Virgil Orr

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Virgil L. Orr
Virgil Orr at Louisiana Tech (1966).jpg
Virgil L. Orr as Dean of Louisiana Tech University (1966)
Louisiana House of Representatives for District 12 (Lincoln and Union parishes)
In office
Preceded by William R. Sumlin, Jr.
Succeeded by Jay McCallum
Personal details
Born (1923-02-02) February 2, 1923 (age 94)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Myrtis Chandler Orr
Residence Ruston, Lincoln Parish
Alma mater

Glenmora High School
Louisiana Tech University
Louisiana State University

Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies
Occupation College professor
and administrator
Military service
Service/branch United States Army (1944-1946)

Virgil L. Orr (born February 2, 1923) is a retired engineering professor and administrator at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, who served as a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 12 (Lincoln and Union parishes) from 1988-1992.[1]


In 1940, Orr graduated from Glenmora High School in Glenmora south of Alexandria in southern Rapides Parish. He received his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Louisiana Tech, where he helped to pay his expenses by working as a student food services waiter from 1940 to 1944.[2] He procured his Master of Science and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1948 and 1950, respectively.[3] He served in the United States Army from 1944 to 1946. He also attended the Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.[4]

On September 1, 1952, Orr joined the Louisiana Tech faculty. In 1966, he was co-author with colleagues Charles A. Killgore and Woodrow W. Chew, Jr., also a registered petroleum engineer of the article, "Vapor–Liquid Equilibrium for the Hexamethyldisiloxane–n-Propyl Alcohol System," published in the Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data.[5] He was later appointed "Dean of the College" and was serving as vice president of the university, under then president F. Jay Taylor, at the time of his retirement on June 30, 1980.[6] Louisiana Tech honors Orr with the Virgil Orr Professorship in Chemical Engineering[7] and the Virgil Orr Undergraduate Junior Faculty Award, presented to non-tenured instructors.[8]

In 1991, Orr received the prestigious Robert E. Russ award, named for Robert Edwin Russ, the founder of Ruston. In 1994, he received the Tower Medallion from the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association. The next year he was listed among the "Top 100 Alumni" of Louisiana Tech.[4]

In 1994 and 1995, Orr served as the president of the Louisiana Tech Foundation. The treasurer of the organization was 1968 alumnus Jack Edwin Byrd, Jr. (born July 1946), the president of the former Minden Bank and Trust Company in Minden in Webster Parish.[9]

He and his wife, the former Myrtis Chandler (born April 27, 1924), reside in Ruston. Orr is or has been a Sunday school teacher at the large Temple Baptist Church in Ruston.

Legislative election[edit]

Orr led the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 24, 1987, with 5,846 votes (44 percent), to the incumbent William R. Sumlin, Jr. (born 1943), also of Ruston, who polled 4,176 ballots (31 percent). Another 3,244 votes (24 percent) went to a third Democrat, Troy Lowe. Sumlin did not contest the November 21 general election, and Orr became representative-elect without a second round of balloting.[10]

At some point after he left the legislature, Orr switched his affiliation to Republican.[11]

Orr was himself unseated in the primary held on October 19, 1991, by fellow Democrat and lawyer Jay McCallum of Farmerville, the seat of government of Union Parish, who prevailed, 8,286 (52 percent) to 7,528 (48 percent).[12]

In 2002, Orr contributed to the unsuccessful candidacy of his then Fifth District U.S. representative, John Cooksey, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully in the nonpartisan blanket primary for the U.S. Senate. Six years earlier, he had contributed to the unsuccessful Republican senatorial candidate Woody Jenkins of Baton Rouge, with whom Orr served in the legislature. Both lost to the Democrat Mary Landrieu, who left the state legislature as Orr was arriving.[13] In 2003, Orr supported the unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Randy Ewing, a former member of the Louisiana State Senate from Jackson Parish.[14]

After leaving the legislature, Orr served a term on the Louisiana Ethics Board.[3] In 2010, he was appointed to the Lincoln Parish Library Board.[15]


  1. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2012" (PDF). Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Virgil Orr, Student Waiter". Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Alumni News (2003)". Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Louisiana: Orr, Virgil", Who's Who in American Politics, 2003-2004, 19th ed., Vol. 1 (Alabama-Montana) (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2003), p. 790
  5. ^ "Research Article (October 1966)". Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ Confirmed by the Human Resources Office at Louisiana Tech University.
  7. ^ "Endowed Eminent Scholar Chairs and Endowed Professorships". Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  8. ^ "The Virgil Orr Junior Faculty Award". Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Byrd elected to board", Minden Press-Herald, September 14, 1994, p. 1
  10. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 24, 1987". Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ "RealVoters". 
  12. ^ "Election Results". Louisiana Secretary of State. October 19, 1991. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ruston, Louisiana, Political Contributions by Individuals". Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Headlines, June 26, 2003". Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Laura Bond, "Taxing decision: Board OKs ad valorem proposal, July 2, 2010". Ruston Daily Leader. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
Political offices
Preceded by
William R. Sumlin, Jr.
Louisiana State Representative for District 12 (Lincoln and Union parishes)
Succeeded by
Jay B. McCallum