Lifelong crusader for diversity in higher education and civil rights served as vice provost and professor
Frank W. Hale Jr., former vice provost and professor, who dedicated his life to diversity in higher education and civil rights, died July 27 following an extended illness. He was 84.
An advocate for higher education for 54 years as a faculty member, administrator and educational consultant, Hale dedicated 24 years of leadership to Ohio State.
“We have lost one of the true giants of the Ohio State community,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “Dr. Frank Hale was a scholar, teacher, researcher, administrator, a civil rights pioneer. More than that, he was a force to be reckoned with who opened the doors of opportunity to underserved students through sheer force of his intellect and determination.
“Frank Hale richly deserved the honor of having Hale Hall named for him. Indeed, a small piece of this campus carries his name, but every inch bears his imprint.”
As associate dean and chairman of the Fellowship Committee of the Graduate School (1971-78) and vice provost for the Office of Minority Affairs (1978-1988), Hale founded the current Graduate and Professional Schools Visitation Days program implemented to increase the number of minorities seeking advanced degrees. From its inception, the program served as a national model and led to Ohio State’s long-held distinction as the highest producer of minority Ph.D students among four-year colleges and universities.
Through his efforts, nearly $15 million in graduate fellowship awards were awarded to approximately 1,200 minority students, of which 80 percent earned master’s and/or doctoral degrees. His efforts in establishing undergraduate scholarship programs assisted nearly 500 students during his tenure.
Hale, who retired in 1988, returned to the university in 1999 as Distinguished University Representative and Consultant for the Office of the President. He initiated the President and Provost’s Diversity Lecture and Cultural Arts Series which continues to bring eminent scholars and artist to campus. He retired in 2005.
“A long-time activist, Dr. Frank W. Hale Jr., demonstrated courageous educational, religious and scholarly leadership in civil rights struggles,” said Valerie Lee, vice provost for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and chief diversity officer. “His life and legacy will inspire generations to come.”
In recognition of his distinguished career, the Ohio State University Board of Trustees voted him vice provost and professor emeritus, naming the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center in his honor and designated the building as Hale Hall. An endowed scholarship has also been established in his name.
Hale delivered Ohio State’s Summer Commencement address in 1988. He was honored the same year in December by the City of Columbus as 1,200 guests participated in his retirement banquet.
Hale’s lifelong commitment to diversity and civil rights mirrored his devotion to higher education. His activism spanned decades and in October 2010, he was inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame, adding to the hundreds of awards and citations received over his lifetime.
A native of Kansas City, Mo., Hale graduated from Topeka (Kan.) High School. He attended the University of Nebraska where he was awarded a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication, political science, and English in 1950, and his doctorate in communications and political science from Ohio State in 1955. Hale was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the University of London where he received the “Certificate in English Literature” in 1960.
Prior to establishing his career at Ohio State, Hale was chair of the Department of English at Central State University before leaving for the presidency of Oakwood College in 1966.
Hale is survived by his wife, Mignon Scott-Hale, a retired elementary school teacher.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Culture Center Renovation and Expansion Project. Fund number: 301942.