(November 1, 1901 - October 1, 2002)
Iowa State graduate student, instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor of horticulture, managing director of the Memorial Union, director of residence halls, resident analyst and author.
He was born in Clemson, North Carolina, son of August and Lavinia Schilletter. Julian’s father operated an orchard, and he developed a very early interest in horticulture. He studies horticulture at Clemson University and earned a BS in horticulture in 1922. He was president of the freshman class, played football, basketball and baseball, earned two letters in basketball and was captain of the basketball team during his senior year. Over six feet tall, he picked up his nickname “Shorty” while at Clemson, and the name stuck for the rest of his life. Because his father operated an orchard, Julian had considered running the orchard after graduation. However, he was offered a $60 a month scholarship to come to Iowa State College (now University), and with America in the Depression in the early 1920’s, “I thought the $60-a-month scholarship looked better, so I came to Iowa State to study horticulture.”
It took Schilletter only a year to earn his MS degree, and he immediately began teaching courses in horticulture. He earned his PhD in horticulture at Iowa State in 1930 with a dissertation entitled Time of Bud Differentiation in the Dunlap Strawberry. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1928, to Associate Professor in 1936, and to Professor in 1944. He published A Laboratory Course in General Horticulture in 1934, and co-authored Laboratory Manual of General Horticulture in 1941.
In 1942 when Memorial Union Director Harold Pride was called to World War II military duty, President Charles Friley appointed Dr. Schilletter as Director. When Pride returned in 1946, Dr. Schilletter was appointed Director of Residence Halls and remained in that position until 1967, presiding over the efforts to meet the vast growth in demand for student housing during that era.
During his 21 year tenure as Residence Director, the number of Iowa State students housed on campus rose from 1,800 to 6,300. One of his most notable achievements was the establishment of Pammel Court immediately after the end of World War II, the first married student housing ever at Iowa State. He also established the Men’s Residence Association (MRA) and the Women’s Residence Association (WRA) and the residence hall house system. In 1967, he was appointed as Resident analyst and worked in that capacity until his retirement in 1972. Out of his experience operating the residence halls at Iowa State for so many years, he produced two publications, The First 100 Years of Residential Housing at Iowa State University in 1970, and Brief Biographical Sketches of Persons for Whom Residence Hall Houses are Named at Iowa State University in 1971. In 1974, two years after his retirement, a new student housing complex north of the campus was named the Schilletter Village Apartments in his honor.
Dr. Schilletter was also very active in other community and professional organizations, including St. John’s By the Campus Episcopal Church, the Elks Club, Chi Phi Social Fraternity, Masonic Lodge, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, Gamma Sigma Delta, Alpha Zeta, Cardinal Key, American Men of Science, the American Society for Horticultural Science, and the Ames City Council. On the occasion of his 100th birthday in 2001, he was featured in an article in the Ames Daily Tribune in which it was noted he still did his own driving, shopping, cooking and entertaining.
Dr. Julian Claude Schilletter died at the age of 100 at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames on October 1, 2002, and was interred in the Iowa State University Cemetery.
Julian C. Schilletter Papers, RS 7/4/12, box 11, folder 12, University Archives, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library. Items include newspaper clippings from the Iowa State Daily and the Ames Daily Tribune, including obituaries, a Memorial Resolution, and his own faculty personnel information sheet dated 1960 and updated in 1972 and 1973.
“Centennial man” By Brandon Babcock. Iowa State Daily, Nov 1, 2001.
“Memorial Resolutions” Iowa State University Faculty Senate May 6, 2003. https://www.facsen.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/docket/2002/S02-39memorialresolutions.pdf