Alone Among Friends: A Biography of W. Robert Parks
With a foreword by former Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray, Alone Among Friends takes a look at the fascinating life of W. Robert Parks, president of Iowa State University for over 20 years. But as we discover very quickly, the life of a president and the life of his university are intertwined.
In the first chapter we learn about the origin of the land-grant university, the idea that Iowa's sons and daughters deserved an opportunity for higher education. In quick response to the Morrill Act of 1862, the Iowa Legislature pushed to form a bill that authorized a charter in spite of squabbles over location and debates over mission. The subsequent history of the first land-grant university in the United States serves as a backdrop to the arrival of the man who would guide the university through years as turbulent as any it would endure.
W. Robert Parks came into the presidency during the upheaval of the 1960s, a time when being a university president was a high-risk profession. A man of perseverance, his personal and professional style displayed the strong values that guided many and inspired others in careers that contributed to the fields of education, agriculture, the humanities, and engineering, to name a few.
Alumni, students, and those who love Iowa will find rich nuggets of history and philosophy reflected in the life of such an inspiring man.
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