The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 132
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Permian Basin (UTPB) is proof that you cannot judge a book by its cover. The
cover photograph and title are simple, direct, and not particularly catchy. One
expects to find a "yearbook" history, filled with pleasant pictures of students, and
brief sketches of university founders, initial faculty, and staff. Instead, the book is
the author's surprisingly candid view of the beginning of a new university, filled
with wonderful stories, advice, and reflections on the future of higher education
in West Texas.
Cardozier's manuscript is not simply a history, but a personal narrative of his
first thirteen years at UTPB and Odessa. Cardozier's term as vice-president, and
later president, gives a "top-down" viewpoint of the founding and opening of
UTPB. His narrative is in effect an oral history, for to read the book you can
almost imagine yourself sitting down with the author and listening while he tells
of the trials and tribulations associated with starting a new college. He is not
afraid to be blunt and to the point in his narrative. He pulls no punches in dis-
cussing the problems administration had with faculty, local media, and universi-
ty supporters and detractors. The story of the "Duckgate" affair even reveals
UTPB's real and imagined scandals.
The behind-the-scenes perspective allows the reader to glimpse a different
view of university life-the university as a business. While Cardozier discusses the
teaching innovations UTPB tried to implement, the quest to attract faculty from
the most prominent universities in the country, and curriculum development,
his focus for the book is not necessarily the academic world. In fact, readers will
be surprised to find out how little time he devotes to "academics" and how large
a role politics plays in university administration. He writes that UTPB faced
major problems due to the rivalry between Midland and Odessa for UTPB's site,
a rivalry that hindered the founding of the university due to powerful politicians
who favored one city over the other. He discusses the colorful "over the top"
boosterism former Texas attorney general John Ben Sheppard used to promote
UTPB. He notes the efforts associated with drawing faculty to the Permian Basin,
and the bitterness this caused in faculty at local community colleges.
The only obvious criticism of the text is Cardozier's inability to point out any
personal weaknesses. Problems he and his administration encountered were due
to overzealous news reporters or rebellious young faculty from the 1960s genera-
tion, not any mistakes his administration made, a flaw that is perhaps inherent in
personal memoirs and reflections. Nevertheless, University of Texas of the Permian
Basin: A History is a wonderful addition to the history of higher education develop-
ment in Texas, and raises many questions that should stimulate further research.
Seguin, Texas Gene Preuss
For the City as a Whole: Planning, Politics, and the Public Interest in Dallas, Texas,
z9oo-z965. By Robert M. Fairbanks. (Columbus: Ohio State University Press,
1998. Pp. xiii+318. Maps, acknowledgments, introduction, epilogue, appen-
dix, notes, bibliographic essay, index. ISBN o-814-20799-5. $47.95, cloth.)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/160/?rotate=90: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.