Image credit: University of Maryland Archives
Wilson Homer "Bull" Elkins (1909-1994) was president of the university
Elkins earned both an A.B. and an M.A. in 1933 at the University of
Texas, where he was a football star.
He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he completed a
doctorate. From 1938 to 1948, he served as president of San Angelo Junior
College. He left San Angelo to become president of Texas Western College
in El Paso, now the University of Texas El Paso, where he remained until 1954.
At the University of Maryland, Elkins emphasized basic subjects and strict
academic standards. In 1957, he unveiled the Academic Probation Plan,
which subjected 1,550 students -- 18 percent of the undergraduate
enrollment -- to expulsion because their averages fell to below a C.
Fourteen percent were sent home.
By 1964, 77 percent of freshmen came from the top half of their high
school classes, and Phi Beta Kappa -- which had turned down Maryland twice
before -- established a chapter.
He oversaw the establishment of a faculty government and administered a
major expansion and improvement of the physical plant, including the
construction of McKeldin Library and the Computer Science Center.
A 1976 accreditation committee praised the "campus-wide concern for good
teaching" Elkins had instilled.
Elkins stepped down in 1978 at the state's mandatory retirement age of
A building, constructed in 1979, was named after Elkins. The Elkins
Building, located in Adelphi, Maryland, houses the University System of Maryland administration.John S. Toll, president, 1978-1988
Dr. Elkins died in Baltimore in March 1994.