Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne has dedicated more than five decades of service to Jacksonville University and the community with her time, teaching, talent and treasure. In 1979 she became Florida’s first female university president, creating what is now the Davis College of Business and helping start the School of Nursing. JU’s Kinne University Center, Kinne Auditorium at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and Kinne Alumni Center at Drake University bear her name because of her charitable endeavors. In addition to fundraising, she has also drawn world-famous celebrities and public figures to Jacksonville, including President Ford, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Charlton Heston.
Fran Kinne began her Jacksonville University career in 1958 as a humanities professor, became founding dean of JU's College of Fine Arts in 1961, and served in that capacity until being named JU's president in 1979, becoming the first female president of a college or university in Florida. With Kinne as president, JU established what is now the Davis College of Business, the School of Nursing, and the Aviation program.
Kinne was JU's president for 10 years and chancellor from 1989 to 1994, and served as chancellor emeritus since 1994.Keep reading
In addition to her leadership, Dr. Kinne's hand of generosity is legendary: JU's student center (Frances Bartlett Kinne University Center) bears the Kinne name due to her charitable endeavors, as do the Frances Bartlett Kinne Auditorium at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville; the North Wing of the Bertha Bartlett Public Library; Kinne Garden at Wilma's Little People School at Jacksonville University; and Frances Bartlett Kinne Alumni & Development Center at Drake University.
A Story City, Iowa, native whose childhood centered on art, music and education, Kinne Is the daughter of the late Charles Bartlett, Story City's newspaper publisher; and Bertha Bartlett, who founded and ran the town library. her first husband was U.S. Army Col. Harry Kinne; and her second husband was U.S. Army Col. Worthington Bordley Jr.
Kinne received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Drake University and a tri-major doctorate (philosophy, music and English literature) from the University of Frankfurt (Germany), and she was later awarded with five honorary doctorate degrees.
As a young adult, Kinne worked as a public school music teacher; a choral and instrumental conductor; Veterans Administration recreation director; professor at Tsuda College in Tokyo, Japan; and music consultant for Gen. Douglas MacArthur's staff in Tokyo. During Ward War II, Kinne chose to be a U.S. Army hostess over the Women's Army Corps because of her less-than-stellar eyesight, and her wartime assignment had her in charge of providing entertainment for as 70,000 GIs.
Read about Fran's experience during the war on Wave Magazine.
Her knack for drawing celebrities such as boxers Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson to meet U.S. military personnel carried over to her career at Jacksonville University, to which she was able to lure dozens of world-famous entertainers and other celebrities and public figures including Gerald Ford, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Charlton Heston and Boston Pops Orchestra conductor Arthur Fiedler. She also enticed George Steinbrenner to bring his New York Yankees baseball team to play in an exhibition game against the JU squad to raise funds for the university.
Known as "a friend of the famous," Kinne received a Christmas card with a handwritten note from Ford a week before Ford died. Kinne first got to know Ford when his son, Jack Ford, was a student at JU in the early 1970s when Kinne was chairwoman of the arts and music department.
"He was so dear and one of those rare individuals in that type of position who still wrote personal notes to old friends," Kinne said in a 2006 Florida Times-Union interview.
Kinne was closer with Hope, often visiting him at his Palm Springs home.
"When you're around Fran Kinne – things happen ..." Hope once said.
Kinne was the first female president of the Downtown Rotary Club; winner of first Jacksonville EVE Award; the first female member of the River Club; a Florida Women's Hall of Fame inductee; and she was listed on 24 Who's Who lists, including Who's Who in the World.
Kinne often said that she deliberately decided as a young adult to heed her parents' counsel and follow Albert Einstein's advice: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
"My whole theme has been this: that life is not about me, it’s about others."
Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne
Fran at Camp Crowder in 1939 pictured in her army hostess uniform.
The great American composer visited the JU campus at Fran's behest twice, in 1967 and 1972, conducting the University's orchestra and speaking with students.
Dr. Kinne gets a boost to cut down the net at the Sunbelt Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama during her first year as Jacksonville University President in 1979.
