Ray O. Wyland

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Ray O. Wyland
National Director of Education and National Director of the Division of Relationships for the Boy Scouts of America
In office

Ray Orion Wyland (April 15, 1890 – October 26, 1969 Los Angeles, California) served as national director of education and national director of the Division of Relationships for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). He is a founding advisor to Alpha Phi Omega.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Wyland was born in Jewell County, Kansas. He moved to Ringwood, Oklahoma, in 1902. In 1908 and 1909 he attended the high school in Greenville, Texas, later moving to Danville, Illinois, where he graduated from high school in 1911. Four years later he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a degree of A.B. and honors in psychology. He then attended the Garrett Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and received his B.D. degree in 1918. Taking postgraduate courses, he received his M.A. degree in 1929 and his Ph.D. in 1934 from Columbia University.[1]

His family included his wife, the former Miss Ruby Arnold, and their son, Ray O. Wyland Jr.[1]

Serving as managing director of the United American in Illinois from 1919 to 1922, Wyland conducted a training school in Americanization work which resulted in the naturalization of 20,000 aliens. He helped 'Americanize' several hundred thousand foreign-born.[1]

Boy Scouts of America[edit]

Wyland became affiliated with the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America on August 1, 1922 and was connected with the National Council throughout the intervening years. He started as national director of relationships for what was first called the "Bureau of Church Relations" then later the "Relationships Division". He would also become acting director of education in 1925, then director of education in 1930. He would hold these positions until 1952.[1]

As director of relationships, Wyland coordinated the work of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Latter-day Saint, and other religious groups in their Scouting participation, also educational institutions, civic groups, service clubs, fraternal bodies and parent institutions which sponsored Scout Troops and Cub Packs.[1]

As director of education, he edited Principles of Scoutmastership (first training material for Scoutmasters in the early 1930s) and other publications.[1]

His doctoral dissertation was Scouting in the Schools: A Study of the Relationships Between the Schools and the Boy Scouts of America. His dissertation advisor was Dr. Elbert K. Fretwell, who would become the BSA's second Chief Scout Executive. It was first published in book form in 1934 by Teacher College Press, part of Columbia University.[1][2]

In 1937 J. S. Wilson met with Gunnar Berg and Wyland at Balboa, Panama, on his way to Bogotá, for a conference about mixed-race Scouts in the Panama Canal Zone, who claimed British and not Panamanian nationality. It was agreed that they should be taken under the wing of the Canal Zone Council of the Boy Scouts of America, but in 1947 they were transferred directly under the International Bureau as the International Boy Scouts of the Canal Zone. [3]

Other positions[edit]

Wyland was a trustee of the Washington Square Methodist Church in New York City, president of the New York Rotary Club, president of the Strathmore Association of Westchester County, gave leadership in Red Cross, U.S.O., Community Chest campaigns and was a captain in the Auxiliary Police in World War II.

Alpha Phi Omega[edit]

Wyland is a charter member of Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, having served as Scout Advisor from the inception of the Fraternity. He played a large role in the development of operating policies, constitution and bylaws of Alpha Phi Omega and devising the fourfold program of service for Alpha Phi Omega. His attendance at all of the National Conventions through at least 1951 helped with this endeavor.[1]

In 1930, when application was made for approval of Alpha Phi Omega by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Dr. Wyland worked hand in hand with Dr. H. Roe Bartle in presenting the facts which brought about a favorable decision and gave Alpha Phi Omega the official sanction of the Scouting Movement.

He was honored by Alpha Phi Omega by dedicating the 1951 Fall Pledge class to him. He was awarded the National Distinguished Service Award by Alpha Phi Omega in 1956. He represented the National Fraternity at the chartering of a large number of chapters in the Northeast in the 1940s and 1950s. He was a signer of the Alpha Phi Omega Articles of Incorporation in 1968.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Torch & Trefoil" (PDF). Vol. 26 no. 7. October 1951. p. 2. 
  2. ^ http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v1=1&ti=1,1&Search%5FArg=Wyland%2C%20Ray%20O%2E&Search%5FCode=NAME%5F&CNT=25&PID=24327&SEQ=20071208111448&SID=3 Library of Congress Entry for Scouting in the Schools: A Study of the Relationships Between the Schools and the Boy Scouts of America
  3. ^ Wilson p. 134, 233