Hiram Abiff Boaz, Methodist bishop and college administrator, was born in Murray, Kentucky, on December 18, 1866, the son of Peter Maddox and Louisa Ann (Ryan) Boaz. In 1873 his family moved to Tarrant County, Texas. After his graduation from Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University), he taught in Fort Worth. He received B.S. (1893) and M.A. (1894) degrees from Southwestern University, the latter with highest honors. After ordination to the Methodist ministry, he served churches in Fort Worth, Abilene, and Dublin. In 1902 he became president of Polytechnic College (later Texas Wesleyan University) in Fort Worth, where he remained for nine years. After a brief period as vice president of Southern Methodist University during its formation, he returned to Polytechnic College and stayed for five years.
Following two years as secretary of the Methodist Board of Church Extension in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1920 Boaz became the second president of Southern Methodist University, where he served until his election as bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1922. After four years as bishop in the Far East, he returned to the United States to serve as bishop in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. After retiring in 1938 he initiated and continued to help with the sustentation campaign for Southern Methodist University, through which Dallas citizens contributed to the university. Boaz was given honorary degrees by several institutions. He was a trustee of Southern Methodist and Southwestern universities. His publications include an autobiography, Eighty-four Golden Years (1951). Boaz was married to Carrie Odalie Brown on October 4, 1894; they had three daughters. He died in 1962 at the age of ninety-five and was buried in Dallas.