The comedian/movie star remained close friends with Fran until his death, and he appeared at JU with Jack Benny in 1972, the only time the two had made a joint appearance on a college campus.
With Artis Gilmore in June 1980.
With Alexander Brest.
With Charlton Heston.
President Kinne congratulating graduating senior Tim Cost at the 1981 Jacksonville University Commencement Ceremony.
Flo was the first woman chair of the JU Board of Trustees, and the Davis family has been a major contributor to the University.
Dr. Kinne created the College of Fine Arts and became its first Dean in 1960.
JU alumnus Pace is an award-winning TV producer whose credits include George Lopez, Suddenly Susan, For Your Love, Murphy Brown and Head of the Class. Thomas is a radio personality and is a two-time Emmy Award winner for his work on Murphy Brown.
Dr. Kinne, at age 98, delivering her Keynote address at the Fall 2015 Jacksonville University Commencement Ceremony.
Dr. Kinne pictured with comedians and actors, Jack Benny (left) and Bob Hope (right) on April 6 1972, after the Spring 1972 Jacksonville University Convocation. This was the only time Bob Hope and Jack Benny made a joint appearance on a college campus.
Consistently voted one of the world's most powerful business leaders, Nooyi, PepsiCo Chairman and Chief Executive, received the inaugural Jacksonville University Presidential Global Citizen Award in 2014.
Dr. Kinne with Dr. John Trainer at 100 years of Leadership and Legacy event on March 15, 2017.
The pioneering documentary filmmaker was recognized with JU's second Presidential Global Citizen Award in 2016.
The only person to receive two Nobel Prizes not shared with anyone else (Chemistry and Peace), he received an honorary doctorate at JU and gave the Commencement keynote after being impressed with Fran's Special Delivery Air Mail invitation.
The former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee delivered the commencement keynote at JU in Spring 2015, telling the graduates: "Get a life, have a life, live your life in full. Embrace every fruitful dimension of life that you possibly can.”
Dr. Kinne with Mary-Ann Farrell and Liberace. Fran and Mary-Ann, a Miss New York who was soon to compete as a 1985 Miss America finalist, were seated in the front row for Liberace's Jacksonville concert.
The Irish-American was one of the best-known movie stars of the '30 and'40s, often playing priests, police officers or reporters. He had roles in famous films such as "Knute Rockne, All American" (1940) and "Some Like It Hot" (1959).
With President Gerald Ford in 1984.
Fran with Army friends Col. Jay Dasche and Mary in Shanghai.
Dr. Kinne at the Frances Bartlett Kinne University Center Dedication Center in 1993.
Dr. Kinne with Winston Churchill III at the ribbon cutting for the Frances Bartlett Kinne University Center.
Dr. Kinne with students at Wilma’s Little People School. Dr. Kinne was instrumental in establishing the in 1973 which she was Dean of the College of Fine Arts.
"Please join me in justifying, each day, the space we take up on this planet, and in celebrating life, the greatest gift of all."
Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne
Born on May 23, 1917 to Charles M. and Bertha Olson Bartlett in Story City, Iowa.
Graduates high school at 16 years old and attends Iowa State Teachers College. Fran works in the college library and offers to play piano in the school commons during dinner for entertainment. Soon after, she receives a call from the head of the piano department at Iowa State University with an offer to teach her for free during the summers. She then goes on to study piano at Drake University and signs a contract to teach music and English to elementary schoolchildren in Kelley, Iowa. She turns down a job in Hollywood with the Freddie Martin Orchestra, honoring her prior commitment.
Begins teaching music in the Des Moines Public School system while she works on a Bachelors of Music Education at Drake University.
After serving three years as a U.S. Army hostess for the United Service Organization, Fran becomes the Director of Recreation and Entertainment for the Veterans Administration in Leavenworth, KS, which is where she met her future husband Colonel Harry L. Kinne. They marry in 1948.
From Iowa Girl:
World War II was well under way, and I had the patriotic urge to do something. As a small child I would say, “Some day I will entertain soldiers.” This very likely stemmed from the Memorial Day parades, where veterans of World War I would march carrying the American flag.
