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...

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