James Harper Marshall
July 21, 1931 - December 16, 2007
Served as Hofstra’s President from 1972 - 1973
“I charge myself with the requirement to continue to seek appropriate counsel with the total community, to put reason above desire, and to keep ever-present the obligation to struggle – if need be – for human understanding.”
– J.H. Marshall
Remarks at the Faculty Convocation, September 13, 1972
“In the nine years since he came to Hofstra as its President, this institution has passed many landmarks. It has changed from a college to a university, has more than doubled the size of its campus with the opening of the North Campus, and has established a prestigious law school.”
– J.H. Marshall
At the resignation of Clifford Lord as Chancellor, May 1973
Click to Play Audio from Oral History Interview
conducted on December 14, 1978
Transcript of Audio
Cliff presided over the enormous growth that took place from the beginning of his tenure. It was substantial growth on Long Island. The population grew at an enormously rapid rate and the need to accommodate the applications required a building program at the institution. Cliff was able to keep that all pulled together while maintaining what appeared to me to be still a very worthwhile academic atmosphere despite a tremendous building program with the dormitories going up, with the library going up, and the acquisition of more land. Cliff was the architect of producing a university, which Hofstra became from having been a college. While it was a college and while Jack Adams headed it and Jack was the President when I graduated, it was a remarkable place.
Quite frankly, I did not want to be the president. We arrive at this president / chancellorship simply because it would give Cliff an opportunity to focus on the outside community, which had become much more important to Hofstra. It was a challenge to me. I was not ingenuous at all about taking on the task. I made a number of conditions: 1) is that I would stay for 18 months. 2) I would not take any salary and I would pay my own expenses because I felt that would give me a certain credibility, and it did. I mean I used it. It was a particular strategy to give me the credibility that I thought I needed, to do the kinds of things, or at least, initiate the kinds of things that I thought needed to be done. We developed a new budgeting process in that period of time and were able, in the course of that budgeting process, to move us from a projected $2 million deficit to break even, in one year. Something not even we thought we could do. I don’t think that’s the most important thing. In my opinion, the most important thing was coalescence, again, within the institution of various elements of the institution. To recognize that there was hope for the future, that, in fact, we could move forward. It was a change of mind rather than a change of direction, necessarily.