I was too young to qualify as a U.S. Army Hostess, but Uncle P.A. called our Representative, Paul Cunningham in Washington, and he maneuvered the labyrinth of the bureaucracy. He waved the magic wand, and I was sent to Camp Crowder, Missouri (one of the largest camps in the country) and a training camp for soldiers in the Signal Corps.
Travels to China, Japan and Germany as a wartime wife. While in Tokyo, she volunteers teaching music and English at a public girls’ school and at Tsuda College. She also teaches English to a class of 50 Japanese policemen, who she comes to care for deeply. She later fondly remembers them in an essay, “Happiness is a Carol Sung by Japanese Policemen,” from a December 15, 1968 The Jacksonville Times-Union And Journal:
Christmas is many things. It is carols sung around a pump organ in a parlor. And it is 50 Japanese policemen serenading their teacher because they have understood her concern.
Earns doctorate with Cum Laude distinction from the University of Frankfurt, West Germany, where she triple majored in Music, English Literature and Philosophy.
Moves to St. Augustine, FL and joins Jacksonville University as an Assistant Professor of Humanities.
Creates the College of Fine Arts. She is named the 1961/1962 JU Professor of the Year and receives the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of Greater Jacksonville.
After increasing arts majors at JU by 42%, Fran is profiled by The Jacksonville Times-Union And Journal on October 20, 1968. She is quoted:
An involvement, whether passive or active, in the timeless triumphs of the arts will lend security, a depth of experience, a belief in self, that may be achieved only by friendship with the printed word, the beauty of sound, the caress of colors and movement. They truly are ours in any walk of life.
Becomes Dean of the College of Fine Arts, the first and only female dean in the United States for the 12 years following. She will become the first woman in the world to serve as the chair and later president of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans.
Brings Bob Hope and Jack Benny to JU campus, who are followed by many other celebrities and great minds during her tenure at JU, including Charlton Heston, Arthur Fiedler, Aaron Copeland, Duke Ellington, Ann Southern, Richard Boone, Dr. Linus Pauling, Winston Churchill III, Ann Landers, Jay Thomas, Ross Perot, President Gerald Ford and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.
Receives the first annual Governor’s Award For The Arts in the State of Florida.
Establishes the College of Business while serving as interim president of JU. She also receives the EVE of the Decade Award in Education from the Florida Publishing Company.
Is inaugurated president of JU and puts the university on sound financial footing by erasing a $1 million debt within 18 months. At the same time, she founds the School of Nursing, which will graduate its first class in 1983.
Fran’s husband Colonel Harry Kinne is diagnosed with cancer and receives treatment at the Mayo Clinic. He passes away April 26, 1981.
Receives several awards throughout the year, including the Top Management Award from the Sales and Marketing Executives of Jacksonville; Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews; and the Burton C. Bryan Memorial Award from the Boys’ Home Association of Jacksonville.
Raises $16 million during JU’s 50-year Golden Anniversary Campaign.
Is quoted in The Florida Times-Union, “Where Does JU President Turn For Advice? Students” on August 7, 1984:
The most important thing to me is the students. I find out more things from students when they are around me. They are the best form of communication available.
Dr. Frances Kinne, President.
She listens to your problems if you have any, and there is no problem with students getting in touch with her.
Gil Barrrera, JU student
Is inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. She is also elected the first woman to chair the President’s Council of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.
Retires as JU’s president and is elected the first Chancellor of JU. Fran also joins the Jacksonville Rotary Club and River Club as their first female member.
Serves as commentator for The Florida Times-Union, “Japanese Apologizes for Rip of U.S. Work Ethic” on February 4, 1992:
We make semantic generalizations about a people… and many times the generalizations are not valid. But as we become better acquainted, we find we have much more in common than we have differences.
She marries Colonel M. Worthington Bordley.
Becomes honorary staff member of the Mayo Clinic.
Delivers speech urging JU graduates to “work with passion, commitment, energy, enthusiasm, humor and have fun. And remember that each one of you does have a divine spark… I challenge you to go out and make the world a better place to live.”
