Home > College of Education > President J. Stanley Marshall’s passing

President J. Stanley Marshall’s passing


June 8, 2014

President J. Stanley Marshall’s passing


Stanley Marshall

Our entire community is saddened to learn of the passing of former Florida State University President and Trustee Dr. J. Stanley Marshall, who died earlier today, June 8, at the age of 91.

Dr. Marshall leaves a truly remarkable legacy.  Following his service in World War II, he became an educator and statewide leader in higher education, earning an international reputation for his work in reshaping the education of science teachers. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Marshall lived an engaged life of excellence and integrity; and our faculty, staff and students are grateful for his leadership and influence on the Florida State University campus, as well as our city and state.

While serving as Florida State’s ninth president, from June 1969 to August 1976, Florida State was known as the “Berkeley of the South” as student protests and faculty dissension placed the institution in the national spotlight. Notwithstanding the social and political upheaval of the time, he thoughtfully guided the university with a policy of “firmness coupled with fairness.” Because of this policy, campus protests resulted in arrests, rather than violence or casualties. In his 2006 book “The Tumultuous Sixties: Campus Unrest and Student Life at a Southern University” (Sentry Press), Dr. Marshall recounted how he was able to maintain order on the Florida State campus, while respecting the rights of free speech and assembly.

Dr. Marshall joined our faculty in 1958 as head of the Department of Science Education, and adjunct professor of physics.  He established the department of science education and programs to educate secondary school teachers in the sciences, and went on to become the associate dean of Florida State’s College of Education in 1965.  In 1967, he was appointed dean of the college.

Consulting widely in science education, principally in the Middle East, Dr. Marshall gained an international reputation for his work in reshaping science teacher education programs. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served on that organization’s Commission on Science Education. Dr. Marshall was co-author of a widely used series of science textbooks for the elementary grades published by Scott Foresman.  He was the Founding Editor of “The Journal of Research in Science Teaching” and served as an advisor to Encyclopedia Britannica Films, the National Science Foundation, and to the U. S. Department of Education. He served as President of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, Southern Region.  By Presidential appointment, Dr. Marshall served for five years on the Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Board on Naval Education and Training, as well as serving as an advisor to the Secretary of the Army for on-campus Army ROTC programs. He served as a member of the Board of Regents of The National Library of Medicine, and was a Fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where he served on the AAAS Commission on Science Education.

Dr. Marshall remained active in higher education following his retirement as Florida State president in 1976.  He founded The James Madison Institute in 1987 and served as its President and CEO from 1987 to 2000.  For many years thereafter he continued as Senior Scholar, publisher of the Institute’s quarterly Journal, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Later accomplishments include serving on the Bethune Cookman University Board of Trustees beginning in 1994, and concluding at the end of his four-year term as chairman in 2001. He also served on the Florida State University Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2005, and the Florida Board of Governors from 2005 to 2012.  He later founded Sonitrol, a Tallahasee-based company that provides electronic security and fire protection for businesses and homes in the area.

As a member of the community, he served on numerous commissions and boards, including the Florida Commission on Cabinet Reform in 1995, and the Florida Constitution Revision Commission in 1997-1998. In addition, he served on the boards of the Tallahassee Memorial Regional Medical Center and the Tallahassee Area Chamber of Commerce, and received the latter’s Lifetime Leadership Award.

Dr. Marshall’s contributions to science teacher education and higher education are countless; and equally immeasurable is his legacy as a genuine “Renaissance Man” – a global reputation that was shaped by his extraordinary intellect and standing as a champion of objectivity and fairness.

Our thoughts are with his wife, Shirley, their five children, and 13 grandchildren.  A memorial service will be held on Monday, June 16 at 11 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee.

Garnett S. Stokes
Interim President
Florida State University

Categories: College of Education
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