Universities: Big Voice in Little Egypt

In the first six weeks after Delyte Wesley Morris took over as president of decrepit Southern Illinois University in 1948, he gained ten pounds on the banquet circuit. Morris' nonstop message: S.I.U. would reverse its own sad state and with it the fortunes of the region—a depressed, despairing, violence-ridden enclave known as Little Egypt (or Egypt, after Cairo, Ill., the southernmost city in the state). "Not one of them had the foggiest thought that anything would come of our efforts," he says—and quietly adds that now "the change has come."

Morris' listeners...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!