J. Wayne Stark: A Biographical Sketch
John Wayne Stark was born 16 December 1915 in Lamesa, Texas. After
graduating from high school in the small west Texas town of Winters, Stark
received a bachelor's degree in history from Texas A&M in 1939. He attended
the University of Texas Law School but withdrew before graduating to serve
in World War II.
After the war, he returned to campus in 1947 to oversee construction of
the Memorial Student Center. Over the following years, he played a major
role in developing such programs as
the Opera and Performing Arts Society (OPAS)
the Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA)
and the Great Issues and Political Forum programs. Many world leaders and famous performers
have come to the Texas A&M campus as a result of those programs.
Stark became the Texas A&M sponsor for Experiment in International Living
in 1959. This program enabled approximately 400 A&M students to travel
overseas to live and work. In 1980, after 33 years of serving as the MSC
director, Stark retired and continued to serve the university for a decade
as special assistant to the president.
Aside from his involvement with Texas A&M, Stark was also actively involved
in arts and civic activities in Bryan/College Station and across the state.
He was also a former president of the Association of College Unions-International.
Stark was awarded the Andy Anderson Award by the Arts Council of the Brazos
Valley in 1985. He was described in that award citation as "an individual
who gave every ounce of his soul for the betterment of the community."
He was also honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award for Individual
Student Relationships from Texas A&M's Association of Former Students.
Upon his death in 1993, The Battalion saluted Stark's lifetime of service
to Texas A&M in a 12 January tribute: "Those who worked closely
with J. Wayne Stark said he did more for students than perhaps any other
faculty or staff member in the history of Texas A&M University."