Charles Edwin Friley


 Born in Louisiana to William Christopher and Ellen Douglas Friley, Charles E. Friley attended Sam Houston Teachers College (1905) and Baylor University (1905-1907) and received his B.S. (1912) from Texas A & M University and an M.S. (1923) from Columbia University. Dr. Friley was awarded several honorary degrees throughout his career and received an honorary doctorate (1958) from Iowa State University.

After three years of teaching in the public schools in Louisiana and Texas, Dr. Friley served as Registrar (1912-1924) at Texas A & M and as Dean of the School of Arts and Science (1924-1932). In 1932, Dr. Friley was appointed Dean of the Division of Science at Iowa State College (University) and was named Vice-President of the College in 1935. He succeeded Dr. Raymond M. Hughes as president of Iowa State in 1936 after serving as interim for five months. He retired in 1953.

His 17-year term was the longest of Iowa State's first 11 presidents, and spanned higher education's most turbulent era, from the closing phase of the Depression through World War II and into the post-war "educational revolution." It was an administration characterized by emergency efforts, the most notable among them Iowa State's participation in the Manhattan (atomic research) project. Friley was directly responsible for Iowa State's establishment of the nation's first educationally-owned and operated television station.
He was a Mason and a Fellow of the Iowa Academy of Science and was a member of numerous organizations and societies, including the National Council of Presbyterian Men, Iowa State Fair Board, Iowa Geological Survey, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Mu Alpha.

He was married three times. In 1913, he married his first wife, Nina Lynn Wood, who died in 1918. They had two sons Charles Edwin, Jr. and William Alva. Dr. Friley married his second wife, Vera Foreman in 1921, and she died in 1947. They had one daughter, Frances Foreman (Kuyper). In 1951 he married Magdalen Ranney.  Charles E. Friley passed away in 1958.

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Resources available online

Charles Edwin Friley Papers

RS 2/9
University Archives, Iowa State University Library






His 17-year term was the longest of Iowa State's first 10 presidents.