Former Oakwood President
Frank W. Hale, Jr., 84, Dies

Funded minority scholarships at Ohio State, championed educational diversity

BY ANSEL OLIVER, Adventist News Network

Frank W. Hale Jr., a Seventh-day Adventist educator and the first non-clergy to head church-owned Oakwood University, mentored thousands of students as a professor, and his promotion of scholarships for minorities helped The Ohio State University become the top producer of black Ph.D.’s in the 1970s.

ADVENTIST EDUCATIONAL PIONEER: Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr., an Adventist educator and a past president of Oakwood University, was also the first black dean at the Ohio State University Graduate School. He passed to his rest on July 27, 2010, at age 84, at his home in Columbus, Ohio. [PHOTOS: OSU]
Hale, who died July 27, 2011, at age 84, was also the first black dean at the Ohio State Graduate School. He spent eight years on the Oakwood faculty in the 1950s, later returning to the school, an institution of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, in 1966 as its president. During that latter tenure, Oakwood joined the United Negro College Fund, bringing prestige and scholarship funding to the school.

“He brought to leadership a broader base for Christian education, not simply religion, but also religion and pure education,” said Mervyn A. Warren, Oakwood’s provost, professor of religion and former interim president.

owed seeds in my understanding of communicating the gospel which I have continued to draw upon, and that is the contribution that rhetoric has made to preaching and to the sharing of the gospel,” Warren added.

Hale taught a class each year he served as Oakwood president, and he established the school’s department of public relations. He served as president from 1966 to 1971, before accepting the position at Ohio State as associate dean of the graduate school, chair of the fellowship committee and professor of communication.

As the fellowship committee chair, Hale helped grant nearly $15 million to some 1,200 minority graduate students at OSU. He also initiated a minority scholars program for graduating high school seniors.

Hale served as a professor at Ohio State from 1971 to 1988, before his appointment as vice provost. A campus building at the Columbus, Ohio, campus is named after him -- Hale Hall, which also houses the Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center.

“Dr. Hale was a pioneer in the educational field for this nation and for the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” said Ella Simmons, a vice president of General Conference, who also served in administrative posts at Oakwood, La Sierra University and the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

“He made the right connections to bridge the divide between public and private schools. I have learned a lot from him,” Simmons said.

“We have lost one of the true giants of the Ohio State community,” said Ohio State University president E. Gordon Gee.

ON-CAMPUS HONOR: Hale Hall, on the OSU campus, was named for Dr. Hale; it also houses the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center. OSU president E. Gordon Gee said, “a small piece of this campus carries his name, but every inch bears his imprint.”
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,” Gee said, adding: “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.”

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Hale attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and political science in 1950 and 1951. He earned a Ph.D. in communication and political science from Ohio State in 1955.

Hale was also awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in English Literature from the University of London in 1960.

Hale served as a professor at Oakwood from 1951 to 1959 and chaired the department of English at Central State University from 1959 to 1966. He lectured at more than 300 colleges and universities.

He later received honorary doctoral degrees from Wilberforce University, Shaw University, University of Nebraska, Capital University, La Sierra University and Andrews University.

The first two of his three retirement attempts were unsuccessful. Hale served as executive assistant for the president at Kenyon College from 1989 to 1992 and as distinguished university representative and consultant in the office of the president at Ohio State from 1999-2005.

Hale was inducted in the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame in October 2010.

His wife Mignon Scott-Hale, a retired schoolteacher, survives him. His first wife, Ruth, preceded him in death in 2001.

Ifeoma Kwesi, one of his three children, who is an assistant professor of religion at Oakwood, also survives, along with a son, Frank W. Hale, III; daughter Sherilyn Renene Wilkins; and stepsons Oliver Palmer and Michael Palmer. A funeral is to be held August 7 at the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in Columbus.

-- with additional reporting by Liz Cook, Ohio State University News Bureau

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