Office of the President, Kentucky State University
ca. 132.5 cu. ft.
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Kentucky State University
Biography / History
The Office of the President of Kentucky State University began in 1886 when the State Normal School for Colored Persons (SNSCP) was approved. The history of the office is replete with political struggle, financial difficulty, and the determination to improve and maintain the school's academic and moral integrity.
John Henry Jackson, leader of the Colored Teacher's State Association - the organization which conceived and lobbied for a state "colored" teacher training school - was named as the first president of SNSCP. In addition to Jackson, the school began with one faculty member, a matron of female students, two buildings, and fifty-five students.
Jackson, a black Berea College alumnus of Lexington, worked hard for SNSCP. Some of his accomplishments were recruiting additional students, increasing the number of faculty to nine, constructing three additional buildings, obtaining more land, and expanding the library. SNSCP added industrial, agricultural, and home economics cources to its normal curriculum. Jackson resigned as president in 1898.
His successor was James Edward Givens, a Greenwood, Virginia native with a bachelor's degree in the classics from Harvard University. He taught at State Central Baptist University prior to accepting the presidency. Under Givens' administration, the student body grew to 125, school property increased by almost tenfold, and a printing department was established. Givens resigned in 1900.
Givens' replacement was James Shelton Hathaway, a teacher and newspaper publisher in Lexington. He was a native of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and a graduate of Berea College. Under Hathaway's administration SNSCP's name was changed to the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute (KNII). He received funds to build a women's dormitory, to improve the institue's water supply, and to open a "model school". He also made KNII's farm an efficient program which brought in extra income through the sale of produce. Political interference prevented Hathaway from seeing all his projects to completion. His contract was not renewed in 1907.
John H. Jackson once again took over the presidency. He oversaw Hathaway's construction projects and secured funds to build two brick and stone structures. Before Jackson's second term was over KNII also had its first athletic program, a football team. Anticipating more political intervention, Jackson resigned in 1910.
Albert Ernest Meyzeck, a black public school principal from Louisville, briefly assumed the presidency from July 1, 1910 to August 1, 1910. His resignation suggested a disagreement with the board of trustees about the academic direction KNII should take.
On August 9, 1910, Professor Ernest E. Reed was selected Dean of Faculty and Acting President. He was a graduate of KNII and had attended the University of Chicago and Miami (Ohio).
On September 29, 1910, James S. Hathaway returned to KNII's presidency. In 1911 a teacher's course and a teacher's review course were begun to help black teachers prepare for the statewide common school teacher's examination. To alleviate the water supply problem at the institute, Hathaway had a new pump house built and new pumps installed. Also during his tenure, new land was purchased and improvements were made to the men's dormitory, and the school's road. These much needed improvements left the school deeply in debt. Hathaway resigned in 1912.
Professor W. Buchannan of Normal, Alabama A and H College accepted the presidency. For some unknown reason, however, Buchannan never appeared at KNII.
Instead, Green Pinckney Russell was appointed president on September 12, 1912. A native of Logan County, Kentucky, Russell was a Berea graduate and a Lexington school principal. The Russell administration was marked by increased funding for operations and construction. A central heating plant, a men's dormitory, a laundry, and a new president's house were built. Russell was praised for his handling of a student riot and for allaying worries about the legality of teaching certificates awarded by KNII. When Russell and the Democratic-appointed trustees were accused of fiscal and political mischief, the board of trustees vindicated them. However, just a few months later, faith in Russell's administration was failing and the search began for a new president.
Francis Marion Wood, a KNII Graduate and the supervisor of Kentucky's black high schools, became president on May 5, 1923. Wood's administration phased out the elementary and intermediate teaching certificate programs. These were replaced by junior college courses needed to provide training for teachers in single-teacher schools and four-year high schools. Neither the new president nor the restructuring of the institute pleased all the trustees. Former president, G.P. Russell saw this and began using his political connections to have Wood ousted. In the face of this campaign, Wood resigned effective June 30, 1924.
