William Harding “Will” Mayes, 21st president, was born at Mayfield, Ky., on May 20, 1861.
He attended Paducah District Methodist College in Milburn, Ky., Norton’s English and Classical School in Union City, Tenn., and Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, Tenn. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association in 1881.
He taught country school at Water Valley, Ky., and was a member of the law firm Park & Mayes, Mayfield, Ky., from June 1881 to February 1882.
He moved to Brownwood on March 1, 1882, to practice law and was county attorney for Brown County from 1882-1884.
He bought the Brownwood Bulletin in 1886 and Brownwood Banner in 1887, consolidating them as the Banner-Bulletin. He and his brother, H.F. Mayes, established the Brownwood Daily Bulletin in 1900. He was elected president of the National Editorial Association (later called National Newspaper Association) in 1908.
Mayes was elected lieutenant governor of Texas and presided over the state Senate, 1913-14. He did not seek reelection. Daniel Baker College conferred his L.L.D. degree in 1914.
He was the first dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, serving from 1914-26, and president of American Schools and Departments of Journalism in 1920. He served as executive vice president of the Texas Centennial Committee in 1936. He died June 26, 1939, in Austin, and was buried in Brownwood.
He married Jessie Wise in 1886 and they had four children.
After the death of his first wife, he married Anna Marshall and they had two children.