History of the UF Division of Student Affairs - Page 15

15 In 1925-26, President Murphree felt there was the need for a UF administrator to act as an advisor to incoming freshmen. According to Beaty, “All faculty desired to be helpful, but . . . to fill this need, Mr. B. A. Tolbert was appointed Freshman Advisor and Associate Professor of Education in 1927.” T h e F i r s t U F D e a n o f Stu d e n t s , YM C A T r a n s i t i o n s Student academic success and successful transition to college were the driving forces behind the appointment of the first Dean of Students. During Murphree’s tenure, UF enrollment grew from 109 students to 2,200. He prided himself on knowing all students by name. Murphree strongly encouraged faculty participation in the governance of UF and formed committees to oversee curriculum, student affairs, and public relations. President Murphree died suddenly in December 1927. After President Murphree’s death, Vice President James Farr served as interim president until the arrival of John J. Tigert in September 1928. According to Beaty, President Tigert felt there was still little direction or supervision of students in their activities on campus. Tigert came to UF after serving as the U. S. Commissioner of Education and had observed deans of men or deans of students at other universities who were directly responsible for student life and activities on a full-time basis. He appointed then Freshman Advisor/Professor of Education B.A. Tolbert as full-time Dean of Students with the following duties: advise all students; provide personal guidance to all students; be responsible for social programs, extracurricular, social affairs, and fraternities; be responsible for student employment; and be responsible for student discipline. Tolbert agreed to the appointment with the stipulation that he have the authority to make policies, rules, and regulations for students. Tolbert also requested a rank equal to that of other deans in administrative offices. President Tigert agreed. Tolbert’s first Dean of Students Office was a one-room office in 106 Peabody Hall. His first staff was a part-time student secretary, Manning Dauer. (Dauer later became the head of the UF Department of Political Science. The Florida Union building was renamed for Dauer in 1975.) Tolbert soon discovered that most of what the UF Dean of Students was supposed to do was already being done by the UF Student YMCA staff — counseling and advising students; providing financial aid in the form of part-time employment and scholarships; locating rooming I ntroduction