Former Dean of Education dies

Dr. Jean Allen Battle was sitting on a green and gold mine when he joined USF in 1959.

Appointed as the first dean of the College of Education, Battle joined a group of newly hired administrators, such as former dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Russell Cooper, and would work closely to formulate critical academic and physical objectives for the University during its earliest stages.

They had very few buildings to operate in, using a former home off Platt Street in downtown Tampa as an office. Their ambitions, nearly 50 years later, have assisted the College of Education and the University to reach the national platform it rests on today. Battle died on July 7 at 93.

During his 12 years as dean, Battle watched his faculty balloon from five to 200 members, helped develop 39 undergraduate and graduate teacher programs, saw education graduates increase from 188 in 1963 to 1,165 in 1971 and in 1971-72 secured nearly $2.5 million in external grants, which ranked first among USF’s colleges. Battle also assisted in the planning and construction of the College of Education building, completed in 1968.

After retiring as dean, Battle taught for the College of Education and was an active member of the Social Foundations of Education Program until his retirement in 1989.

“We are so thankful for Dean Battle’s pioneering vision and dedication,” said Dean of Education Colleen Kennedy, who was appointed in 2003. “I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him, but we have several faculty members from our outstanding college able to share Dean Battle’s legacy with us firsthand. There is no way to measure or fully grasp Dean Battle’s footprint. His impact has made such a difference to the college, our graduates, the USF community and, most certainly, to all who knew him. He will be missed and remembered with fond appreciation.”

Born in Talladega, Ala., Battle graduated from Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro) State University before moving to Bridgeport, Ala., to teach at Bridgeport High School. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Alabama and his Ed.D. from the University of Florida.

He married Lucy Troxell in 1940 and moved to Lakeland, where he joined the faculty at Florida Southern College.

He left FSC during World War II to join the Army, where he obtained the rank of captain. Upon returning to FSC following the war, Battle was the athletic director, then dean of students and later became the dean of the college.

He is survived by his daughter, Carol B. Salmon; a grandson, Gregory Salmon; and a newborn grandson, all of Tampa.