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1970: Higher ed, desegregation and a failed bond - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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75 years of the Odessa American 1970: Higher ed, desegregation and a failed bond

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Posted: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 8:30 am

UTPB developments: In February, the City Council renamed 27th Street as University Blvd., and formally annexed the 363-acre site of the proposed campus in Northeast Odessa. On March 18, the new school’s first president, Bill H. Amstead, moved into his new offices in the First National Bank Building, with the goal of holding the first classes in 1973.

On June 8 the county began work on extending and widening East 42nd Street, from Grandview to Loop 338, to provide an improved northern boundary for the campus. Gov. Preston Smith and House Speaker Gus Mutscher visited Odessa and promised their support in obtaining funds at the next legislative session for construction of the new campus.

Amstead revealed a $16 million budget plan for the next two years, including $11.5 million allocated for building. Meanwhile, a group of Midland residents, who owned mineral interests in the Headlee Devonia Field, in which the campus was located, filed a lawsuit in an Austin district court to prevent construction of the campus there. District Judge Herman Jones dismissed the suit on Sept. 23.

Desegregation: In early August the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare sued the Ector County Independent School District, alleging that Ector County schools had failed to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before the case went to court, however, a compromise was achieved in which Ector County school officials agreed to immediately integrate the Blackshear faculty and to permanently resolve the issue with HEW by Dec. 15. In a subsequent meeting with HEW, the deadline was extended to Feb. 15, 1971.

Hospital bond issue: Despite strong support from the Chamber of Commerce and a petition effort that garnered thousands of signatures, voters on March 17 narrowly defeated a $5.8 million bond issue that would have funded an expansion project at Medical Center Hospital. The measure proposed the construction of a five-story structure to expand the radiology and laboratory departments.

Impostor: The bizarre case of William Francis Dalgleish grabbed some of the biggest headlines of the year. The 27-year-old veterinary technologist practiced in McCamey as a medical doctor for 17 days before being exposed as an impostor and arrested. Following his arrest, he was diagnosed with a serious kidney condition and transferred from the Rankin jail to Medical Center Hospital. Shortly thereafter, his brother Ian flew to Odessa from Australia and raised funds to fly the ailing man back to his native country. William Dalgleish left Odessa on Aug. 30 after doctors pronounced his illness terminal, and he died less than three months later on Nov. 21.


  • Twenty-six people are killed when a tornado hits Lubbock on May 11, injuring 500 and causing $135 million in damage that affected almost 25 percent of the city.
  • Hurricane Celia slams Corpus Christi with 130-mph winds and gusts of 161 mph. Eleven people died and 466 were injured in the costliest storm in the state’s history to that time.
  • Congress approves the Postal Reorganization Act, which makes the post office an independent agency and eliminates the Postmaster General as a Cabinet position.
  • The census reports that the U.S. population is 203,211,926, of which 75 percent now live in the suburbs.
  • The Chiefs down the Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV.
  • Jimi Hendrix dies in September and Janis Joplin dies in October.
  • Jim Plunkett wins the Heisman.

Information is drawn from news accounts, archives and other historical records.

Odessa, TX

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