Ernest "Gene" Fricks was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1948. He spent his early childhood in Knoxville, until his family moved to Jersey City in 1955. He attended public schools in Jersey City. At Lincoln High School, he played football and wrote for the school newspaper. In 1963, he went to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Before his senior year of high school, he went to Boys State, held at Rutgers, and worked in the office of Senator Harrison Williams.
Fricks went to Rutgers College from 1965 to 1970, during which time he completed the dual-degree program in history and engineering. He played lightweight football his freshman year and pledged in Gamma Sigma chapter of Tau Epsilon Phi. For five years, he participated in Air Force ROTC, eventually becoming cadet commander as a senior. During his senior year, he also worked for Vince Kramer in the alumni office. In the interviews, Fricks discusses Rutgers traditions and athletics, memorable professors, fraternity life, the student protest movement at Rutgers, the draft lottery, protests and counter-protests of the spring semester of 1970, graduation in 1970, and connections to Rutgers alumni throughout his career.
After graduating and being commissioned in the Air Force, his first assignment was to Systems Command at Edwards Air Force Base. He then got a joint assignment to the Ordnance Research Laboratory at State College, Pennsylvania, during which time he got a master's degree in engineering. During his Air Force career, he continued his education at the Wharton School in executive management, at the U.S. Air Force Air War College, and at Northwestern with a certificate in nuclear engineering. Fricks served as an engineering squadron commander in the Military Airlift Command at McGuire Air Force Base, Dover Air Force Base and Pope Air Force Base; as a staff officer at Headquarters, U.S. Air Force; and on special assignment with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After retiring from the military in 1993, Fricks worked for the rest of his career in the consulting business, including nine years as senior vice president of Integrated Strategic Resources. Fricks also earned a master's degree in American history at Rutgers-Camden and authored a paper published in the Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society.
Fricks has been a member of the Rutgers Alumni Association since 1976-'77. He served as the treasurer for the RAA, as well as holding posts on various committees. He served as the alumni representative to the Faculty Senate for five years. Additionally, he was the treasurer of the Rutgers Alumni Federation for a term. He currently lives in Camden County.
Gene Frick's oral history is a part of the Class of 1970 Oral History Project to commemorate the class's fiftieth reunion milestone.