Russell was again selected president and found that Wood had left a large deficit to be dealt with. One of the ways President Russell addressed this was by getting KNII changed to a college, Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons (KSIC). In the aftermath of a disastrous fire which killed three female students and destroyed the women's dormitory, new funds were allocated and an accountant was hired to control expenditures. He was also asked to audit the books for the two previous years. The auditor's report outlined a variety of fiscal improprieties and led to the resignation of five faculty members and, eventually, of Russell himself.
Dean James A. Bond was made acting president in April 1929. His administration served as both a caretaker and the first to grant bachelor of arts degrees from KSIC.
Rufus Ballard Atwood, a native of Hickman, Kentucky, became KSIC's next president. Atwood had bachelor degrees from Fisk University and Iowa State College and was the first experienced administrator to assume the presidency. Atwood's administration carefully documented activities, endeavored to understand each element of the college and encouraged faculty members to improve their educations.
The first decade of Atwood's term saw the phasing out of the high school program, an "A" ranking from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, the establishment of a research bureau, and the expansion of the campus. The academic structure of the college changed as well when, in 1938, KSIC was changed to the Kentucky State College for Negroes (KSCN). KSCN became strictly a black teacher training school with an emphasis on the liberal arts and agriculture. A bachelor degree in health and physical education was started and several new departments were formed.
The next decade to Atwood's administration brought hard times because of World War II. Enrollments declined, funding became difficult to get, and the growing campus was hard to maintain. Courses had to be adjusted to fit a largely female student body. A joint UK-KSCN graduate school was formed, but it failed due to lack of support from University of Kentucky faculty. A business administration program and an engineering, science, and management training program were set up also.
The final years of the Atwood era, 1949-1962, involved several changes at KSCN. A law was passed desegregating all Kentucky schools. The name of KSCN was changed to Kentucky State College, making it legal for any student to attend the college. The first white student enrolled in 1954. A new library and a laboratory school were constructed. The agriculture program was dropped from the curriculum. KSC received accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and also was made a full member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1960, students disrupted the campus, protesting that KSC help accomodate the white people who were maintaining segregation in public schools. Though normalcy gradually returned, KSC found itself the defendant in a court case and the object of a commissioned study. This study, the Chamber's Report, recommended emphasis on the liberal arts, business administration, social work, public administration, and political science, as well as upholding the value of KSC to higher education in Kentucky. Atwood announced in 1962 that he would retire once the Chambers Report was completed and a successor was found.
Carl McClellan Hill, a Norfolk, Virginia native with a doctorate in chemistry from Cornell University, became KSC's president in 1962. During President Hill's tenure both the campus and the student body grew extensively. The college's new mission was reflected in the many new programs which were started, most important of which were a regular four-year liberal arts program, a two-year community college program, a late afternoon and evening program, a degree program in art, and a two-year nursing program. Hill also had to deal with racial problems when, in 1968, several incidents caused tension and damage in the community. To help deal with these problems, 158 students were transferred or expelled, and a Black Student Union and an Afro-American studies program were established. KSC was elevated to university status and became Kentucky State University. Hill resigned in 1974.
Dr. William A. Butts was selected as president on September 18, 1975. He was a native of Mississippi and had degrees from Mississippi Valley State University and Southern Illinois University. Butts' administration faced some serious problems. KSU tended to be segregated and chanced losing federal funding if it did not desegregate. At the same time, black leaders were charging that KSU was not doing enough for black people. A racial discrimination suit was lost by KSU.
Also during President Butts' administration, an enhancement plan approved by the Council on Higher Education was put into place. The plan called for keeping KSU a small, liberal arts college with only one graduate program. Other graduate programs would be provided for by a joint program between KSU and other state universities. Every facet of the university would be evaluated to minimize waste and maximize assets. Butts methods of enforcing these policies were resented and he was forced to resign.
Raymond Malcolm Burse was named to interim president in 1982. A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Burse was an honor graduate of centre College, studied chemistry at Oxford University, and received his juris doctorate from Harvard University. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar and praticed lawe in Louisville. He was inaugurated as president of KSU on October 30, 1983 and served until 1989.
Dr. Mary L. Smith came to Kentucky State from Hazelhurst, Mississippi to teach in 1970. She soon rose to Acting Chairperson of the division of education, Human Services and Technology, then in 1983 became Dean of the University's College of Applied Sciences and Professor of Education. When the University needed someone to fill the position of acting president after Burse left in April 1989, Dr. Smith was chosen. She served until Dr. John T. Wolfe was named as president in July 1990.
