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Joe Fodor ’85

I’m afraid not, Joe. Though Glenn Frank possessed many talents and accomplished a great deal during his tenure, his presidency was driven by controversy and the Regents eventually fired him. A few years later, he died a tragic death in a car accident while campaigning for the U.S. Senate.

A Missouri native, Frank graduated from Northwestern University in 1912 and he went on to become editor-in-chief of Century Magazine. Known as a progressive and a charismatic speaker, he was approached by Regent Zona Gale, whose fiction had been published in Century, about the UW presidency. Support for Frank snowballed, and at age 37, he became the youngest person ever appointed leader of the university, and the only one without an earned advanced degree or substantial educational experience.

Although Frank was a staunch proponent of academic freedom and tenure, he never had the full support of the faculty, and his criticism of President Roosevelt landed him in political trouble with the La Follette family. In 1937, the Board of Regents narrowly voted to dismiss him. Frank turned his energies toward Wisconsin politics and he went after the Republican nomination for the Senate seat held by Robert La Follette, Jr. He and his only child, Glenn Jr., were killed on Wisconsin roadways on September 15, 1940, two days before the primary election.

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