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Gordon Blackwell, FSU president in early '60s

Gordon W. Blackwell, who as school president led Florida State University through integration and a period of great growth in the early 1960s, has died. He was 92.

Blackwell died Monday at his Greenville, S.C., home. His family said he suffered a heart attack after exercising.

He served as president at Florida State from 1960 until 1965, when the Tallahassee school increased its enrollment from 9,000 to 12,000 students.

In Seminole History, Blackwell remembered racial integration as one of the significant accomplishments of his presidency. Maxwell Courtney enrolled as FSU's first black student in 1962.

"This was achieved with commitment and dignity because it was the right thing to do," Blackwell said in the official history.

Current president T.K. Wetherell called that period "dramatic times for FSU _ getting that process going, keeping the institution on an even keel." Wetherell began his freshman year at FSU while Blackwell was president.

The school plans to commemorate the school's integration Friday during Heritage Day celebration.

Blackwell left in 1965 to become president of his alma mater, Furman University in South Carolina. He was Furman president for 11 years.

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