|6th President of|
Montana State University
1943 (acting from 1943 to June 30, 1944) – February 1964
|Preceded by||A. L. Strand|
|Succeeded by||Leon H. Johnson|
|Born||December 12, 1905|
Greenwich, New Jersey, United States
|Died||August 30, 1989 (aged 83)|
Bozeman, Montana, United States
|Spouse(s)||Mary Polly Kneeland Wisner|
|Children||Roger Lewis Renne; Paul Wisner Renne; Karen Schaeffer Renne; Joan Eleanor Renne|
|Alma mater||Rutgers University|
University of Wisconsin
|Profession||Professor of Economics|
Roland R. Renne (December 12, 1905 – August 30, 1989), an Agricultural Economics Professor, served as President of Montana State College from 1943 to 1964. Dr. Renne was also active in Washington D.C. and United States overseas agricultural economics work. He was the 1964 Democratic candidate for governor of Montana.
Roland Renne, born on December 12, 1905, was the third of five children born to Fred Christian Renne and Caroline Augusta (Young) Renne. Roland grew up on the family's truck and dairy farm in the remote Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. As a boy, Roland helped his father on the farm and attended country schools. With the financial help of his father, he attended Rutgers University and graduated summa cum laud in 1927. He continued his education and obtained his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from University of Wisconsin in 1930.
Rutgers University and University of Wisconsin are both land-grant schools and each influenced the development of Roland Renne's educational philosophy and championing of public education. There were two economists who heavily influenced Dr. Renne; the economist Richard T. Ely, who in 1892 was a founder of the Wisconsin University School of Economics, Political Science and History, and the economist John R. Commons, who was Ely's assistant and a pioneering historian on the U.S. Labor Movement.
Following his graduation in 1930, Renne arrived in Bozeman, Montana to start his teaching at Montana State College as Assistant Professor of Agriculture Economics. On August 19, 1932 he married Mary Polly Kneeland Wisner with whom he had four children.
Dr. Roland R. Renne died in Bozeman, Montana on August 30, 1989.
Dr. Roland R. Renne came to Montana State College in Bozeman, Montana in 1930 to work as Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics. Dr. Renne was an Agricultural Economics Professor and Agriculture Department Head from 1930 to 1943 and President of Montana State College from 1943 - 1964.
During the U.S. Depression years and World War II years, Renne devoted much of his time to educational outreach with small farmers and agricultural labor in support of both the WPA and World War II war efforts. As the Agricultural Economics Department head and chairman of the Bozeman city school board, Dr. Renne worked closely with the WPA to obtain New Deal educational funds for the construction of three new Bozeman, Montana elementary schools: Hawthorne, Irving and Longfellow.
In 1942, Dr. Renne accepted a position in Montana's Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply (OPA), but in the following year, 1943, Renne left OPA and was appointed Acting President of MSC. In 1944 Renne was appointed President of Montana State College.
At the close of WWII, Renne recognized the G.I.Bill (Servicemen's readjustment Act) of 1944 passed by Congress was quickly increasing the demand for classrooms, additional faculty and increased student housing by new student G.I.s and their families. Because of the G.I. Bill, MSC's student body almost doubled from 1,155 in 1945 to 2,014 in 1946, and doubled again in 1947 to 3,591. With qualifying veterans returning to college at the end of the WW II, Renne provided active leadership to make the necessary changes on campus to accommodate those men and women who used the G.I. Bill to get a higher education degree at MSC. With a huge growth in students came an increase in faculty with the faculty almost doubling from 132 in 1945 to 257 in 1950.
To meet the immediate needs of G.I. student and faculty housing and expanded classrooms, Renne quickly installed recycled wooden buildings from a chrome mining project in Columbus, Montana to serve as classrooms for physics, chemistry lab, nursing, education, engineering, agriculture wool lab, psychology and music. To accommodate student and new faculty housing, Renne found prefab war-surplus wooden frame building, quonset huts, barracks, and over 100 small trailers. Then he went to the state capitol, Helena, Montana, and worked with the legislature to use some of the $4.5 million war surplus monies to fund a new brick library, update older buildings, and upgrade the physical plant. Renne also recognized that immediately following the end of WWII, only 16.9% of all instructional budget was spent on humanities and social sciences and called for substantial budgetary increases for liberal arts, citing a need for "a more realistic appreciation of the values of humanistic-social science subjects ... in the interests of serving the general welfare."
During this post WWII growth, Renne took on the added responsibility of educational outreach initiatives, speaking to various assemblies across the state in: Billings, Butte, Great Falls, Hamilton, Miles City, Three Forks, Eden, Joliet, Circle, Forsyth, Glendive, Helena, Hardin, Whitehall, Judith Gap, Ekalaka, Baker, Lodge Grass, Fort Peck, Sidney, and many more communities. He also expanded his outreach to conferences in: Wyoming, Washington, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, California, Missouri and others. Dr. Renne's presentations covered topics on: water resources, water conservation, river basin development, banking, farm economics, land management, Indian affairs, Christian stewardship, and the value of land-grant college education.
In recognition of Dr. Roland R. Renne's service to Montana State College, the Montana State University named Renne Library in his memory.
From 1950 to 1951 Dr. Roland Renne was the president of the Water Resources Policy Commission and in 1951 to 1953 he acted as chief of the Mutual Security Agency's Special Technological and Economic Mission to the Philippines. In 1958, he accepted the role of Chief of the Agricultural Survey Mission to Peru for the Joint International Bank for Reconstruction of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In 1960, Renne became a consultant regarding land development for the U.S. Operations Mission to Ethiopia, and in 1961 he became a member of the National Advisory Council for Health Research Facilities, HEW.
Dr. Renne was the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs in Washington D.C. and through an appointment issued by then U.S. President John F. Kennedy, he also served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs from 1963 to 1964. Renne also became one of the original board of trustees of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement.
By 1964 up to 1969, he was Director of Office of Interior Water Resources Research, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington D.C. After leaving the Water Resources Research Office in 1969, he was chief of the Agricultural University Development in Illinois/USAID Team for India until 1972. In 1974, Renne was Director of the Foreign Trade Study at Montana State University.
In February 1964, Dr. Renne resigned as president of Montana State College to run for Governor of Montana in 1964. He defeated Mike Kuchera in the Democratic primary, and advanced to the general election, where he ran against incumbent Governor Tim M. Babcock. Renne, who was fifty-eight years old, had been associated with Montana State College for thirty-three years, was a respected Agricultural Economist, and had served in 1963 as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs. Babcock was running for re-election following his ascension to the Governorship in 1962 when the previous Governor, Donald Grant Nutter, died in a plane crash.
In the Montana gubernatorial election, Renne placed emphasis on economic development in response to the 1964 sluggish economy, a need of greater support for education, relief for property taxes, and tax programs based upon ability to pay tax to fund his educational programs. Democrats also asserted that a Republican administration would adopt a sales tax and the institution of right-to-work law.
Republicans and Babcock denied any plans for a sales-tax or right-to-work law and placed their emphasis on Governor Babcock's business-like administration of reduced deficit and balanced budget without new taxes, current support for education and custodial institutions, and that agriculture was the only area of Montana's economy not prospering.
The election results had Democrat Roland Renne receiving 136,682 votes, and incumbent Republican Governor Tim Babcock receiving 144,113 votes.
Dr. Roland Renne was a member of:
Roland Roger Renne publications: