Remembering College of Education Dean, Oral Ballam (1967–1992)
The Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services bids farewell to its former dean, Oral Ballam, who served from 1967 to 1992, in what was then known as the College of Education.
Dean Ballam oversaw many pivotal transitions in college history, including a period of rapid growth. Enrollment of majors within the college grew from 1,300 students in 1969 to 1,970 students in 1990. During the same years, funding for the college more than quadrupled. The Communicative Disorders Department (now Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education) was established in the college in 1970, and the Health, Physical Education and Recreation building was completed in the early 1970s. Dean Ballam was instrumental in the establishment of the Exceptional Child Center at Utah State University. The center was dedicated in 1973 and is now the world-renowned Center for Persons with Disabilities.
With the College of Education housed in the current Ray B. West Building, Dean Ballam for years advocated for a new education building. After fundraising efforts by President Stanford Cazier and Vice President William F. Lye, followed by support from the Utah Legislature, the Emma Eccles Jones Education Building was dedicated in 1990. To this day, it remains the home of five of the eight departments within the college, as well as the college’s administration.
Dean Ballam’s obituary highlights numerous honors he received in recognition of his work at Utah State University, including the Gerald Sherritt Award for Exemplary Service to Students, the Nicholas Leone Outstanding Administrator Award, and the USU Alumni Distinguished Service Award. It also delineates the many contributions that he made to his community and his country—as a veteran of World War II, superintendent of the Cache County School District (1959-1963), and mayor of Smithfield, Utah (1966-1978).
Remembered for his honesty, his wit, and his tireless service to both the public and the college, Dean Ballam had a long-lasting and far-reaching impact on, not only the college and Utah State University, but on the field of education and human services.