Willie L. D. Campbell Glass

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Willie Lee Dorothy Campbell Glass (August 24, 1910-1999) was the founder of the Home Economics department at Texas College.

Life and Education

Willie Lee Dorothy Glass

Willie Lee Campbell was born at her home in Nacogdoches, Texas on August 24, 1910. Her father, E. J. Campbell was the principal of a Black school and a community leader. Her mother, Mary Kennedy Campbell was a teacher.

In 1927, Willie Lee Campbell graduated from the high school that was named for her father, E. J. Campbell High School. She then went on to attend Prairie View A&M College which was one of the few schools in her state enrolling Black students. She graduated with her B.S. in Home Economics in 1931. At that time, there were no graduate study options at Prairie View A&M and Black students were not allowed to enroll in other Texas universities for graduate programs. Because of that, Willie Lee decided to go to Iowa State College. When she arrived in Ames, she noted, “The clouds are white; the ground is white; and all the people are white.” She was not allowed to live on campus when she arrived in Ames and had to live with Black families in town.

Willie Lee Campbell received an M.S. in Home Economics Education from Iowa State College in 1933. She is credited with being one of the youngest persons and one of the first Black women to receive that degree in Iowa State College history. She then went on to many postgraduate programs at universities such as Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Willie Lee returned to Nacogdoches to teach at the Nacogdoches High School as a home economics teachers for the 1935-1936. On August 10, 1936, after courting for three years, Willie Lee married Dr. Dominion Robert Glass, President of Texas College in Tyler, Texas. It is reported that over 750 people attended their wedding.

She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She died in 1999 at age 88.

HBCU Contribution

Willie Lee was first employed by Virginia State College in 1933. She was hired as the Head of the Food and Nutrition department and the acting Head of the Home Economics department.

She founded and became the Head of the Home Economics department at Texas College from 1936-1950. She was also a visiting professor of home economics at Prairie View A&M College.

She was also the First Lady of Texas College for 30 years.


Willie Lee Glass and friends
  • There is a modern, well-equipped building for home economics at Texas College called the Willie Lee Glass Building
  • She was the first black woman to serve as consultant for vocational home economics education for the Texas Education Agency
  • Glass is credited with helping to desegregate Texas schools
  • She was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumna Award from Prairie View A&M College in 1961
  • She was the recipient of the Home Economics Alumni Centennial Award at Iowa State University in 1970
  • Glass was inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame in 1985
  • Glass received an honorary doctorate in humane letters by Texas College in 1988
  • She sat on 18 boards including East Texas Medical Center, the University of Texas Foundation and Stephen F. Austin University
  • She received the Distinguished Achievement Citation from Iowa State University in 1992 to recognize meritorious service and/or distinguished achievements in such areas as business and industry, education, and health.
  • There was a $3 million recreation center built and named after her in Tyler, Texas


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