F. E. Robinson honored for sacrificial support of Bryan College
March 19, 2007
William Jennings Bryan may be the namesake for Bryan College, but Frank Earle Robinson was the one who played a major – if not the major – role in taking the idea of a school from its inception to reality.
On March 19, William Jennings Bryan’s 147th birthday, Bryan College named its newest residence hall in memory of Mr. Robinson in ceremonies that recognized more than 30 members of Mr. Robinson’s family.
Grandchildren William E. Robinson, Ann Gabbert Bates and Craig V. Gabbert Jr. shared memories of their grandfather, expressing his love and support for the college, for young people and for education. They pointed out that, although “Mr. Earle” was a promoter and served for more than 25 years as chairman of the board of trustees, he was always happiest to serve behind the scenes.
Mary Frances Rudd Carlson, daughter of Bryan’s third president, recounted how her father had turned to Mr. Robinson time and again when the college needed funds and how he always met those needs.
Ralph Green, a Bryan trustee who knew Mr. Robinson as a boy, told how Mr. Robinson had encouraged at least five of his employees to become pharmacists, how he rewarded excellence among grade school students, and how he reached across racial lines in an era when that was not generally acceptable.
At the conclusion of Monday’s chapel service, before Dayton Mayor Bob Vincent offered the benediction, Trustee Chairman T. Ramon Perdue read the inscription on the plaque naming Robinson Hall, and family members unveiled a portrait of Mr. Robinson which will hang in the residence hall lobby.
Earlier in a smaller ceremony at the building, Rhea County Executive Billy Ray Patton, joined by student body President Bonnie-Marie Yager and Vice President R.J. Smith, unveiled the plaque by the main entrance of the building.