Jacksonville University’s past president and Chancellor Emeritus Frances Bartlett Kinne turned 99 Monday.
The school kicked off Kinne’s centennial year with a birthday party Sunday afternoon that included two-plus hours of performances and homages from old friends and former students.
Joan Davidow took a humanities class from then-Professor Kinne in 1961. Davidow traveled from her home in Dallas for the party.
“Fran remembers where I sat in the room, in the humanities class. And what I remember of her is that she wore two different earrings on her ears to see who would notice, who was paying attention.”
Current President Tim Cost was a 19-year-old undergrad at JU when Fran Kinne took the job in 1979. Nearly 40-years later, he talks about the impact she had on his life and on the lives of so many others.
“There’s one thing that comes up over and over and over again, no matter where I am in the world,” Cost said. “People ask how’s Fran Kinne, how’s Dr. Kinne, how’s she doing? And I get to tell them I get to see Dr Frances Bartlett Kinne every week and every week it’s a gift.”
Fran Kinne served as president of JU from 1979 to 1989. Her list of accomplishments at the school includes starting JU’s executive MBA program, the baccalaureate Nursing Program, and the aviation program.
Kinne also holds a number of firsts. According to JU’s news hub, The Wave, Kinne was the first female dean of a college of fine arts; the first woman president of a Florida university; the first woman member of the Jacksonville Rotary Club; the first woman president of the Jacksonville Rotary Club; and the first woman member of the River Club of Jacksonville.
Her autobiography “Iowa Girl: The President Wears a Skirt” is in its second printing.