by Frank Stephenson
World War II was more than the pivotal event of this century. It was the pivotal event of Florida
State University. Whatever we've become, we can credit the war--and a man named Walker.
Fifty years ago this summer, World War II ended. Forty-eight years ago this fall,
Florida State University began.
Hardly on the same historical page, the two events nonetheless share a surprisingly close kinship. Fact is, they're more like
joined at the hip.
In a season of remembrance, it's a question worth asking:
what would Florida State be like today if the war had never happened?
Like most "what if" questions, admittedly it's a bit nonsensical. World War II so
profoundly changed the planet that arguably no human enterprise--from academe to
religion--was left untouched by the conflict in some way.
The war's impact on American higher education in general was, in a word, revolutionary. From the
flight of European academics to these shores during the ascent of Hitler's
madness, to the G.I. Bill of Rights, campuses all across America experienced
unprecedented change at every level.
Change was bound to come sooner or later to the nation's third largest, all-female liberal arts college--Florida State College
for Women (FSCW). By 1940 the institution was clearly among a dying breed--for
more than a decade, single-sex colleges and universities had been going the way
of the bustle.
But the war--the all-encompassing war that baptized the world in
change--was the catalyst that triggered the birth of Florida State University in
1947. It's a simple fact, though not fully appreciated by many today.
"It's not overstating the case in the least to say that FSU is a product of the war,"
says Dr. Werner Baum, an original architect of FSU's academic foundations, now
retired. "World War II had a profound effect here, and while co-education was
the single most important element of that, it was by no means the only one."
Baum arrived on campus in 1949 at 26, one of 125 young scholars hired that year
to help crank up an authentic university in Florida's capital city. In building
a meteorology program from the ground up, Baum symbolized the fledgling
university's aspirations to become a powerhouse in the sciences. He would soon
be joined by others equally impassioned--and empowered--to put Florida State
University on the academic map.
Changes wrought on FSCW by the war were many and varied, but unquestionably
the most direct impact came from the G.I. Bill of Rights. This series of Congressional acts, the first one coming in
1944, created a number of benefits for returning vets--a free shot at a college
education being one.
By war's end, upwards of eight million veterans--armed with a
federal promise of free tuition, books and a little pocket money--descended on
campuses nationwide. The government's largesse caught many colleges and
universities by surprise. In Florida, it almost capsized the whole system.
In 1945, Florida's system of higher learning had remained virtually unchanged for
four decades. The 1905 Legislature, via the Buckman Act, shut down seven small,
state-supported schools scattered around the peninsula, and replaced them with
two colleges--FSCW and Florida A&M College for Negroes, both in Tallahassee--and a
single university to be consolidated in Gainesville.
The three institutions were
to be segregated by race and sex. FSCW was reserved for white females, while
Florida was for white men only. Florida A&M was allocated to black students,
both men and women.
Even before the war ended, Gainesville was feeling the
effects of the G.I. Bill. War-surplus buildings were dragged to central campus
and set up as emergency housing for the returning vets. But such measures proved
woefully inadequate to accommodate a horde of ex-G.I. applicants in the summer of
1946. Faced with a waiting list of some 2,200 men wanting to enroll for the fall
semester, UF President Dr. J.J. Tigert appealed to Gov. Millard Caldwell for
Probably never in the annals of Florida higher education was a university
president's request handled with such alacrity. In only two days, a deal
effectively making FSCW coeducational was struck between UF, the Florida Board of
Control (now the Board of Regents), the governor and cabinet, and FSCW (see "The
Great Transition," above). By the end of the 1946-47 school year, a total of 954
men--almost all of them G.I. Bill students--were enrolled in a legalistic creation
called the Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida (TBUF).
The door for men at the Tallahassee school soon opened wider, as the absurdity of TBUF began
to be apparent even to the hardiest critics of coeducation. The dam finally gave
way in May '47 when the Florida Legislature threw out the Buckman Act and made
both FSCW and the University of Florida co-educational. Equally important, FSCW
was accorded full status as a state university.
When a spanking new Florida State
University opened for business in the fall of 1947, 4,400 students signed
up--double the enrollment of fall 1945. Of the enrollees, 1,054 were men, and 890
of these were paying their way on the G.I. Bill. Interestingly, 25 G.I. Bill
students enrolling that first semester in '47 were women.
Science, He Said
At long last, Tallahassee had a
bona fide university, at least on paper. Now what to do with it?
