Overall Kentucky Record: 5 - 3
Years Coached: 1912-13
Date of Birth: February 11, 1882
Date of Death: January 21, 1965
Hometown: Bell Buckle, TN
Alma Mater: Vanderbilt 
Biography: University of Florida
John James Tigert was born February 11, 1882, the third child of John James Tigert III (1857?-1906) and Amelia McTyeire Tigert. Amelia Tigert was the daughter of Bishop Holland Nimmons McTyeire, first president of the Board of Trust of Vanderbilt University. Her mother, Amelia Townsend McTyeire, was a cousin of Cornelius Vanderbilt. John James Tigert III was a member of Vanderbilt's faculty and a bishop in the Methodist Church.
John J. Tigert received his secondary education at the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. He enrolled at Vanderbilt in 1899 and received his B.A. in 1904. He excelled in academics and athletics, and was the first Rhodes Scholar selected from Tennessee. He attended Oxford from 1904 to 1906. The degree M.A. Oxon. was conferred upon Tigert in 1915.
Upon his return from Oxford, Tigert taught philosophy at Central Methodist College in Saint Louis, Missouri. There he met and married Edith J. Bristol. In 1909, he was selected president of Kentucky Wesleyan College. In 1913, Tigert moved to the University of Kentucky where he accepted the Chair of Philosophy. He was appointed Chair of the Psychology Department in 1919 and served briefly as head of the Athletic Department and coach of the football team. He taught at Kentucky for ten years with an absence during World War I when he served as a YMCA volunteer in the American Expeditionary Force. In 1921, Warren S. Harding selected Tigert for the post of Commissioner of Education. He served in both the Harding and Coolidge administrations.
In 1928, Tigert accepted the presidency of the University of Florida and arrived on campus in September of that year. His administration began in the midst of an economic crisis that had brought a serious decline in state revenues. The state's economic woes continued throughout the Great Depression. Consequently, money for expansion of the physical plant and curriculum was largely unavailable during his twenty year tenure. The only major addition to the catalog was a School of Forestry. His major accomplishments occurred in the areas of curricular reform, administrative organization, and research support.
Under his guidance, the undergraduate program was reorganized. Entrance requirements were strengthened and all applicants were required to pass a comprehensive placement exam before they could be accepted. To curb excessive failure rates in the lower classes, the General College was created in 1935 and standardized testing for freshmen and sophomores was instituted. An Associate of Arts diploma was conferred on graduates of the General College. For many financially strapped students, the A.A. degree was often a terminal one. The creation of the General College also allowed the other colleges to expand the number of upper-level courses.
The first non-agricultural research centers were created in 1930 with the founding of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs (now Center for Latin American Studies) and the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. The Research Council was organized in 1939 to develop policies on patents and copyrights and to stimulate research. It is the forerunner of today's research development offices. During Tigert's presidency, the quantity and quality of faculty publication increased as did the level of graduate research. The first Ph. D.s were awarded in 1934 in the areas of chemistry and pharmacy.
Student enrollment had risen to over 2000 by the time Tigert arrived in 1928. To meet the needs of these students, Tigert created a Dean of Students and appointed B. A. Tolbert to the position. Tigert also organized an executive body, the University Council, to serve as the president's cabinet and budget committee. The Council was composed of all deans, the president, the registrar, and the University's secretary. A University Senate was also embodied in the University's first constitution. The Senate included the Council, faculty representatives, and key administrators from non-academic units.
The end of World War II created a demand for college education nationwide. The University of Florida's enrollment soared to 7000 in 1946. Wooden classroom buildings and dormitories sprang up to accommodate returning veterans. Many of these 'temporary' buildings were still being used in the 1970s. Tigert oversaw the first years of postwar expansion and then announced his retirement in 1947. He later accepted a teaching position in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami. Before he started, though, he was asked to join the Indian Higher Education Commission created to survey conditions in India's universities and to plan a program for India's system of higher education. He returned to Miami in 1950 and served on the faculty until 1959. In 1960, the University of Florida's new administration building was named in his honor. He died January 21, 1965 at the age of 82.
JOHN J. TIGERT, 82, EDUCATOR, IS DEAD - New York Times (January 22, 1965)
Ex-head of U. of Florida and Federal Commissioner
GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan. 21 (AP) -- Dr. John J. Tigert, former United States Commissioner of Education and president emeritus of the University of Florida, died at the university's hospital tonight at the age of 82. He had undergone surgery for an abdominal obstruction more than three weeks ago.
Dr. Tigert came to the University of Florida in 1928 after seven years as Federal Commissioner of Education. He retired from the university in 1947.
He was born on the campus of Vanderbilt University, Feb. 11, 1882, the son of Bishop John James Tigert of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His grandfather, Bishop Holland Nimmons McTyeire, was a founder of Vanderbilt University and became its first executive head as well as president of its board.
Dr. Tigert was graduated from Vanderbilt in 1904 and became the first Rhodes scholar from Tennessee. He began his career as an educator when he returned from Oxford to occupy the chair of philosophy and psychology at Central College in Fayette Mo.
In 1909, at 27, he became president of Kentucky Wesleyan College at Winchester. He was a member of the University of Kentucky faculty when he was appointed by President Warren G. Harding Commissioner of Education in 1921.
Dr. Tigert guided the University of Florida through one of its formative periods, when the student body increased from 1,800 to 7,500.
Among organizations he served as president are the National Association of State Universities, the Southern University Conference and his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta.
Survivors include his widow, a son, a daughter and five grandchildren.
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