MCCURDY, JOHN ANDERSON

May Lea McCurdy

MCCURDY, JOHN ANDERSON (1895–1981). John Anderson McCurdy, executive secretary of the Ex-Students' Association of the University of Texas, was born on February 6, 1895, in Cuero, Texas, the son of Andrew Howlett Porter and Mary Ianthe (Anderson) McCurdy. He received a B.B.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1922, graduated from the University School of Military Aeronautics and Kelly Field Flying School in 1917, and served throughout World War I as chief of flying operations at Eberts Field, Lonoke, Arkansas. On May 20, 1924, he married May Lea Guthrie. Two daughters were born of this union. In 1926 McCurdy was named executive secretary of the Ex-Students' Association of the University of Texas, a post in which he brought the association into active support of the university's development. Under his leadership, the association initiated a fund-raising program to build Gregory Gymnasium, Anna Hiss Gymnasium, the Texas Union, and Hogg Auditorium. To provide for continuing growth of the physical plant, McCurdy worked for legislation enabling the university to issue bonds against income from the Permanent University Fund. The building program made possible by this effort kept pace with the university's rapid growth. During McCurdy's tenure, Texas Ex clubs over the nation were revitalized and given strong support from the central association office, and closer ties between alumni and campus resulted. Spring Round-Up, an event directed by the association, united alumni and students in a series of campus activities enthusiastically supported by student organizations and university staff. To counter frequent intrusion of political and economic interests into the management of the university, McCurdy marshaled the strength of alumni to support the independence of the university administration and the freedom of faculty to think and teach, governed only by their respective disciplines. McCurdy was a Presbyterian elder and a Democrat. He died on October 15, 1981, and was memorialized in a Texas Senate resolution of 1982.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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Handbook of Texas Online, May Lea McCurdy, "MCCURDY, JOHN ANDERSON," accessed October 23, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmcan.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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