It can be hard to get full information on the people who shaped our institution, but digging through history is always worthwhile. Here, a short biography of Dr. W.I. Dykes, for whom our library is named.
Dr. William I. Dykes was born in western Oklahoma on a homestead in Roger Mills County on February 26, 1907. He received his bachelors from Oklahoma Christian College in Cordell, Oklahoma, and his MS in mathematics (not doctorate) in 1936 from Oklahoma A&M, and was one of the first professors of the South Texas Junior College in its inaugural year of 1948 as a math and physics professor. He became dean by the mid-1950s, obtained the first accreditation of the College through the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities, and concurrently earned a doctorate of education (EdD) at the University of Houston, finishing in 1963 (the University Archives has his original dissertation, which was written about improving the South Texas Junior College). When the Colleges formally split in 1967, he led the institution to it’s final home at the Merchants and Manufacturers Building and raised record-breaking sums of money to refurbish the new space for classrooms. He presided over the integration of the College in 1967 as well, and negotiated the sale of STJC to the UH System in 1974, serving as its first chancellor at the request of the University of Houston until 1975, before retiring to care for his wife Lottie as she struggled with illness.
The University of Houston-Downtown Library was renamed for Dr. Dykes during a dedication ceremony on October 7, 1979. He passed away on June 13, 1984.