About John J. Tigert
John James Tigert, IV (February 11, 1882 – January 21, 1965) was an American university president, university professor and administrator, college sports coach and the U.S. Commissioner of Education. Tigert was a native of Tennessee and the son and grandson of Methodist bishops. After receiving his bachelor's degree, he earned his master's degree as a Rhodes Scholar.
After completing his education, Tigert taught at Central College; served as the president of Kentucky Wesleyan College; and worked as a professor, sports coach and administrator at the University of Kentucky.
Tigert gained his greatest national prominence as the U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1921 to 1928, and the third president of the University of Florida, from 1928 to 1947. He is remembered as a forceful advocate for American public education, intercollegiate sports and university curriculum reform.
Early life and education
Tigert was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1882, the third son of a Methodist Episcopal minister, John James Tigert, III, and his wife, Amelia McTyeire Tigert. Tigert received his primary education in the public schools of Kansas City, Missouri, and Nashville, and earned his high school diploma, with honors, from the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.
He was admitted to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity (Tennessee Alpha Chapter) and a standout athlete in baseball, basketball, football and track. As as senior, he was honored as an All-Southern halfback for the Vanderbilt Commodores football team.
Tigert graduated from Vanderbilt with a bachelor of arts degree in 1904; he was selected for Phi Beta Kappa, and was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar, the first from the state of Tennessee. While at Oxford University in Oxford, England, he completed his master of arts degree at Pembroke College in 1907, and he continued to participate in competitive university sports, including cricket, rowing and tennis.
Educator, administrator, reformer