Lincoln University announced Monday that James Frank, the only Lincoln graduate to return as the school's president, will be remembered at noon Friday in the Mitchell Auditorium.
Frank, 88, died in January at his home in Atlanta.
He was LU's 14th president, serving from 1973-82, then he served as the Southwestern Athletic Conference's commissioner from 1983 until he retired in 1998 — only to return to be the SWAC's interim commissioner from April 2001-December 2002.
Born in 1930 in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania (northwest of Pittsburgh), Frank came to Lincoln in 1949 on a basketball scholarship, and graduated in 1953 with a bachelor's degree in education, and a second lieutenant's commission in the U.S. Army.
After serving two years in the Corps of Engineers — including a deployment to Korea — Frank returned to LU in 1956 as an assistant professor and assistant basketball coach.
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He was named Lincoln's head basketball coach in 1959.
After his military service, he also earned master's and doctorate degrees from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
Frank later served in administrative positions at Hunter College and Medgar Evers College — both part of the City University of New York system — before returning to Lincoln University to serve as president in 1973.
While serving as Lincoln's president, Frank was also active with the governance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He served on numerous committees, was the organization's secretary-treasurer, and was the first African American and first college president to serve as the NCAA's president.
His commitment to collegiate sports was recognized numerous times, including:
- A listing on the NCAA's 100 Most Influential Student Athletes
- The NCAA President's Gerald R. Ford Award
- The National Association of College Directors of Athletics' James Corbett Award
- The National Football Foundation's Distinguished American Award
- Being a member of the Lincoln University Athletic Hall of Fame
Frank is also listed in the Lincoln University Alumni Hall of Fame; the LU ROTC Hall of Fame; and the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.