Like Dr. Smith, Dr. John T. Wolfe was originally from Mississippi, though he soon moved and grew up in Chicago. Having earned a Ph.D. at Purdue in linguistics, Dr. Wolfe became Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bowie State University in Maryland. But Dr. Wolfe's tenure at Kentucky State was only a little more than a school year. He left in the summer of 1991 and was replaced by Dr. Mary Smith.
Dr. Smith, who was known to be thoughtful, well-organized and thorough, used these traits to bring stability to the school during her second and non-temporary term as president. Early in Dr. Smith's presidency, both the Center for Diversity and the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans were established. Masters degrees were accredited in Public Administration and Aquaculture. Improvements to the campus included the addition of the new Exum Athletic Center and Cooperative Extension Building as well as renovations of historic Hume Hall. President Smith retired in June 1998.
Dr. George Willis Reid, the twelfth and current president of Kentucky State University, comes to the school with a strong background in history. Born in North Carolina, Dr. Reid served as Dean of the University College at North Carolina Central University. After filling other administrative positions at Savannah, Georgia and Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Reid came to Kentucky State from Benedict College where he was Senior Vice President.
Scope and Content
This record group is made up of the official records of the Office of the President. The records span from 1930 to the present with the bulk of the material documenting the 1960's and the 1970's. A major gap currently exists in the records of the first five presidents (1886-1929).
The records represent a variety of subjects, reflecting the all-encompassing nature of the president's position. The records document the interaction between the President and the administrative and academic units of the University. Correspondence, committee, and association files document the President's interest, responsibility, and involvement in not only University issues, but also in issues of state and national importance. Much of the internal correspondence documents the administrative activities of the University.
The major type of records in the collection is correspondence. Most series include incoming and outgoing correspondence and memorandums. The records also include reports, grant proposals, minutes, reference materials, contracts, budgets, and programs.
Contents of the Collection
Minutes, 1952- [ongoing]
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #1
This series includes minutes (some with exhibits), agendas, reports, and budget information. These materials document the decisions and actions taken by the board. Also included are reports of the Lincoln Institute, an African-American high school in Shelby County, Kentucky. In addition to Rufus B. Atwood, these minutes cover the tenure of each succeeding president of Kentucky State including Carl M. Hill (1962-1974), William A. Butts (1975-1982), and Raymond M. Burse (1982-1989).
The Kentucky State College Board of Regents was established in 1952 by Senate Bill 113. Prior to this date, Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University) in Frankfort was under the supervision of the State Board of Education. The first meeting of the Board of Regents was held on September 26, 1952. The first act of the board was to elect KSC President, Rufus B. Atwood, secretary of the board.
These are minutes of the Administrative Council of Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. The council was made up of the university president, and various administrative staff persons. Discussions document a variety of subjects including planning, organizational structure, and policies and procedures. These records were created during the administration of President William A. Butts.
Board of regents secretary's files, 1958-1979 (bulk 1958-1966, 1973-1979)
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #3
These files reflect the presidents' responsiblities as Secretary of the Board of Regents. Documents include routine correspondence with members of the board, copies of minutes (with exhibits), agendas, and audits. In addition there is faculty/staff salary information, and reports from the Lincoln Institute, an African American high school in Shelby County, Kentucky.
From the establishment of the Kentucky State College Board of Regents in September 1952, the president of the college (later the university) has held the position of Secretary of the Board. During this time Presidents Rufus B. Atwood, Carl M. Hill, and William A. Butts served on the board.
These are the president's copies of the university's operating budgets. Information includes estimated income and expenditures, salary figures, and operating expenses. These are budgets for Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons (1931-1938), Kentucky
Capital construction files, 1958-1976 (bulk 1960-1967)
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #5
These records document the construction and renovation of buildings on the Kentucky State campus in Frankfort, Kentucky. The materials include specifications, contracts, engineering reports, inspection reports, and records of purchases. Also included is information on ceremonies and dedications. Most of these records document the period when the school was known as Kentucky State College.
