William B. Stallcup Jr., who rose through the academic ranks to serve as SMU’s president ad interim during one of the most crucial periods in its history, died Saturday, June 7, at his home in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, following a long illness. He was 87.
A biology professor who never intended to be an administrator, Stallcup served in various administrative positions for half of his four decades at SMU. The most critical of these was when he was named SMU’s president ad interim in 1986 following the sudden retirement of SMU President L. Donald Shields and SMU’s sanctions for NCAA football rules violations. Stallcup provided leadership and integrity during this period by presiding over sweeping reforms in SMU’s athletics programs and governance structure, and helping restore public confidence in the University.
“A dedicated teacher, Bill Stallcup repeatedly answered the call to serve as an administrator in times of special need,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He provided leadership most importantly as interim president during a troubled time. SMU’s transition to brighter days would not have been possible without his leadership, integrity and dedication. He also was instrumental in helping to develop SMU-in-Taos as a unique educational resource. In the history of SMU, he stands out as an exemplary steward of positive change.”