Campus News

'Behind the Blue': Higher Ed Expert Discusses Colleges in the 1960s and Beyond

Photo of John Thelin at a recent talk and book signing at the Boone Center

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 19, 2019) — John Thelin is widely regarded as one of the country’s experts on higher education.

The longtime University of Kentucky professor of higher education and public policy has written what many consider to be the definitive history of American higher education — "A History of American Higher Education" from Johns Hopkins University Press — along with accounts about collegiate sports and university fundraising efforts.

Now, in his latest book — "Going to College in the '60s," also from JHU Press — Thelin examines both the reality, and sometimes the misperceptions, people have about change and evolution of the college experience in the 1960s.

“The change in the mood of American higher education from 1960 to 1969 was incredible and surprising — from optimism and confidence to exhaustion and uncertainty,” Thelin recently told Inside Higher Ed. “If I were asked for a eulogy or epitaph for the decade, I would note that much of the ’60s happened in the ’70s. The countercultural innovations that took root in the late 1960s continued and grew into the mid-1970s. I also think the cultural legacies surpassed the political changes.”

In this edition of "Behind the Blue," UK’s office of Public Relations and Strategic Communications sat down with Thelin to discuss his new book and how UK has evolved, particularly as the institution recently commemorated Black History Month and begins a series of events this year to mark 70 years of integration.

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