Born on September 21, 1903, Brother Dean William Tate would become an essential part of campus life at the University of Georgia for more than forty years after his days spent Phi Kappa Hall. Raised in Calhoun, Georgia, a seventeen year-old Brother Tate enrolled at the University of Georgia in the fall of 1920. During his time as a student, he studied English and History and became involved in several student activities including serving as the president of both Phi Kappa and student council.
During his tenure at UGA, Brother Tate served as Dean of Students before being named Dean of Men, a position he would hold from 1946 until 1971. He garnered a reputation as compassionate, devoting most of his time to personally helping students with financial and academic struggles. But he could also inspire fear.
Once speaking on Brother Tate, Honorable Sister McPhee said, “He had a way with students even though they were scared to death of him. They respected him. He knew their daddies and their grand-daddies and if a student was about to get in trouble, he would ask them their name, and it would scare them to death and when they told him, he would say, “Oh yeah!”, and tell them their daddy’s name.”
Following the integration of campus in 1961, his compassion extended to Charlayne Hunter, the first black female student, who faced the threat of injury or death after a mob formed outside of Myers Hall. While being pelted with rocks, he managed to assist a cop who had been knocked down before seizing student ID cards.
After his retirement he remained active in campus life up until his death in 1980. In the last thirty five years, traces of his legacy are still present on campus and not only in the name of the Tate Student Center. It lives on in two of our own, Brother Hunter Smith and Brother Clark Veazey, who were selected as a 2015 inductee into the exclusive Dean William Tate Society. Moreover, it lives on in the displays of fearlessness and compassion each week in Phi Kappa Hall.