Hagler, Marion Otho 2010-12-10

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Marion Otho Hagler was born in Temple, Texas, on September 7, 1939. He received his BA (1962) and BSEE (1963) in electrical engineering from Rice University and his MSEE (1964) and Ph.D. (1967) in electrical engineering from the University of Texas. In 1963, he married Shirlene Bilbrey and together they had three children. Specializing in Plasma Dynamics and Quantum Electronics, Dr. Hagler began working at Texas Technological College in 1967. He was appointed to the rank of Horn Professor, the highest rank granted by the Texas Tech University, in 1981.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Marion Otho Hagler

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: December 10, 2010

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Andy Wilkinson

Length: 01:33:16


Brief mention of Hagler’s interest in lasers; Undergraduate degree from Rice and graduate degrees from UT Austin; Family moves to Bell County; When he was two, his parents moved to a farm, which was owned by TTU engineering; Drawing instructor C. C. Perryman; Family moved back to Central Texas in 1951 due to Hagler’s dust issues; Early Electrical Engineering Program at Texas Tech; Russell Seacat recruits several faculty to the Tech EE program including 4 from UT – Magne Kristiansen, John Craig, David Ferry, and Marion Hagler; Seacat’s leadership abilities and idealism is what attracted faculty to come to dept.; Interest in lasers and thermonuclear fusion plasmas; Studied under Professor Arwin Dougal at UT; Hagler, Kristiansen and Craig’s research specialties at UT; Russell Seacat; Got first research grant in program but specialized in undergrad teaching; Replaced faculty in department to meet addition of graduate program; Father figure to many EE faculty; Strength of his leadership kept early EE faculty a tight knit group; Recruiting others under Russell’s “Benevolent Dictator” supervision; Love-hate relationship between Seacat and John Bradford, Dean of Engineering; Bradford generally hands off unless there was a problem; Mainly relied on faculty to do fundraising until towards the end of his tenure; Recollections on TTU’s Electrical Engineering Program; Research grants in the electrical engineering field; Notes decrease in freedom and flexibility for faculty over the years in the academic system; Grateful for uniqueness of the Texas Tech’s EE department set up; Rankings of EE departments listing TTU’s program as 3rd most improved dept.; Pride in his department; Despite strong personalities in dept., Seacat had the ability to channel faculty’s energy in more or less in the same direction; Magne Kristiansen, Richard Saeks, John Reichert and Dave Ferry’s strong drive; Failure of outsiders understanding how Seacat’s strong leadership held his department and faculty together; Crosbyton Solar Power Project (CSPP); Source of contention that all funds came into EE while much of the work was being done by people in other departments ; Resentment of other departments towards the CSP project; Seacat misread his range of power as control over the funding when it was actually his leadership skills; Three Horn Professors in EE and Seacat’s over estimation of the power that gave him with the administration; He sent Walkup, Kristiansen & Hagler to talk to administration; Seacat overplayed hand; Cavazos did revocable damage to the department by refusing to talk to them ; Lost about 1/3 of faculty due to Cavazos; President Cavazos and provost John Darling; Two kinds of education systems and differences in charges with faculty; Top Down approach with little reliance on faculty initiative versus bottom up approach which has research faculty imitative is the “heart” of a research geared university; Engineering Dean Situation; John Bradford served as dean for 28 years before going to development; Seacat wanted to be interim dean but not dean; Jimmy Smith became interim dean and asked for Seacat’s resignation at behest of President Cavazos; Departure of Seacat marks when everything started falling apart for dept.; Crosbyton project set up was a causative problem; Should not have been centered in an academic department due to the politics; Stan Liberty handled the politics and John Reichert did the technical part of the project; Comments that John Reichert and Richard Saeks are probably the only two geniuses he has ever known; After Liberty left, Reichert took over the politics, which was not his strength; DOE thought it was a pork barrel project;Recounts how Reichert’s comment in paper about senator? Graham ended the day with Hagler becoming interim chair following Seacat’s forced resignation; Seacat recommended Hagler as his replacement; Hagler served as chair for 12 years and considered it “lost years” in his academic career because research was his preference ; Cavazos refused to talk with faculty in dept. until over a year later; Attitudes towards Seacat and Reichert; Handling of their firings garnered sympathy towards both by university faculty; Crosbyton situation helped synchronize departure of good faculty in the 1980s; Hagler’s career; NSF grant in plasma waves over 16 years working with Kristiansen; Continued “benevolent dictator” leadership during his time as chair; Shifted to educational research working with William Marcy and John Walkup; Balance between the two types of educational systems and state funding; Tech is now a research institution; Teaching undergrads versus graduates; Seacat tried to keep balance between both levels; Changes in engineering education from WWII, 1980s and 1990s; Reflections on relationship with Seacat; Difficulties in dealing with Seacat as a peer following becoming chair; Could not rehire Seacat in 1980s due to budget crunch; Could not please his hero, Seacat; Crosbyton Project again; Believed it had a lot of merit due to its simple technical aspects, though impact has been small due to politics; “End User Power Generation”.

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:

Transcript: Transcript available in reading room

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