0:00

O'HARA: This is Adina O'Hara interviewing Dr. Charles Shearer at the President's office at Transylvania University on January 10, 2007, for the Community College Oral History Project.

[Pause in recording]

O'HARA: Dr. Shearer, the University of Kentucky Northwestern Center in Henderson opened its doors to students in September of 1960. The 1962 Community College Act authorized the UK Board of Trustees to transform its existing extension centers into community colleges, including Henderson. What was your role in the operation of Henderson Community College?

1:00

SHEARER: My role, um, actually started in, um, January of 1967 when I became, um, an instructor in accounting and economics, and when I was in graduate school finishing up my master's at the University of Kentucky in the Patterson School, Dr. Charles Holtman, um, who was one of my econ professors in the Patterson School had suggested that maybe teaching would be something that I would want to consider. And so after finishing up most of my coursework, I was still wrapping up my master's thesis, I went in for six months of active duty in the United States Army and then when I was on leave after, uh, basic training, I actually interviewed at Henderson. I originally had inquired at the Elizabethtown Community College because, um, it was close to my home in 2:00Louisville, but Elizabethtown did not have an opening. So the director at Elizabethtown had given my name to Dr. Marshall Arnold who was the director of the community college in Henderson. So I went down and interviewed while I was on leave, a ten-day leave, and, um, Dr. Arnold actually offered me the job on the spot. Uh, he said, "Well, do you want the job?" I said, "Yes." So when I got out of the army which was about the tenth or the fifteenth of January, classes had already started at Henderson, but they had, they had some part-time people covering the econ and accounting. I went right to Henderson, lived in a motel for three weeks because I didn't have time to find an apartment and, um, not far from the community college, so it was convenient and, um, started teaching. I had to dive in very quickly because I didn't have 3:00any time being in the army to develop lesson plans or anything, but dove in quickly. And, um, so I started teaching and really enjoyed it. Marshall Arnold hired me, um, without ever seeing me teach a class. I had never taught a class before. Um, Dr. Holtman had recommended me. I had given him as a reference, so that helped. Um, they also had a, uh, a little community college basketball team that, um, that, uh, a local minister was coaching, so I kind of became an assistant coach and helped him a little bit. And, um, then the second and third year, I became the head coach. There was no pay involved at all. I was single when I first went there, so I had some free time and, uh, when I wasn't working on my classes and, uh, teaching and we played, um, oh, a little technical school in Evansville, one of the Indiana State 4:00University extensions in Evansville, um, Brescia College was in our conference and somebody else and then we could play some other schools in southern Illinois. So we did that, and the kids on the team, most of the kids, most of the students at community college worked and so we only could practice maybe two, three days a week and we played one game a week, typically. And that could be at night or on the weekend or on a Saturday. It would just depend, but we, we played about, uh, fifteen or sixteen games scheduled or something like that; maybe eighteen games scheduled. But so many of the students worked, and, um, um, a lot of the students not only worked, but they were from farm families. They worked on the farm. In fact, they were a factor of production, uh, for the farm. You know, I remember asking one student one day because he'd 5:00never missed class, I said, "You missed the class the other day. Are you okay?" He said, "Well, yeah, I am, but my dad had a heart attack and I had to be on the tractor and had to work." And so you really, uh, the students there, um, generally carried part-time jobs, so these kids were going to school, uh, had part-time jobs and then some of them were playing basketball. I knew some students that worked at night, um, you know, so they, they really appreciated the opportunity to have, uh, two years of college education, uh, right there in Henderson. And the students I had, my classes ranged from um, I had a class of twelve. I had one class of twelve students in econ up to probably thirty; the largest class I had. Most of them were twenty to twenty-five probably, 6:00but I had, um, classes as small as twelve. I was good friends with the other instructors at the community college. The English professor who had been there a long time; the history professor, history teacher; um, math teacher was down the hall. Next door to me was the French and Spanish teacher, and he was very nice to me. He'd been there for quite a while, so it was an opportunity for me to learn how to teach. Dr. Arnold, Dr. Marshall Arnold took a gamble on me. Um, I enjoyed it. Uh, I decided then I wanted to, um, go further and ultimately get a Ph.D. which I did at Michigan State, but, um, I was really introduced to the world of teaching in that position. And, and the students at Henderson were very good students. I mean, some of them went on to, 7:00uh, Western Kentucky University for a bachelor's degree, some of them went to the University of Kentucky. Um, others went to, there was a reciprocal arrangement over in Indiana with the, with that extension, and I think some may have stepped over there but so many of them went on. One you know, I don't know where they all are now, but they became vice-presidents of banks and executives with large corporations, uh, became attorneys. So, um, it was a wonderful experience.

