Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Edward "Eddie" Dugger, Jr. (1919-75), E1941, was one of the most outstanding and beloved athletes in the long history of Tufts athletics. He was frequently referred to as the "one man track team" during his college days.
Edward Dugger Jr., born November 30, 1919, was a Medford native and came from a hard-working, successful family. His widowed mother, who put all of her kids through college, was chosen as Massachusetts Mother of the Year in 1952.His sister Madeleine was the first African-American woman elected to the Medford school committee, and his father Lt. Col. Edward Dugger Sr. was one of the first African-American men to achieve a rank so high in the military. His brother, Cortland Dugger E1950, also attended Tufts.
Dugger, not to be outdone by his family members, was one of the first African-American aeronautical engineers in the nation, and he worked for thirty-three years at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where the Dugger Memorial Auditorium has been named in his honor. A captain in the Air Force Reserves, Dugger was a Thirty-third Degree Freemason and Grand Master of the Ohio Masons. Alongside his track efforts, Dugger played amateur baseball and occasionally boxed. He married teacher Wertha Reid on May 27, 1943, in Dayton, Ohio, and they produced three children, son Edward III and daughters Kountez and Wrisa. In 1970, Dugger was elected to the Tufts Alumni Council, but his term was cut short by his untimely death in 1975.
Dugger competed, and won, in dashes, high and low hurdles, long and high jumps, and the relay. He was a National Collegiate Hurdles Champion, and in 1940 won the IC4A championship with three teammates. He captained that 1940 team to an undefeated season, and won this accolade from President Hallowell:"Ed Dugger is a legend here... he is loved and cherished by Tufts people and one of the great figures in its history."In his three year varsity career Dugger captured forty-nine individual titles and set the IC4A high hurdles record which would remain untied and unbroken for twenty-five years. The outbreak of World War II was the only hurdle Dugger could not leap, as it prevented him from reaching the Olympics. An attempt to reach the international stage in 1948, when Dugger was past his prime, fell short as he finished fourth, one spot out of qualification. The final tally registers seven IC4A championships for Dugger.
As a student he excelled, earning election to the Sword and Shield in his sophomore year, and Tower Cross in his senior term. In addition he received the Bennett Memorial Scholarship his senior year. The 1941 Jumbo Book records the esteem in which he was held by his classmates:"We will never forget Eddie Dugger, who is one of the finest athletes Tufts ever had. He is unaffected by the fame he has attained, and his leadership and ability will never be forgotten."
Edward Dugger Jr. died at the age of fifty-five, September 3, 1975, from a recurring cancer of the kidneys.