Eli Whiteley received his Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy and his Doctorate Degree in Soil Physics from Texas A&M and his Master’s Degree in Agronomy from North Carolina State.
In 1942, six months into his studies for his master’s degree he joined the United States Army where he served as a First Lieutenant in Company L, 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division.
Whiteley was promoted to Captain and received the Medal of Honor – one of seven Medal of Honor recipients from Texas A&M – for his exceptional bravery and valiant leadership in the savage house-to-house battle through the fortress town of Sigolsheim, France in December, 1944. He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman in 1945.
After the war, he returned to North Carolina State completing his degree in 1948 and then receiving his Ph.D. from Texas A&M.
Whiteley taught at Texas A&M while researching plants, including important work with the kenaf plant and soil management and was eventually named a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
Whiteley’s Medal of Honor is on loan to the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center and is currently on display.
Both a memorial park and dormitory on the Texas A&M campus
have been named after Whiteley. As a cadet, he was a member of the Headquarters Cavalry.