American President A Reference Resource ↑ Richard Milhous Nixon Front PageFrederick B. Dent (1973–1974): Secretary of CommerceFrederick B. Dent was born in Cape May, New Jersey, on August 17, 1922. He received an A.B. from Yale (1943) before serving in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. Dent was president of Mayfair Mills in Arcadia, South Carolina (1958-1972), and he was a trustee of both the South Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association and the American Textile Manufacturers Institute. President Richard M. Nixon appointed Dent secretary of commerce in 1973, and Dent remained in that post unitl 1974. In 1975, he was appointed special representative for trade negotiations by President Gerald R. Ford. Dent returned to Mayfair Mills as president of the firm in 1977.