Carl M. Hill and William A. Butts correspondence files, 1961-1977 (bulk 1970-1975)
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #6
This is incoming and outgoing correspondence, most of which documents the final years of President Hill's tenure. Much of the collection is internal correspondence and memoranda. Also included are reports, budgets, and minutes. Records from President Butts' administration are also present.
Carl M. Hill served as President of Kentucky State College from 1962 through 1974 William A. Butts was president from 1975 through 1982. The college, located in Frankfort, was renamed Kentucky State University in 1972.
Carl M. Hill correspondence files, 1963-1973 (bulk 1969-1971)
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #7
This is incoming and outgoing correspondence covering most of President Carl M. Hill's administration at Kentucky State College. In addition to correspondence, the files include reports, photographs, faculty and staff contracts, and speeches. Much of the correspondence is internal, documenting the relationship between President Hill and the faculty and staff of the college. Among the subjects covered are athletics, faculty affairs, and student loans.
Carl McClellan Hill served as President of Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky from 1962 through 1974.
Conference of the Presidents of Negro Land Grant Colleges records, 1924-19381924-1938
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #9
These are minutes, reports, programs, financial records, and correspondence relating to the Conference of the Presidents of Negro Land Grant Colleges. Included is information on the meetings, conventions, and projects of the conference. These materials apparently document the participation in the conference of G.P. Russell and Rufus B. Atwood who served as president of Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons in Frankfort, Kentucky during this period.
Executive Assistant to the President office files1983-1986
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #11
These general office files contain minutes, reports, and correspondence. Major subjects include the Board of Regents, university councils and committees, and the university policy manual. The collection contains minutes to the president's cabinet meetings (October, 1983-September, 1984). These records were created during the administration of President Raymond M. Burse by Executive Assistant Jane C. Hoffman.
The Executive Assistant to the President assists the president in the administration of all academic and non-academic programs. In addition he/she is responsible for maintaining the president's daily log of activities, acts as a recording secretary for all meetings of the president, reviews legislation relative ot higher education, and assists the Director of University Relations with development of reports from the Office of the President.
These are minutes of faculty meetings, which were presided over by the president. The first handwritten minutes date 1896-1911, represent the oldest know, original documents of Kentucky State University, then known as State Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons. The school was subsequently renamed Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons (1902-1926), Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons (1926-1938), Kentucky State College for Negroes (1938-1952), and Kentucky State College (1952-1972). These records were created during the administrations of Presidents John Henry Jackson, James Edward Givens, James Shelton Hathaway, Green Pinckney Russell, Francis Marion Wood, Rufus B. Atwood, and Carl M. Hill.
Federal and state program files, 1964-1981 (bulk 1964-1975, 1981)
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #13
This is a collection of correspondence, reports, and proposals related to various federal and state programs at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky Programs documented include, Affirmative Action, the Kntucky Sate Enhancement and Growth Plan, and the Biomedical Research Project. Also included is information on Title III grants (1966-1975), and a twnety year growht and development plan for the university (1965). During much of this period the school was known as Kentucky State College
Kentucky Council on Public Higher Education Files, 1977-1980
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #14
This is correspondence from the Kentucky Council on Public Higher Education to Kentucky State University President William A. Butts. Much of the correspondence includes reports, forms, and reference materials provided to President Butts for his use or for distribution to other university personnel.
Kentucky Council on Public Higher Education reference files, 1960-1981
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #15
These are various reports, plans, and studies produced by the Kentucky Council on Public Higher Education. Included is statistical, financial, and legal information with regard to higher education throughout Kentucky.
Kentucky State Police Administrative and Management Evaluation Committee files,1986
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #16
These are the records of the committee which document the committee's activities including, the collection of information regarding police activities, and the development of the final report. The materials include correspondence, minutes, reports, and legal and reference materials.
In 1986 the Kentucky State Police Administration and Managemnt Evaluation Committee was established to evaluate the programs, services, management practices, and policy making procedures of the state police. The final report of the committee was submitted to the governor. Raymond M. Burse, then President of Kentucky State University, served as chairman of the committee.
These are the minutes of the committee which document discussions regarding persons who were to speak or perform on campus, and the committee's budget.
