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Early Days


In autumn, 2004, the Department of Chemistry of the University of South Florida (USF) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of department status (prior to then, it was a Program in Chemistry). Now, USF has campuses in Tampa (central administration, home of the Medical Center, and the Moffitt Cancer Hospital and Research Center), St. Petersburg (home of the Marine Science College), Sarasota, and Lakeland. The Autumn 2002 head count was over 39,000 students, and there were about 100 baccalaureate, 80 masters programs, and over 35 doctoral programs. By the 68th commencement that fall, 175,000 students had been graduated, and there were over 300,000 alumni The Department of Chemistry had 26 tenure track faculty members, ten adjunct faculty members, 12 staff members, and 125 graduate students.

Early Days

When it was founded by the Florida legislature in 1956, USF had no name, no campus, no students, and no chemists. It got the land in December 6, 1956: 1734 acres of scrub pasture covered mostly with a fine-grained quartz sand of low mineral content, representing what was described as the second-worst soil in Florida, about eight airline miles northeast of downtown Tampa (Cooper and Fisher, 1982).

Much was accomplished in 1957. Dr. John S. Allen was named first president (January 27) The name came about (October 22) because someone said the service area was covered by the Episcopal South Florida Diocese, and no one expected to have the state build any new universities between Tampa and Miami.

Elliott Hardaway was lured away from the comfort of University of Florida to be the first librarian and the first professional-level person hired by Dr. Allen. Mr. Hardaway assembled a library and helped create the first library building, which was sited in the center of campus for symbolic reasons. When the library was opened in due course, he arranged for the journals to be arranged in alphabetical order, which is not what early chemists and biologists expected. This saved time in shelving and thus money during tight budget years. It also exposed chemists to a variety of journals as they sought out the Journal of the American Chemical Society, which was filed under A (which made sense to the librarians, if not to me at the time)

The decision to make all buildings air-conditioned was mandated (September 29), which made it possible for students to attend classes year round. It also occasioned protests from persons at the University of Florida (Gainesville) and The Florida State University (Tallahassee), whose campus buildings were older and for the most part lacked air conditioning (Cooper and Fisher, 1982).

In time faculty were hired. The first faulty member, Dr. James D Ray, Jr., a biologist (later dean of the College of Natural Sciences) reported August 1, 1959.

The charter faculty in the Chemistry Program were Drs Theodore Askounes Ashford (Professor and Dean, Division of Natural Sciences), Laurence Monley (Program Chairman), Jack E. Fernandez ( Associate Professor), and T. W. Graham Solomons (Instructor). Larry was an analytical chemist, Jack and Graham were organic chemists.

Fig 1-1

Fig 1-1 Charter chemistry faculty: Dr.Theodore Askounes Ashford, Dr. Jack E. Fernandez, Dr. Laurence E. Monley, Dr. T. W. Graham Solomons; pictures from different times; (University Archives)

On September 1, 1960 some 134 charter faculty members reported, including four chemists (Appendix 1). The university officially opened on September 26 with 1993 students in the charter class and Gov. LeRoy Collins spoke to an assembled group of about 6,000. When the ceremonies were over, the students went to their classes and everything was reportedly ready and on time, except no faculty member could find chalk for the chalk boards, and chemists had to borrow test tubes from a nearby high school (Cooper and Fisher, 1982).

There were a limited number of buildings, three at the start---Administration, the University Center (UC), and Chemistry--- and two more the Library and a fine arts building ---were available by the end of the academic year . The womens dorm was the top floor of the UC. Because of a severe frost in 1959, revenue was reduced, and the planned- for Library opened a year late. President Allen had led a fund drive Dollars for dorms, which raised enough money from the local area to get the dormitory system started. In 2003, USF had about 250 buildings.

Chemistry was the classroom building (78,000 gross square feet), three stories, with two auditoria (180, 200 seats respectively), laboratories (both teaching and research), classrooms, and offices. Why chemistry first? Dr. Allen once told me that it was because you could teach biology in a chemistry building, but you couldnt teach chemistry in a biology building.

Unique Features

There were a number unique features in the new university.

