Education: Goodbye to 'Bama

When Oliver Cromwell Carmichael, 65, took over the presidency of the University of Alabama in 1953, the post was to have been the climax of a distinguished educational career. After graduating and getting an M.A. from the University of Alabama, Carmichael went to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, eventually rose to be chancellor of Vanderbilt University, later president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For Alabama, it was something of a coup to get a man of such a reputation.

It soon turned out that Carmichael and Alabama had different ideas about what the university should be. While Carmichael...

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