JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lincoln University of Missouri (LU) recently celebrated the unveiling of Dr. James Frank Hall. The dedication ceremony, which was held April 21 on the LU campus, commemorated the renaming of Founders Hall to recognize the well-known leader, supporter and former president of Lincoln University.
“This is a fitting tribute to a man whose life was a testimony of what it means to be a true Lincolnite,” LU President Dr. John Moseley said. “Dr. Frank was committed in service to and support of Lincoln University for nearly 70 years, from 1949 through his passing in 2019. This renaming honors his legacy of devotion to his alma mater.”
Last November, the LU Board of Curators voted to rename the hall that primarily houses Lincoln’s science and agriculture classes after Frank, the only LU alumnus to serve as university president. Frank graduated with honors from Lincoln in 1953 with a degree in physical education and served as university president from 1973 to 1982. An exceptional leader who worked tirelessly to raise the profile of Lincoln and secure stable funding for the university, Frank supervised major renovations to campus buildings and spearheaded multiple construction projects during his nearly 10-year tenure. His leadership led to a period of sound financial planning and stability for Lincoln with 4.2% enrollment growth from 1973 to 1984.
“Dr. Frank grabbed the opportunity of a Lincoln University education and shaped it into a career and life that made us all take notice and never forget,” LU Board of Curators President Victor Pasley said. “His life was an inspiration, and it is our hope that this building named in his honor will serve to inspire all who pass through it and by it on their own Lincoln journey.”
In 1981 Frank became president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the first African American and first college president in that post — a significant accomplishment for the prestige of both HCBUs and NCAA Division II schools.
Following his time at Lincoln, Frank, who passed away in 2019, continued to serve the university through the Lincoln University Foundation as a leader in fundraising. He also contributed more than $300,000 to Lincoln in personal gifts over the course of his life.
“Our University oath includes a promise to leave Lincoln University better than it was when we arrived. Every time Dr. James Frank stepped on campus, he made it better, and this renaming is in celebration of that,” Moseley said.