is connected to the earlier Holland Library, leading to a formal designation for the complex as the Holland and Terrell Libraries.[10] He died aged 93 in August 2013.[11]


In the late 1880s, Glenn Terrell's grandparents, Rev. William Henry Terrell and Lizzie Crawford Terrell, moved from Daleville, Mississippi, to Bushnell, Florida, Sumter County, Florida, north of Tampa. W. H. Terrell was the pastor of the original Bushnell Presbyterian Church, while Lizzie taught children in her home and then at the first school there.[12]

With W.H. and Lizzie were their sons William Glenn Terrell and W. C. Ross Terrell and their daughters, Maggie, Hattie and Mary, all born in Mississippi, the 1900 Census shows. Son Glenn was first a teacher, then a lawyer, and then the longest-serving justice on the Florida Supreme Court, retiring after 41 years at age 86 in 1964.[13][14]

William Glenn Terrell Sr. married Esther Collins, and their children were Miriam, Doris, Ruth, and William Glenn Terrell Jr., the later the subject of this entry. Both men were usually called Glenn, but are recorded as W. Glenn Terrell, Sr. and W. Glenn Terrell, Jr. in various documents. The father also was recorded as William Glenn Terrell in some materials.

He is a fifth generation great-grandson of William and Susannah (Waters) Terrell.[15] As a result, he is distantly related to both Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.[16]


  1. ^ [Marquis Who's Who in the West, 1980-1981. page 721]
  2. ^ Students first among Glenn Terrell's firsts, Sequim Gazette
  3. ^ a b Lewiston Morning Tribune - Terrell assumes WSU helm - 1967-08-18 - p.18
  4. ^ Glenn Terrell, University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award, 1985
  5. ^ Profile of Glenn Terrell as Past President of WSU
  6. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Pullman to house more than 11,000 - 1967-08-18 - p.18
  7. ^ Glenn Terrell in The Presidents: Our Story
  8. ^ Profile of Glenn Terrell as a Past President of WSU
  9. ^ Glenn Terrell, University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award, 1985
  10. ^ Library naming honors president Glenn Terrell
  11. ^ Long, Katherine (30 August 2013). "Glenn Terrell led WSU growth, saw good in all he met". Seattle Times. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Beginnings of Bushnell Elementary School
  13. ^ The Evolution of Justice in Florida
  14. ^ St. Petersburg Times - Justice Glenn Terrel announces he will retire on Feb. 1 - 1964-01-12 - p.2-B
  15. ^ Dicken, Emma. Terrell Genealogy. San Antonio, Texas: The Naylor Company. pp. 116–117. Glenn Terrell, Jr. has been teaching in the University of Florida. 
  16. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams. "Ancestry of Barack Obama". William Addams Reitwiesner Genealogical Services. Washington, DC. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
C. Clement French
President of Washington State University
Succeeded by
Samuel H. Smith