Mr. James R. Start was born in Whitelaw, Kansas on July 29, 1895. He attended school in Hoisington, Kansas, and then later Hays, Kansas. He received his Diploma from the School of Speech in 1917 from Northwestern University. Mr. Start then served in the U.S. Navy for two years as a musician before returning back to Fort Hays State and earning his Bachelor’s degree in 1919. After completing college, he joined the Fort Hays faculty as a professor of English and speech. In 1927, he took one year’s leave to get his Master’s degree from Columbia University. Mr. Start was the debate coach at Fort Hays State and instrumental in bringing the first national honor society here with the chartering of Pi Kappa Delta in 1924. He was also the drama coach and helped to produce dozens of plays that were staged at Picken Hall. Many of the students he trained as dramatists or debaters later made names for themselves politically and professionally. Start was a chart member of the Hays chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and was honored by President M.C. Cunningham in 1965 when the theater in Malloy Hall was named Felten-Start, honoring him for his contributions to the speech and drama department. Mr. Start was also a member of the Hays Rotary Club where he had a record of 31 years of perfect attendance. He was also a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church, president of the Kansas Association of Teachers of English, and former governor of the Kansas Province of Phi Kappa Delta. Mr. Start died in 1972.
Fort Hays State University Archives, "Mr. James R. Start Papers, 1920-1966" (2016). Archives Finding Aids. 7.