STEPHENVILLE — Relatives of the late Dr. Ken D. Dorris Sr. and his wife have established a scholarship to honor their parents as a living memorial that will support student-athletes on the Tarleton State University rodeo team.
Gifts from Ken “Bubba” Dorris Jr. of Fort Worth and Debbie Dorris of Stephenville created an endowment to fund the Dr. Ken and Virginia Dorris Memorial Scholarship, which will go annually to students in rodeo and those pursuing pre-veterinary degrees in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Dr. Dorris, DVM, was a fervent supporter of Tarleton’s storied rodeo program and spearheaded fundraising for the very first scholarships intended for students competing on the rodeo team. He was instrumental in forming the TSU Rodeo Committee.
A successful and well-known veterinarian, Dr. Dorris established Dorris Veterinary Hospital in Stephenville in 1968 — a practice he managed for more than four decades. While in practice, he volunteered his expertise to care for students’ horses and the livestock associated with the rodeo program and PRCA-sanctioned events.
Ken and Virginia actively supported professional and collegiate rodeo activities, and they worked on the Erath County Livestock Association and other rodeo committees, as well as being integral to creation of the Cowboy Walk of Fame in downtown Stephenville.
While at Tarleton, Dr. Dorris was a member of Army ROTC and the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (representing Tarleton State College), and he competed in RCA-sanctioned rodeos. He earned an associate of science degree in 1957 following active duty with the U.S. armed forces during the Korean War. He then attended Texas A&M University and earned a bachelor of science in 1960 followed by his doctor of veterinary medicine in 1964.
In 1979 he accepted a request to teach graduate-level courses at Tarleton, which resulted in a 16-year stint leading courses in infectious diseases of domestic animals to support the university’s pre-vet curriculum. He was active with the North Texas Veterinary Medical Association and a lifetime member of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, and he served as president of both.
In 2012 Dr. Dorris was inducted into the Tarleton State University Rodeo Hall of Fame. He died Nov. 24, 2018, followed by his loving wife Feb. 5, 2019.