Cleveland State University 1990 Student Protest – John A. Flower Remembered

Today on Facebook, I read a link from the Cleveland Plain Dealer a friend posted in regards to the Obituary of John A. Flower.

Dr Flower was the president of Cleveland State at the time of our student protest. During our tenure together at the university we had many meetings and as a youthful activist many of our meetings weren’t always pleasant.  And as you may have guessed by now, I was the individual who made the sessions embarrassingly painful to sit through.

Thankfully time has a way of  making things right…

Christmas 1990 Dr. Flower wrote me a personal note for the holiday season. I don’t know who else had gotten one, but I was surprised considering our reasons for being accessible to each other. I think I even made fun of his remarks at the time.

*don’t quote me on that*

In his note he wrote “the human part of our interactions is the transcendent part…” and as a hot headed young man I never gave it a second thought, but as the years went on his words began to make sense and hit a core in me that was ingrained in my soul by my parents, church and mentors but I was to selfish to realize. We may believe we are better or smarter or more entitled than others, but when it comes down to the simpleness of who we are…we are all the same. And on any level there should be equal line uncrossed when dealing with those that are like you.

As you can see in one of the images below I kept his greeting and after some years I reached out to John and had our best meeting.

We had human interaction.

Rest In Peace John




SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio  — John A. Flower, former president of Cleveland State University, died Thursday morning, May 12, at home in Shaker Heights. He was 90.

Flower led CSU from 1988 to 1992. He oversaw the rise of the Convocation Center and the Music and Communication Building.

But he touched off months of racial protests by firing Raymond Winbush, who at the time was the university’s vice president for minority affairs and human relations. He also offended some people with a speech saying education was not “an entitlement like food stamps.”

Flower was a music professor and a pianist who performed in public in Cleveland, Pakistan, Finland, Taiwan and elsewhere.

Henry Goodman, president of CSU’s board during Flower’s administration, said Thursday, “He was a morale builder. He brought the administration and faculty much closer together.”

Jay McLoughlin, former education dean, said, “He was outgoing, very warm, interacting with people in whatever role you were in.”

Flower was born in Aberdeen, Wash., and educated at the University of Washington and the University of Michigan. He earned a doctorate in music and studied in France with leading pianist Nadia Boulanger.

During World War II, he piloted bomber planes in the South Pacific.

Flower taught for 18 years at Michigan and became associate dean of its music school. He also spent seven years at Kent State University, where he was dean of the College of Fine and Professional Arts and associate university provost. He was the founding dean of the Blossom Festival School, a joint program of Kent and the Cleveland Orchestra

He spent 19 years at Cleveland State. He was founding chair of the Ohio Aerospace Institute. He wrote two books and many articles.

He resigned from Cleveland State in 1992. Then came nine years as executive director of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education.

Flower outlived two wives: the former Lanette Sheaffer and Maxeen Stone.


John Arnold Flower  – 1921-2011

until then…

Related Posts with Thumbnails

2 comments on “Cleveland State University 1990 Student Protest – John A. Flower Remembered

  1. Sonya Hudson

    Dear Darren,

    The story you have written…the homage you paid to Mr. Flower was most beautifully written. It appears that you have just as much passion for him now, as you did nineteen years ago. One never knows the impact that one has on anothers life. This is why it is so important to remember that people are watching us; they’re listening to us; they’re following us. It is clear that although the circumstances involving your meeting Mr. Flower initially may have been “intense”,he appreciated and welcomed your tenacity and thought it not robbery to offer you…words of wisdom and that was the blessing. The march…that march is over. You stood up and did not waver. But this most precious memoir…his personal writing to you…this is something that will encourage and uplift everyone who opens the article and reflects on the words and…the author. Thank you for sharing it. And congratulations for your victory and excellence.
    Ms. Hudson

    1. Darren W Carter

      Thanks Sonya.

      Life has many lessons to be learned. The older I get the more I find if we step out of self, the answers are right there before you in the unsuspected packages.

      Thanks again for the words and stopping by my blog.

Leave a reply