By Cara Bailey
The Herald-Dispatch
Dec. 20, 2005

In a town where people "bleed green" for Marshall University, one would think books about the school would be everywhere. However, as James E. Casto found out, that is not necessarily the case.

Casto, who has been a Marshall student, teacher and supporter, is the author of the new 128-page book titled "Marshall University." The book features 200 pictures on the history of the school, from Marshall Academy to Marshall College and now Marshall University. The book is the first historical book written entirely on Marshall since "Marshall Memories," which was published in 1986.

"In recent years, I've done several books on regional history, and each touched on the history of Marshall University to some degree," Casto said. "Increasingly, I grew convinced that the Marshall story was so fascinating that it demanded a book of its own."

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The book is one that Casto has particular interest in, because he grew up close to the school and used the campus as a playground when he was young. He was also a student and a professor at Marshall and decided supporters needed a book denoting the entire history of the school.

"Everybody is loyal to their school, but there is something especially passionate about Marshall fans," said Casto, retired associate editor of The Herald-Dispatch.

The book is divided into eight chronological sections, each highlighting different areas of importance for the university. It touches on such subjects as its namesake, the great Chief Justice John Marshall, and shows many of the buildings on campus in their early building stages as well as critical historical events.

photo/Lori Wolfe

Casto spent several months in the special collections archives of Morrow Library at Marshall sorting through thousands of photos, trying to narrow his search to 200 pictures. Ninety percent of the photos Casto used came from the Morrow archives, he said.

Barbara Winters, the dean of libraries at Marshall, said it is time for an updated look at the history of the school.

"It's important to chronicle the history periodically of any institution," Winters said. "A lot has happened since the mid-80s at Marshall."

The cover of the book has a picture of students in 1961 holding up The Parthenon, Marshall's student newspaper, with the headline "Marshall U" emphatically displayed after Marshall was granted university status.

The event is No. 1 on Casto's Top 12 list of milestones to happen at the university, with the plane crash coming second.

"Certainly, there is nothing more momentous that has happened to the university and touched the university, but I believe the cover photo should be cause for celebration, not a tragedy," Casto said.

The book is published by Arcadia Publishing and can be purchased at many local book stores.


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