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Dr. F. Jay Taylor

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Dr. F. Jay Taylor

RUSTON, LA - Funeral services for Dr. F. Jay Taylor will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at the First Baptist Church in Ruston Louisiana. He died Sunday following a brief illness.

When Dr. Taylor came to Ruston in 1962 as the 12th president of then Louisiana Polytechnic Institute, it was a small rural North Louisiana institution with fewer than 4,000 students.

When he left 25 years later in 1987, Louisiana Tech University was recognized as a regional research institution with nearly 11,000 students.

His leadership brought not only a name change, but also started Louisiana Tech on its transformation to the national university that it is today.

Dr. Taylor believed that the university should pursue excellence in academics. The graduate program was expanded to include new master's and doctoral degrees in several fields all of which earned national recognition or accreditation. While at the helm, Taylor expanded Tech summer programs in Mexico and in Italy.

Dr. Taylor brought about major construction which included the signature 16-story Charles Samuel Wyly Tower of Learning. The university's major sports venues were completed during his tenure - Joe Aillet Stadium, J.C. Love baseball complex, Thomas Assembly Center and Lambright Intramural Sports Complex.

It was Dr. Taylor who made a commitment to women's basketball that thrust the university into the national spotlight.

Dr. Taylor first came to Tech as a freshman in 1940. He attended Tech for two years, leaving the school in May 1942 to enlist as an aviation cadet in the U.S. Navy. He completed flight training in 1943 and was commissioned as an ensign. As a Navy pilot, he logged 2,000 hours of flight time during World War II. He was sent to the Pacific area for two tours of duty and rose to the rank of lieutenant commander before receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1946.

Dr. Taylor earned a bachelor's degree in social science in 1948 at the University of California at Santa Barbara; a master's degree in history at the Claremont Graduate School in 1949; and a Ph.D. in history and government at Tulane University in 1952 at the age of 29.

Dr. Taylor served as dean of Louisiana College in Pineville, La., an associate professor of history as well as dean of men.

While at Louisiana College, Dr. Taylor authored two books. The first was "The United States and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39" published in 1956 and reprinted in 1971. His second book was "Reluctant Rebel: The Secret Diary of Robert Patrick, 1961-65."

Dr. Taylor has served on numerous state and national boards and commissions. He was nationally recognized for his labor arbitration expertise. He served as chairman of the Labor-Management Commission of Inquiry, National Academy of Arbitrators, labor panels of the American Arbitration Association, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. He also served on the State Advisory Council for Vocational Education, Committee on Science and Technology of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Air Force ROTC Advisory Panel, chairman of the Appeals Committee for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Board of Trustees of the Falcon Club. He was most recently on bank board of First Guaranty Bank.

Locally, Dr. Taylor was a member of the Ruston Rotary Club and served on the boards of the Ruston Chamber of Commerce and Ruston Civic Club. In 1971, the University of California Alumni Association cited Dr. Taylor for "outstanding achievement" and honored him at the school's homecoming. He was recognized by Tulane University as an outstanding alumnus of the graduate school in 1985.

Dr. Taylor was born August 9, 1923, in Gibsland, La. He graduated from Gibsland High School in 1940.

Survivors include his wife, Lou; son Terry and his wife, Bernardine of Batavia, Ohio; grandson, Andrew Taylor and his wife Dr. Cathy Taylor of Gainesville, Fla.; granddaughter, Jennifer Williams and her husband Greg of West Palm Beach, Fla. as well as four great grandchildren, Carlee and Ellie Taylor; and Tommy and Rebecca Williams.

Interment will be in Greenwood Cemetery under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to the Louisiana Tech Foundation General Scholarship Fund, PO Box 3183, Ruston, LA 71272.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at


Published in Shreveport Times on May 17, 2011
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