Class Is in Session
The Madison Campus (also referred to as Florham-Madison) was open for full-time study in fall 1958. The Mansion, as the FDU community came to know the Twombly home, housed almost all of the campus’s operations. The second-floor bedrooms had been converted to classrooms. The administrative offices and the library were housed on the first floor, and the cafeteria and student bookstore occupied the basement. There was housing available for 50 women and 25 men.
The total enrollment at Madison that fall was about 200 students, several of whom had transferred from FDU’s campuses in Rutherford and Teaneck and held advanced standing. There were eight full-time faculty members, led by Samuel Pratt, who was chairman of the business department in the University’s Graduate School and was named dean of the Madison Campus. His wife, Lois, who also had taught in Teaneck, fully dedicated herself to helping build a strong faculty community at Madison.
“They had the energy of youth,” wrote Sammartino, “they relished the challenge of starting a new institution, and they had imagination.” The two lived in the Gatehouse at the Madison Avenue entrance to campus.
Walter Savage, assistant professor of English and the only full-time English professor on the campus at the time (now professor emeritus), was assigned to the Florham campus only weeks before the semester began. A veteran of World War II who graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont and returned there to teach after completing his graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Savage had originally been asked by Sammartino to fill a need for English instructors at the expanding Teaneck Campus. Instead, many Florham alumni fondly remember Savage as the lecturer they listened to weekly in the expansive Lenfell Hall, where all entering students on the campus were required to take his course.