LIKE SHOOTING RAPIDS IN THE DARK

Billy Wireman, Author, Dick Goode, Editor, Bob Whalen, Editor , edited by Dick Goode and Bob Whalen. NewSouth Books $22 (158p) ISBN 978-1-58838-088-3

In June of this year, Wireman, who became America's youngest college president when he assumed leadership of Florida Presbyterian College in 1968, retired as president of Queens College in Charlotte, N.C. A tribute by admiring friends and colleagues, this volume is a collection of Wireman's homilies, op-ed pieces and pithy academic journal contributions that claim to represent the thinking of an "educational visionary with an intense sense of where American education needs to go and a keen sense of how to get there." Wireman's lengthy administrative tenure in this age of fast-track presidents and hasty management turnover is probably a testament to his leadership abilities. His list of accomplishments, provided as an epilogue, bears witness to a life as a committed citizen, scholar and educational leader. The chronological contributions provide a thin historical sketch of American private colleges in the late 20th century from the perspective of a college president. There are bits of wisdom here and there revealing a thoughtful and ethical point of view; they serve as important contributions to a higher education world that is becoming increasingly corporatized and focused on the bottom line. This treatise will undoubtedly be of interest to friends and colleagues of this committed and creative individual, and possibly to new college presidents seeking guidance along the increasingly treacherous journey (as the title suggests) of college administration. There's not much here to attract a more general audience, however, and little intellectual substance to appeal to scholars. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/08/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
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