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Interview with Frank G. Dickey, April 11th, 1988

Part of Charles T. Wethington University of Kentucky: General Oral History Project

Interview with Frank G. Dickey, April 11th, 1988
Frank G. Dickey; interviewee. Terry L. Birdwhistell; interviewer.
oral histories
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Frank G. Dickey begins this interview by discussing early experiences that influenced his decision to go into teaching. He recalls it was primarily a family tradition, since many family members were teachers, and talks about their educational backgrounds. He remembers his experiences in the Army as a staff member with a training battalion headquarters while he was stationed at Fort Blanding, Florida. He talks at length about University of Kentucky President Dr. Herman L. Donovan as a person as well as an administrator. He notes that Donovan was interested in all aspects of education in Kentucky, not just higher education. Dickey discusses the social responsibilities of the President and his wife at Maxwell Place as well as on campus and talks about Mrs. Donovan's graciousness in assisting Mrs. Dickey with some of these responsibilities.He refers to the "McVey faction" and the "Donovan faction", the situation where the group who had supported President Frank L. McVey did not consider Donovan to be a scholar and thought he was too autocratic. He felt he had inherited some of these lingering feelings of disdain during his tenure because he was considered "a Donovan man", and considered this a nagging problem, but not a critical one. Dickey discusses the concept of change, how younger faculty members tended to be less flexible "because of ideas and concerns about achieving tenure", and the "need to spread changes across the board". Dickey talks about this issue in relation to the planning and building of the Chandler Medical Center. He discusses the comparisons made of Donovan to Harry Truman. He recalls his transition was a smooth process and mentions several individuals who helped him with this, Donovan in particular. Dickey discusses some of the programs developed during his first year in office, including the Committee of Fifteen. He talks about development of the community college system and notes this plan was actually started in the late 1940's. He discusses at length his experiences with various Deans and Vice-Presidents at U.K. Dickey recalls several Kentucky governors as well as Kentucky politics, how their politics and interests affected the university, and the necessity for political acumen in his position.
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky--History., Dickey, Frank Graves., Dickey, Frank Graves--Interviews., University of Kentucky.
Charles T. Wethington University of Kentucky: General Oral History Project
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