It senator is y-comen in? Loude sing, cuckoo? in on Krueger of Texas illnesses kept him off athletic teams. Instead, he played trumpet in the high school band. When Bob went away to Southern Methodist University after graduating from New Braunfels High School, Arlon Krueger urged him to study business administration and become a stockbroker. Bob tried that for awhile, then struck out on his own by changing his major to English. Krueger graduated from SMU in 1957 and moved on to North Carolina’s Duke University, where he received a master’s degree in English a year later. In the fall of 1958, he entered Oxford University and immersed himself in Elizabethan literature. His life in England left Krueger with more than a knowledge of Shakespeare. As an outsider thrown into a society bound by rigid class divisions, he came to realize just how much opportunity an ambitious person had in America. By 1960, he knew his teaching career would only be a prelude to a race for high political office. “I decided as an absolute that I’d do it,” he says. “I didn’t have a timetable. I was always interested in a national office.” This decision made, Krueger’s actions fell into line, though he did leave room for accidents of fate. For one thing, he thought he would have to become a university president to gain the stature to make a race for Congress. Events would allow him to skip that step. Oxford conferred a B.Litt. degree on Krueger in 1961, and the English department at Duke gave him a job. He returned to Oxford for the 1963-64 school year to complete his doctoral dissertation on the late-Elizabethan poet, Sir John Davies. His work led ultimately to the publication of a new edition of Davies’s poetry, edited jointly by Krueger and Ruby Nemser, whose Harvard dissertation was also on Davies. Though Krueger chose not to devote himself to scholarship, he prospered on the Duke campus. He became a popular teacher as a result of his polished lectures and his cultivation of personal touches such as holding classes outdoors on sunny days. Krueger’s first political success came in the 1967-68 academic year when he was chairman of a committee charged with writing a new curriculum for Duke. A similar project had been undertaken a few years earlier, but the quiet history professor then behind it lacked the savvy to win approval for his committee’s scheme in the faculty senate. Krueger pushed his plan through in spite of outraged opposition from several department chairmen. Although he was responsible for this bit of educational reform, Krueger wasn’t anyone’s idea of an activist at Duke. He left it to others to fight for the admission of minority students. Krueger simply stood aside in the 1960s while many of his colleagues worked in the civil rights movement and, denounced the war in Vietnam, often losing their jobs as a consequence. As the decade ended, Krueger was in good shape. He was a nominee for the Duke presidency in 1969, but the job went to Terry Sanford, a former North Carolina governor. Krueger became vice provost and the dean of arts and sciences at Duke in 3 1972. While dean, he came under consideration for the presidency of SMU, his alma mater. While Bob was climbing to the top in the academic profession, his father Arlon was making more money back home in New Braunfels. The two Krueger brothers, Arlon and Ben, had dissolved their partnership in the early 1950s. Ben and his son set up a separate Chevrolet dealership and gained control of the family ranch. Arlon kept Krueger Motors, with all the remaining GM brands, and took over the old Faust Hotel. On his own, Arlon bought the Comal Hosiery Mill in 1956. Though the Comal operation was dwarfed by the nearby Mission Valley Cotton Mills, it was still one of the largest businesses in New Braunfels and employed 180 people at its peak. Under Krueger management, Comal Hosiery, unlike many Texas mills, never had to contend with union organizers and complaints of racial bias from its employees. The Kruegers avoided the second problem by hiring anglo workers, period. Only after discrimination charges were filed in 1965 did the hosiery mill begin to hire minority job applicants as machine operators. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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