Author's note: This is the first in a periodic series summarizing "The Golden Years: 1928-1960," by Dr. Floyd Golden.
Written by Dr. Floyd Golden, the late second president of Eastern New Mexico University, "The Golden Years: 1928-1960" details the years preceding the 1934 opening of Eastern through 1960.
Golden Library is named after Dr. Golden, who is ENMU's longest-serving president (1941-60).
Dr. Golden was born in Snyder, Texas, on March 19, 1898. After serving in the U.S. Army in 1918-19, he married Elsie Arlene Pool in 1921.
In 1925 he graduated from West Texas State University with majors in education and industrial arts. He received a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Colorado in 1932. He received an honorary LL.D. degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 1950.
He also studied higher education administration at the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Texas and Columbia University.
The 142-page book's forward was written by Charles W. Meister (1917-2004), ENMU's fourth president (1965-75).
Dr. Meister received his Ph.D. in 1941 from the University of Chicago, majoring in Russian literature. In World War II, he was awarded five battle stars while serving as a captain in the Army infantry and represented the United States for education and religious affairs in Berlin.
In retirement, he had eight books published, ranging from American history to religion to terrorism. He was an expert on Anton Chekhov and all world religions.
"The man who probably contributed the most to the successful establishment of Eastern New Mexico University is Floyd Dewey Golden," Dr. Meister wrote.
Dr. Golden talked waitresses and gas station attendants into attending Eastern, on his way to lobbying the state legislature in Santa Fe for more money to operate the school, according to Dr. Meister.
Dr. Golden, or "Prexy" as he was known to his friends, served as a school principal in Friona and White Deer, Texas, and as superintendent in Friona and Miami.
When he came to Portales as superintendent in 1928, the town was in the process of requesting that a higher education become established in Portales.
"Golden quickly became the focal point of this thrust," Meister wrote. "He worked unceasingly to help open the doors of the new institution."
When Eastern New Mexico Junior College opened in 1934, Dr. Golden became the first academic dean. The first year he also continued as Portales superintendent, then resigned to work full-time at the college.
"He was active in all phases of school life--curriculum, finances, recruiting, public relations, athletics and recruiting," Meister wrote.
After serving as dean from 1934-41, he became the second president of Eastern in 1941, serving as president for 19 years.
During his tenure, the school evolved from a normal school to a junior college to a four-year college to a state university.
"This was a great tribute to many dedicated people, said Meister, "but first and foremost would be the man entitled to be called 'Mr. Eastern,' Floyd Golden."
After retiring, Dr. Golden served many years as a highly-respected educational consultant. He worked with many state and national higher education agencies. He attended several White House conferences on education and youth affairs. In 1971, West Texas State University named him "Most Distinguished Graduate."
Dr. Meister concluded his forward with, "The fascinating story of this man's many achievements is told in this book. At the same time many important aspects in the growth of a truly fine university are unfolded.
"It is at least one reader's fond hopes that this record will inspire many others to similar deeds of lifelong dedication and service."