Reports to the Board of Trustees
FROM THE PRESIDENT'S ANNUAL REPORTS, RG 547
HARRY M. PHILPOTT, 1965-80
During the months before his retirement, President Draughon had initiated
the most ambitious building program in the history of the university. Governor
George C. Wallace and the Alabama legislature had supported the building
During the past year, the legislature held a special session to allocate
surplus funds in the Special Education Trust Fund. Auburn would receive
$3,139,595, a 26.2 increase in the state appropriation. Since 1963 the
Wallace administration had increased Auburn's state appropriation by 88
During the past year, Auburn initiated Project '67, "a penetrating
study of the entire instructional program." Faculty committees, with student
representatives, had been established to examine specific portions of the
Development of the Montgomery campus had been delayed by action in
the federal courts. The Project '67 committees had made their recommendations
and their implementation was under discussion. The Alabama Education Study
Commission had completed its report, which included projections for Auburn
during the coming decade.
Growing out of Project '67 recommendations, the university had offered
several new course sequences on an experimental basis. These would be incorporated
into the general studies program "to provide greater educational breadth."
This program of "liberal education" would provide the basis for departmental
and professional major programs. Philpott praised the educational leadership
that had been provided by Governor Albert Brewer.
During the past year, Auburn inaugurated a new curriculum, which provided
a basic course of study for all incoming freshmen. There had been additional
curriculum changes growing out of Project '67. Philpott also included a
retrospective look at the past decade, which included mention of court
cases over William Sloan Coffin's speaking engagement on campus, the Alabama
State Teachers' Association's attempt to block establishment of a four-year
branch campus in Montgomery, and a case regarding hiring discrimination
within the Cooperative Extension Service.
President Philpott noted that some long-term trends appeared to be
changing. For the first time since the end of World War II, there had been
an overall drop in enrollment. The momentum of public support for higher
education had stopped and it appeared that Auburn would operate a level
funding for the next biennieum. And new graduate programs were restricted
to those which could be built upon existing resources. Auburn had hoped
to build "a broad program in public health" at the Montgomery campus, which
would have entailed moving the School of Pharmacy there, but this was blocked.
Revenue for the Special Education Trust Fund was higher during the
past year, but it did not offset inflation.
Thanks to Governor Wallace and the legislature, Auburn received the
greatest ever increase in its state appropriation--35.9 percent. With this,
the salaries for all academic ranks at Auburn would be within one step
of the national average for comparable institutions. The board lost Frank
P. Samford, Sr., to death, but he was replaced by his son, Frank P. Samford,
In January, 1974, Auburn was notified of its reaccreditation by the
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Overall, state appropriations increased for 75-6, but "teaching appropriations"
were reduced. Anticipating cut-backs, Philpott left some positions unfilled
and initiated other plans for "greater efficiency." He complained that
the university's independence continued "to be eroded by outside forces."
For example, to comply with Title IX "the traditional rules for students
living on campus were abandoned," offices that served students were reorganized,
the Dean of Women's position was abolished, and an assistant director for
women's athletics was hired. The president said that "efforts to meet government
enforced requirements" represented "a growing expense...in...time and personnel."
Philpott also welcomed Shug Jordan to the board of trustees.
The university fared somewhat better financially than it had during
the previous year, but Philpott still noted studies underway to promote
"greater efficiency in the future financial and operational functions"
of the school.
Governor Wallace and the legislature had increased the state appropriation
for 78-9 by $9 million over the previous year, but the president noted
that this should be considered "in the light of increasing costs of operation
and the devaluation of the dollar by inflation."
Philpott expressed "a deep sense of personal appreciation" to the board
when he submitted this, his final annual report as President of Auburn
University. He said he knew that Auburn would prevail "through these financially
uncertain times," which had included proration during the last fiscal year,
level funding for the current fiscal year, and "the erosive effects of
unremitting inflation." The president welcomed Governor Fob James as the
new ex officio chairman of the board.
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