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Donald Wayne Zacharias Edit Profile

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Donald Wayne Zacharias was American academic administrator. Named Mississippian of Year Data Processing Management Association; recipient Teaching award Indiana University Foundation, 1963, Cactus Teaching award University Texas, 1971, Justin Smith Morrill award United States Department Agriculture, 1992, Distinguished Teaching award Honors Program, 2000.


Zacharias, Donald Wayne was born on September 28, 1935 in Salem, Indiana, United States. Son of William Otto and Estelle Mae (Newlon) Zacharias.


Bachelor, Georgetown College, Kentucky, 1957. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Georgetown College, Kentucky, 1983. Master of Arts, Indiana University, 1959.

Doctor of Philosophy, Indiana University, 1963.


He died of complications of multiple sclerosis on March 3, 2013, at 77 years of age. Previously he served as the 6th president of from 1979 until 1985. Zacharias' 12 years leading the university is the second-longest tenure at Mississippi's flagship land-grant institution's 130-year history, ranking only behind Stephen D. Lee's 19-year stint as the first president of the university.

Zacharias retired following the Fall 1997 semester at the age of 62 due to his being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. During his tenure enrollment rose to Mississippi's highest at almost 16,000. African-American enrollment more than doubled to 2,200, making up 15 percent of the student body, the highest percentage among SEC schools.

Upon his retirement from MSU, Zacharias said: "I saw things in that others might not have seen. I felt that I had made the right decision to be at this university because I liked both what it stood for and its overall character. I liked its mission, and I liked the students and alumni.

I saw the potential." The Donald Zacharias Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award is named for him and The annual Zacharias Distinguished Staff Awards, given to professional or support staff employees at Mississippi State, were established in his honor in 2013. The Zacharias Housing Village, made up of 4 residence halls, was named in his honor in 2008. Zacharias became president at WKU following the retirement of Dero Downing in 1979.

Zacharias Hall, a three story residence hall built in 1992 on the WKU campus that houses 206 upperclassmen and -women, is named after Dr Zacharias. Zacharias began his career in higher education in 1963 at Indiana University where he was a faculty member in communication until 1969. As an administrator with the University of Texas System, he held positions as executive assistant to the chancellor of the 14-campus statewide system and as assistant to the president of the Austin campus.

Zacharias was born in Salem, Indiana. He also had a sister, Mary Catherine Zacharias Collier, of Yucaipa, California.


  • He then went to work in the University of Texas communication department, attaining full professor rank before entering administration.


Board directors Greenview Hospital. President Southeastern Conference, 1989-1991. With United States Army, 1959-1960.

Member Institute of Technology Development (board directors 1985-1992), National Association State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (executive committee 1990-1992), Phi Kappa Phi (president 1978).


Married Tommie Kline Dekle, August 16, 1959. Children: Alan, Eric, Leslie.

William Otto Zacharias

Estelle Mae (Newlon) Zacharias

Tommie Kline Dekle

Alan Zacharias

Eric Zacharias

Leslie Zacharias