Proximity: Disciplines were close to each other. A colleague told me you could get a broad education just walking down the hallway that held the offices. When I joined the faculty, I valued the exposure to faculty in education and geology, and would later collaborate with both. You could tell when a classroom had been inhabited previously by someone from the College of Education: the seats were arranged in a circle for better interaction. I tended to rearrange them in what I thought was a more traditional manner.

Sand was another unique feature, owing to its abundance and lack of sidewalks and grass. The first sidewalk between Administration and the UC was completed two weeks after classes started, and rated a headline in the student newspaper, understandably, Im sure. Progress was made: two miles of sidewalk had been laid by January 1961, 14 miles by 1970, and 17 miles after 25 years (Spear, 1981).

When the University opened, Fowler was only paved to the eastern edge of the campus. One can only imagine what it must have been like driving on the unpaved portions, but an early picture (Fig 1-2) can help.

Fig 1-1

Fig 1-2 Fowler Avenue in 1961 (University Archives)

Graham Solomons (1964) told me that the first semester everyone wore tennis shoes (still a fairly common practice). The first thing students did on sitting was to take off their shoes, and dump the sand under their chairs; at the end of the day, there were small piles under every chair. At night the custodians would sweep the stuff out, and the process would begin again next day. The late Frank Spear, Coordinator of publications, noted sand was a constant topicthere was a lot of itin the classrooms and offices, in shoes and sandwiches, permeating pockets and drifting against desks (Spear, 1981).

Procedural adjustments: Because of the newness, procedures had to be developed, and adjustments made. For example, the Department of Audio-Visual Aids had responsibility for visual aids, which included more than one might expect. They would deliver a slide projector to your classroom when requested in advance. Geography faculty quickly learned that A-V also had the maps and expected to have them returned each night. Chemists had to teach A-V personnel that the periodic charts were expected to be left on the classroom walls.

Isolation: Five buildings on a campus of 800 acres didnt take up a lot of space ( 900 more acres would become the wilderness study area, the golf course, and the waterfront park). And 10 miles from downtown Tampa meant that the university was truly distant from most persons, and the bus system wouldnt come for many years. So most students commuted , and one can only imagine the sense of isolation 40 women in the fourth floor of the UC must have felt evenings and weekends, if they lacked access to a car. They werent the only ones to experience a sense of isolation.

Dr and Mrs. Michael Barfield lacked a car (Dr. Fernandez, 2003) when they arrived on campus in 1963. They lived in the University Apartments, a two story apartment building that was located just north of Fletcher, and close to North Palm Drive. The location was convenient for access to the campus, for sure, but they were about two miles away from the University Restaurant (on Fowler) and there were no nearby grocery stores, as there are now. Dr. Barfield wrote (2003) that they probably shopped in Temple Terrace, which would easily have been four miles, but at least by then there were more paved streets.

Subsequently, Dr. and Mrs. Hamdy came from Cairo to spend a post-doctoral year working with us. They, too lived in the University Apartments without a car, but by then (1983) there was a shopping center near the edge of campus.

Academic challenge: Though 1993 students were in the Charter Class, not all remained, and about 1000 remained by the end of the year. You could see them vanish from the class on a daily basis in the second semester according to one Charter Faculty member, but the ones that remained were excellent students (Fernandez, pers. comm..).

President Allen had a vision that the university would grow because of the urban location. He lobbied for the name University at the outset recognizing the difficulty of getting a change made from College to University. This happened, for example, when the Pennsylvania State College wished to be termed a University. He mentioned in 1965 (Allen, 1964) that in 1960 he predicted 10,000 students by 1970 and persons laughed, but he added that he wouldnt be surprised if we reached that level sooner (the head count of 10,000 was reached in 1967) (Cooper and Fisher, 1982).

All-University Approach: It was assumed that all members of the University shared equal responsibility, though necessarily in different forms (Cooper and Fisher, 1982). The faculty , for example, were to participate in all aspects of the University with no distinction between teaching day or evening classes. Some persons took the approach more seriouysly than others; the daughter of a prominent administrator felt the main entrance road (Named by Dr. Borkowski as Leroy Collins Blvd) should be called The All-University Approach.

