Burney L. Parkinson, 1927-1928
Dr. Burney L. Parkinson, a native of Lincoln County, Tennessee, became the tenth president of Presbyterian College in 1927. Dr. Parkinson had a Ph.D. from Peabody College and prior to coming to PC he was the director of extension at the University of South Carolina. His one-year tenure was marked by personal frustration and a substantial increase in the college’s debt.
Parkinson felt the president’s duties were far too extensive and saw the need for a Dean of academics at the college. After serving as President for nine months, Dr. Parkinson’s resignation was announced by the trustee chairman at the Commencement exercises of 1928. Parkinson announced his nomination of Professor Marshall Brown as the man to become the first dean of instruction at Presbyterian College. Before Commencement, Parkinson said to Brown, “An announcement is going to be made today. Don’t say you won’t do it until you talk to me.” Dr. Brown, a new history professor and the youngest man on the faculty at age 28, was taken completely by surprise but was willing and began his own training program and “sought out all available information on the duties of a dean.” (Hammet, 49)
Parkinson left PC for a state job in Alabama, eventually serving as the ninth president of the Mississippi State College for Women. He retired after twenty years there in 1952 and died on Dec. 7, 1972.