Doak Sheridan Campbell, FSCW's leader since 1941, figured to be no whiz at
running a university. A product of George Peabody College for Teachers in
Nashville, Tennessee, Campbell had never even attended a university or served in
a university administration. Moreover, during the war years, Campbell never
championed the moves toward coeducation and university status for his campus, and
reportedly thought ill of those who did.
But people who knew the man give
Campbell credit for acknowledging his inexperience and then doing something about
"Campbell had the wisdom to let this place go," says Baum. "He may not
have known much about a university, but he picked people who did and gave them
plenty of room to operate."
One of those people was Dr. Edwin R. Walker, a
professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado. The University of
Chicago-trained Walker had gotten the attention of Campbell's dean of students
Broward Culpepper (later chair of the state's Board of Control), who had been
favorably impressed by Walker at a meeting he had just attended. Culpepper
pitched Walker to Campbell, who wasted no time in offering him the deanship of
FSU's College of Arts and Sciences.
Baum talks of the man who hired him for his
first teaching post in reverential tones. He described Walker as "a first-rate
scholar, an extremely sophisticated man" who clearly had a vision for Florida
State University. By the time he arrived on campus for the start of the '48 fall
semester, Walker already had a well-planned agenda, which could have been summed
up in a single phrase: bring on the science.
"Whatever we have today (in the
sciences), we can trace back to the wisdom of Ed Walker," Baum says,
emphatically. "He's largely forgotten today, but without a doubt, Ed was the
single most important personality in the evolution of sciences at Florida State."
With Campbell's full blessing, Walker launched a campaign based on what he saw
around him at his new post. What he saw was mostly opportunity. The school's
curriculum was nearly devoid of the career-building courses in science and math
that Walker knew from experience men were especially hungry for. If FSU was to
become a university worthy of the name, Walker realized that solid programs in
the natural sciences--chemistry, math, physics and meteorology, for example--had to
be built from scratch.
The institution Walker joined in 1948 was only beginning
to shed its liberal-arts look. When the war ended, the school's offerings in the
sciences, paltry to begin with, stopped with the bachelor's degree. A graduate
school hadn't been formalized until 1946, and by 1948 the only doctoral programs
were in education, music education and home economics. Research, what there was
of it, consisted of small, isolated projects, skating on thin funding. Less than
half of the faculty had Ph.Ds.
Sensing the potential the school had for rapid
growth--thousands of education-starved ex-G.I.s were still out there, and they
were finding precious little in the way of science training in the South--Walker
became a national headhunter for young talent in the sciences. He chose to go
after promising Ph.D. graduates just starting their teaching careers, figuring he
couldn't compete against well-established universities seeking seasoned faculty
members. Campbell gave him everything he needed--including a handsome budget for
salaries (state funds for such had built up during the war).
In 1971, shortly
before he died, Campbell was quoted in Research in Review regarding his
directives to Dean Walker:
"I gave (Walker) as near carte blanche as I have ever
given anybody in the location and attraction of young men who were highly trained
in the branches of science to which we expected to give attention. These were
chemistry, physics, the various branches of biology, meteorology and geology."
Hiring scores of young recruits from the best programs he could find, Walker blew
life into all these fields and more before leaving the university in 1952 (he
eventually became president of Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina). Two
of his '49 hires--Baum and the late Dr. Karl Dittmer--got things rolling early in
meteorology and chemistry, respectfully. Each new department head hired was
given free rein to build their units as they saw fit, Baum recalls.
"Ed told us
that it was up to us--either make it or break it. The excitement around this place
Walker's passion for hiring bright young scientists was
matched by his determination to set a new tone for scholarship on campus. He
sought to substantially raise the bar for faculty advancement. The time-honored
job of imparting wisdom in front of a blackboard would now be augmented by time
spent creating such wisdom.
Ms. Kitty Hoffman, who taught chemistry at FSCW and
at the new university before retiring in 1984, well remembers the Walker years
and the effect his leadership had on faculty.
"It was made clear to the faculty
that they had to take certain steps toward getting their Ph.D., or they would not
be advanced," she recalls. "Teaching, then, would no longer be all that was
" Not surprisingly, all faculty members weren't happy with what amounted
to a paradigm shift in their chosen profession. Quite a few simply packed up and
left Tallahassee for good, Hoffman said. Others, who had been entrenched as
deans or department chairs for years, fell on hard times, seeing their stature
eroded or threatened by the erudite Walker and his youthful science corps.
was a painful transition for some, no question," Baum said. "Some took it in
stride, and came out fine. Others actually fell apart--in fact, quite tragically
in some cases. But as painful as it may have been, what took place in those
early years was absolutely necessary if we were serious about building a real
university in Tallahassee."
