Nolen M. Irby

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Nolen M. Irby served as the fourth president of the Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) from 1941 to 1953.

Irby received a Ph.D. from George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1930. Irby succeeded Heber L. McAlister for the university presidency on November 14, 1941, after McAlister got called up by the U.S. Army. During World War II Irby surpervised scrap metal drives and established an aviation training program at local Dennis F. Cantrell Field. For his exceptional service during the war, the school nearly took on the new name of MacArthur Military College, which Irby refused to adopt.

After the war, a baby boom on campus among returning soldiers caused the school to institute a Baby of Arts degree granted as each parent walked across the stage in commencement exercises.

Irby resigned on March 31, 1953, but continued to live with his wife in an apartment in Wingo Hall and dine in the school cafeteria.

Irby died on November 1, 1958, of complications resulting from a blood clot in the leg. Irby Hall on the University of Central Arkansas campus bears his namesake.


  • Gavin Glenn, "President Nolen Irby Held Campus Together During World War II," The Echo (December 3, 2008).

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