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Ralph L. Ropp

Ralph Loyd Ropp
11th President of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana
In office
Preceded by Claybrook Cottingham
Succeeded by F. Jay Taylor
Personal details
Born March 3, 1897
Latty, Paulding County, Ohio, USA
Died March 31, 1982(1982-03-31) (aged 85)
Resting place Forest Lawn Cemetery in Ruston, Louisiana
Spouse(s) Effie Lee Jones Ropp

Linda Lou Ropp May
Col. Ralph Edwin Ropp (deceased)

John M. Ropp
Parents Edward F. and Viola Finnegan Ropp

(1) Natchitoches, Louisiana

(2) Ruston, Louisiana
Alma mater

Ohio Northern University

Louisiana State University
Occupation College president; Professor
Religion United Methodist

Ralph Loyd Ropp (March 3, 1897 – March 31, 1982)[1] was an Ohio native who from 1949 to 1962 served as the 11th president of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, having preceded F. Jay Taylor.[2]


Ropp was born in Latty in Paulding County in northwestern Ohio, Ropp was one of two sons of Ohio native Edward F. Ropp (1867-1935) and the former Viola M. Finnegan (1874-1960), originally from Illinois.[3][4] Until he was twelve years of age, Ropp attended a one-room school and then graduated in 1913 from Latty High Schoo1. In 1923, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from the private regional institution, Ohio Northern University in Ada in Hardin County.[5] In 1927-1928, he was the third national president of Society of Collegiate Journalists, then called Alpha Phi Gamma.[6] Oddly, a previous Louisiana Tech president, John Keeny, for whom the university administration building is named, had also studied at Ohio Northern; his field was music.[7]

On April 1, 1926, Ropp married the former Effie Lee Jones (1902-2000), an educator and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Ropps, who were United Methodist,[5][8] had three children, Ralph Edwin Ropp (1928-1993), a colonel and director of internal information for the United States Army in Washington, D.C.,[9] later of DeRidder, Louisiana, Linda Lou Ropp May, and John M. Ropp (born 1930).[10] In her later years, Effie Ropp had returned to live in Natchitoches, along with son John and daughter Linda May.[11] After her mother's death, Linda May, divorced from Fred May of Seattle, Washington, subsequently left Natchitoches to return to Ruston.[12]

Academic career

In 1925, Ropp procured a Master of Arts in English from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Before he came to Louisiana Tech, Ropp had been from 1923 to 1949 professor of speech and head of the forensics department at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.[5] At Northwestern, Ropp in 1940 wrote the poem "Old Normal Hill" inscribed on a metal plaque on a stone monument on campus. Three of four white columns which supported the east gable of the Bullard Mansion remain on "The Hill". These columns are the unofficial symbol of NSU and were added in 1980 to the National Register of Historic Places.[13]

During Roth's tenure as president, sixteen major buildings on the Louisiana Tech campus were constructed. Seven academic departments were created, and the institution, then known as "Louisiana Polytechnic Institute", launched the first master's degree.[10] The Ropp Center, first built on the Louisiana Tech campus in 1911 and formerly the home of the college president, is named in his honor.

In his autobiography, Jasper "Jake" Smith, III (born 1935), a Louisiana Tech graduate and the older son of State Representative Jasper K. Smith of Vivian in Caddo Parish, describes with humor Ropp's attempt in 1957 to halt a panty raid, then a national fad, on campus:

The objective of this ritual was to get inside one of the girls' dormitories and liberate some of their undergarments. ... It had been arranged on a late spring night that some of the women in the female dormitory would leave a door unlocked so that the "raiders" could get inside. ... As we approached the dormitory, the college president, Ralph Ropp, the Dean of Men, and a large group of policemen confronted us. Someone had tipped them off. The crowd started dispersing, re-forming in smaller groups, hesitant about giving up the adventure. President Ropp was apoplectic. running from group to group threatening to expel students and send their names to the draft board—a threat that made all-draft age males more than a little nervous. Old Ralph got a little too close to one of the male dormitories, and someone dumped a bucket of water from the third floor on his head. So the night was not a total loss. ...[14]

In 1976, Ropp joined Mary Frances Fletcher, a Louisiana Tech English professor, in writing the book, Lincoln Parish History, intended for distribution in the bicentennial of the American Revolution.[15]

In 2013, busts of Ropp and his two successors, F. Jay Taylor and Daniel Reneau, were unveiled at Tech's Spirit Park located on campus between Davison Hall and the Biomedical Engineering Building. Busts of Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, and Voltaire were already on display there.[16]

Ralph and Effie Ropp are interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Ruston.[1][8]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "F. Jay Taylor Named as Louisiana Tech Head", Ruston Daily Leader, May 31, 1962
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  5. ^ a b c "Louisiana Tech President Veteran's Day Banquet Speaker", Minden Press, Minden, Louisiana, November 4, 1954, p. 1
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  8. ^ a b
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  10. ^ a b "Golden Wedding Anniversary: Dr. and Mrs. R. L. Ropp", Ruston Daily Leader, March 25, 1976
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Preceded by
Claybrook Cottingham
11th President of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana

Ralph Loyd Ropp

Succeeded by
F. Jay Taylor
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