Orval Ray Latham

Orval Ray Latham


Orval Ray Latham was UNI's third president; he administered the college from 1928 through 1940. Latham's predecessor was Homer Horatio Seerley.

President Latham was born in 1890 in Boone, Iowa. He earned three academic degrees, all from the University of Iowa. First, in 1911 he received his bachelor's degree. Then in 1919 he was awarded a Master of Arts degree, and in 1928 he received a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration.

He served as superintendent of schools for four Iowa school districts from 1911 through 1922. From 1922 through 1924 he was Assistant Superintendent of Schools and director of research at Duluth, Minnesota. For the following two years he was a professor of education at Ohio University, and later became the Director of the University Elementary Training School. He and his wife Helen had two children. 

While O. R. Latham served as UNI's president, several buildings were constructed on campus: Lawther Hall, Baker Hall, the football stadium, the swimming pool, and the Commons. Latham's sudden death of pneumonia in 1940, following a surgical operation, was a shock to the entire community. In 1940 the football stadium was named in his honor. Latham Hall, built in 1950, was dedicated to his memory in 1980.

President Latham was succeeded by Malcolm Poyer Price.

Compiled by Susan Witthoft; edited by Gerald L. Peterson
Special Collections and University Archives
January 1996


Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913
Email: Gerald.Peterson@uni.edu