Dr. Imogene Bentley Dickey Mohat was a member of the UNT community from 1943 to 1979. Students nicknamed her “Big Red” due to her height and her red hair. The Denton Record Chronicle recorded that her motto was, “good discipline is good guidance.”

Imogene Bentley was born in Nashville, Tennessee. She came to Texas as a child and attended the public schools in Paris, Texas. She graduated from Paris High School in 1934.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts from East Texas State College and her master’s and Ph.D. from George Peabody College. Her teaching career started in the public schools in Paris, Texas. She then moved to Paris Junior College. When that institution’s dean became ill, she was called upon to take up many of his duties. When he decided to retire, Ms. Bentley applied for the position. This was a time when few women were considered for or served in administrative positions. She stated that it never occurred to her not to apply as she was already doing the work. She would serve as Dean of Paris Junior College from 1942 until she joined North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas) in the summer of 1943. She joined UNT as a member of the English Department. The following year she was named the Dean of Women.

Being the Dean of Women during a time of war brought challenges. Dean Bentley tried to solve a shortage of workers on campus by asking women to register their office skills (typing, shorthand, answering the phone, etc.) with her office. She planned to call on the women who stepped forward to fill positions all over campus.

In 1945, Bentley joined Dr. Max Heubner and Miss Hilda Haynes on the building committee of the ex-student’s association to raise funds for the Student Memorial Building, a union building. Students had long wanted a central gathering place on campus. The campaign for a union was hampered by the Depression, which prevented the school from raising the funds for this project, and then the outbreak of World War II. The campus finally did get a union, after World War II ended. The first union on campus was composed of a repurposed army service center from Camp Bowie. It was dedicated in 1949.

Dr. Bentley was widely known, on campus and off, due to the number of speeches she gave. She spoke to public schools, commencements, community groups, college organizations, and business conferences. In 1958 she spoke to the Texas Bankers Association in Houston. It was the first time in this organization’s 74 years, that a woman was one of the principal speakers. She spoke on Women, Banking and You, stating that, “If you want your women to stay, you pay them enough…..most women no longer choose between career and husband, children and home; they choose them all.” In 1959, she gave a talk on “The Art of Public Speaking,” to the Aerial Club and “Safeguarding Our Freedoms Through Responsible Citizenship” at a PTA conference banquet.

In June 1960, Dr. Bentley married the Reverend Charles Lively Dickey at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Dallas. The groom was the director of New Church Development in the Synod of Texas, United Presbyterian Church. Sadly, the marriage lasted only one year. While the couple was on a trip to San Angelo, Texas, to visit with Dr. Charles Dickey’s daughter from a previous marriage, he died of a heart attack. He was 56 years old.  

In 1968, both the Dean of Women and the Dean of Men, William G. Woods, announced that they wished to leave their positions. Dr. Dickey returned to teaching English while Dr. Woods returned to teaching psychology. Part of Dean Dickey’s contract had always had the provision that she be allowed to teach at least one class in addition to her duties as dean. Her stepping down as dean allowed her to return to teaching full-time.

In 1977, Dr. Dickey moved from the English Department to take up a new position as acting director of the Division of Drama for the Department of Speech Communication and Drama. Dr. Dickey held this position until 1979 when she retired. She was later named a professor emeritus.

In 1983, she married for a second time. The groom, John Theodore Mohat, was a member of the mathematics faculty, formerly the chair of that department. Dr. John Mohat died a decade later, on September 11, 1993, at the age of 69.

Imogene Bentley Dickey Mohat received many honors during her career. Among them were: Distinguished Alumna of East Texas State University; Distinguished Teacher at UNT; Paris Junior College created the Imogene Bentley Dickey Distinguished Scholarship Award in her honor; and the Otis L. Fowler Award in 1989 from the Denton Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Imogene Mohat died at the age of 91 in 2000.

Imogene Dickey 1961.
Imogene Dickey with a student in 1961.
Imogene Dickey in 1963.
Alumni Awards Luncheon, April 27, 1974. She is seen with Dr. Reginald Hinely of the College of Education; James Riddlesperger of the Department of Political Science; and Dr. David Fitch of the College of Business Administration.  They are posed in the Denton Country Club.

Dr. John T. Mohat, the chair of the Mathematics Department, was pictured in the 1970 student yearbook, the Yucca
Dean Dickey is pictured with Dr. Reginald Hinely (Education); Dr. James Riddlesperger (Political Science), and Dr. David Fitch (Business Administration) at the Alumni Awards Luncheon where they were named Distinguished Teachers in 1974.

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