James Dull, Staff
The following is an Oral History Interview with Dean James E. Dull, Georgia Tech Dean of Students from 1964-1991, conducted by Marilyn J. Somers on March 7, 1996, in the Student Services Building at Georgia Tech. The subject of this interview is staff and student life at Georgia Tech. Dean Dull begins the interview by talking about his early life in Connellsville, PA. He attended Slippery Rock State Teacher's College and graduated in 1950. From there he entered the Army for 2 years and then returned to Graduate school at Miami University in Oxford, OH. He became involved with student affairs and concentrated on residence hall activities. He met his wife at a square dance club meeting at Miami U. (OH) in 1954, and he married Gay Kimbro on June 8, 1955 in Atlanta, GA. They returned to Miami U. (OH) and Dull continued to work with Student Affairs. Later, he interviewed at numerous schools and received an offer from all but one. He chose Georgia Tech because of his meeting with Dean Griffin and the improvements that could be made on the campus. Gay and Jim lived in Towers Dorm for 3 years and both of their sons were born during this time. Dull had the support of Pres. Harrison to refurbish all of the buildings in Area I and he also reorganized the student counsellors department. He made many changes in campus organizations, such as the Ramblin' Wreck Club for which he was the advisor, and the cheerleaders. Dull decided that Tech needed a car to symbolize the Ramblin' Wreck and set out to find one. He found a 1930 Ford Cabriolet, which the Athletic Association purchased, and introduced it at the first home football game in 1961. Dull was also the one to formulate and implement the integration plans for Georgia Tech in 1961. Due to the months of planning by the president and staff, the integration was achieved without any incidents. Dull is a big supporter of DramaTech which has come a long way, since he first arrived. Drama Tech has been housed in the old YMCA, in two buildings behind the Varsity, in the church on the corner of Hemphill and finally in the theater. He has been pleased to see all of the changes that have taken place at Georgia Tech since 1957. He helped ODK raise the funds to build a student center, he improved freshman orientation, he was the SGA advisor, and was very involved with other student activities. Through the years, Dean Dull had to bail many students out of jail and work to discipline the Tech population. He then speaks about his family and the boys growing up on Tech campus. Dean Dull was the one who started the Tech Police Dept. with one officer, and it has grown ever since. He also designed the logo for the 75th Anniversary of Georgia Tech. He feels that that occasion was the first time the school made an effort to cultivate alumni support in a substantial way. Dean Dull served under 9 presidents, including acting ones. He had the most meaningful relationship with Pres. Harrison, as he was the one who promoted him to Dean of Students. He then speaks about George Griffin, and the fact that he is probably the most respected individual ever at Tech. Dean Dull has had many major accomplishments in his time at Georgia Tech. Among these, he completed all of the programs that had been included in his comprehensive long range plan in 1964. These included the building of the Student Center, the Student Athletic Complex, the Student Services Building, and the Theater, all by 1990. He witnessed many changes in the fraternity system of Georgia Tech and was the one to initiate lasting changes in the Greek community on campus. He achieved all of his objectives for the campus fraternities within 8 years of introduction. Dean Dull then mentions Marvin Sled, Bill Eberhardt, and Fred Wenn, as three professors who were extraordinarily good to students. He feels Georgia Tech creates leaders through the strength of the faculty and curriculum. He lists six things that he feels will always be associated with Tech locally, nationally and internationally. They are: Bobby Dodd, the Ramblin' Wreck, National Champs in Football in 1990 & the early '50s, Jimmy Carter, voluntary peaceful integration, and now the 1996 Olympics. The conversation then turned to the things Mrs. Dull has done for Georgia Tech. She is a member of the Dames Club, and Alpha Xi Delta, and has worked to bring all of the sororities to campus. Both Gay and Jim are honorary alumni. Dean Dull worked with Student Government throughout his years at Tech and is pleased to note that student participation was very high in past years. In 1967, they set the campus voting record when 72% of the student body voted in one election. Dean Dull has made other contributions to Tech such as: Starting and coaching the Reckettes for 3 years, designing one of 2 class rings and designing Buzz's costume. He decided that Tech needed a mascot and so he worked with the Ramblin' Wreck Club to design a yellow jacket. The interview concludes with Dean Dull mentioning that he is writing a time line of his life at Georgia Tech. He has many more stories of Tech that he was not able to share with us in such a brief interview.
1996 March 07