Interview with Frank G. Dickey, February 2, 1977

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Dr. Frank G. Dickey recalls his family moved to Lexington, Kentucky when he was ten years old, where he attended secondary school. He completed his undergraduate work at Transylvania University. Dickey talks about his early experiences at the University of Kentucky while he was pursuing his doctorate degree, and his decision to stay in the Education Department after meeting with Dean William Taylor. Dickey remembers his experiences in the capacity of Assistant Dean, then Acting Dean of the College of Education when Taylor became ill and suddenly died. He recalls meeting with Dr. Herman L. Donovan, where he was asked to accept the position of Dean. Donovan later asked Dickey to take sabbatical leave to attend a different institution for post-doctoral work, since he was a "homegrown product". In 1952, Dickey accepted a one-year fellowship at Harvard University, and talks about this experience.

Dickey discusses Donovan's tenure at U.K., and remembers when blacks were allowed to attend graduate school at U.K., and mentions the Kentucky Day Law. He feels that integration was handled smoothly by the university. Dickey discusses his appointment as the youngest President of U.K., and states for the record in this interview that Donovan avoided any participation in the selection process. Dickey remembers the group that supported former President Frank L. McVey was cool towards Donovan, and consequently, they were also reticent towards Dickey during his tenure, but he recalls this did not affect his administration. Dickey reminisces about his open door policy and the "first major crisis on his very first day". He talks about his relationship with Dr. A. B. "Happy" Chandler. Dickey discusses the case of Dr. Gladys Kammerer, a Political Science professor who sued U.K. for infringement of her academic freedom after her position was terminated. He admits that he made his decision in error without all of the facts, and remembers what he learned from this experience. He established a Faculty-Trustee Committee on Academic Freedom as a result of this incident.

Dickey describes the difficulties of integrating the new Chandler Medical Center into the university during his administration. He mentions his discussion with Chandler about the battle over whether coal or gas should be used in the facility, and the decision to use coal. Dickey discusses at length how the funds were procured for new construction during this time, and gives credit to Frank Peterson, who was U.K.'s Vice-President of Business Affairs, for his knowledge of financing.

Interview Accession

1977oh005_af050

Interviewee Name

Frank G. Dickey

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1977-02-02

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.

Interview Usage

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.

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Dickey, Frank G. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 02 Feb. 1977. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Dickey, F.G. (1977, February 02). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Dickey, Frank G., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. February 02, 1977, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7rbn9x1p59