Surplus of Opportunity
When Ed Walker took up the reins for leading Florida State into the ranks of consequential universities in
1948, he couldn't have picked a better time for such a job anywhere on the
The war had pitched the world on its end, and standing to benefit
enormously from the fallout was American higher education. Before the war, a
college sheepskin was a rare animal--less than two percent of the population owned
one. Fully two-thirds of the men and women who served in the war had not even
completed high school.
And suddenly, here comes Uncle Sam offering 16 million
eligible vets a free ticket for something their mommas and daddies had only
dreamed of--a college degree. So, just when Walker went shopping for young
academics with advanced training, the G.I. Bill was producing them wholesale.
With few exceptions, almost every faculty member Walker hired during his four
years at FSU had the G.I. Bill to thank either entirely or in part for their
The statutory stimulus, however, did much more than trigger a
rush by returning vets for the gates of the nearest campus. It prompted an
overhaul in federal thinking about the role of government in supporting graduate
training and research.
Before the war, government support for scientific research
was extremely limited. But campus-based research and development during the war
years ably demonstrated such work's value to the nation. By 1946, it was clear
to most that the federal government was about to get involved in university
research in a big way. Even before he hired Walker, President Campbell was aware
of the trend and had pushed for faculty incentives--including reduced teaching
loads--to go after those new research dollars. These, he knew, would fuel growth
in graduate research programs--the signature of any genuine university.
wasn't on the job three months before the young university had its first cohesive
policy governing research activities. A university research council was formed,
and Walker was installed as its chairman. By 1950, Walker had hired more than
200 faculty whose arrival on campus coincided with FSU's new resolve to stoke its
ambitions in scientific research with the increasing amount of federal help
available. Toward that end, in April of that year the university joined its
first research consortium, the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, rather
boldly agreeing to pay dues of $2,000 a year.
Inspired by their bosses' backing,
Baum and Dittmer, along with other notable '49 additions--including biochemist Dr.
Earl Frieden (Ph.D. Southern Cal), organic chemist Dr. Werner Herz (Ph.D.
Colorado), and physical chemist Dr. Ernest Grunwald (Ph.D. UCLA)--plunged head
first into the grant-seeking game. Their successes, modest at first, nonetheless
spurred a sense of urgency among their colleagues, which was quickly passed along
to newer arrivals.
"We worked like hell both in the classrooms and the labs--what
labs we had, that is," Baum recalls. "Pretty soon, things began to move."
1950, Florida's Board of Control granted FSU its first doctorate programs in
science--in chemistry, physiology/zoology and botany. A Ph.D. in meteorology was
available in 1952, as was a terminal degree in psychology. A doctorate in
physics followed in 1953.
The record shows that in 1952, one Boris Gutzbezahl, a
graduate student in chemistry who had followed Grunwald to Tallahassee from UCLA,
became the first recipient of a Florida State University doctorate.
With the seeds planted, it was then
a matter of letting nature take its course. Florida's population was growing
rapidly, triggered by an influx of military bases established throughout the
state during the war. Favorably impressed by the state's climate, when the war
ended many ex-servicemen decided to stay.
News began to spread about the rigorous
science-course offerings at the former "girl's school" in Tallahassee, and
enrollment steadily eased upward. The university's 10th anniversary in 1957 was
celebrated by 6,700 students--a 200 percent increase in a decade.
course, meant more infrastructure money from the Legislature--much welcomed by the
FSU community as a whole, and cheered loudly by the science faculty, who felt
they were still living out of boxes. Dean Walker's campaign for science talent
had dramatically overshot the university's capacity for housing it--both in
classrooms and laboratories. So bad were things in 1949, in fact, that when some
of Walker's recruits laid eyes on the campus, they immediately turned tail.
Werner Herz is one who stayed and made the best of it, convinced that things
could only get better. He, along with the rest of the chemistry faculty, were
squeezed onto a single floor in what had been FSCW's Science Building (now
Diffenbaugh), built in 1921. His "so-called research laboratory" was located
five miles away on what was called "West Campus," actually a phalanx of
wood-frame barracks that housed airmen during the war.
"The barracks was heated
by a coal furnace located in a little hut on the outside," Herz recalls. "In the
winter, I had to stoke the furnace myself. In the summer, it was so hot that my
solvents (lab chemicals) would evaporate."
