Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni

William Romig

William Robert Romig - 1993

William Robert Romig graduated from Clinton High School in 1944 as the class valedictorian.  He attended the University of Oklahoma and then graduated from Southwestern in 1948 with a degree in education.  His mother, Frankye Hartgraves Romig, also graduated from Southwestern Normal School and subsequently taught several years in and around Hitchcock.  She lived in Watonga until her death in May, 1992. 

After college graduation, Romig taught for three years in public schools at Butler, Clinton, and at consolidated school near Hobart.  In 1948-49, Romig decided to take night courses at the University of Southern California where he took an introductory course of bacteriology.  He became interested in this area and then enrolled at the University of Oklahoma where he worked for a master’s degree in bacteriology. 

In 1954, he enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin to work on his doctorate.  He received his degree in 1957 and then started teaching in the Bacteriology Department at UCLA where he started as an instructor and is now a professor.  He is very active in research and is a founding member of the Molecular Biology Institute.  Romig has been involved in writing and administering research grants and running research laboratories consisting of 8 to 10 graduate students and research assistants. 

The main and continuing research efforts for Romig have included studies on the structure and genetics of bacterial viruses, mechanisms of genetic exchange in bacteria, and genetic bases of virulence in several bacteria that cause disease.  Together, Romig and his workers have published about 100 scientific papers in various journals.  About 25 doctorate students have trained in his lab with most of them spending from four to six years in the process.  He has witnessed the progress o students to various governmental and industrial laboratories as well as positions at various academic institutions. 

Romig has served as a visiting investigator in the Molecular Biology section of the National Institutes of Health and has served as a consultant to NASA.  He was appointed to an advisory committee at Edgewood Arsenal and was invited to serve as chairman of the Molecular Genetics section of the 12th International Congress of Genetics in Japan in 1968.  During the past five years, Romig and his fellow department professors have been actively engaged in helping design a new microbiology wing for a combined Chemistry-Microbiology Building at UCLA.  His department moved to their new headquarters this August. 

Romig and his wife, Mary Lorraine Scott, have two sons, Claude and Stuart.  The Romigs enjoy musical events during their spare time and particularly enjoy opera. He passed away March 11, 2002.