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Alexander, Orville, (1909-1982) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Alexander, Orville, (1909-1982)

Historical Note:

Orville Alexander was born in Vienna, Illinois August 3, 1909.  He taught in the Political Science Department at Southern Illinois University for 38 years.  An alumnus of the undergraduate College at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Alexander received his master's and doctoral degrees from  State University of Iowa.  He was later married to Ola Anderson, of Marion, Illinois, and had two children, Jon and Dee.  In 1949, Alexander authored the bill that changed Southern Illinois Normal University from a teacher's college into a university.

During his years at Southern Illinois University, Alexander also served as Director of Research on the Illinois School Problems Commission in Springfield, Illinois from 1951-1953, Director of Research for the Ohio School Survey Committee in Columbus, Ohio from 1954-1955, and Visiting Professor at Winston-Salem State University, a historically black university in North Carolina, in 1965, and Project Director for a survey by the Commission to Study State Government, or, "Little Hoover".

He was also an active member and district governor of the Lions Club, as well as an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale, and the American Association of Retired Persons.

Alexander's instructional courses examined state and local government, concerning which he was an established authority within the state, as well as broader politics and welfare, adminstration of justice, and interest groups.  He died in Carbondale on September 18, 1982.  Contributions from his memorial service were used to help fund a scholarship in the Political Science department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, The Orville Alexander Memorial Award, given annually to a junior undergraduate in the Political Science department.


"Orville Alexander, ex-SIU government chairman, dies at 73" Daily Egyptian, 1982 Sept 20, page 18, Deaths.

"Awards in Political Science" Webpage <> Accessed: May 12, 2008, Carbondale, Illinois

Note Author: L. Broaddus

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