Tarleton Mourns Passing of Former Dean Don Beach

Dr. Don and Linda Beach, 2023 Gala

STEPHENVILLE — Dr. Don Beach, a former Tarleton State University Dean and longtime faculty member, died April 19 in Stephenville at the age of 76. Services are set for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Stephenville High School Bond Auditorium. Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Stephenville Funeral Home.

He joined Tarleton in 1981 as Dean of the School of Education and Fine Arts but later returned to the classroom as an educational leadership Professor. He was on the UT Arlington faculty for eight years and taught science and biology at the elementary and secondary levels before that.

“Dr. Beach will be remembered as one of the most impactful faculty members in Tarleton history,” said university President James Hurley. “He influenced superintendents, principals and teachers across the state, and he loved this institution. His wisdom will be deeply missed.”

Dr. Beach was the Texas Council of Professors and Educational Administrators’ 2016 Educator of the Year, and The Texas A&M University System named him a Regents Professor in 2008. He received Tarleton’s O.A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Award, the Ted Booker Award from the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education, and the Laureate Award from the Association of Teacher Educators.

He served as President of Tarleton’s Faculty Senate in 2015-16, returning as a member in 2021.

“Dr. Beach worked for more than 50 years to improve leadership at all levels of education,” said Dr. Diane Stearns, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “He was a mentor, a counselor, a father figure to thousands.”

Accompanying a moment of silence Wednesday morning, Dr. Kim Rynearson, Dean of the College of Education, pointed out that Dr. Beach served on countless dissertation committees and influenced the careers of many Tarleton faculty.

“He will be remembered not just today, not just a year from now, but 100 years from now,” she said. “Don Beach is a legend.”

He received his doctorate in education from the Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, and he earned a bachelor’s in biology and master’s in secondary education and administration at Texas Tech University.

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