Athletics vs scholarship: Another unique feature was the absence of a football team. South Florida had a intercollegiate basketball team that began a few months after the start of classes. And they managed to gain a winning season (3-1) against Florida Christian (now Florida College) in nearby Temple Terrace and Florida Presbyterian (Eckerd College) (Spear, 1981). But football was an expensive proposition and the years that John Allen was president, there was no football team. There are many places where you can go to school to watch football, but fewer where you can get a good education. When President Allen announced that USF would not have a football team now or for a long time, it was for good and cogent reasons that are described elsewhere (Cooper and Fisher, 1982), but the sports editor of the Tampa Tribune, Tom McEwen found it difficult to believe. He and almost everyone but [Dr.] Allen insisted that only football could give USF any school spirit (Cooper and Fisher, 1982). Things could get nasty. When the University of Florida came to play a football game in Tampa Stadium, the Allens were invited by friends to attend. Sure enough the next issue of the Tampa Tribune has a picture of the two with the headline. Do as I say.. [Football would come in 1995 when USF was alleged to be the second largest university without a football team.]

Creative Courses: Faculty members were encouraged to develop creative courses and programs. Larry Monley and Harry Kendall developed a joint chemistry-physics course, based on the recognition that elementary college physics and elementary college chemistry had much in common. (Alice Monley Tuegel, 2003) Though they talked about writing a textbook for the course, the idea never developed further, possibly because of a limited market.

Another creative course was general chemistry laboratory that covered the gas laws using vacuum lines, one for each pair of students in CHE 124. There were 12 per room in the double laboratory that accommodated 48 students. Cal Maybury initiated the project in 1963, inspired by a program at his alma mater, The Johns Hopkins University. The system initially required some attention on his part because of the absence of a glass blower, but things improved in 1964 (vide infra) with the hiring of a glassblower. The system was creative and appropriately challenged students. The systems were finally dismantled when the general chemistry and other teaching laboratories were renovated in Dr. Owens term as Chairman (Chapter 3)..

Books: Faculty were encouraged to publish, and publication of books was a respected scholarly activity. A list is available (Appendix 4). Surely the most successful book was Organic Chemistry, written by Graham Solomons.


Diversity, as we now know it, was fairly limited in the early days of Chemistry at USF. It is pertinent to recall that the Supreme Court struck down (Brown vs. the Board of Education) the concept of separate but equal facilities that had been a mainstay of education in the South. But the impact of that landmark decision was minimal in Florida and other southern states It is true that African-Americans gained admission to some graduate programs at the University of Florida. On the other hand, undergraduate facilities --- and nearly all primary and secondary schools remained racially segregated into the 1960s .

What about USF? Dr. Allen was determined that the costly, unjust caste system should not exist at USF, and he made a presidential announcement that admission was open to those who qualified, according to the Board of Control Guidelines) He also worked with Dr George Gore, President of Florida A&M University to achieve an integrated faculty But at the time of the first classes, there were no African-American students or faculty members ( Cooper and Fischer, 1982).

The situation changed as was described on the USF web (Anon. 2002):

"When Ernest P. Boger, Jr. submitted his application to USF in March 1961, the senior from Blake High School in Tampa made history. With nearly perfect scores on his college placement tests, Boger had received scholarship offers from four universities . When he began classes during the fall semester, USF became the first white state university to integrate its facilities at the undergraduate level.

Boger entered USF the same year another African American, James Meredith , faced hostility at the University of Mississippi. Boger attributed his peaceful arrival at USF to the schools newness. Without any longstanding traditions to challenge, he did not feel that he was breaking any barriers. To Boger, entering USF was not a political statement, but simply a way to take advantage of educational opportunities on his doorstep.

Other African Americans soon followed. In September 1962 Henry Wallace Smith and Verlee Fort, graduates of Gibbs Junior College in St. Petersburg, became the first students to transfer from Floridas segregated Negro junior colleges to a white state university."

Other changes were in order. Restaurants in Tampa were segregated; the University Restaurant , located on Fowler Avenue a half mile west of the campus, was among them. I was told an interesting story at the time I interviewed for employment in March 1964: A black member of the University band would have been denied admission, but for the protests of the band members and threat of boycotts.