Receives a lifetime achievement award from the Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. Colonel M. Worthington Bordley dies.
Publishes her memoir Iowa Girl: The President Wears A Skirt.
The Florida Times-Union, “Wells Watch: A True ‘First’ Lady” by Judy Wells, May 26, 2002:
Q: How would you like to be remembered by your friends? Your enemies?
A: “That maybe I made a difference, maybe I made them happier. I really do enjoy new people; I find intellectual stimulation in different people.”
Is honored by the establishment of the Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne Award by JU’s Women’s History Month Committee to be given each year to a JU student for her contributions to the university and community.
Is honored on November 1, 2012 by the City of Jacksonville, proclaiming the day “Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne Day.”
Receives the lifetime achievement award at the Jacksonville Business Journal’s 12th annual Women of Influence Awards.
"I try to learn something from everybody. My heart is open, yes, but my mind is open, too. I can always learn."
Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne
At a previous birthday event for Fran, I was asked to make a few remarks, but as the ceremony was running late, and I had a 1:30 p.m. class to make, I said to the guests: “You will never hear an academic make such a short speech. It is one line: Fran Kinne is the best thing that ever happened to JU.” Still true!
When I think of Fran, I think of a lovely lady, elegant, graceful, poised, with a great presence, well-spoken, quick to smile and laugh, witty, but also strong, firm, disciplined, determined, and persevering. She is these and much more. The best thing that ever happened to JU.
However, I have a personal take which is unique. In 1989, when I was giving my Professor of the Year presentation, I chose to do some audio and slides of my outdoor activities, which only I was doing at the time. I played an audio of a turkey roost at wake-up time, with lots of yelping, gobbling and songbirds. Yes, I am a hunter, and I love to hunt turkeys. Still do.
Also, I grew up fishing for coldwater trout and salmon, so I showed some slides of fishing in Alaska. Hunting and fishing are part of my heritage, lifelong. I love wild places.
When I got to the hunting part, I had slides of a hunt in Alaska for a Dall Ram. I knew there were some people on the faculty who don’t dig hunting, but I also knew no one would smart off in front of Fran Kinne. When she has your back, you are good (thanks, Fran).
Yes, she is firm, and can be tough -- has anyone ever seen her look when she means “enough of that”?
Fran is a multi-faceted treasure. She is loving, and loved.
The best thing that ever happened to JU.
One of the greatest perks of my job while working for the Office of the President was that any time Fran was requested for an event on behalf of JU, I had the privilege of driving to her house to pick her up and then take her home. I took this duty very seriously -- I knew what a legend she is, and I’ve always wanted to impress her. I even had a playlist that I made just for those car rides full of Count Basie, Benny Goodman and other famous big bands -- people I like to imagine she heard perform live back in the ‘40s. And knowing Fran, she probably even has met some of them!
In these 30-minute car rides, it was just Fran and me. These are some of the most precious minutes of my life.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t drive slowly because she wanted me to; I drove slowly because I was trying to prolong the time I spent with her each way. I would try to wrap my brain around the things she has seen and lived through. What do you even ask someone who was literally a teenager during the Great Depression? I certainly wasn’t going to be caught complaining about being a “broke college student.” This woman has been there and done that and risen to even greater heights.
She really helped me zoom out of my own perception of the world, appreciate life and see the opportunity we have each day to think positively and encourage others.
One phase of Fran’s life that particularly resonates with me is how she traveled so far and wide as such a young woman. I love her story about packing all the wrong things when she moved to China and referring to herself as “You stupid thing!” I was blown away by her stories of being the first American woman to receive a doctorate from a German university -- writing her thesis in English and then translating every word into German, late into the night.
These memories she shared really stirred me as I looked ahead to my own plans to move to Uganda for a year for a job. I’ll never forget the advice she gave me before I left: ‘Listen to me Will, this is very important… You need to EAT more and gain some WEIGHT. Because if you get sick over there, you’ve got nothing to lose!’
I love you so much Fran! Happy birthday! I will never be the same because of you.
