Interview with Frank G. Dickey, February 2nd, 1977

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:06 - Interview introduction and UK in the post war years

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Segment Synopsis: Dr. Frank Dickey is a former president of the University of Kentucky. He talks about his early impressions of the university and working on his doctorate after World War II.

Keywords: 1940s; English; college campuses; construction; doctorate; facilities; grad students; higher education; returning soldiers; students; temporary buildings; veterans

Subjects: Lexington (Ky.).; Transylvania University.; United States. Montgomery G.I. Bill.; University of Kentucky.; World War, 1939-1945.

00:05:39 - Choosing UK and Dean Taylor

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about Dean Taylor and the influence that he had on him. He also talks about his choice to go to UK for his doctorate, and how Dean Taylor influenced him in this.

Keywords: Charles Sping (??); Dean Taylor; Indiana University; Kiwanas Clubs; Lexington public schools; Ralph Cherry; administration; administrators; advisors; education; faculty; fellowships; graduate assistants; graduate students; military service; social events

Subjects: Stanford University.; Taylor, William Septimus, 1885-1949.; University of Kentucky.; University of Kentucky. College of Education.

00:12:15 - Becoming dean of the College of Education

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Segment Synopsis: Dickey talks about the circumstances that led to his being appointed acting dean, then dean of the College of Education.

Keywords: Southern Association; administration; advising; budgets; college dean; education; educational leadership; faculty; faculty members; heart attacks

Subjects: Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.; Taylor, William Septimus, 1885-1949.; University of Kentucky.; University of Kentucky.College of Education.

00:16:47 - Dr. Donovan's stipulations for Dickey as Dean of Education

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about the instructions that Dr. Donovan gave him for how he wanted the College of Education to be run. Dr. Donovan also expected for him to take a sabbatical to do post-doctoral work at another institution, which he did at Harvard.

Keywords: College of Agriculture; College of Arts and Sciences; administration; budgets; fellowships; leadership; post-doctoral work; sabbaticals

Subjects: Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.; Harvard University.; Lexington (Ky.).; Taylor, William Septimus, 1885-1949.; University of Kentucky.; University of Kentucky. College of Education.

00:19:55 - Dr. Donovan's philosophy for building a university

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about Dr. Donovan and his tendency to hire younger faculty members, even though he knew they might only be there a few years. He also talks about the accusation that Donovan did not hold up the same standards of scholarship as his predecessor Dr. McVey.

Keywords: Elvis Starr (??); University Associates; academia; administration; board of directors; deans; faculty; professors; scholarship; young professors

Subjects: Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.; McVey, Frank LeRond, 1869-1953.; University of Kentucky.

00:23:55 - Desegregation and the College of Education

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about the amendment of Kentucky's Day Law, and the effect that desegregation had on the College of Education.

Keywords: Day Law; desegregation; graduate students; higher education; integration; professors; summer sessions; teachers

Subjects: African Americans.; Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.; Kentucky.; University of Kentucky.

00:27:16 - The search for UK's new president

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about how he was chosen as the new president after Dr. Donovan retired, especially the procedure involved.

Keywords: Elvis Starr (??); Frank Welch; Memorial Hall; board committee; board of trustees; candidates; faculty; faculty committees; faculty senate; job interviews; retirement; search committees; secret ballots; university presidents

Subjects: Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.; University of Kentucky.

00:31:23 - Happy Chandler and Dickey's being chosen as UK's president

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Segment Synopsis: Dickey talks about Happy Chandler and his possible role in his (Dickey's) being chosen as university president. He recounts his prior acquaintance with Chandler when he was in the military.

Keywords: Camp Stoneman; Elvis Starr (??); Frank Welch; governors; military service; politics; service club; state governments; university presidential candidates; university presidents

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; University of Kentucky.

00:33:44 - Relationship with faculty as university president

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about his relationship with the faculty while he was president of UK. He also describes the McVey supporting faction of faculty members.

Keywords: Elvis Starr (??); Frank Welch; deans; democracy; faculty; professors; university presidents

Subjects: Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.; McVey, Frank LeRond, 1869-1953.; University of Kentucky.

00:37:44 - Guiding philosophies for UK and the first day as president

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about his guiding philosophies for improving UK and recounts an incident that occurred on his first day as president.

Keywords: Cooperstown; Mr. Farris (??); admissions requirements; budgets; clotheslines; educational philosophies; faculty; faculty members; grades; selectivity; students; university presidents; veterans

Subjects: Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.; Education.; Taylor, William Septimus, 1885-1949.; University of Kentucky.

00:42:21 - Dr. Gladys Kammerer

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about Dr. Gladys Kammerer, a political science professor who was denied an increase in salary, something that many thought was because of her criticism of the Chandler administration. He talks about his own lack of information about the incident at the time and Happy Chandler's reaction.

