After World War II, the University of Wyoming was bursting with returning veterans just as the nation, nervous about Communist expansion worldwide, was sliding into the Cold War. UW trustees called for the investigation of textbooks in use on campus to determine if they were “subversive or un-American.” The faculty overwhelmingly resisted the move, and both sides reached a compromise guaranteeing academic freedom in the future.
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Samuel H. “Doc” Knight taught geology at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. from 1916 until his retirement in 1963. For a decade he was the only geology teacher, but as his classes began to grow in size and popularity the geology department expanded into a nationally recognized program. He established the university’s science camp in the mountains west of Laramie and revitalized the university’s geological museum. Knight taught an estimated 10,000 students throughout his career and was known to many “Mr. Geology of Wyoming.”
Stephen Wheeler Downey was a prominent Laramie lawyer active in public life in Wyoming for more than 30 years beginning in 1869. He served in the territorial and state legislatures where he was an early supporter of votes for women and introduced legislation to found the university of Wyoming. He served in the U.S. Congress as Wyoming’s territorial delegate, as a member of the convention that drew up the state constitution in 1889, as president of the University of Wyoming trustees, and, at the beginning and end of his career, as Albany County’s prosecuting attorney. He died in 1902 and is buried in Laramie.
Emma Knight, the University of Wyoming’s first dean of women, bore four children and served seven years as the Albany County, Wyoming superintendent of schools before she finally graduated from the university in 1911, the same year as her daughter. The wife and mother of UW professors of geology—Wilbur and Samuel H. Knight—she was highly regarded by her students and colleagues. Knight Hall on the UW campus is named in her honor.
Three-time All-American Kenny Sailors, of tiny Hillsdale, Wyo. led the University of Wyoming’s 1943 men’s basketball team to an NCAA championship in Madison Square Garden. Sailors was only 5 feet 10, but he was a great jumper and shooter, and highly skilled with a weapon of his own invention—the jump shot.