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The author recounts the tumultuous history of one Southern university during the turbulent late sixties and seventies when he served as president of Florida State University (FSU). FSU was then called by many writers, "The Berkeley of the South" and the author was determined to show that order could be maintained on the campus while respecting the Constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. The radical Students For A Democratic Society (SDS) had an active chapter at the University, engaging in vigorous protests and threats of violence on several occasions. This is the story of how one president got his university through those difficult times, maintaining both order and peace on the campus by vigorously enforcing the rules while showing respect for the important academic traditions.
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The author, J. Stanley Marshall earned his B.S. Degree from Slippery Rock College in Pennsylvania in 1947 after 3 1/2 years of Army service in WW II (European Theater; the M.S. and Ph.D at Syracuse University in 1951 and 1956. He taught science and coached basketball and track at Mynderce Academy, a public high school, in Seneca Falls, New York, from 1947 to 1952, then taught physics at the SUNY College in Cortland, NY until 1958 when he joined the faculty at Florida State University in Tallahassee as head of the Department of Science Education and Adjunct Professor of Physics. He became Associate Dean of the School of Education in 1965, Dean in 1967, and President of FSU in February, 1969 upon the sudden resignation of John Champion who had been the object of radical student protests. Marshall has held a variety of appointive offices at the state and national level including service on the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine, a presidential appointment. He directed the founding of the Turkish National High School of Science (1962-67) and is a Fellow of the American Association For The Advancement of Science.Review:
Becoming president of a major university is the pinnacle of an academic administrator's career. And usually is occurs after years of grooming for the succession or in an often intense competition with similarly qualified and ambitious candidates. Considering the circumstances of J. Stanley Marshall's succession to the presidency of Florida State University (FSU), however, one would understand if he had wished that this cup had passed him by. . . . Florida State University had been peacefully integrated in 1962, but not without leftover tension. A prolonged controversy over obscenities in student publication in 1968 divided the campus, irritated the public, and earned President John Champion considerable ill-will from student and faculty radicals. The extremist Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) also arrived on campus and pushed for confrontation with public and university authorities. . . . This was hardly an enviable stiuation for Marshall to become leader of the university. While he had led one of FSU's large schools, he had not had any time in a university-wide position to establish his authority. Student radicals and faculty troublemakers had tasted blood with Champion's resignation and longed to make FSU into the "Berkeley of the South." . . . . The latter sobriquet was not, alas, a goal of emulating that University of California campus's considerable academic achievements but of imitating Berkeley's then recent history of student unrest and political turmoil complete with violent confrontations with police. And so it could have been at FSU. . . . Marshall's memoir is a narrative and explanation from his point of view about why and how FSU successfully avoided the difficulties of these beset campuses. He also assists the reader by providing capsule histories of the turmoil on these other campuses and an excellent concise internal history of the SDS both at FSU and nationally. --Dr. John Earl Haynes, FSU class of 1966, is 20th century political historian at the Library of Congress and author of numerous books on cummunism and espionage.
This is an important and astonishing book. There was a time in the 1960's when Florida and the nation faced hurricane-force winds of change even more cataclysmic than Ivan or Katrina. They say if you can't remember that remarkable decade then you weren't there. Stan Marshall was there. And he remembers. He is an educator in the truest sense. By reporting fairly and dispassionately from the eye of the storm he captures the feel of a profoundly tumultuous time that shaped a nation and rocked a generation. Whenever I try to explain to friends what it was like to attend the Berkley-of-the-South, that unlikely radical hot spot in Tallahassee, they find it hard to believe. All I have to do now is hand them this book! --Doug Marlette, Author of The Bridge and Magic Time, Flambeau editorial cartoonist, 1970-1971, Pulitzer Prize Cartoonist
Vivid and dramatic. So many of Stan Marshall's recollections land squarely in the center of my own memories and experiences of life at Florida State University in the late 1960's. Often I found myself reliving an event through Marshall's eyes, since after all, I was there. No matter what your politics may have been, or on which side of the picket lines you found yourself, for anyone whose formative years were shaped by the unrest that rolled across this country in the late 1960's, Stan Marshall's memoir of this time is a well-told chronicle and an essential read. --Jeff Shaara, author, Gods and Generals and other books.
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