In a captivating blend of photographs and text, Under Stately
Oaks showcases over 150 years of Louisiana State University's past,
following the evolution of the tiny Seminary of Learning of the
State of Louisiana, founded near Pineville in 1853, into a
university of well over 30,000 students for the twenty-first
century. Thomas F. Ruffin has written an affectionate history of
LSU, but it is also an honest one. The notorious scandals of 1939,
the university's desegregation struggles, and free-speech alley
confrontations during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam
War, as well as the football team's 2003 NCAA championship and the
university's pivotal role in relief efforts following Hurricane
Katrina -- all are chronicled here.
From the red pantile roofs and honey-colored stucco of its
Italian Renaissance architecture to the "stately oaks and broad
magnolias" hailed in the alma mater, the distinct beauty of the LSU
campus is unrivaled. The history of the state's flagship university
is as colorful as the azaleas that adorn its landscape every
spring. Its first superintendent, William Tecumseh Sherman, later
opposed its first faculty member and future president, David F.
Boyd, in war. Yet both also fought for an LSU curriculum that
embraced a liberal education with a classical component. When LSU
lost its state funding during the 1870s, it was Boyd who maneuvered
a merger with Louisiana A&M College, a move that ensured LSU's
survival and preserved its identity. In the 1930s, Huey Long
demanded the best for LSU on many fronts, and by the mid-twentieth
century the institution was not only the state's premier university
but also nationally recognized for its prestigious faculty and
This newly updated edition features a foreword by Chancellor
Sean O'Keefe and a final chapter entitled "The 21st Century and
Beyond," which details the concrete steps LSU has taken towards
fulfilling its goal of becoming a nationally competitive flagship
institution. The last chapter also portrays, in text and striking
photographs, the central role LSU played in emergency relief
efforts following Hurricane Katrina, and examines how the
university is faring in the post-Katrina world.
Under Stately Oaks captures the spirit of the university as
never before. Though the book shows that much has changed over the
years, it is primarily a celebration of the timeless aspects of the
LSU experience and a compelling testimony to the university's
ongoing commitment to progress.
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