Dr. Wathena Temple

Wathena Temple was born on February 4, 1913, in Watonga, Oklahoma, to John Harter Temple and Susan Chandler Temple. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Central State College and a Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from Oklahoma A&M. She enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps program as a private before being promoted to technical sergeant in the 6th WAC. She later served as a dietitian while stationed at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

Temple built a distinguished career in education, working as a teacher in the Watonga public schools, and holding positions at Oklahoma A&M, Northeast Oklahoma Junior College and Alabama Polytechnical Institute. She accepted the position of Head of the Home Economics Department at East Texas State Teacher’s College in 1953. She helped grow the Home Economics program and assisted with the planning and design of the Home Economics building, which was constructed in 1956.

In 1964, Temple resigned her position to help develop a Home Economics program at the University of Hawaii. She returned to Commerce one year later, resuming her previous position with the Home Economics Department. She continued leading the department and oversaw the development of new courses in fashion merchandising, foods and nutrition.

Dr. Wathena Temple passed away on November 12, 1974. The Wathena Temple Fine Arts Building, previously the Home Economics Building, was renamed in her honor.