Best remembered for his peaceful handling of the 1961 racial integration of the University of Georgia's campus, this college Dean also taught English and coached the University of Georgia's debate team.
After earning bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Georgia and undertaking additional graduate coursework at Harvard, the University of Chicago, and Columbia, he became an English teacher and track coach at a private Tennessee high school called the McCallie School.
After retiring in the early 1970s from his post as University of Georgia Dean of Men, he had a second career as a public speaker and earned great acclaim for his talks on social change.
He grew up in Calhoun, Georgia, as the son of Edna Tate and banker Philip May Tate. His marriage to Susan Frances Barrow resulted in two sons.
He and his contemporary, Arkansas Civil Rights leader Daisy Bates, were both involved in school racial integration efforts.