The 44 years of existence have been years of growth and expansion. President Allen described the campus as the place where the concrete never sets. Since the first groundbreaking in 1958, there has never been a day when something wasnt in some stage of construction on campus, (Frank Spear, 1981), and that pattern has persisted.

Expansion also occurred in the Chemistry Program (Appendix 1), as an effort was made to add two faculty members per year. 1962 was an exception and because of budget constraints, the Chemistry Program was only able to add one faculty member, Dr,. Robert D. Whitaker, who like Dr. Fernandez had grown up in Tampa. He, like Drs Fernandez and Monley was a graduate of the University of Florida.

Fig 1-3

Fig 1-3 USF Campus in early 1960s. Note completed Physics/Mathematics/Astronomy Building. Note absence of Science Center, Engineering complex (lower left). Note abundance of parking space. The space between Physics and Chemistry would later be used as the site of BSF (Forum, 2003)

Expansion of the faculty was accompanied by expansion of facilities, as indicated (Fig. 1-3). The Physics/Mathematics/Astronomy Building became available for occupancy in 1964. The unit on the left of this building was the site of the planetarium, which was managed by Mr. Joe Carr, whose programs attracted students from many schools, bbut there was plenty of room for the school buses. Other buildings would come later (See Chapter 3).

Semester to Semester

USF started with a conventional semester system, which is what many universities follow, and which is what we presently have. But someone came to the conclusion that year-round teaching would have certain economies, and more students could be taught in a given year, so the system was changed by decision of the State Board of Control. In the Fall, 1962, the trimester system was substituted by the Florida Boards of Control and Education (predecessor to the SUS Board of Regents) The trimester system had three equally spaced terms per year. Faculty members had ten-month salaries , which was superior to nine-month salaries, of course, and would teach two regular terms and part of a third. The trimester started in late August, finished in December. Second trimester started in early January, finished in late April. Third started in May, finished in early August. Since the terms were longer, you could cover more, and students could complete their degree programs sooner. Made a lot of sense to me, and perhaps to others as well.

But Governor Hayden Burns didnt like the system, allegedly because his son-in-law had had troubles and blamed it on the pressures of the trimester system. It became known as the tri-monster system, and it was doomed. President Allen said when asked about what system he favored that he could live with any system, except the quarter system because you were always starting or stopping with that system.

In 1967, the trimester system was abandoned by the SUS Board of Regents. And in October 1967, the quarter system was mandated and we lived with that system for several years. Students protested and the 1967 Agean (the yearbook) had a picture of student protests with signs deploring the enhanced costs, which they discerned. In the Fall, 1981, for good and cogent reasons, the Board of Regents changed back to the semester system, which has remained in place with two semesters and three summer terms (A and B are six weeks long; C is ten weeks).

Two major changes over the years: The size of the chemistry faculty increased, and the need for summer faculty reached a limit and diminished.

Social Activities

A variety of social activities were available, several that were different from my past experience at larger institutions. At a previous Big Ten institution, I formally met the president once, the first year I was a faculty member. After that, at an annual formal party, one would meet the College Dean in a reception line. The president I would run into as he walked to his office, alone, and hello was all the words we exchanged.

Dr. Allen had an open-door policy, and through his administrative aide, Mrs. Beverly, he made himself remarkably available (in my opinion). After joining the faculty, I thought it would be appropriate to pay a courtesy call since I had missed my appointment to meet him when I interviewed in the spring. I was wearing my lab trousers when I called for an appointment, thinking some time in several weeks. Mrs. Beverly said, Can you come over now? I put on my jacket and away I went. And he was very gracious as always.

I would see the president at lunch from time to time. Faculty would have lunch in Argos Center, and one could see academic deans, department chairs and other faculty. It was a tradition of some years standing. Dr. Allen had urged the deans to have lunch in the lunchroom atop the old library (now SVC) , and Mr. Hardaway had urged library staff to have lunch there as well. Obviously not every one came, but enough did. And a group of staff and faculty had a daily bridge games. A lot of this disappeared when Dr. Mackey became president, perhaps because of size, perhaps because of policies.

