Tulane is the story of a southern school striving for national recognition in the post–World War II era of American research universities. Clarence L. Mohr and Joseph E. Gordon present a candid, in-depth treatment of the 150-year-old New Orleans institution during this transformative period, when it grappled with such pervasive issues as federal and private funding; academic freedom; an enrollment surge set in motion by the GI Bill and sustained by the postwar “baby boom”; the cold war; desegregation; the antiwar, civil rights, and student-power movements; expanding intercollegiate athletics; censorship; the clash between liberal and utilitarian conceptions of higher learning; revision of curricular content; and the role of universities as platforms for social criticism—all of which together profoundly altered the mission of American higher learning. In addition to these external forces, the authors examine the many individuals—administrators, professors, and students—whose responses in both calm and crises shaped the evolution of Tulane’s unique academic, physical, and demographic design.
Like its regional peers in the 1950s and 1960s, Tulane faced the challenge of transcending its past without repudiating traditions of lasting value. Its journey over the past half century should remind those who support, study, or teach in American universities that their own institutions during that period have in a very real sense made history as well.
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