The Lyceum Committee of Kentucky State College for Negroes in Frankfort sponsored lectures and cultural programs, and was presided over by the college president. Among the prominent persons of the day who spoke on campus were educators W.E.B. Du Bois and Mary McLeod Bethune; authors Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes; singer and music educator Carol Brice; and Walter White, Chief Executive of the NAACP. The committee also sponsored entertainment programs such as movies.
President's recommendations to the State Board of Education,1929-1953
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #18
These records document President Rufus B. Atwood's recommendations to the State Board of Education. The recommendations include budget and appointment information. In many cases, excerpts from the minutes of the board's meetings, which relate to actions taken on the president's recommendations, are also included.
Prior to the establishment of the Kentucky State College Board of Regents in 1952, the State Board of Education acted as the governing body of the college. The board would receive and act on recommendations from the college president. Rufus B. Atwood served as president of Kentucky State during this time period. The institution in Frankfort, Kentucky was then known as Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons (1926-1938) and later Kentucky State College for Negroes (1938-1952.)
This is the official correspondence of Raymond M. Burse during his tenure as President of Kentucky State University.
Raymond M. Burse was named interim president of Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky in 1982. He was officially inaugurated in October 1983 and served until 1989.
Rufus B. Atwood and Carl M. Hill correspondence files, 1950-1965 (bulk 1960-1963)
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #20
This is incoming and outgoing correspondence from the last years of President Atwood's administration, and the first two years of President Hill's. Included with the correspondence are internal memorandum, reports, reference material, and minutes. Files correspond to various committees, councils, and administrative units, and document a period when the institution was known as Kentucky State College. Major subjects include civil rights commissions, the state education department, and President Hill's inauguration. There is also information on Lincoln Institute, an African American high school in Shelby County, Kentucky.
Rufus Ballard Atwood was president of Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky from 1929 through 1962, the longest tenure for any Kentucky State president. Carl McClellan Hill served as president from 1962 through 1974.
Rufus B. Atwood association correspondence, 1943-1962
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #21
This is President Rufus B. Atwood's correspondence related to state and national associations in which he was an officer or member. The associations include the Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities; the Kentucky Council on Human Relations, on which he served as chairperson; and the Conference of the Presidents of Negro Land Grant Colleges, for which he served as secretary. The files contain a great deal of correspondence with other college presidents and association members.
These are reports submitted to Kentucky State University President William A. Butts, which provide information on the activities of the major university units. The forms include a breakdown of matters pending; matters settled; meetings and events held, or scheduled; and recommendations. Units submitting reports on a regular basis include Academic Affairs, Business Affairs, Development, Student Affairs, Athletics, and the Community College.
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation files, 1940-1970
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #23
These are reports compiled for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation of Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky. Information includes a breakdown of faculty and staff salaries, qualification, and work loads; student enrollment and grades; course offerings and degree programs; and expenditures. During this time period the institution ws known as Kentucky State college for Negroes (1938-1952), and then simply, Kentucky State College (1952-1972).
Special event program files, 1913-1966 (bulk 1934-1950)
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #24
These are programs, invitations, and other materials documenting events at Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky, including musical and dramatic performances, athletic events, convocations, and commencements. Many of these events took place during the period when Kentucky State was known as Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons (1926-1938), Kentucky State College for Negroes (1938-1952), and Kentucky State College (1952-1972).
William A. Butts and Raymond M. Burse correspondence files, 1974-1985
Volume Record Group 288510, Item #25
This is incoming and outgoing correspondence including internal memorandum, reports, and reference material. The collection documents the last years of President Butts' administration and the first years of President Burse's. The records relate to various issues, events, programs, activities, associations, and people. Significant amounts of information can be found on the Cooperative Extension Program and the Academic Council at the University; the United States Department of Education; the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges' Office for the Advancement of Public Negro Colleges; scholarships; and athletics.
William A. Butts served as President of Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky from 1975-1982. Raymond M. Burse was named interim president in 1982. He was officially inaugurated in October 1983 and served until 1989.
This is the incoming and outgoing correspondence of President William A. Butts. The files relate to a wide variety of subjects including university activities; faculty/staff matters; student affairs; and university policies and procedures. Also included is correspondence and information about national organization such as the Assoication of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.
William A. Butts served as president of Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky from 1975-1982.