Mr. Francis M. Kennedy
Francis Kennedy was born February 2, 1869, in the town of Maryville, Tennessee. He graduated from Maryville College in 1891 with the A.B. degree in classics and English, but also excelled in math. After graduation, Kennedy was employed as an instructor at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C. During his tenure there, Kennedy completed law school at nearby Shaw University. In 1904, he left St. Augustine's for Slater Industrial Academy and State Normal School (now WSSU). There, he was an instructor of English, mathematics, and the classics.
A widower with three children, Kennedy met and married Slater employee Mayme Kennedy, namesake of the Dining Hall. In addition to his administrative and teaching duties at Slater, Kennedy served as the cashier/treasurer for the Forsyth Savings and Trust Company, established in 1907 by WSSU founder Simon G. Atkins. He was elected principal of Slater following the resignation of C.G. O'Kelly in 1910. During his tenure, Kennedy succeeded in receiving the Winston Board of Trade's endorsement of legislation that appropriated $10,000 annually for Slater's maintenance. In 1913, Simon Green Atkins was elected to Kennedy's position, partially due to rumors concerning Kennedy's health. Francis Marion Kennedy returned to his former position as a classroom teacher.