President and Mrs. Allen hosted an annual reception at a formal dance in the fall, and they were assisted by members of the Womens Club. All faculty and staff were invited, and the dance was held in the ballroom of the University Center. Formal attire for men and women was expected, and women wore long white gloves. I had bought a used tuxedo when I was in high school because I played in college orchestra, and the annual concert was a formal event, and I realized that it would be an investment. And the tuxedo lasted through four years of college formal dances because I didnt gain weight. Once married that changed, so at South Florida, I would rent a tuxedo annually.

The custom for a formal dance and reception continued when Dr. Mackey became president, but with one interesting variation. When he came, a number of administrators lost their positions; I think I counted about 27. This led to an unfortunate nickname that Im sure didnt bother him at all. But during a dance fall formal or Valentines Day Dance, someone was sure to request the band play "Mack the Knife".

The for a tux need stopped anyway when President Brown joined us, and the faculty and staff had grown too large to fit into the ballroom. On the other hand, Dr. Brown pushed the development of the USF Foundation, Inc., and they would have annual events that continued when Frank Borkowski became president, and I broke down and bought, rather than rented. When the Borkowskis left, so did the custom of formal attire, at least as far as I was concerned.

Research Activities

The USF motto of the time was Accent on Learning. And the chemists took it to heart. They worked closely with their students, taught them well in the classroom, and worked with them in the small research labs. It could not have been an easy task, given the teaching loads, probably budget constraints, and limitations on equipment. Because of its age, the Department lacked equipment that older institutions had. I remember visiting the University of Tampa with Cal Maybury to borrow a small calorimeter, which is something my undergraduate alma mater had.

But the Chemistry Program had some good students. These students would go on to first-rate graduate schools and would win awards for their achievements. Two chemistry majors (Carol Bennett and Jeanne Dyer) who were graduated in December 1963 became honored teachers of high school chemistry and won local, state, and national recognition.

Research programs need money. And research proposals were written early on In May, 1961, T. W. Graham Solomons, a Charter Faculty member (Appendix 1) was awarded the USFs first research grant --$2,750 to study the synthesis and properties of a select group of organic moleculesand in November (1961), Jesse Binford was awarded a grant for $2,400 from the American Chemical Society (USFOR, 1995). In time, the program of working with undergraduate students in laboratories would be supported by NSF Undergraduate Research Participation Grants, with Dr. Jack Fernandez as the Principal Investigator.

The program progressed well, despite comparatively limited budgets and resources. Dedicated faculty were added (See Appendix 1). And they were willing to make sacrifices to achieve worthy goals. One was an A-60 NMR instrument, which ate up two years of budget, but was regarded as a good investment. The first two postdoctoral research associates, Dr. Edward J. Olszewski and Dr. K. Ramaiah arrived in the fall of 1964 and remained for a year.

Early Staff

The faculty offices were on the third floor (east end) of Chemistry, and this is where the Chemistry Program was housed as well. Labs were on the west end. Teaching labs on the first and second floors, west end. Rooms 100 and 111 were the two lecture rooms (holding 200 and 180 students, respectively). The Natural Science Division was housed in the Jewel Box a small set of offices, covered in blue ceramic tile. Dr. Ashfords office was in the south end. A conference room (where Dr. Johnston has been for years) was on the north side. Mrs. Lucille Penn was his administrative aide, and was in the center section. She followed Dr. Ashford from Chemistry to the third floor of Physics in 1964, then to the fourth floor (now fifth floor) of Science Center in 1968. She also served as typist for the Chemistry Program as needed until additional help was obtained.

Chemistry Staff consisted of (in 1964): Mrs. Aura Ferrell, Program Secretary, Mr. Freeman Revels store keeper, and Manuel Ricardo, Business Manager (later to be replaced by Mr. Bernie Pulin, who served as Curator until his retirement). Mr. Ron Quincel joined the faculty in the fall of 1964 as the first departmental glassblower.


