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Major changes occurring throughout the country affected the Florida State University campus. Milton W. Carothers became acting president in 1960, after the unexpected death of President Robert Manning Strozier. Carothers served until Gordon W. Blackwell assumed the presidency later that year. During Blackwell's administration, enrollment increased from 9,000 to more than 12,000. The ever-increasing number of students necessitated further campus expansion. This period also marked the beginning of several new academic and extra-curricular programs.

In 1960, the Institute of Molecular Biophysics opened with a $3 million grant from the US Atomic Energy Commission. Several years later Dr. Michael Kasha, Dr. J Herbert Taylor, and Dr. Lloyd Beidler, all of whom were conducting research at the Institute, were elected to the National Academy of Sciences for their work at FSU. In 1963, the School of Engineering Science opened its doors with Dr. Grover Rogers as Dean. The school emphasized new fields such as mechanics, engineering systems, and electronics.

On September 5, 1966 the FSU College of Law opened with 116 students. When the first class took the bar exam, every single student passed. Today, the law building is named for late Florida Supreme Court Justice B.K. Roberts.

The very popular Study Abroad program began in 1966 in Florence, Italy. During that first year, several students and faculty were honored by the Italian government for their help in rescuing several pieces of priceless art after a flood. The Study Abroad program has since expanded to include summer programs in more than 10 countries, including China and Switzerland.

The 1960s was also a time for the arts at FSU. In 1960 the Asolo Theater Festival began. It was developed by Theater Department chairman Arthur Dorlag and assistant chairman Richard Fallon. A small group of FSU students rehearsed on campus, and traveled to Sarasota, Florida, site of the Asolo Theatre, where they performed for two months.

In 1962 Maxwell Courtney, salutatorian of his Lincoln High School class in Tallahassee, was the first black student to enroll at FSU. While attending FSU he served as Associate Editor of the student newspaper, The Flambeau, as a student senator, and graduated cum laude in 1965.


  • Wills, Martee & Morris, Joan Perry. Seminole History: A Pictorial History Of Florida State University, Jacksonville: South Star Publishing Company, 1987.

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