When former students recall their years in the architecture
program at Texas A&M University, two names are prominently
mentioned time and again — Ernest Langford, a former A&M
student who served as department head from 1929 to 1956, and
Edward Romieniec, who taught architecture from 1956 until 1960,
returned in 1963 as chairman of the architecture division, served
as the College of Architecture’s first dean 1969 - 73,
and retired from the college faculty in 1988.
Texas A&M boasts countless other outstanding architecture
educators, but few who have left such an indelible legacy on
architectural education in Texas as Langford and Romieniec.
Ernest Langford, known as a gentleman, scholar, teacher and
community leader, is also revered as one of the founding fathers
of College Station. He was instrumental in the city’s founding,
served on the city council for two years, and was mayor until
retiring in 1965. Though his civic duties have earn him the title, “father
of College Station,” his role for 27 years, as steward
of the architectural education program at Texas A&M is what
we remember tonight, at the 100th anniversary of the program
he so ably guided.
Few individuals have been as closely tied to Texas A&M as
it grew and developed in the second half of the 20th Century,
from the day he entered Texas A&M as a freshman in 1909,
until the day he retired as Professor Emeritus.
Langford earned a bachelors of science degree in architectural
engineering in 1913, practiced as a draftsman in Austin for two
years, then returned to A&M and taught mechanical drawing.
He left again in 1919 and for the next six years he taught and
earned a master’s degree at the University of Illinois.
He returned to A&M as an architecture instructor in 1925
and was named department head in 1929.
“The department was a struggling infant in the early days,” Langford
once recalled. “We graduated only three or four men a year.
At the time of my retirement we had more than 300 architecture
majors and graduated about 50 a year.”
Under Langford’s direction, the Texas A&M Architecture
program became known as one of the best in the country.
A member of the American Institute of Architect’s College
of Fellows, Langford became widely recognized as one of the nation’s
leading architectural educators. But the honor he cherished most
was the high esteem in which he was held by students, friends,
neighbors and colleagues — a position exemplified by words
spoken at his retirement from public service: “He has worked
untiringly for the things he thought were best for our city and
school. He has presided with dignity, patience and courage.”
Professor Langford dedicated himself to inspiring others to
their highest achievements. There is hardly a student that studied
under him whose name he could not recall. His interest in his
students, his understanding of their needs, and his sharing of
their aspirations is best demonstrated by the successes those
An editorial appearing in the Bryan-College Station Eagle after
Langford’s death in Sept. 14, 1981 read: “Few men
who measure their accomplishments against their dreams as life
nears its end can be truly satisfied with the final tally. Count
Ernest Langford as worthy of that privilege.”
“During his lifetime,” the editorial concluded, “Langford
not only watched as his dream became reality, he worked to insure
its success. He brought a dedication and a zeal to every task
he undertook, and the entire community benefited from it. He
was, in a very real sense, the builder of a community and a positive
influence on generations of men. That is a legacy worthy of both
respect and imitation.”