UF Named Facilities
John J. Tigert Hall
John James Tigert served as the fourth president of the University of Florida from 1928-1947. He began his career as a philosophy and psychology professor at Central College in Fayette, Missouri. In 1909, Tigert became the President of Kentucky Wesleyan College at Winchester and later returned to teaching at the University of Kentucky. In 1921, U.S. President Warren G. Harding appointed Tigert to the post of U.S. Commissioner of Education. Tigert served as commissioner until 1928, when he accepted the presidency at University of Florida.
Tigert began his administration during one of the most severe economic declines in the nation's history. Despite diminishing funds and limited support, Tigert revamped many areas of the University and oversaw the creation of the School of Forestry. With Tigert's supervision, the undergraduate program underwent many changes. Placement exams and standardized testing were implemented in the undergraduate program to curb failure rates and reorganize courses. In addition, research support grew with the creation of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs and the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. He also helped develop a system of student governance by establishing a dean of students, as well as the University Council, which served as the president's cabinet and budget committee, and the University Senate.
Although his main focus was academics, Tigert, who also was an accomplished athlete and served as football coach while at Kentucky, never lost his love of athletics. As a member of the National Rules Committee for college sports, he helped rewrite the rules for college football.In addition, he was responsible for establishing football scholarships for collegiate players and helped create the Southeastern Conference. Today, Tigert is enshrined in the college football Hall of Fame.
Tigert Hall serves as the main administration building on campus and houses the offices of the university president. Other offices include: The Office of the Provost and the Vice President for Academic Affairs, The Office of the Vice President for Administrative Affairs, The Office of the Vice President for Public Relations, The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, The Office of News and Public Affairs, The Honors Program, The Office of the Ombudsman and The Office of the General Counsel.
Narrative as displayed on the commemorative plaque:
Dr. Tigert, the third president of the University of Florida, was a native of Nashville. He was Tennessee's first Rhodes Scholar, graduating from Vanderbilt University, the Institution founded by his grandfather. He was serving as U.S. Commissioner of Education when he was named president of the University of Florida in 1928. He retired in 1947. During his presidency, enrollment increased from approximately 1,800 to 7,500, and several new schools and colleges were established. Tigert, a star athlete himself, organized the Southeastern Athletic Conference and twice served as president. As UF president emeritus, Tigert served as education consultant to the government of India and as professor at the University of Miami. Tigert Hall was named in his honor in 1960, and the University's first Alumni Chair of Distinction recognized his academic attainments.