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AUSTIN, Ruben V.

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AUSTIN, Ruben V. (San Antonio, TX, July 28, 1915--Dubuque, IA, Apr. 10, 1996). MAYOR During the GREAT DEPRESSION, Austin rode freight trains for eight days to reach the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE where he earned his bachelor's degree. He began teaching in 1936 in Coggan, Iowa. Returning to Dubuque, Austin taught at the junior and senior high levels and then served as a professor and chairman of the department of economics and business at the university from 1946 to 1953. (1)

Austin was elected to the Dubuque City Council from 1949 to 1953. During his term as mayor from 1953 to 1954 the groundwork was laid for bringing natural gas to the city, the council debated fluoridation of the city's drinking water, and initial discussions for a FLOODWALL were held in Washington, D.C. (2)

From 1955 to 1961, Austin served as the assistant dean and professor of the College of Business and Public Service at Michigan State University. He was also associated with the U.S. Department of State as the MSU Coordinator of Projects in Brazil and Vietnam. In 1961, Austin was appointed dean and H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Economics at the University of Delaware. He served as the dean and professor of economics at Governors State University, Chicago, from 1970 to 1976 and distinguished visiting professor of business and economics at the University of South Carolina from 1976 to 1977. (3)

Austin served the University of Dubuque from 1979 to 1983 as a distinguished professor of business and economics before being appointed associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts where he developed the master's in business administration program. In 1986, Austin was named professor of administration and business emeritus. (4)

During his long career, Austin served as a consultant for the U.S. Department of State to Chile, faculty consultant for Harvard University to Brazil, member of the board of trustees of Brandywine College in Delaware, and a panelist for NBC-TV on politics and the economy. (5)

Austin was included in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American College and University Administrators, and Leaders in Education. He was a recipient of the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce Citizen's Award, University of Dubuque Alumnus of Distinction, and the Hazen Foundation Award. Posthumously he received the Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching and Advising. (5)

In an interview, Austin believed the city council's greatest contribution to the city was expansion to the west, expansion of the water system, and the fluoridation of the city's water. He left Dubuque in the mid-1950s after retiring from city government and worked at universities in Michigan, Delaware, and Chicago before returning to Dubuque. (6)



1. Obituary

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Riddell, Amy, "Dubuque Ex-Mayors Recall Joys, Disappointments," Telegraph Herald, January 19, 1986, p. 3