The Austin College community lost a legendary professor December 6, 2017, with the death of Dr. Kenneth Street, professor emeritus of political science. He was 90 years old.
Dr. Street spent nearly 40 years preparing young men and women for careers in law and government during an Austin College career that included teaching on many topics, with special emphasis on Constitutional law, the presidency, the legislative process, political parties, and political theory.
A service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, December 18, in Wynne Chapel at Austin College. A memorial service also is scheduled during the 2018 Kenneth Street Law Symposium at Austin College on Monday, February 12, with details to be announced.
A Texas native, Dr. Street earned a bachelor’s degree in geology at Texas Tech University. He and his wife Louise, who died in October 2013, married in 1950 and began their married life as he served as a teacher, coach, and principal in public schools. A few years later, he returned to Tech to earn his master’s degree in government. He spent a year teaching political science at Wichita State University before earning his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Street joined the Austin College political science faculty in 1959. He held the John D. Moseley Chair of Government and Public Policy from its establishment in 1981 until his retirement in 1998, retiring as professor emeritus of political science.
In addition to classroom teaching at Austin College, Dr. Street was a long-time pre-law advisor; regularly arranged student internship opportunities in Austin, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.; and coordinated the College’s Sumners Foundation Scholarship Program. His campus tenure included service as chair of the Political Science Department; chair, associate dean, and dean of Social Sciences; as well as service on various college steering committees and as a member of the College Council. He was chair of the President’s Committee on Institutional Integrity, director of the Community Services Program, and director of the Social Science Laboratory. In addition, from 1968 to 1974, he wrote proposals for six Community Service Grants under the Higher Education Act of 1965 that were funded at Austin College. He also was co-author of a National Science Foundation grant and a joint National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, both of which were funded.
During his teaching career, he kept a hand in government projects, and was one of four political scientists from Texas selected to attend a 1961 seminar of the American Political Science Association. He served as an administrative assistant to Congressman Ray Roberts in work on the Great Society initiative in summer 1965 and served as a legal assistant to Congressman Roberts in summer 1973. For several years, he conducted research on Texas elections for the Institute of Governmental Affairs in Washington D.C., for the publication “America Votes.” In addition, he was chair of a statewide committee to form a new state organization on Community Services and Continuing Education, and wrote the Constitute and bylaws to enact the organization. He then served as a member of the executive board of that organization.
Dr. Street spent three sabbaticals—1978, 1986, and 1992 serving as visiting professor at Stanford University and as a research associate at UC – Berkeley. He also served a summer as a visiting professor at the University of Houston.
Named a Minnie Stevens Piper Professor of the Year, he also received numerous honors from Austin College, including the 1993 Homer P. Rainey Award for Outstanding Achievement and Service and the 1996 Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Street’s efforts in preparing students for internships was recognized with a special commendation from M/A/R/C Inc. of Irving during the company’s annual awards ceremony in 1993. He was a 2008 honorary inductee into the Austin College Athletic Hall of Honor, was named Outstanding Organization Sponsor for his work with the Pre-Law Society, and received a T. Ellis Lockhart Spirit Award for support of Austin College athletes.
In recent years, he has been honored with the naming of the College’s Kenneth W. Street Law Symposium and the College’s mock trial facilities, the Kenneth Street Advocacy Courtroom in Abell Library. The College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during Commencement 2015 in recognition of his many contributions. Alumni and friends funded the Kenneth W. Street Endowed Presidential Scholarship at Austin College in recognition of his remarkable career.
Dr. Street and his late wife raised their two children in Sherman, where he was active for many years as a consultant to the Goals for Sherman program, serving as a member of the writing team that wrote the city goals. He also served as a delegate to county and state Democratic conventions several times. Dr. Street’s career also included writing for numerous professional publications and presenting speeches at many colleges and universities. He has been active in several professional organizations and honorary societies.
- Memorial gifts may be made to the Kenneth W. Street Endowed Presidential Scholarship at Austin College.
- Read more about Dr. Street’s legacy in the Summer 2013 Austin College Magazine
- Share your memories and condolences.
- Remembering Dr. Street in Photos