Dr. John Stuart Allen had had an interesting academic career before coming to USF.He received his Ph.D. in 1937 from City University of New York with a dissertation entitled "Criteria for Establishment of Public Junior Colleges". He was at Colgate for 12 years as an instructor, assistant professor of astronomy course, chairman, dean. He was with the Board of Regents of the State of New York (1942-1948), where he was in charge of directing existing colleges, chartering new colleges, and expanding colleges to accommodate returning World War II veterans. . He became a member of Dr. J Hillis Millers administration as vice president and was Acting President of Florida when he was named president of the new university in July, 1957; he assumed office August 1, 1957. He was tall, thin, scholarly looking, and had a pleasant smile. And he had a vision that was fulfilled when he announced his resignation on Saturday July 4, 1970 (Allen,1970; Dougherty,1970).

Dr. Allen served as his own Vice President for Academic Affairs, then was succeeded in this function by Dr Sidney J. French. Dr. French was a chemist, who had written a book (1941) on Lavoisier. He been an academic dean at Colgate and Rollins College. At USF, he was responsible for the College of Basic Studies, then became Vice President for Academic Affairs. He was the author of USFs first catalog. Dr. Edwin P. Martin, who was Chairman and developer of the Biological Sciences Program then became Dean of Basic Studies.

Dr. Russell M. Cooper was the first Dean of Liberal Arts. I was to learn to at our first meeting that he came from Newton, Iowa, 20 miles from where I grew up and went to college. He came to USF from the University of Minnesota, where he had headed up an interdisciplinary program. There was a mix of personnel, a deliberate and shrewd decision of President Allens. Ed Martin probably would have been more comfortable as Dean of Liberal Arts; Dean Coopers background probably would have made him more comfortable as Dean of Basic studies. Russell Cooper was a handsome, very considerate person, who at our first meeting in March 1964 made me feel very welcome and very interested in USF, and that continued through all the days I knew him.

Dr. Theo Askonas Ashford, the first full Professor of Chemistry, headed up the Division of Natural Sciences of the College of Liberal Arts. (See also Chapter 2).


New faculty members received a set of policy statements. One, for example, was a policy on dress for faculty members, and male faculty were reminded to wear a jacket and tie to give their lectures and when going about. I could never get a straight answer from Cal Maybury about whether I was supposed to wear the jacket and tie in our office And walking about in the building, as for example going from the office wing to the laboratory wing and in time I gave up and wore the jacket if it happened to be cold. For classroom appearances, of course, I wore the jacket and tie. I suspect these policies emerged from discussions between Dr. Allen and Elliot Hardaway with input from other administrators over the years.

Another memorable policy was "Policy on University Boats". The policy (Policy Statement #49) stated that University boats could not be taken beyond the Sunshine Skyway without explicit permission of the President. As a member of the Presidents Committee on Oceanography and scheduled to teach Chemical Oceanography at the St. Petersburg Campus, I felt that I should be prepared to learn to use the USF Boston Whaler and to get permission to take it beyond the Skyway. So I touched base with Bill Taft, then Chairman of the Committee and Director of Sponsored Research, and I wrote a formal note to Dr. Allen on September 13, 1968. My request was formally approved by him on September 16th. Later Bill told me that he had received a call from Dr. Allen asking why Dr. Martin was writing to him asking permission Bills response was direct, "Because he has read the Policy on Boats".

There were a lot of policies to keep track of.

I wondered years later if there was a Policy on Grass. Dr. John Fullman, Education, former marine, once griped because Dr. Allen saw him walking on the grass and told him to get off the grass. John didnt know what annoyed him the most ---that the president didnt know him (we were still comparatively small then) , or whether Dr. Allen knew him and still told him to get off the grass, or didnt know him and didnt much care who he was. Dr. Fullman probably didnt realize what it had taken to get the grass to grow in the second worse soil. I think of this when I see new ugly pathways formed across the grass by persons too lazy to use the sidewalks.

