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Subject: R. Gordon Hoxie, Former Chancellor of Long Island University

New York
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Date Posted: October 30, 2002 8:05:37 EDT

R. Gordon Hoxie, an educator and scholar of the presidency who had a brief, stormy tenure as chancellor of Long Island University in the late 1960's, died last Wednesday at his home in Oyster Bay Cove, on Long Island. He was 83.

A dispute between Dr. Hoxie and the university's students, faculty members and especially the provost, William M. Birenbaum, burst into the open one day in March 1967 when Dr. Hoxie was surrounded by about 1,500 shouting students on the school's campus in Brooklyn.

They were demanding the reinstatement of Dr. Birenbaum, whose resignation Dr. Hoxie had sought and received.

Dr. Birenbaum had fought tuition increases, and Dr. Hoxie had argued that the school's debt was dangerously high and could best be dealt with by raising tuition.

Other sources of friction were faculty salaries and new building plans. Furthermore, Dr. Birenbaum had abolished a dress code for students and defended a student's right to have a beard. By a vote of 145 to 38, the faculty had favored keeping Dr. Birenbaum.

When Dr. Hoxie found himself surrounded by students chanting "We want Bill," was eventually freed from the crowd by the campus police, but not before his coat was torn. Addressing the students in a shaking voice, he declared: "This is a day of infamy in the life of the student body."

Dr. Hoxie later said he had been shoved and kicked.

In September 1968, the trustees of Long Island University asked for and received his resignation.

Ralph Gordon Hoxie was born on March 18, 1919, on a farm in Waterloo, Iowa.

He graduated from Iowa State Teachers College in 1940, and then earned graduate degrees from the University of Virginia and Columbia University.

He later served in the administration of Columbia, the University of Denver, and C. W. Post College.

During World War II, he served as a captain in the Army Air Forces and was for many years an active reserve officer, rising to the rank of brigadier general.

In 1954, Dr. Hoxie was named dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Long Island University, and in 1964, after holding a number of other administrative posts, he was chosen as chancellor.

After his 1968 dismissal, Dr. Hoxie and others founded the Center for the Study of the Presidency, under the name of the Library of Presidential Papers, a scholarly forum, which publishes Presidential Studies Quarterly as a resource and archive for historians and other scholars.

Dr. Hoxie's first wife, Louise L. Hoxie, died on Dec. 14, 1992. He is survived by his second wife, Ada Hoxie.

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