All four projected at the same time, interlinked, reinforcing each other, captivating, infecting and touching all those around. These are found in a single individual who has transformed many lives and continues to do so every day – Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne. Those who have had the pleasure to meet and spend time with her can attest to the aura of positivity and kindness surrounding her. It is something so powerful, far-reaching and rarely found. Her life mission, I believe, is to bring happiness to those around her and awake even the most hidden emotions that we all carry deep inside. In her uplifting way, she forces us to open up and be our true selves, without fear.
I consider myself beyond fortunate to have spent many an hour with Dr. Kinne, enjoying long conversations about our lives. Someone need not look any further than her home, where every piece of furniture and decoration has a life of its own and a narrative that vividly depicts Dr. Kinne’s incredible journey. As I travel around the world, working with others in need, I serve in areas of conflict, natural disaster, and oppression in its many forms. And I think of Dr. Kinne. In my everyday interactions, I remind myself of her ever-optimistic outlook, affection and warm-heartedness. It as a guiding principle in my life, and I hope that I, like her, will be remembered for the service I offered.
Wilma’s Little People’s School (WLPS) was established in 1973, under a different name, when Dr. Fran Kinne was Dean of Fine Arts. Since that time, Dr. Kinne has been a present and positive force in the life and progress of the on-campus preschool.
It was determined during its first year that WLPS should place emphasis on the fine arts, allowing creativity to speak into the innate attributes of each child. Dean Kinne contributed to that goal in many ways, including conducting personal tours of JU’s art holdings, encouraging art majors to visit WLPS, and arranging performances for the children on campus. Each of these offerings was a positive, age-appropriate event and an approach that continues today.
In 1986, Dr. Kinne introduced the preschool to Mr. Harold “Bud” Smith who provided a generous endowment for building maintenance. He agreed to acknowledgement of his late wife, Wilma, who was an advocate for children. Wilma’s Little People’s School emerged, and despite some difficulties throughout the years, then President Kinne smoothly guided the school toward success. She not only encouraged WLPS faculty and staff, but she also welcomed the children to her office. It was in these treasured moments that she raved about their progress and looked the other way when still-damp paint rubbed off artwork and onto her new blue suit. In fact, the WLPS Annual Art Show held on the third floor of the Howard Administration Building was always a Dr. Kinne favorite.
As Chancellor Emerita, Dr. Kinne did not halt her interest and presence at WLPS. She comes to WLPS events, recruits for the school, and encourages College of Fine Arts faculty, students, and retired faculty to visit often. Her personal contact and involvement as a liaison WLPS and all JU departments has been beneficial in so many ways.
Since 1973, Dr. Kinne has been an important, necessary and positive force behind the ongoing success of WLPS. The school dedicates its 2017 Art Show to her, again, in honor of her help and influence over the decades.
How does WLPS say “thank you" to Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne? Perhaps an underdone cake or a finger-painted masterpiece? Certainly, WLPS sends much love and gratitude for her help these past forty-four years.
I have so many fond memories of Dr. Kinne. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to get to know her early on as a student at JU. She truly cares about her students and always had an open door policy. There were no strangers in her eyes, and she made a serious effort to know all of us.
While working on my undergraduate degree, I worked full-time, often 40 - 50 hours per week on the stock crew at Winn Dixie. Although I had a personal relationship with Fran, she didn't know about my life outside of school. At one point, the Controller advised me to drop out unless I could come up with tuition due. This advice was meant sincerely and I was urged to take a year off and re-enroll the next year. But the thought of dropping out of college was never an option in my mind, so I put together a business plan on how to pay Jacksonville University back.
That semester, I asked to meet with Dr. Kinne. During our time together, we discussed the situation and I explained that I didn't want to leave. I was the first in my family to go to college. I shared my business plan to pay the school back in 90 days by doubling down at Winn Dixie. She'd had no idea that I worked full-time, and it was at that pivotal moment that she smiled and explained that Winn Dixie was a big supporter of JU. She told me how proud she was of me and that she would do everything possible to support me. Immediately, she called the registrar and instructed me to register for the next semester. Then she said, "Don't worry about it, Alvin. You don't owe us a dime."