Start of the Graduate Programs

Between 1960 and 1973, the federal investment in higher education increased notably ($732 million to $5.8 billion), and this had implications on the organization and development of universities, including USF (Cooper and Fisher, 1982). USF joined others in converting to the Clark Kerr "multiversity" (Kerr, 19?? The Uses of the University). Colleges of Engineering (1964), Medicine (1971) and Nursing (1973) appeared followed by Architecture ( ??? ) , Public Health (1984), and Marine Science (2000). Graduate programs were initiated in 1965. President Allen approved (1966) creation of a Center for Research and Development, headed by Dr. William H. Taft, a geologist, who later initiated six research institutes (Marine Science, Gerontology, Exceptional Children and Adults, Clinical Speech Pathology, Leisure, and Rehabilitation). Each institute had a dual function aspect: graduate teaching and related research. Each offered some core courses and provided a means of involving students in related research projects, field studies, and the like. Subsequently (1972) after Dr. Mackey became president (Appendix 3), the Center was dismantled, and the institutes were integrated into appropriate colleges, while the job of coordinating projects and grants was shifted to the Office of Sponsored Research, which Dr. Taft directed.

Chemistrys preparations started in the 1964-65 academic year. Three steps were involved: organization, curriculum planning, and publicity.

Organization was fairly traditional Faculty were organized into divisions (analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, and later biochemistry), with some divisions a bit thin on faculty. But that would change quickly in the next three years as more faculty were added (Appendix 1). We also worried about application forms and a graduate admissions committee, graduate student stipends, and hours required of teaching assistants, and all the matters required of any graduate program, old or new, small or large. Ours would be new and small for several years.

Curriculum planning involved courses and requirements. Graduate-level courses were proposed, requirements were proposed and agreed upon by the entire faculty with what seemed to me to be a minimum of disagreement. The Inorganic group, later Division, for example, proposed three courses: a general course (later called core course) called Advanced Inorganic Chemistry , plus Structural Inorganic Chemistry, and Chemistry of the less Familiar Elements. The three courses were similar to those offered by the Inorganic Division of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Subsequently two developments came about: first, as faculty were added specialty courses were added reflecting the interest of individual faculty, and second as those faculty left for other posts or through retirement, the specialty courses tended to build up, and courses tended to be removed. But considering how difficult it was to add new courses (departmental, college, and graduate school committees), some of us were loath to eliminate courses. The possibility to add new courses through the nifty "Special Topics" aegis, CHM 5932, CHM 6938, seemed to solve some committee concerns , viz, concern with whether a course would be needed (will it "fly"?) could be overcome by demonstrating the success of a course having been taught as a selected topics course. A disadvantage was that some programs complained that their students ended up with a number of CHM 5932 courses that were insufficiently designated. I always thought that was a problem of the registrars office and that they could be more creative, but such offices tend to have more clout than individual faculty, regardless of tenure or seniority. In 2002, Chemistry had a general "housecleaning": courses that had not been taught for a reasonable time were removed by faculty consensus in a remarkably smooth operation that was handled by e-mail and did not require a curriculum committee meeting or a general faculty meeting.

Publicity. The traditional manner of publishing a new graduate program was to prepare a brochure and send it out. We did that. It had a picture of the Chemistry Building, a list of the faculty, and a general announcement on one side of a sheet of crisp paper with a red accent (but no palm trees; they would appear in future brochures). The university public relations office that had charge of all brochures and university publications assisted us. We had a copy of the American Chemical Society "Directory of Graduate Research" that contained a list of Departments with graduate programs, so we sent the brochure to all chairs with a request that it be posted.

Other publicity was attempted by offering a special topics course, "Chemistry of Coordination Compounds" in the winter, 1965 term, and about a dozen person signed up for a series of lectures given on Monday nights by most of the members of the chemistry faculty.

Results: Various applicants were screened and those selected appeared in the fall of 1965. They included Robert F. Benson, Rosemary Oelrich Bettcher, Mike Holloway, Brad Johnson, Robert Peale, Jr. and Roger Walton The backgrounds were varied. Bob Benson was a graduate of the University of Florida. Mike Holloway was an employee at General Electric in St. Petersburg. Roger Walton was a USF alumnus. The selection process must have been good; all would receive masters degrees in what Conard Fernelius described as one of the tougher masters programs in the nation.

Subsequently, more persons were attracted during the 1965-66 academic year. Rebecca Allen transferred from the University of Kansas, Frank Adamo came from a extensive Tampa family. (His uncle was a physician who survived the Bataan Death March; Adamo Drive is named after him. His father helped with Tampa airport.). Karl Olander after receiving his masters, earned a doctorate in Chemistry at University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana, and would later be recognized in 1988 at the first Chemistry Undergraduate Honors banquet with an outstanding chemistry alumnus award.

