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.