Things did get better, but the cramped
feeling lingered into the late 1950s. Dr. Joe Lannutti, today an associate vice
president for research, arrived on campus in 1957 as a 31 year-old physicist from
UCLA. He had been lured by thoughts of getting on the ground floor of a physics
"I walked into my assigned space in Diffenbaugh," he told
Research in Review recently. "Suddenly the real meaning of the ‘ground floor'
concept hit me--it was a completely empty room in the basement."
another story altogether. Without mountains of wartime leftovers to draw from,
some labs might never have been built, says Baum, who got boxes of stuff through
the Office of Naval Research. For years, a war-surplus wind vane, mounted atop a
Westcott tower, announced to the world that FSU had a meteorology program.
1958, a decade of hard work and sacrifice had obviously paid off. State
appropriations for FSU had vaulted from $4.8 million in 1947 to $15.4 million 10
years later. In 1955, a Democrat from Tallahassee--and a staunch FSU
advocate--named Leroy Collins was elected to the state house, and FSU's star was
on the rise politically as well as academically. Baum, Herz, Lannutti and the
rest of the FSU community eventually had plenty of reason to rue the passing of
the Pork Chop Gang era.
"We were crazy," Baum says. "We used to wish we could
get some college-educated legislators instead of these hick characters we had in
there. But it turns out that these guys had an enormous respect for what
universities were all about."
Collins forever endeared himself to FSU when he
carried his love of FSU into the governor's office. He is generally credited with
steering a $5 million package through the 1957 Legislature that established an
FSU program in nuclear research--the first major scientific development to hit the
campus. Anchored by a $2 million tandem van de Graaff nuclear accelerator--at the
time one of only two on an American campus--this program instantly became a magnet
for highly trained faculty--and handsome research dollars to boot. Within 10
years of its operation, in federal grants to the university the nuclear program
had generated nearly five times its original cost to Florida taxpayers.
retrospect, perhaps the nuclear program's greatest contribution to the university
was purely symbolic. It was a lit fuse that signalled the launch of FSU's
scientific dreams in other areas. In 1960 the university landed a
multimillion-dollar grant from the Atomic Energy Commission to establish an
Institute for Molecular Biophysics, the first of its kind in the Southeast. This
coup was chiefly the work of physical chemist Dr. Michael Kasha, one of Dean
Walker's '51 recruits out of Berkeley--later a member of the National Academy of
Sciences--and still an active faculty member today.
By 1968, FSU's struggle for
recognition in the scientific arena had caught the attention of the National
Science Foundation. That year the federal agency took a close look at the
campus, liked what it saw, and awarded a $4.8 million development grant intended
as seed money for the sciences. The award, together with a $3 million supplement
from the state legislature, went for faculty salaries and space and equipment
upgrades in chemistry, physics, statistics and for its day, what already was an
extraordinarily sophisticated program in psychobiology (today's Program in
In substantial ways, the '68 NSF grant signalled Florida State's
arrival as a consequential figure in science training and research. The
university's second decade saw an explosive growth in outside funding for
research--from a feeble $300,000 in 1956 to nearly $15 million by 1969. During
the same period, the number of doctorates awarded on campus sprang from 36 to
Florida State University's name had finally become linked with serious
science, and a special kind of science at that. The university became recognized
as a center for basic--as opposed to applied--research, work directed more at
finding out how natural processes work than in finding useful things to do with
them. Neither Walker nor any of his successors deliberately charted such a
course--it was a natural consequence of starting a multi-dimensional science
program from next to nothing, says Lannutti.
"Applied research, which includes
engineering and the other professional schools, evolves from basic research," he
said. "Here, we were starting from zero. The people who were brought to campus
were young, fresh out of (predominantly) basic research programs. Doing basic
work was essentially all they knew."
The distinction was never more apparent than
in 1957 with the Legislature's award to FSU for the van de Graaf accelerator.
Essentially a large atom smasher useful for studying the innards of atomic
nuclei, the machine fit neatly into FSU's emerging niche in the fundamentals of
science. As part of that same appropriation package, the University of Florida
got a nuclear reactor, to anchor a new program in nuclear engineering.
Arts & Humanities, Too
Ed Walker's Florida State legacy is surely most prominently evinced by the nationally and internationally
acclaimed science programs now seated on campus. Even FSU's $100 million
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, with its far-flung research initiatives
in materials science and biotechnology, may rightly be viewed as an outgrowth of
strong programs in chemistry and physics which Walker helped start nearly 50
But Walker's well-rounded intellect benefited other academic realms as
well. The group of faculty brought to campus in 1949 (forever enshrined in FSU
lore as "the Forty-Niners") included a number of outstanding scholars who made
lasting contributions in the arts and humanities, notably in history, English and
Walker encouraged music dean Karl Kuersteiner in his successful bid to
bring to campus Ernst von Dohnanyi, the great Hungarian composer, in 1949.
Dohnanyi was one Forty-Niner whose world-class stature gave the School of
Music--already well-respected--a powerful boost professionally before his death in
1960. Another, the late Dr. George Lensen, a renowned historian at the time of
his death in 1979, helped set lofty standards for scholarship in his department.
Notably, Lensen credited Walker with much of his success, calling him "an
intellectual leader" who "inspired and enthused" him as a budding scholar.
infusion of diverse ability and intellect at the most critical stage of FSU's
development served to magnify the gains being made in the sciences, Baum feels.
The excitement being generated in the sciences became contagious, in fact, as
progressive-minded new arrivals shook up the status quo and got things moving in
But for all his contributions to the academic footing of
Florida State University, Walker was merely taking advantage of a rare
opportunity borne of even rarer world events. Half a century ago, Florida's top
"girl school" was inching toward change, but it took a global war to bring a
sudden end to one era of higher education and a bright beginning for the next.
As a consequence of chaos half a globe away, Florida now had two universities
rushing headlong into an all-new world.
|FLASTACOWO LEADERS: from left Sue Chaires Boyington, Class of '43; Mary Lou Norwood, Class of '47; Katherine ("Kitty") Blood Hoffman, Class of '36; Daisy Parker Flory, Class of '37; Betty Lewis harrison, Class of '45; Mart Pierson Hill, Class of '42; Sara Lewis Marxsen, Class of '47|
The Great Transition
As early as 1929, there was talk of making Florida State College for Women coeducational. Around campus, it
was one of those titillating topics that editors of the student-run Florida
Flambeau liked to raise occasionally just for kicks. Few before 1941 actually
took the idea seriously.
But dramatic world events that year suspended any balmy
notions of anything being immune from change--and in point of fact, the time had
arrived when most FSCW students verily swooned at the thoughts of men on campus.
And for good reason.
Less than three miles west of Landis Green, the Army Air
Corps had set up a base for pilot training. By the fall of 1942, more than 2,000
male trainees were living at Dale Mabry Field, a tantalizing development to be
sure. At the same time, a large Army base, Camp Gordon Johnston, was rapidly
turning the piney woods of nearby Franklin County into one of the fastest growing
areas in the state.
The impact on FSCW was both predictable and swift in coming.
The administration, led by President Doak Campbell and Olivia Dorman, the
stalwart dean of students, were obliged to man the battlements. Both realized
that a ban on all contact between the student body and the new male neighbors
would be futile. To keep a grip on the new social dynamic, Campbell and Dorman
set up a regular series of formal dances in the Longmire Building. Throngs of
men in uniform became familiar Saturday-night sights at these and other "soldier
parties" thrown by the administration.
For the next few years, life at FSCW was
suffused with such manifestations of war. Most male teachers of draft age
vanished, often leaving lengthy holes in the curriculum. Enrollment shot upward,
prompted by young women seeking training to help their families cope with missing
wage-earners. The student body rallied to do its bit for the war effort,
including planting victory gardens, knitting clothes, rolling bandages and
selling war bonds.
All in all, it was a time of great excitement. Aside from
their new social dimension (something their parents hadn't counted on), the women
were awakened to the more sobering realities of war-time. Given its proximity to
the coast, Tallahassee was regarded as being subject to German bombing attacks.
Air raid sirens were installed on the roofs of Landis Hall and Westcott, and
students soon learned to scramble for shelter when they heard them wail. The
shooting war became real in June of 1942, when a German U-boat torpedoed and sank
the 430-ft British tanker Empire Mica off Apalachicola only 80 miles away.
Lou Norwood, Class of '47, remembers being in the downtown Florida Theater when
her Dale Mabry date was suddenly ordered back to base following the Mica
incident. Ostensibly to suppress panic, the sinking was hushed up in the local
press. But the word got out anyway, as it did a year later when a tragic mishap
cost the lives of dozens of Camp Johnston soldiers who drowned near Dog Island
while training for the D-Day invasion.
The ferment of war-time rapidly took its
toll on tradition at FSCW and elsewhere. As the Allied war machine approached
final victory, the G.I. Bill already was threatening to swamp campuses nationwide
with returning vets. At the all-male university in Gainesville, things were
cramped by the summer of 1945, and growing rapidly worse. By the following
summer, the situation was intolerable--UF President J.J. Tigert announced that
8,400 men had applied for the fall term--2,200 more than there was room for.
special joint meeting of the Boards of Control and Education was held in
Tallahassee on Sept. 2, 1946 (Labor Day) to discuss the situation. That evening
in Suwannee Hall on campus, FSU hosted a dinner meeting for the principles, which
included Tigert and Gov. Millard Caldwell. President Campbell was pressed to
consider the urgency of the situation and grant access to FSCW classes to as many
men as practical. They could be housed in the old Dale Mabry barracks, recently
acquired by the city, which was willing to donate the property to the campus. If
the Cabinet could immediately cut loose funds for hiring more faculty, Campbell
saw no problem.
The very next morning, the Cabinet met and approved a plan to
install up to 1,000 male students at FSCW during the coming year. Campbell was
authorized "to do all things necessary" to get the job done as soon as possible.
The board then approved $300,000 for renovating living quarters at Mabry Field.
To make this two-day deal legal--state law specifically prohibited coeducation at
FSCW--the Board of Control created "TBUF," the Tallahassee Branch of the
University of Florida. State Attorney General Tom Watson quibbled, saying that
the emergency measure should in no way be construed as "a precedent" for
coeducation at FSCW. Campbell replied that whatever the technicalities may be,
in reality FSCW was now Florida's first de facto coed institution of higher
By the spring of 1947, Tallahassee-born Senator Leroy Collins was ready
with a bill, written with the help of local representatives Wilson Carraway and
Payne Midyette, effectively overhauling the state's antiquated higher-ed system.
The TBUF charade had shown that coeducation was not only something that FSCW
could handle administratively, but something that the entire FSCW community,
including the once-reluctant alumnae association, strongly desired.
protest by loyal University of Florida partisans punctuated lively debate on the
issue, but on May 7, 1947, Collins' bill passed both houses. At the stroke of a
pen, on May 15 Gov. Caldwell consigned Florida State College for Women, with its
four generations of rich, liberal-arts tradition, to the history books.
researching her dissertation on the history of FSCW, to be published in book form
this fall, Dr. Robin Sellers of Tallahassee ran across an amazingly prophetic
editorial from a 1937 Flambeau. When men appeared on campus, the author
"....the gymnasium would have a companion stadium...the dining room system would
not work, Odd/Even competition would be overshadowed by intercollegiate sports,
girls' athletics would be subordinated to masculine talent, enrollment would
increase but grades would decrease..."
Even as they championed the cause for coeducation, many FSCW alumnae today admit
that they knew what was likely in store for them. All of their proud, Femina
Perfecta traditions--including self-governance and athletic competition--would be
subjugated, even erased altogether, by their male classmates. In 30 years
following the "The Great Transition," a female held the office of student body
president only once.
Interestingly, the main regret expressed by the alums
reached for comment was the demise of intramural sports. The spirited Odd-Even
rivalry--based on one's graduation year--tied the campus together in a way that has
never been duplicated. Alumnae reunions typically ring with the sounds of
Odd-Even cheers and fight songs even today.
But none of the women interviewed
would roll back the clock, even if they could. They realize that without
coeducation, FSCW would have been doomed to stagnate as an institution, to be
perennially starved for funding and face an uncertain fate. Coeducation--together
with university status--preserved substantial gains carved out by FSCW as a superb
liberal arts college. What's more, the transition almost overnight translated
into better instruction and a wider variety of coursework to choose from.
trade-offs were well worth it," says Norwood, whose diploma is stamped with the
names of both institutions. "I was happy to be a student at FSCW, but I'm much
happier to be a graduate of Florida State University." --FRANK STEPHENSON
Information for this article was drawn from Femina Perfecta: The Genesis of
Florida State University, by Robin Jeanne Sellers, Ph.D. This dissertation,
representing the first comprehensive history of FSCW and the "Great Transition,"
will be published as a book this fall by the FSCW/FSU Class of 1947. The book is
available through Oct. 1 at a pre-publication price of $19.95 (includes tax and
shipping) from The 1947 Book Fund, FSU Foundation, 634 W. Call Street,
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4013.