Wayne B. Hales

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Wayne B. Hales was an emeritus professor, academic administrator, and scientist.

He was born in Spanish Fork, Utah, in 1893. He worked with his father in the Tintic Mines of Utah, saving his money so he could attend Brigham Young University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1916 and lettered in both track and basketball. His record in cross-country remained unbroken for 10 years.

From 1916 to 1921, Hales taught physics and mathematics at Ricks College. He was appointed president of Snow College where he served from 1921 to 1924.

He pursued his advanced degrees at the University of Chicago and the University of Utah. He earned his PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 1926. Part of his education came from two Nobel Prize winners, Albert A. Michelson and Robert A. Millikan.

Hales taught at Weber College from 1926 to 1930. He then joined the BYU faculty in the physics department. During World War II, he was the only faculty member in the department and taught all of the classes. From 1958 to 1964, he was dean of the General College of BYU. In the 1960s, he was chairman of the athletic committee. He served as the chairman of BYU’s athletics council from 1952 to 1967.

In addition to teaching courses in astronomy, meteorology, mechanics, mathematics, he taught the first photography classes at BYU and helped form the BYU Photo Studio.

Hales received the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Teaching Award in 1964. He retired in 1972, but taught in BYU’s continuing education department until his death.

Hales participated in Utah’s first Boy Scout troop and was the Scoutmaster of the first troop in Provo, Utah. He was devoted to scouting and received the Silver Beaver in 1942.

Hales and his wife Ethel Wilson had six children. After her passing in 1963, he married Vivian Parkinson.

He died in 1980.