Keywords: Gladys Kammerer; academic freedom; criticism; deans; higher education and feminism; newspapers; political science; press coverage; professors; public relations; sexism; women faculty

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; University of Kentucky.

00:47:26 - Faculty Trustee Committee on Academic Freedom

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about his establishing the Faculty Trustee Committee on Academic Freedom and some of the cases that it was involved in.

Keywords: Abby Marlatt; Committee on Academic Freedom; Korean War; academic freedom; board members; cases; committees; department chairman; faculty; faculty members

Subjects: University of Kentucky.

00:48:50 - The Chandler Medical Center

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about the founding of UK's medical center during his presidency. He also tells how Happy Chandler decided that the medical center would be run on coal rather than gas and how the center was named.

Keywords: Kentucky Kernel; air pollution; board of trustees; coal; construction; faculty; faculty members; finance; gas; heating; hospital staff; medical centers; salaries; university medical centers

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; University of Kentucky.; Willard, William R., 1908-.Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.

00:53:55 - UK's relationship with the press

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about the relationship that UK had with the press, both local and statewide. He gives some reasons why statewide press coverage of UK has been less than favorable.

Keywords: Barry Bingham; Courier Journal (Louisville, Ky.); Louisville Times; Mrs. Bingham; higher education; newspapers; prejudice against public education; press coverage; private education; public education; public relations; public universities

Subjects: University of Kentucky.; University of Louisville.

00:56:43 - State budget increases for UK during Dickey's administration

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about some of the reasons why the state government provided UK with a sizable increase in funds in the mid 1950's. He discusses UK's good relationship with the governor, and the way the money they received was spent.

Keywords: Frank Peterson; budgets; commissioner of finance; construction; dormatories; economic conditions; economics; faculty; faculty members; federal funds; governors; lobbying; medical center; politics; salaries; university funding

Subjects: Basketball.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Kentucky.; University of Kentucky.

01:03:05 - UK's relationship with other Kentucky universities

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about the relationship that UK and its president had with other public universities in Kentucky. He also talks about funding and how UK's funding compared to other schools while he was president.

Keywords: Bob Martin; Carl Hill; Council on Public Higher Education; Harry Sparks; Murray State University; Ralph Woods; administration; budgets; community college system; community colleges; funding; legislature; state schools; universities; university presidents

Subjects: Education.; Kentucky.; University of Kentucky.

01:07:35 - Football holiday controversy after the Kentucky vs. Tennessee game, 1958

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Segment Synopsis: Dickey talks about an incident in which Governor Chandler declared a holiday for UK students after the football team won a game against Tennessee. The faculty were very much against this, and Dickey chose to appease them by not cancelling classes.

Keywords: absences; academic holidays; chairman of the board; classes; communication; faculty; football; football games; holidays; riots; school breaks; sports; student protests; students; university presidents

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; University of Kentucky.; University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

01:11:01 - Financial influence of sports on the university

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Segment Synopsis: He talks about how having a winning basketball of football team may or may not affect the amount of funding a state university receives. He also talks about recruitment and the reactions of some of the Lexington citizens who felt that he was not emphasizing sports enough as president.

Subjects: Combs, Bert T., 1911-1991.; Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.; Lexington (Ky.).; National Collegiate Athletic Association.; University of Kentucky.

01:15:55 - Integration of sports at UK

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Segment Synopsis: Dickey talks about the integration of UK's sports teams, and why he chose to handle things with the SEC the way that he did. He also shares some of the conversations he had with Adolph Rupp about integrating his team. He tells how Rupp wanted to integrate, but the students he wanted could not be admitted to the university because of Dickey's raising academic standards.

Keywords: African American basketball players; SEC; admissions; basketball players; coaches; discrimination; finances; integration; recruitment; segregation; sports

Subjects: African Americans.; Basketball.; Rupp, Adolph, 1901-1977.; University of Kentucky.

01:19:00 - Frank Peterson's suspension

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Segment Synopsis: Dickey talks about Frank Peterson, who was suspended for supposedly questionable use of the university's funds. He explains why he feels that these charges were unfair and politically motivated.

Keywords: Frank Peterson; administration; administrators; auditors; building programs; charges; comptroller; construction; contracts; finances; fraud; politicians; politics; property; revenue; suspensions; vending machine companies; vending machines

Subjects: Kentucky.; University of Kentucky.

01:22:30 - Achivements and relationships with students

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Segment Synopsis: He recounts what he feels were the greatest achievements of his administration at UK and talks about his (then) current relationship with former UK students. The interview is concluded. (the last minute or so of the recording is silent)

Keywords: Courier Journal (Louisville, Ky.); Kentucky Kernel; National Observer; achivements; administration; admissions; alumni; board members; community members; construction; criticism; critics; faculty; friendship; medical centers; salaries; staff; student admissions; students; university presidents

Subjects: University of Kentucky.