Old Missoula

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Prof. William M. Aber Tapped Great Source of Teacher's Reward - Love and Gratitude from Missoulian-Sentinel Centennial Edition 1960

E-mail Print PDF

The article below appeared in The Missoulian-Sentinel Centennial edition - July 27, 1960


Prof. William M. Aber Tapped Great Source of Teacher’s Reward – Love and Gratitude

Prof. William M. Aber, one of the first faculty members at Montana State University, was successful in tapping the great source of the teacher’s reward – the love and gratitude of the young people with whom he worked

Dean A. L. Stone of the School of Journalism at the University in 1919 expressed this of the professor for whom Aber Day at the University was named. Prof. Aber’s colleague, Dr. F. C. Scheuch, wrote, “He labored both with his mind and hand, for no manual work was too lowly for him when service was required.”

A story characteristic of Prof. Aber found him scrubbing the lower basement hall on a Saturday afternoon in late autumn. Prof. Aber explained that the student janitor was needed in a football game and was unable to find a substitute. Rather than have the team lose, Prof. Aber scrubbed the floor. That was the kind of professor he was. That was why they fondly called him “Daddy Aber.”

Prof. Aber was a small, frail man with a low voice and unobtrusive movements. He came to Missoula in 1895 with Oscar J. Craig, the first president. He remained at the University until his retirement almost 25 years later.

Prof. Aber was graduated from the normal school at Oswego, N. Y., in 1872. Six years later he was granted the degree of Bachelor of Arts at Yale University, being a classmate of a future president of the U. S., William Howard Taft. He continued his education at John Hopkins University, Cornell University and the University of Chicago. He taught in a southern Negro college for a brief time before returning to Oswego Norman School as an instructor.

In 1890 he came west as professor of Latin and Greek at the University of Utah where he remained until he came to Missoula. Later he served as vice president of the University for many years.

Students remembered Prof. Aber especially for his interest in the University’s physical development. It was said that Prof. Aber knew every tree and shrub. Many stories are told of how he planted shrubs and trees, picked up rubbish and did all in his power to make the campus beautiful. Because of this, Aber Day was held on campus for many years in his memory and honor. Aber grove on campus was begun also in his honor.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 May 2016 17:58