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Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne Smiling while sitting on a couch

Kinne Legacy Exhibition to Open at Alexander Brest Gallery

When Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne first set foot on the campus of Jacksonville University, no one knew the changes that would follow, the impact she would have, the legacy she would leave, and yet, she shaped the future of this institution and the surrounding community like no one else could. With her specific brand of service-minded, student-centric leadership, she was a powerhouse of persistence and positivity. She was respected and beloved. She is sorely missed, and now, after months of planning and development, she is being honored by her Dolphin family.

Jacksonville University is pleased to announce the opening of The Kinne Legacy Exhibition at the Alexander Brest Gallery. Opening May 17 and running through July 16, the exhibition explores the life and professional highlights of Dr. Kinne. From her early years in Story City, Iowa, through her presidency and chancellorship at Jacksonville University, her journey is captured in photographs, documents and mementos, carefully selected in what can only be described as a labor of love.

“This was a team effort,” said Dr. Timothy Snyder, dean of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts and curator of the exhibition. “So many contributed in their own way to bring this extraordinary exhibition to life. Dr. Kinne was deeply loved, respected and admired. Our mission was to do Fran justice and to illustrate the story of her exceptional life for those who knew her well and to educate future generations.” 

Fitting the exceptional life of Dr. Kinne into a gallery space was no small feat, considering the decades of photographs, personal possessions, accolades and awards, but Jacksonville University has managed to create a show as vibrant as Kinne herself. Bright red logos, sparkly party dresses and quotes from Dr. Kinne pay tribute to her unquenchable spirit and give visitors an opportunity to appreciate all that she accomplished.

She was, after all, the first woman in the world to be named dean of a fine arts college; the first American woman to earn a doctorate at the University of Frankfurt; the first female university president in Florida; the first chancellor of Jacksonville University; the first female president of the Downtown Rotary Club; the first female member of the River Club; and the first winner of the EVE Award in Jacksonville.

In her 62 years at Jacksonville University, she ascended from assistant professor to professor to dean to university president to chancellor. Along the way, she established what is now the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts, the Davis College of Business, the Keigwin School of Nursing and the School of Aviation. Her contributions were recognized outside the university as well in her many community endeavors, but Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne was so much more than the sum of her many accomplishments. She was family to Jacksonville University, and she was loved as such. Students gravitated to her, administrators admired her, colleagues welcomed her, and in 1986, when the JU Dolphins men’s basketball team won the Sun Belt Conference, it was Dr. Kinne who they hoisted to their shoulders.

Today these memories live large at JU, in the hearts of all who knew her, in the places on campus that bear her name and, for a short time, in the month-long Kinne Legacy Exhibition that spans what would have been her 104th birthday.

Jacksonville University invites students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and fans of Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne to bask again in the infectious smile, eternal optimism and indomitable spirit that was uniquely hers. This is a special opportunity for visitors to celebrate a woman from humble beginnings who gave tirelessly of herself, and in so doing, became a trailblazer, an inspiration and a force to be reckoned with in every positive sense of the phrase.

The Kinne Legacy Exhibition is free and open to the general public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from May 17 through July 16 in the Alexander Brest Gallery of the Phillips Fine Arts Building on Jacksonville University’s riverfront campus. For more information, please email kinnelegacy@ju.edu or call (904) 256-7019.

Graphic banner with Kinne Legacy logo and dates of the exhibition