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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]

Ralph Loyd Ropp
11th President of Louisiana Tech University
In office
Preceded byClaybrook Cottingham
Succeeded byF. Jay Taylor
Personal details
BornMarch 3, 1897
Latty, Paulding County, Ohio, USA
DiedMarch 31, 1982(1982-03-31) (aged 85)
Resting placeForest Lawn Cemetery in Ruston, Louisiana
Spouse(s)Effie Lee Jones Ropp
ChildrenLinda Lou Ropp May

Col. Ralph Edwin Ropp (deceased)

John M. Ropp
ParentsEdward F. and Viola Finnegan Ropp
Residence(1) Natchitoches, Louisiana (2) Ruston, Louisiana
Alma materOhio Northern University
Louisiana State University
OccupationCollege president; Professor


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 1955, Ropp received an honorary doctor of laws degree from his alma mater.[6]

From 1927 to 1928, Ropp was the third national president of Alpha Phi Gamma (which later became part of Society of Collegiate Journalists)[7] 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.[8]

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][9] had three children, Ralph Edwin Ropp (1928-1993), a colonel and director of internal information for the United States Army in Washington, D.C.,[10] later of DeRidder, Louisiana, Linda Lou Ropp May, and John M. Ropp (born 1930).[11] In her later years, Effie Ropp had returned to live in Natchitoches, along with son John and daughter Linda May.[12] After her mother's death, Linda May, divorced from Fred May of Seattle, Washington, subsequently left Natchitoches to return to Ruston.[13]

Academic careerEdit

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.[14]

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.[11] 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. ...[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

Ralph and Effie Ropp are interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Ruston.[1][9]


  1. ^ a b "Forest Lawn Cemetery, Highway 80 West, Ruston, Louisiana". Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  2. ^ "F. Jay Taylor Named as Louisiana Tech Head", Ruston Daily Leader, May 31, 1962
  3. ^ "Ralph L. Ropp". Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  4. ^ "OBIT: Ropp, Ralph L." Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Louisiana Tech President Veteran's Day Banquet Speaker", Minden Press, Minden, Louisiana, November 4, 1954, p. 1
  6. ^ Minden Press, May 19, 1955, p. 18.
  7. ^ "List of National Presidents of Alpha Phi Gamma, later the Society of Collegiate Journalists". Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Keeny, John Ephraim". Louisiana Historical Association, A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography ( Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  9. ^ a b "Ropp, Effie Lee". Alexandria Daily Town Talk, May 2, 2000. Retrieved August 5, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "Col. Ralph E. Ropp". Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Golden Wedding Anniversary: Dr. and Mrs. R. L. Ropp", Ruston Daily Leader, March 25, 1976
  12. ^ "Dr. R. L. Ropp". Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  13. ^ "Green, Loup to wed December, August 26, 2010". Farmerville, Louisiana, Gazette. Retrieved August 5, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ "Dr. Ralph L. Ropp - "Old Normal Hill" - Natchitoches, LA". Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  15. ^ Jake Smith, Dinner with Mobutu: A Chronicle of My Life and Times. Xlibris Corporation. 2005. p. 58. ISBN 978-1413499438. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "Lincoln Parish History". Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1976. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  17. ^ "Tech honors 3 presidents at Spirit Park, May 17, 2013". Monroe News-Star,. Retrieved August 5, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
Preceded by
Claybrook Cottingham
11th President of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana

Ralph Loyd Ropp

Succeeded by
F. Jay Taylor