Interview with Frank G. Dickey, September 4, 1997

Project: University of Kentucky: The African American Experience Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Frank G. Dickey completed his undergraduate work at Transylvania College and earned his master's degree in English literature at the University of Kentucky while teaching in the Lexington, Kentucky public school system. He was drafted into the military during World War II, and worked in an administrative capacity. Dickey returned to U.K. on the G. I. Bill, and completed his Ph.D. in Educational Administration in 1947. Dr. W. S. Taylor, Dean of the College of Education, asked Dickey to stay at UK after graduation, where he gained additional experience in teaching and administrative work. President Herman L. Donovan asked him to serve as interim Dean when Taylor became ill, and Acting Dean when Taylor died. Dickey was appointed Dean in 1949. With the stipulation from Donovan that he pursue additional post-graduate study at a different university, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts with his family and attended Harvard University for one year. He became UK President in 1956. He emphasizes he did not enjoy the politics of the position or asking for monetary support for the school from the state. He talks briefly about positions he held after he resigned from U.K. in 1963.

Dickey remembers he was already working in the College of Education when the first African American undergraduate students were allowed to enroll at U.K., as the result of the 1954 Supreme Court Decision. The first students had already been admitted for graduate study in 1949, Dickey recalls, so there was "no real ripple as a result". He discusses President Herman L. Donovan's decision to interview each incoming, new student to be sure they understood what their responsibilities were and to encourage them to come to the dean with problems rather than the press. Dickey emphasizes that Donovan was very much in favor of opening the university to African Americans and that things went more smoothly due to Donovan's determination that they should be admitted. He said the faculty had no problems with this and mentions several faculty members who had these students in their classes. Dickey notes that the quality of students admitted had a serious commitment to education, and he thinks that "helped tremendously in those beginning days".

Interview Accession

2000oh076_af605

Interviewee Name

Frank G. Dickey

Interviewer Name

Sharon Childs

Interview Date

1997-09-04

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Dickey, Frank G. Interview by Sharon Childs. 04 Sep. 1997. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Dickey, F.G. (1997, September 04). Interview by S. Childs. University of Kentucky: The African American Experience Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Dickey, Frank G., interview by Sharon Childs. September 04, 1997, University of Kentucky: The African American Experience Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt79zw18pd2f