rom the first, I considered two possible approaches to
writing of this History. One option was to construct the
central narrative around topics: academic affairs, for instance, or
athletics or student activities or administrative decisions on impor-
tant issues or some other focus that would specifically illuminate a
designated area of University life over the entire sixteen years when
James Ralph Scales was president. A second option was to proceed
chronologically and to tell the story of each year as the year unfolded,
mixing together within the same time frame all the events that
seemed to be significant to an understanding of what was happen-
ing at that time.
As the pages of the History indicate, I chose the second option.
Among other reasons I wanted those readers who were on the campus
during a particular year to be able to look again at that year and see
themselves in the context of their own memories. Also, I believe
that what happens in one place on the campus at a given time feeds
naturally into what is simultaneously happening elsewhere and
that insights and perceptions from various sources, when brought
together, provide a coherence that is otherwise difficult to develop.
Therefore, I suggest to readers who are looking primarily for a
straightforward narrative that they begin with my “Personal Preface”
and proceed through the seventeen chapters and the “Epilogue”
and the “Afterthoughts,” setting aside for the time being—if they
choose—the notes that appear at the end of each of the sixteen
chapters covering the Scales administration.
These “Notes,” by the way, are intended to indicate the totality of
the University, in all its drama, and to provide a historical record,
beyond the evidence presented in the “chapters,” of what individual
An Explanatory Preface