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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release April 30, 2009

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

History for Lunch: UI student unrest in 1970s

Lecture series features UI Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Engel

(IOWA CITY) – The State Historical Society of Iowa’s popular “History for Lunch” lecture series continues in May with University of Iowa Professor Emeritus Robert Engel, who will discuss student unrest in Iowa City in the 1970s.

History for Lunch will be at noon, Wednesday, May 6, 2009, at SHSI’s Centennial Building, 402 Iowa Avenue (Iowa and Gilbert streets) in Iowa City. The lecture is free and the public is encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch. Call 319-335-3911 for more information.

Drawing on experiences he had as a UI faculty member and administrator in the 1970s, Engel will discuss how student unrest and political and social climates interact with the culture of a university.

Student unrest on college campuses across the nation grew in response to the Vietnam War and the drafting of college students, the rise of the military/industrial/university complex, and shifting currents in American culture relating to race, gender and sexuality.

Student protests against the war, the presence of ROTC on campus and the manufacturing of napalm began at the University of Iowa in the fall of 1967, and escalated into issues relating to empowerment and self-determination.

Mass demonstrations – triggered by violence at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, when Ohio National Guard troops killed four students – caused concern for administrators at the University of Iowa.

Engel and his colleagues gave students the option of leaving campus early and accepting a pass/fail grade or the grade they had earned up to that point in the semester.

Engel’s academic field is the history and philosophy of American higher education, with a focus on organizational culture. His academic home was the Division of Planning, Policy and Leadership Studies.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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