Wilson, Logan (1907–1990)

By: Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

Type: Biography

Published: August 1, 1995

Updated: March 26, 2019

Logan Wilson, teacher and university administrator, was born in Huntsville, Texas, on March 6, 1907, the son of Samuel Calhoun and Sammie (Logan) Wilson. He received a B.A. degree from Sam Houston State Normal School in 1926 and an M.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1927 and began his teaching career as assistant professor of English at East Texas State College. He married Myra Marshall of Commerce on December 27, 1932, and they became the parents of two children. Wilson earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard in 1938 and 1939. He was associate professor of sociology at the University of Maryland from 1939 until 1941, when he moved to Tulane University as professor and head of the department. He spent a year at Kentucky University in 1943 but returned to Tulane in 1944 as graduate chairman of sociology and dean of Newcomb College. Wilson became vice president and provost of the Consolidated University of North Carolina in 1951. He accepted the presidency of the University of Texas in 1953 and served in that capacity until 1960. During his tenure he fought for increases in faculty salaries and played a critical role in the passage of a state constitutional amendment to expand both the Available and the Permanent university funds. He also helped establish the Texas Commission on Higher Education (see TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION COORDINATING BOARD). Under Wilson the university opened all academic programs to black students in 1956. Wilson was made chancellor of the University of Texas in 1960, but he resigned in 1961 when he moved to Washington, D.C., as president of the American Council on Education. While with the council he sought to raise degree standards at colleges and to improve the quality of graduate facilities. Wilson retired from the council in 1971 as president emeritus and returned to Texas. He was a member of the American Sociological Society and the Philosophical Society of Texas, as well as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His publications included The Academic Man: A Study in the Sociology of a Profession (1942), Emerging Patterns in American Higher Education (1965), Shaping American Higher Education (1972), American Academics: Then and Now (1979), and numerous articles for sociological journals. Wilson died in Austin on November 7, 1990. The University of Texas established the Logan Wilson Faculty Fellowship in Academic Administration in his honor.

Austin American-Statesman, November 8, 14, 1990. Vertical Files, Austin History Center. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, “Wilson, Logan,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wilson-logan.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995
March 26, 2019