That was a defining moment in my life. I walked into that meeting distraught, and I left with overwhelming hope because Dr. Kinne decided to invest in me and my future. She believed in me. It was a tremendous opportunity, a gift from her heart. She didn't do it because I was well connected, but rather, she saw a young man working hard, doing everything he could to stay in school, to graduate, and to become a productive citizen.
I'll never forget that moment for it was the beginning of a long friendship with an amazing mentor.
Another fond memory was Commencement Day. It was a hot day in 1985, and excitement was in the air. Over 100 people I knew came out to celebrate, including my fraternity brothers, family and fellow church members. When I walked across that stage toward a waiting Dr. Kinne, I was as nervous as I was excited for the future. I had the biggest smile on my face, and I remember her smiling back at me. Her embrace on that stage marked an important milestone in my life. A reminder of what a champion she was for her students.
Dr. Kinne said to me, more than once, "You're going places, and you're going to provide leadership for our entire country." When I became Mayor of Jacksonville in 2011, I recalled her words. She made certain I knew that she was extremely proud of me. While in office, I worked to open the same doors of opportunity for Jacksonville’s young people that she opened for me. JU was an important partner in my service to the city, and it was a privilege to spend time with so many of Jacksonville's young people on the JU campus. As Mayor, one of my great honors included speaking at Commencement. I was excited for the students, but even more excited that God allowed the story to come full circle--for me to stand there as Mayor of Jacksonville, delivering a commencement speech, with Dr. Kinne sitting alongside me. It was truly a blessing.
Finally, I had the opportunity to honor Dr. Kinne at City Hall as a Trailblazer, proclaiming "Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne Day" in Jacksonville, and paying tribute to her many firsts, including her legacy as the first woman president of Jacksonville University. It was truly humbling to serve as the first African American Mayor of Jacksonville, and it was equally humbling to honor the First Lady of my alma mater, who personally recognized and invested in my potential. Dr. Kinne has meant the world to me. I am a hundred times grateful and happy to say, thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Kinne, from the bottom of my heart, and happy 100th! May God continue to bless you and shine upon you, not only for the difference you made in one life, but in the lives of countless others.
I met Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne in the fall of 1979, when she was our interim President. As an incoming freshman, I stood in line to register for classes. Registration was being handled electronically for the first time ever and the boxy-looking computer was already overloaded. What should have been a short process was taking all day with registration lines winding around the Gooding Building. Eventually, I made my class choices, but was disappointed to learn one of the main electives I wanted, Photography 101, was closed. Dr. Kinne was working the line. At her direction, water and other refreshments were made available to waiting students. When she got to me, I introduced myself and told her about a mutual connection--my pastor’s wife, with whom Dr. Kinne was well acquainted. She spent extra time with me and ended up signing an override to get me into that closed photography class.
Having first discovered photography in high school and working on the yearbook, I had begun my first paying photo job, just a few months before college registration. That intro photo class was important to me, and was one of the primary reasons I chose to attend JU.
I continued to see Dr. Kinne around campus in the following months and I attended her Presidential inauguration a few months later. Of course, I had a camera with me and remember taking a photo of her with JU Board member, Alex Brest, after the ceremony. As they returned to the Howard building together, the much older Mr. Brest kissed her cheek and I caught that shot, too. After developing the black and white film in JU’s darkroom, I printed two copies and gave it to her as a gift. Looking back, I think I may have scored some points with her that day.
Late in the summer of my sophomore year, I received a call from one of Dr. Kinne’s assistants, Irene. I was asked to work in the President’s office during the school year and answering “yes” was easy. I worked about 20 hours each week, between or after classes, and my duties ranged from clerical work to answering the telephone. One of the most amazing things about working for Dr. Kinne was seeing her open door policy in action. She would meet with students, faculty, staff, parents-- anyone who ventured into her third floor suite when she was available. This policy included the telephone as well, and those of us who answered were trained not to ask a caller’s name or reason for calling. She never wanted to give the impression that she was screening calls. If she was available, she took the call.
