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This Day in Georgia History

September 21, 1903

William Tate Born

Educator William Tate was born in Calhoun, Georgia. At the University of Georgia, he graduated with a B.A. in 1924. He continued as an English instructor until 1929, in the process obtaining a M.A. in 1927. Afterwards, Tate became head of the English department at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, while continuing graduate work in the summers at Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago. In 1936, Tate accepted the position of dean of freshmen and assistant professor of English at the University of Georgia. In 1946, he was promoted to dean of men, a post he held at the university until his retirement in 1971. Widely known throughout the state, Dean Tate was admired and respected for both his firmness and fairness. One of his most important legacies came in 1961 during efforts to integrate the University of Georgia, when he was able to keep a potentially violent student protest from turning into a riot. Tate died in Athens on his birthday in 1981.