The Making of Nova Southeastern University:
A Tradition of Innovation, 1964-2014

Julian M. Pleasants

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"Julian Pleasants offers unbiased insight into the history of Nova Southeastern University. Drawing from oral interviews and primary resources in NSU’s archives, Dr. Pleasants engagingly documents the key events and main personalities that enabled the evolution and growth of NSU from its not-for-profit charter in 1964, admitting seventeen graduate students in 1967, to a thriving private not-for-profit university serving over 27,000 students today."--Dr. George L. Hanbury II, President, Nova Southeastern University

"Nova Southeastern University’s continued success as a premier educational institution can be attributed to the same factors that drove its founders: a tenacity to succeed against overwhelming odds, a persistent entrepreneurial drive, and a willingness to be innovative in areas where others rely on a tradition. The book chronicles the efforts of these early pioneers as well as those persons who participated in the development of this unique institution."--H. Wayne Huizenga, Nova Southeastern University Board of Trustees


Nova Southeastern University is a flourishing university with a fascinating past. Arising from the shared dream of local community businessmen in Broward County, Florida, the university was chartered in 1964. At the time, it had no buildings to its name--just an empty plot of land and a dedicated group of visionary advocates.

On the fiftieth anniversary of NSU’s founding, this book tells the amazing story of what is now one of the largest not-for-profit universities in the United States. Today, Nova Southeastern University serves more than 27,000 students and has produced more than 150,000 alumni. Its main campus in Fort Lauderdale is beautifully landscaped, with modern classroom buildings, an array of student housing options, state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and a unique joint-use library, the largest library building in the state of Florida. Through distance-learning and travel study programs, NSU’s presence extends throughout the United States and around the world.

Using interviews with present and past NSU presidents, faculty, administrators, staff, students, and even NSU’s original founders, award-winning historian Dr. Julian Pleasants provides an insider's view of the story behind the school. He re-creates the scene of a meeting one night in the 1960s when local businessman Jack Hines pounded on a dining room table and said, "We've just got to have a university." Against all odds, they succeeded. Dr. Pleasants describes the arrival of NSU's very first graduate students, reveals the internal conflicts that challenged the school’s program development, and related the frightening brush with bankruptcy that threatened to close the doors of the young university forever.

The personal testimonies are backed by a wealth of primary sources, including board of trustees minutes, unpublished manuscripts, administrative documents, and presidential papers from the NSU archives. Rare photographs offer a glimpse into the early history, culture, and architecture of the university. The Making of Nova Southeastern University shows how this unique school overcame tremendous odds in just five decades to become an innovative leader in higher education and ushers in NSU’s next fifty years of growth and creativity.

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