I got to know the University’s public relations director during that time, too, and quickly became involved in taking photos of campus events in an official capacity, particularly activity involving Dr. Kinne. As many may know, bringing important guests to campus was important to Dr. Kinne. It was a practice started well before her presidency, and provided unique perspectives to students like me. So, I became a part of these events and photographed her with Bob Hope, President Gerald Ford, Charlton Heston, Ann Landers, Abigail Van Buren (Ann’s sister - Dear Abby), John Connolly (former TX Governor and presidential candidate), Paul Volcker, Winston Churchill (grandson of the famed Churchill), Edward Villella, Ross Perot, Malcolm Forbes, Doc Severenson, Linus Pauling (Nobel prize winner) and many, many more.
Many people who visited her office remember how the walls were filled with 8x10 photos of her with these guests. Now, the photos are displayed in her home. On a recent visit, I spent some time pointing out the ones I had taken so many years ago. There are quite a few, and it was fun seeing the images repeated in a multimedia presentation at JU to usher in the beginning of her 100th year.
In 1986, Dr. Kinne was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held in Tallahassee at the Governor’s mansion. Bob Graham was governor then and presided over the event. I was asked to drive Dr. Kinne to Tallahassee, escort her to the ceremony, and take photographs, both for her personally and for JU. We had a nice ride over, and all went well. I had the opportunity to meet Gov. Graham, a first for me but only one of the many elected officials who adored Fran Kinne.
Nearing my graduation, a family friend suggested that I apply for a Rotary Foundation Scholarship to study abroad. After discussing it with Fran, for we’d come to speak on a first-name basis, I asked her for a letter of recommendation. She helped convince me to take the leap of faith it required to venture out of my comfort zone and travel around the world. She knew how an adventure of this magnitude would forever alter my perspective on the world. So I spent all of 1985 in Australia, and have absolutely no regrets.
When Fran’s mother, Bertha Bartlett, affectionately known as “BB,” turned 100 back in 1988, there was, of course, a party. Music was provided by Fran, BB’s only daughter. I already knew BB because my job at JU involved interacting with BB and her caregivers. About 27 years old at the time, I stood near her at the party. At some point, BB nudged me and said, “When my daughter leaves for the evening, you and I will stay and have some fun.” I’ll never forget that precious 100 year old woman flirting with me!
To think that the photographic journey all began with Fran signing me into an already full class. As a triple major in college, photography ended up being my passion, and I worked as a full-time photographer for several years, using skills I learned in that first class.
Fran has had, and continues to have, a tremendous impact on my life. I know I’m not alone in that, but it has been my pleasure and honor to be her “personal photographer.” All of the experiences I gained by having direct access to her was a huge highlight in my life. Looking back, I am amazed by the experiences I had as a college student, camera at the ready, all due to Fran.
To borrow a line from Fran, “thanks for the memories!”
Vibrant and timeless, Fran's wardrobe through the years channels her own bright and colorful disposition, with an elegance she effortlessly owns – one that doesn't bend to the whims of what might be in vogue.
Whenever it was cloudy, she would wear a bright color – usually a yellow dress. It indicates her spirit.
Dr. William McNeiland
‘A Blessed Dress’Fran’s trademark color red was born of a white georgette dress, dyed at the last minute by her mother so she would stand out at a statewide piano competition that she competed in – and naturally won – at age 15. “You put me in a blessed dress,” Fran told her mother afterward.
“Ever since, that’s been my color.”
White and Gold DressThe striking white-with-gold silk dress Fran wore when JU awarded President Gerald Ford an honorary degree in April 1983. During his visit, President Ford spoke to about 600 JU students.
The ceremonial dress was a gift from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, whose son Prince Khalid Fran had taken under wing while he was a student in the College of Fine Arts. The Prince’s mother “was the same size as I was. I kept saying, ‘How do you know this is going to fit?’”
Green Sequin DressFran wore this smart, yet dazzling, knee-length dress for many events during her presidency, including a benefit at the Jacksonville Civic Auditorium while hosting Bob Hope.
“I like my sequins. The sequins are from all different times in my life. I still wear the sequins on special occasions.”
JU PurseStudents have made a lasting impression upon Fran – they are her guiding light, she says. A green and white box purse among her collection of many holds a special place for her. “The students made this for me when I was president. It’s so cute. I get the biggest kick out of it and I still use it.”
Dear Dr. Kinne,
A European head of state once said, “ In politics, a week is a long time.”
That quip aptly describes much of what we do here in Congress. This institution has a long history but a very short view of the future. The congressional horizon rests on the next week, the next crisis, the next election. The only reason not to be disheartened is that many individual Members of Congress understand this and are eager to expand their own range of thinking -- to look beyond the urgent to the important.
That is why I am asking for your help.
As chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, I am writing to a number of noted authorities in a wide variety of fields and am asking for your view of the future. Looking ahead -- the next 5, 10, 20 years -- what should we be thinking about for the good of the country? What issues deserve more attention than they now receive?
I realize this is a wide-open request on which a great deal of high-priced time can be spent. I offer in return only the promise that I will circulate your views to all 53 Republican Senators. However, I do hope you will give this request serious consideration and take time to reply in as abbreviated or expanded a fashion as you wish.
Many hold a very cynical view of Congress, doubting we can deal effectively with any serious issue. If you count yourself in that number and wonder why you should bother with another attempt to educate a bunch of politicians, then I can only reply that you should, because we need it so desperately.
Again, thank you for considering this request. I look forward to hearing from you.
William L. Armstrong
P.S. If you are not familiar with the Policy Committee, I have enclosed a fact sheet on our activities.
There are three things I would like to do more than anything in 1973. First is to sail on a private yacht around the Greek Islands for a month. Second is to spend a month sunning and swimming on a South Sea Island. And third is to be in Jacksonville on “Fran Kinne Day” on March 16.
We all love you, Fran, and only a previous commitment keeps is from being there, but we’ll be with you in all our thoughts.
Love & kisses,
Irving A. Fein
What great news it is to find out that the Women’s Club of Jacksonville is honoring you.
It had to happen - with your big heart! I should also say, big brain, because you think large enough to get both Jack Benny and myself on the campus of Jacksonville University at the same time. And I must inform you that a lot of people have been trying to get the two of us together. Most of them have been our wives.
From my association with you, I know you would lighten up the artistic horizon of any locale that you participated in. I just wish I could be there in person to throw a little confetti and yell “Hurrah!” You’re an outstanding lady, outstanding dean, and outstanding citizen of this world. So bow deeply.
North Hollywood, California
I wish it were possible to be with you to help you celebrate your “Fran Kinne Day,” March 16. I know it will be a very exciting time for you and you deserve the wonderful tribute.
I will always remember the marvelous time you arranged for Bob Hope and me when we received our honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Jacksonville University last April. It was a very special occasion for me and your hospitality and generosity will long be remembered.
I can only hope that your special day will return to you the kindness and honor you have given to others.
Congratulations on the signal honor being paid you by the Women’s Club of Jacksonville!
Even at this distance, I have an excellent sense of all you have done to bring music as an art and a stimulus to the students and friends of the University and the general community of Jacksonville. If every town in the United States had a Frances Kinne, we would all be going full stem ahead every day of the year.
More power to you, and again, my congratulations!
Dear Mrs. Pomerantz:
May I join you in your salute to Dr. Kinne, one of the most charming ladies I have ever met -- and one of the smartest.
I have just learned about your well-deserved forthcoming honor, “Fran Kinne Day” on March 16. Certainly this is most appropriate. We all know what a great service you have done to Jacksonville University, and how well-beloved you are by everyone. I am one of the fortunate people to be invited to attend the banquet on your day, but unfortunately I cannot possibly be there as I have a concert in Worcester, Massachusetts on that night. I would to have been with you, and I know I will miss a very interesting and happy evening.
With all good wishes for continued success,
"Each of us can do something that nobody else can do. I think that it’s a gift. It’s a gift you’ve received. So, how much can you give back?"
Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne