- Chancellor and Provost Medallion (2019)
- IUPUI Chancellor's Medallion
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Presenter: Nasser H. Paydar
- Honorary Degree (1984)
- Doctor of Humane Letters
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Presenter: John William Ryan
Joseph Taylor’s early education began in a church in rural Arkansas. At a young age, he spent time in Memphis and East St. Louis, Illinois where he attended Lincoln High School, an all-black, K–12 school. He attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1936 and a Master of Arts in 1937.
Taylor attended Fisk University and was selected as a Julius Rosenwald Fellow in 1938.
Taylor began his academic teaching career at Florida A & M College before going off to serve in WWII. Upon his return from war, Taylor became the assistant to the president at Florida A & M College. Indiana University. Albany College, Dillard University He received his Ph. D. from Indiana University in 1952.
A researcher and published author Taylor wrote many academic papers including “The Rise and Decline of a Utopian Community,” and “Mound Bayou, Past and Present,” “Crime in Mound Bayou”. After World War II he continued to publish sociological studies, including “The Changing Pattern of Race Relations,” Central Christian Advocate, May 17, 1954; “Desegregation in Louisiana—One Year After” in the Journal of Negro Education, 1955; and “Some Pertinent Issues in the Desegregation Crisis,” Central Christian Advocate, July 1, 1956.
Joseph Taylor was named dean of the IU Indianapolis Regional Campus in 1967 and later became the founding dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts, a post he held until 1978. Taylor was a critical partner in the creation of the new IUPUI campus, and he was well-known for his ability to build consensuses and effectively manage relationships. Taylor served as a special assistant and advisor to campus leaders until he was named professor emeritus in 1983. After retiring as dean, Taylor continued to teach and serve as Special Assistant to Chancellor Gerald Bepko. Taylor passed away in 2000, and in 2008, the campus building previously called University College was renamed in his honor. Deeply committed to the Indianapolis community, Dr. Taylor played a key role in the integration of Indianapolis Public Schools, serving as one of two commissioners who assisted school officials in the desegregation effort.
Taylor’s honorary degrees include an LL.D. from Berea College and Martin University, Litt.D. from Marian College and an L.H.D. from Indiana University. He held many civic and educational appointments until his retirement in 1978.
Joseph Taylor, founding dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts, was (posthumously) presented with an IUPUI 50th Anniversary Chancellor's Medallion, as was his wife Hertha Taylor, during the 30th Annual Taylor Symposium on February 20, 2019. The Taylor's children, Judy and Hussain, accepted the award from Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar on their behalf.