O'HARA: Um, can you speak about the type of community, um, on campus? It sounds like there was just one professor for basically two, was that- -

SHEARER: There was about one teacher for each field. We had one main building. That was the main brick building, and my office looked out over the highway; looked out over the front of the building. It had 8:00a nice view, and, uh, there were three, small portable buildings they had just built. Uh, these were just small, basic portable buildings because enrollment had grown. There were about 565 students, I think, there, but, uh, basically, you know, there was one teacher in physics. There was one in chemistry, one in history. There was basically one for each discipline. We each carried, uh, taught fifteen hours; five, three-hour courses with at least three preparations. Um, there was a little student center room in the building where they had a TV. I remember watching, uh, the Detroit Tigers win the World Series with some students in the little student center room in 1968, in the fall of 1968. Uh, I was a Tiger fan, and so I remember standing there watching that. But if it had- - basically it was a canteen. It was a, they had, 9:00um, machines where you could get a piece of candy and a machine where you could get some pop, and it had chairs. And, uh, that was basically it then. Um, they, um, they had a full-time counselor who was very good, became a very good friend of mine. We had a library, and the library director, her children went there. One of them was one that I taught and coached, and who sent her children here to Transylvania. But, um, it was all pretty much confined in one building. Um, they had lockers. I remember between the classrooms there were lockers, and students would come in and hang their coat up in the lockers. And, um, and again, a lot of the students worked part-time. In the spring, um, it got really warm or in the early fall when it was warm 10:00I had some time to take my class outside. We had, uh, one of those moveable blackboards, and I even had them carry the blackboard outside. And I'd have them out on the front lawn, and we'd be teaching. I'd teach class outside if I could sometimes, um, but there was a very, uh, close association with the, with the faculty. You know, we all could meet in a, in a room of, uh, but the faculty meetings were held in a typical classroom, uh, that would hold twenty-five or thirty students, and Dr. Marshall Arnold would be there presiding. And, um, so there was a nursing program which was, uh, which was growing, and, uh, they had two or three nursing faculty and that was one of the early programs there was nursing. Um, a lot of those students didn't take much accounting and economics, but they had, I knew some of those nursing faculty members pretty well, but it was basically, they had some 11:00two-year terminal degree programs where you could get an Associate's degree. And that would not necessarily be something you would do, go on further with, and then they had other (clears throat) Associate's degree programs which would be ideal for going on to a four-year college such as the University of Kentucky or Western or someplace else like that. But it was a small, uh, college really; had a nice atmosphere. And, uh, we'd all go out for lunch. There were two or three other instructors, and we typically would go down the street to this little motel that had a restaurant and, for $1.75, you could get a great lunch in those days. You could get a salad and an entree with green beans or something for $1.75, and it was amazing. And so we'd go down and grab lunch and then go back, and that was part of what we did. We generally, two or three of us would have lunch together every day and slip down to the, to the restaurant. I did that typically when 12:00I did not take my lunch. I'd go down there and grab something to eat, but it was a very nice place. There was a Baptist Student Union about (clears throat) oh, about five hundred yards down the road from the community college property, and so there was a little Baptist Student Union. I don't know. I was down there for a couple of events. Uh, there was an intramural program. I remember being, um, uh, I remember in addition to the little basketball team we had I remember a, uh, intramural softball program, and the faculty had a team. And I pitched at one point and was a right-fielder. I suppose that's easy for people who can't field too well, but anyway, I, I was uh, we had an intramural team. We played the students, and Dr. Arnold even came out and was shortstop for one of our games. Um, we had some type of a race. I remember running, and we had a, uh, where we competed against, uh, some 13:00of the students with a, I don't know, a mile long run or something. I can't remember, but I remember trying to finish that thing. And so there was a um, a lot of space there, and so there was a little backstop. And you could go down and play softball or something, and so, uh, those were some of the activities I remember in the, uh, in the spring. But so many of the students, uh, held part-time jobs, and, um, so there wasn't a lot of time for some of the students' activities that you might typically think of.

O'HARA: Did you offer classes in the evenings as well as during the day?

SHEARER: Yes. Yes. Um, I taught, uh, one of my very best, uh, classes, um, was an econ class that met at night. It was a class of twelve, and I remember, uh, I had a lady, an older lady, in there. I remember her name very well. She was very nice. And, um, I had a couple of adults 14:00in the class, uh, but again, most of them are the eighteen to twenty- two year olds. But we had some adult students, but not, it was more the eighteen to twenty-two year olds. Now some community colleges in urban settings you have a lot more adult, but I had this one class. And I remember giving, there were eight, there were twelve students and of the final grades, eight of them had A's. Now that seems like you should have a normal Bell Curve with so many C's and A's and B's, but it was such a good class. Now my daytime class wasn't quite as good as that, but, but, uh, but we had, I remember that class was really fun to teach and it met at 7:00 or 7:30 at night, two nights a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, for about an hour and fifteen minutes. And that was the only night class I think that I taught. They had a few night classes, but there were probably more classes during the day. I know there were more classes during the day. It was a pretty heavy volume during the 15:00day. The hallway outside my office, there'd be a lot of traffic.