Fig 1-4

Fig 1-4 1966 Snapshot (from left) Mrs. Binford (2nd), Roger Walton (4th), Bonnie Jurmack(12th), Sal Iozzia, storekeeper (14th).

Organization: Initially, the faculty served as a committee of the whole with respect to Graduate matters. Subsequently, a Graduate Council was formed. Dr. Brian Stevens was an early coordinator of Graduate Studies. He was followed successively by Drs. Bill Swartz, Rebecca OMalley, Stewart Schneller, Douglas Raber, Dean Martin, and Julie Harmon.

The Graduate Council consisted of members from the five divisions appointed by the Chair and presided over by the Director of Graduate Studies. It seems notable that at an early stage, it was proposed to have a graduate student representative on the Council, first non-voting, then non- voting only on matters of personnel decisions. The graduate student was elected by vote of fellow graduate students for a term of one year The matter was first proposed at a faculty meeting, and was approved with a minimum of discussion and approved unanimously (if memory serves).

I was told of an interesting contrast in the late 1970s. A biology graduate student hearing of the arrangement in chemistry thought having a graduate student representative was a fine idea. He got permission to appear before the faculty of Biology and proposed a similar arrangement. The suggestion was not well received, and he was encouraged to leave the meeting.


In the early days, there were comparatively few seminars, chiefly when someone came to visit. Later a well developed seminar program would develop when we had seminars every week without fail, a policy that continued until about 2000. For example, the "Chemistry Research Seminar Fall Series" for 1964. was announced in a one-sheet brochure (mimeographed). Nine seminars were listed, starting October 1 and Ending December 1. They were scheduled for Tuesdays at 1:25 p.m. in Room 106 of the Chemistry Building. There were no TBAs or other gaps. Three of the nine were Department of Chemistry [sic] Faculty members (Drs. Owen, Martin, Olsen). The six others were from Florida institutions. Seminars in some years tended to be more focused. For example, when Brian Stevens was in charge of the program, he talked many of his friends into swinging by on the way to someplace else. We saved money and got a good seminar. Unfortunately a good number of his friends seemed to be interested in singlet oxygen, and one year we had ten seminars on that topic. The good part was that I finally understood what it was, and we were able, with John Barltrop's help, to apply it to research.

Another difference between seminars then and now was the smoking. Many of us smoked, and you were allowed to smoke in the classroom in the sixties and seventies. No more.

Not all of the early seminars went well. When George Jurch came for an interview, we couldn't get the visual aid equipment. So we sat in the conference room of the Jewel Box and George described what he was doing in a general way, totally without slides.

So did two others. Stew Schneller when he interviewed spoke in a classroom on second floor (south that was later converted into a laboratory), and deliberately used no slides to show his ability to lecture using a blackboard. Brian Stevens gave an elegant lecture with his flawless writing, and again no slides; copious notes, but no slides, no transparencies.

But mostly it was slides in seminars that seemed to get better and better.


The Department experienced a series of expansions, both in faculty and in terms of available space, but the expansion and growth was sometimes rocky, and indicated in the next section.

Literature Cited

  • Allen, J. S. 1970. Resignation announcement. Sunscreen. USF Information Services. July 4. 16
  • Anon. 2002a. Timeline of historic USF events. University Relations Office, USF. (December 2002).
  • Anon. 2002b. The Allen legacy. University Relations Office, USF. (December 2002)
  • Cooper, R. M. and M. B. Fisher. 1982. The Vision of a Contemporary University. University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL.
  • Daugherty, J. 1970. President ends career at USF. Oracle 4(39) July 6 (Special edition), p. 1
  • Forum. 2003. USF Forum, Fenruary-Marcch 2. p. 1.
  • Rothman, L. 1995. First professor recalls USF in the 50s and 60s. First published in the USF Magazine. University Relations Office, USF. (December 2002)
  • Spear, F. 1982?
  • USF Office of Research. 1995. Building a research university: a USF retrospective. Annual Report 1995-95. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL