Frank McClelland was a Marine, and people living and working on the Maryville College campus between 1937 and 1975 probably didn’t need to be told that. They could see it in his actions.
He was disciplined. Responsible. Task-oriented. Resourceful. And loyal.
A student of the College from 1914 until 1916, Dr. McClelland didn’t graduate from Maryville, but rather from Grove City College in his native Pennsylvania. In between his years at Maryville and Grove City, he bravely served in World War I, earning the Purple Heart for fighting in France, where he was temporarily blinded by mustard gas during the Battle of Belleau Wood.
He taught and was Principal at Plain Grove High School in Pennsylvania for two years and then was hired to teach chemistry and physics at Pikeville College in Pikeville, Kentucky. He earned a master’s degree in chemistry from Grove City College in 1929, and moved up the ranks at Pikeville, eventually serving as President for four years.
His nearly 40-year career at Maryville College began in 1937, when he was hired as Director of Student Personnel, working with Viola Lightfoot. In 1939, his title changed to “Dean of Students.” When Dr. Edwin Hunter resigned as Dean of the Curriculum in 1956, Dr. McClelland stepped in, serving as Dean of the College until 1967.
He initiated the College’s Freshman Orientation program prior to World War II, started the administration of tests for reading ability, vocational guidance and special aptitude. He was one of the first administrators to support improved communication with parents. He guided the College through major curriculum and calendar changes, advocated for veterans enrolling at the College and approved the relaxation of many campus rules governing student freedoms. Although probably best remembered as an in loco parentis-type administrator, he actually was an advocate for giving students more responsibility and control in social affairs.
Dr. McClelland didn’t entirely vacate Anderson hall at retirement in 1967. As Dean Emeritus, he collected photos and oversaw the completion of Dr. Lloyd’s history book and assisted President Joe Copeland on a part-time basis until 1975.
At a Board meeting in 1967, a resolution was read honoring the dean’s service. In read, in part: “Dean McClelland has provided an example of competence, loyalty and service that few can match – at Maryville or elsewhere. He has led without dominating, he has brought change without being presumptuous, he has administered his office with firmness and in fairness. He has served his country, his community and his church with this same distinction.”