O'HARA: Did you advise students as well?

SHEARER: Yes, I did. I was an advisor, and, um, uh, I can't remember how student advisees I had, but I, I was an advisor. And, uh, most of the students who were, they would, you know, be in business and economics and accounting. They were pretty much, I was pretty much advising them.

O'HARA: You hit on this earlier, but, uh, the terminal programs- - In the fall of 1963, Henderson Community College offered the first complete terminal program which was the nursing program out of the community college, so they were the very first leader in offering a terminal program in nursing. Uh, and that was because of the critical shortages in nursing in Kentucky. Um, what was the role of terminal programs at Henderson Community College? Was there, uh, very many of 16:00them? Were they, um, accepted the same, I guess, as the transfer, um, programs, and, um, did people take some of the same classes for each?

SHEARER: Uh-huh. They did. There was some overlap, and I remember when we were trying to assign some degrees to the students at the end of their two years that in some cases because of the two-year terminal programs versus the two-year more-likely-to-transfer programs that it was very hard with the size of the faculty, uh, at that time to offer, um, every course that they needed for those terminal degree programs. And so, um, if somebody went on sabbatical which is-- There was a lady who taught kind of the business application courses, she taught office management. Uh, she may have taught typing. I can't remember, but she 17:00was the other person at kind of the business end. I, I did the econ and accounting and she did some of the other things, and she went on leave one semester and I had to pick up teaching a management class of some kind, office management. I had never taught it before, and, and some of those programs, I think, we, I struggled at times to, to cover, to provide the courses that the students needed. Um, I don't know what the percentages were, but I think by and large, uh, most of the students there were taking classes, except for the nursing, um, were taking courses thinking that they were going to go on. You know, I know several, you know, most of, so many of the students that I taught both econ and accounting to went on for four-year degree programs.

O'HARA: Were there any diploma or certificate programs?

18:00

SHEARER: Yes. I mean, there was that in those two-year terminal degree programs, there were certificate-type diplomas given, and there was a, there was a commencement. I mean, there was a commencement at the end of the, of the year where you would get either the two-year certificate for those who were going on or the two-year certificate or diploma for those who were not. Um, so there was--and you had to be, I guess you needed, um, probably needed sixty hours I guess. I don't know. I would say there was 120 semester hours for a four-year degree, so I would guess it was around sixty hours it would be that you would need to get your diploma. But there was a full commencement where we were robed, and it was held outside. And, um, and several of, you know, I remember that very distinctly being there for that.

O'HARA: Interesting. Um, in that area, you know, being the leader in the community college system.

19:00

SHEARER: Right.

O'HARA: Now there were area technology centers across the state of Kentucky at that time. They did not offer degree level programs. They usually offered diplomas and certificate, and many of those still exist today. Um, but they offered a technical diploma and certificate program. Um, and they would serve the adult population as well as the high school population prior to the '97 Legislation, um, House Bill 1. During your tenure at Henderson Community College, did, was there any coordination between those area technology centers and Henderson Community College and the terminal programs they were offering?

SHEARER: Not that I'm really aware of. I was not aware of that, uh, connection. I, you know, I was well-aware that, when I went there in '67, that that was previously known as a center, the Northwest Center, 20:00uh, but we considered ourselves pretty much a complete community college. And if there were any other connections to other technology centers, I was not aware of them at all.

O'HARA: Okay. Good. That's good to know. The reason why I asked that question is I've found that some of the community colleges including Jefferson Community College, because of their urban metropolitan setting, I think, um, they had relationships that the professors at the community college would kind of work with and help the area technology center, plus they'd use the facilities and stuff, but I find it interesting to see, you know, what each plan did. But you're dealing with a rural setting here.

SHEARER: Well, it's a very different, I had a friend that taught at Jefferson Community College, and I went by to visit him one time when they were in the Old Presbyterian Seminary. And, um, the, the role 21:00that Henderson Community College played in that community was very different then because of the population versus what Jefferson Community College did, and, whereas I think Jefferson probably served the adult population much more. And, and Henderson was available to serve the adult population. We had some adults, but it was not dominant by any means. It had to be at least eighty-five percent, eighty percent, um, eighteen to twenty-year-old, traditional college students.

O'HARA: And that's where the need was because of Henderson's geographic location, you know, away from, usually like, um, if you're near a, a base, a military base like Fort Campbell or Fort Knox, you have a much higher non-traditional classroom population or if you're in an urban setting. But if you're in a rural area, typically you have for 22:00example, your students that worked on farms and could not either afford to or could not leave their families.

