President Rankin recieved his B.S. in Education and an A.B. in Political Science from Fort Hays State University in 1937. During his time at Fort Hays, he was editor of the yearbook, a member of student council, president of the student body, an active fraternity member, and a cellist in the college orchestra, quartet and trio as well as a bass in the Men's Glee Club. He also founded Seventh Cavalry, a leadership honorary which is still in existance. He was also a member of Pi Gamma Mu, a social science honorary and Phi Mu Alpha, a music and social fraternity.
In 1939 Rankin was awarded a Resident Advisorship at Syracuse University where he earned a master's degree in political science at the Maxwell Graduate School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He returned to Syrcause to earn his Doctorate in Social Science in 1955.
In 1940, Rankin went to the Canal Zone where he was the personnel assistant for the Panama Canal. He eventually was appointed Chief of the Research and Service Bureau of the Panama Canal. During World Way II he served as Chief of the Salary and Wage Administration section of the Panama Canal Department and the Caribbean Defense Command. Following World War II Rankin taught at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio from 1946-1954. During his time as a faculty member, he took an extended leave of absence in Japan where he acted as a consultant to the National Personnel Authority and participated in the reorganization of the Japanese Civil Service. Rankin also served as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh.
Rankin was nominated as a Presidential candidate by Dr. William P. Tolley, chancellor of Syracuse University when he was questioned by Dr. Wayne Crockett, a trustee and alumnus of Indiana State University, as to whom would make the best candidate to serve as president of Indiana State University. After weeks of meetings wih many faculty members as well as members of the search committee, James D. Archer, the Board president, appointed Alan C. Rankin as the new President of Indiana State University. Rankin served as president from 1965 to 1975, a time during which there were many social as well as academic tensions and unrest. Rankin's presidency was challenged by student protests, sit-in's, streakers, anti-war and anti-prostitution demonstrations,same-sex dormitory rooms, and even a major incidence involving the burning of an American flag in a classroom.
Accompanying the challanges provided by an ever changing moral and ethical view of society and government, Ranking was also faced with accommadating a rapidly growing university. During his presidency, Rankin was responsible for overseeing and erecting many new buildings for the university including but not limited to: Cunningham Library, Hulman Center, Holmstedt Hall, Lincoln Quadrangle, Residence Halls (Hines, Jones, Rhoads, and Mills) and the now School of Business and School of Education towers.
Rankin submitted his resignation in the spring of 1974 and continued to serve as Persident until Dr. Richard Landini assumed office on May 15, 1975.
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