Birthed from Determination
“You were born qualified; you just go to school to certify that.”
~ Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr.
The year was 1968, a time in America when out-spoken leaders were silenced, wars were raging, and thirty-four Black Ohio State students – the OSU 34 – protested at the Ohio Union, calling, in part, for the creation of a center that celebrated Black culture. As a result of their protests, the students were arrested, but their requests were heard, and university officials began giving minority students a voice on campus and considered establishing a building those students could use for educational, social, and cultural purposes.
The fight for the rights of Ohio State minority students acquired a civil rights crusader in 1971 when Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr. joined the faculty of The Ohio State University. Dr. Hale, who was the Associate Dean and Chairman of the Fellowship Committee of the Graduate School, wasted no time in getting involved by participating in student protests and continuing a lifetime of working for the betterment of society.
The late Dr. Hale — a man with a vision, a destiny, and a purpose — was known as an educator, leader, and civil rights pioneer. Dr. Hale, the “Dean of Diversity,” had a passion for service that was present in all his work. Whether it was his involvement in integrating restaurants in Lincoln, Nebraska as a college student or starting the Minority (Morrill) Scholars Program at Ohio State and helping countless students fulfill their dreams of college, Dr. Hale impacted many lives. Only a man whose dedication was sealed by determination could accomplish such feats.
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe,
it can achieve.”
~ Napoleon Hill
Named Vice Provost in 1978 for the then Office of Minority Affairs, Dr. Hale fought to provide a cultural center that would serve as a “home away from home” to the many Black students and alumni who would use the building for academic learning, student organizations, social and cultural engagement and also as a place to display artwork.
Their perseverance finally paid off: twenty-one years later, on October 11, 1989, the dreams of those thirty-four students and Dr. Hale – and countless others – came true with the opening of a Black cultural center. Because Dr. Hale played such a pivotal role in its creation, shortly after he retired in 1988, the Board of Trustees of The Ohio State University honored him by naming the center the Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center.
Although Dr. Hale was able to see his dream of a Black cultural center on the Ohio State campus come to fruition, he also had a vision of joining the Hale Black Cultural Center with its administrative home, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which was housed in four different areas. Upon Dr. Hale’s passing in 2011, his goal was yet unrealized. Through efforts by Dr. Mac Stewart, previous Vice Provost for the Office of Minority Affairs, and Dr. Valerie Lee, current Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, in the summer of 2013, the student services and programming within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion were united under one roof in the newly-relocated and renovated Hale Hall. Now located in a building worthy of someone of Dr. Hale’s stature, on September 25, 2013, Hale Hall was dedicated with an official ribbon cutting ceremony.
The move, however, was only a part of Dr. Hale’s vision for Hale Hall and the Hale Black Cultural Center. He envisioned an expanded space that was able to serve more students, provide more quality services, and allow for enhanced collaboration among staff, faculty and administrators, maximizing departmental resources and talent.
To assist with raising capital for the university-approved expansion, an internal Staff Advisory Council has been created to discuss current and future programming and spacing needs of Hale Hall. Jim Jackson, former Ohio State basketball star, has agreed to serve as the chair of the Hale Hall Expansion Advisory Committee, which will work to guide the project and its fundraising activities.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center have the opportunity to build upon the extraordinary efforts of Dr. Hale to expand Hale Hall into a more modern and supportive learning environment for students, and an arts and cultural mecca for alumni and community engagement. As a staunch supporter of education, we hope that you will help fund Dr. Hale’s dream of an expanded Hale Black Cultural Center, a center – and a dream – that will continue to inspire students past, present, and future.
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