SHEARER: I think there's, there's an unfortunate stereotype at times that community college students are only there because they can't get into any other college, and I've always, you know, been very, you know, upset by that because it's not fair. So many of the students I had, uh, could have, uh, succeeded at most any college in Kentucky; uh, probably any college in Kentucky, any four-year college. But they were there because of pure economics, and, um, their success after they left the community college and they went on for Bachelor's degrees and some for law degrees and those types of things really validated that. So I think there's an unfortunate perception sometimes that, uh, you know- 23:00-we've had students come to Transylvania from the community college system. I can remember two, uh, uh, set of twins, female, women who came here, uh, and their dad wanted them to go to community college first and came here and did very well. They may have been a year apart, but they were the same family. They were sisters, and, uh, just because you go to a community college doesn't mean you're, uh, on the bottom rung in terms of your academic ability or your academic drive or motivation. And I really found that true and interesting. Now not all the students were excellent students, you know, but by and large, uh, they were pretty, pretty good and, um, they certainly could have, uh, performed well. And the studies showed at one point back in the late sixties, early seventies that the students who transferred into the University of Kentucky after the first semester in a community 24:00college system did very, very well, and if you, I don't know, if you could ever document the students who came from Henderson and other places like Elizabethtown and went to UK main campus, I think you would find that they had a very high success rate. So I think there's an unfortunate stereotype sometimes that the only students who are in community colleges are students who could not make it academically at a, at an institution that had a, a higher reputation or higher academic standards, and I feel in so many cases they, they could have and, and eventually did.

O'HARA: It is unfortunate some of the time, and that kind of reaches to another question and, uh, the relationship between UK and its community colleges was unique across the nation at that time. Um, to have a research university, a flagship college like the University of Kentucky 25:00ensuring the academic quality of those first extension centers and then community colleges was very unique. So what were some of those benefits and drawbacks, if there were any, to, to the relationship that you saw from the faculty standpoint?

SHEARER: I remember very distinctly the dean of the UK business school, uh, coming down to Henderson.

O'HARA: Really?

SHEARER: Yes. And visiting Henderson Community College and, uh, so that connection was strong; Charles Haywood, uh, who I still know, uh, very well and came down to the community college system. I remember that, uh, the head of the community college system, I can't think of his name, the connection was very strong in terms of the textbooks we used, uh, for, um, economics and accounting, especially the accounting, we 26:00used the very same textbooks they were using at the UK main campus, and we all considered ourselves as part of the University of Kentucky, as a faculty member. Uh, we considered ourselves, uh, community college instructors as part of the University of Kentucky system, and so, um, we liked that, I think. We liked the identification, and, um, it was, it was a pretty strong tie.

O'HARA: And I did have ----------(??), um, from a different person.

SHEARER: Oh, you did? Okay.

O'HARA: Yeah. And it was interesting about his connection to it because, um--

[Buzzing.]

O'HARA: --of Governor Combs' Commission on Higher Education that he formed in 1966 that I could locate and kind of talk about those discussions. So then to find out, you know, that he also went down and 27:00visited the colleges.

SHEARER: And, yeah. We were very well-aware. Dr. Arnold, uh, would make routine monthly trips to Lexington, uh, as part of his reporting in to the University of Kentucky main campus. Um, so we also were well- aware of the other community colleges. The, uh, Prestonsburg, uh, had a Mountain Dew Festival. Are you aware of the Mountain Dew Festival?

O'HARA: No.

SHEARER: Oh, yeah. And, um, they, they had competition up in, up in Prestonsburg in the, um, early spring, and so we did the basketball competition. And we actually had, uh, there were, I don't know how many, how many teams, but we went over in Elizabethtown and played in the regional.

28:00

O'HARA: Really?

SHEARER: And then we went to Prestonsburg for the final four for the community college basketball.

O'HARA: I don't know anything about that. Please elaborate.

SHEARER: Okay. And there were other competitions going on, and we went up to Prestonsburg. I, we left. We all, I drove. Dr. Arnold gave me his station wagon. There was a blue University of Kentucky standard issued station wagon to each community college director. I drove. The, uh, cheerleaders went with us. I had, um, two or three other fellows drove their cars. So we left, um, we left Henderson on a Friday morning. I think we let them off from class or something. Thursday morning? I can't remember. We left early, drove all the way from Henderson to Prestonsburg, checked into a motel, had dinner and played that night, and, um, we got beat, I can tell you the score, 29:00we got beat by three, um, by Ashland, uh, Community College. We were down by sixteen at the half, but we came back. And, and one of my star players had been injured in a car accident, so I didn't have him, seriously injured. And, um, didn't have him, but we still came in, we got beat by three. Uh, Prestonsburg home school was in the other, playing the other team, so we were going to play the consolation game. And whoever we were supposed to play backed out, so we ended up third place by default. