Frank S. Kedzie (b. 1857 d. 1935)

Frank S. Kedzie President
Michigan Agricultural College

Frank Stewart Kedzie was born May 12, 1857, in Vermontville, Michigan. Over the course of his long career at the Michigan Agricultural College, Professor Kedzie acquired an intimate knowledge of the institution's history. As the son of Dr. Robert Clark Kedzie, a professor of Chemistry at M.A.C, Frank was raised on Faculty Row. He attended M.A.C. and graduated in 1877 with a B.S. (Agriculture). Subsequently, he studied medicine with a Lansing physician. In 1880, when Frank's brother, Robert, resigned as assistant in Chemistry, Frank returned to M.A.C. and assumed the position under his father. Soon he began lecturing, and to his students became affectionately known as "Uncle Frank." Furthering his education, Frank gained a Masters degree and studied at the Friedreich Wilhelm University in Berlin, Germany, circa 1889–1890. In 1902, following his father's retirement, Frank Kedzie was appointed head of the Chemistry department. In 1912, the College conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Science upon him.

Kedzie became the acting President in September 1915 after President Snyder resigned. During his term, Kedzie continued to teach albeit on an abbreviated schedule. He also began to promote numerous alumni activities. Significant among these was the development of private financial support for the construction of new campus buildings. His initiation of these activities was to culminate in the construction of three buildings: the Ransom E. Olds Hall of Engineering (1916), the Union Building (1924), and Beaumont Tower (1929).

In 1921, Kedzie resigned as president. The College had not witnessed the anticipated post-war growth in enrollment. It was believed that a new curriculum developed to suit changing educational needs and demands (and new leadership to implement it) was needed. In that same year, 1921, the Division of Applied Science was created, to which Dr. Kedzie was appointed dean. From 1925–1927, Kedzie concurrently served as dean and chairman of the Committee on Historical Materials. Upon Kedzie's resignation as dean in 1927, he was offered the newly funded position of College Historian. Correspondence with President Kenyon L. Butterfield documents Kedzie's changing relationship with M.S.U.

Professor Kedzie was dissatisfied with Dr. Beal's "History of the Michigan Agricultural College" (1915) and had plans to rewrite it. President Butterfield was also anxious for a history of the College to be written for the upcoming 75th anniversary of M.A.C. Accordingly, Kedzie put forth a great deal of effort collecting historical information from alumni about their college experiences, and had written, over the years, various short essays to friends on matters related to College history and traditions.

Frank Kedzie's history was not to be completed. Due to a conflict of opinion with President Robert Shaw, he was dismissed from the position of College Historian and the post was dissolved by the State Board of Agriculture in 1932. He died three years later, on January 5, 1935, leaving a $50,000 bequest to the college for the purchase of chemistry books.

Aside from his college affairs, Frank Kedzie played an active role in the development of the Michigan sugar-beet industry, as did his father. He published in many magazines on both historical and agricultural related topics; including the Michigan Historical Magazine, the Michigan Farmer and the M.A.C. Record.

Frank Kedzie married Kate Marvin of Lansing, an accomplished music teacher, in 1885. Though the couple had no children, they raised many animals being especially fond of thoroughbred horses and pedigreed dogs.

Finding aid to the Frank S. Kedzie papers (UA 2.1.8)

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