Bruce Nelson, Address to New Faculty, 1972


Bruce Nelson, Address to New Faculty, 1972


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Bruce Nelson joined the faculty of Eastern Michigan University in 1954, gradually working his way to Vice President of Instruction, a position he held until 1975, when he returned to his professorship. Nelson retired from EMU in 1981. In this address, Nelson greets new faculty members with a summary of where EMU has been, and where it hopes to go in the future. Introduced by Dr. Robert Silver, whom Nelson describes as a “gentleman and a scholar,” Nelson explains how the culture of any university is affected by, and representative of, the greater culture surrounding the university. In the greater surrounding culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s, says Nelson, many new and seemingly unfortunate characteristics have become more visible: drug use, violence, racism, and feelings of disillusionment brought on by the ongoing war in Vietnam. These cultural characteristics helped to bring on the late unrest at EMU, and laid the foundations for the recent student demonstrations at the university. However, Nelson argues that these students are only doing what the faculty of the institution have always asked of students: to relate the lessons of the university to the greater world. Instead of holding the university back, Nelson posits that the actions taken by the student demonstrators assisted in the forward movement of EMU.

Speech Date



Kenneth Keniston, Bruce Nelson, The Greening of America, Future Shock, student uprising, counter culture, student drug use, racism, Robert Silver, New Left, Free Speech Movement

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Bruce Nelson, Address to New Faculty, 1972