McCormick of Rutgers: Scholar, Teacher, Public Historian

By Michael J. Birkner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

The Turbulent ’60s at Rutgers

MB: In looking at your career at Rutgers, it’s clear that things at the university begin to accelerate in the early 1960s. You write in your history of Rutgers that 1959 was a particularly notable year. You mention the inauguration of Mason Gross; a state bond issue; and the federal government’s increasing interest in funding higher education because of Sputnik and the imperatives of the Cold War. Is that still your impression? That 1959 was a critical year in Rutgers history? 1

RM: A whole lot of things came together. The fifties were a bad period. The GIs left, enrollments dropped, state support was extremely weak and uncertain. Moreover, it became inescapable that our ambiguous status with respect to the whole matter of the state relationship was a serious handicap. Finally, the trustees bit the bullet and agreed to a major change in their relationship with the state, which was embodied in legislation in 1956 that placed management of the university in the hands of a new agency, the board of governors, the majority of whose members would be appointed by the state. This was of enormous importance in clarifying our role. We had been designated as the state university back in 1945, but it never really took. And we had suffered defeats in attempts to secure the passage of bond issues that would have enabled us to expand.

-137-

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McCormick of Rutgers: Scholar, Teacher, Public Historian
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Path to a Life with History 41
  • Chapter 2 - Revitalizing the Study of New Jersey History 61
  • Chapter 3 - Life at Rutgers: Doing Public History in the 1950s and 1960s 81
  • Chapter 4 - Championing a New Political History 109
  • Chapter 5 - The Turbulent ’60s at Rutgers 137
  • Chapter 6 - Doing History: Reflections 157
  • Notes 175
  • Selected Bibliography of Mccormick’s Publications 205
  • Bibliography 209
  • Index 219
  • Recent Titles in Studies in Historiography 231
  • About the Author 233
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