East Tennessee State University
Retirees Association (ETSURA)
Among the most memorable
administrators in ETSU history is Dr. George Dove, a leading figure on campus
On changes in organization and administration of the university, in Dr. Dove's own words:
Under C.C. Sherrod (president
When Dr. Burgin Dossett arrived
on campus, one of the first things he did was to reorganize the college into
departments as a first step toward university status. President Dossett was a
great organizer, and he delegated quite a lot. He wanted me to become chairman
of the English department, so he engineered a way for me to get time off to meet
residency requirements so I could get a doctorate and move up to the position. I
held that job from
About that time, President Dossett announced plans to organize the college into schools. Everyone recognized this as the next step toward becoming a university, but many in Arts and Sciences opposed the plan, saying it would create "super chairman positions" and put one more step between them and the president.
When Dr. Sherrod was president, if you wanted anything, you went to him. If you wanted an unabridged dictionary, you asked the president.
Now, President Dossett was setting up a plan for administration that changed everything. He organized the college into three schools -- Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, and Education.
Choosing the deans for Education and Business and Economics was easy because Mack Davis and Floyd Pierce had more experience than did any other faculty members in those schools.
But Arts and Sciences was more difficult. It was full of people who had been here since day one. In fact, four notable professors were all in contention. It wasn't so much that any of them really wanted the position; they didn't want anyone else to have it, although they probably would have denied that.
President Dossett named Bill Beasley, who was the registrar, as director of Arts and Sciences for a year or two. Bill, of course, didn't have time to do much of anything. I think he had one meeting.
One day, the president called me in, and I had no idea what he wanted. He was a great person to talk and talk in circles before finally coming to the point. We talked about a lot of things, and we eventually got to the School of Arts and Sciences. Again, he circled around and around about who should be chairman, and I finally asked, "Do you mean me?" He said, "Yes, I mean you," and I was bowled over. I agreed to give it a try.
There I was, facing a battery of men who had longer tenures than I, all of them older. But the strange thing was that when I sat down and started meeting with them, I think they saw that I wasn't going to cause them any problems. I was going to work with them. And, I think, they all were relieved that none of the others had gotten the job.
By the time the Legislature
approved university status in
Dove is shown with
On establishment of the self-study process for accreditation:
Since the time of President Sherrod, East Tennessee State had been a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
In the beginning, the
association would send a committee at
In the late
At the end of
Dove was determined to involve everybody on campus, and the first step was to have a faculty dinner to explain the task and enlist everyone's support.
"I have never participated in anything in which the feeling of support was as strong," he said.
Dove appointed a steering committee, consisting of Flora Marie Meredith, Stan Johnson and Dr. Morton Brown. Grace Leab was to manage the writing of the report.
"We had one kind of committee that studied the whole program," he explained. "Another committee concentrated on the academic program, and yet another on the student relations, activities and guidance area. Committees also focused on faculty, administration, finances and all the other areas.
"I believe that we did get everyone involved, and we had awfully good support from the Southern Association."
Dove had to write a report to the association quarterly, and he sent a copy to everyone on campus. He said the last thing he wanted was for somebody to say later, "What's this? I never heard of it before!"
The self-study process, which
began in the spring of
A review committee, with as broad a representation as possible, was appointed. Dove met with the members weekly as they went over the report page by page.
"Would you believe that there wasn't a single dissenting vote in that whole pack?" he said. "It was the most gratifying thing that I did the whole time I was at East Tennessee State."
The first self-study set the tone and pattern for all subsequent ones.
As a result of its success, Dove was invited over and over to participate on visiting committees from the Southern Association and accrediting teams from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. He said he always returned from the trips with plenty of good ideas for our campus.
On a more personal note:
At one point, Dove and his wife, Helenhill, lived in the men's residence hall on campus, and Mrs. Dove served as hostess.
They recall that East Tennessee State at the time regularly had a football game with Milligan College, located just down the road. Naturally, there was a great rivalry.
State students made a habit of stealing the huge stuffed buffalo that was Milligan's mascot. Just as regularly, the administration would order the culprits to take it back -- but not before they were allowed to form a parade of cars. Students waved and horns honked as the procession moved across town to return the buffalo.
On one of the occasions, the
Mrs. Dove still gets a chuckle out of the time an ROTC leader asked her during a football game why all the students were yelling, "Pussycat, pussycat!"
She responded, "They're not yelling, 'Pussycat, pussycat!' They're yelling, 'Push 'em back, push 'em back!"
Dove has fond memories of taking walks across campus every evening before going to bed. One night, however, the usual serenity was shattered by the sound of the song "Goodnight, Irene," which was playing time after time in the old student center.
The center had a jukebox that
played songs for a nickel, and residents of Ritter Hall -- sick of hearing the
tune -- had taken up a collection of $
The idea backfired, though, when the repeated plays began to drive people crazy. The jukebox was unplugged for the rest of the day, but the dreaded strains of "Goodnight, Irene" could be heard once again that night outside the locked student center. The machine had been plugged in so all the nickels' worth of replays could be completed.
"Tales of the University" is a regular column provided by the ETSU Retirees Association about the university and the people associated with it through the decades. Faculty, staff, students and alumni are encouraged to share their memories of ETSU with the Retirees Association for consideration for future columns. Stories, comments and suggestions may be sent to Dr. Willene Paxton, chair of the Tales of the University committee, 1203 Lester Harris Road, Johnson City, TN 37601, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Mailing Address: Office of Human Resources
ETSU Box 70564
Johnson City, TN 37614-1707
Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. E.S.T. Monday - Friday
Office Location: Rooms 307 and 311, Dossett Hall
Updated on 09/07/10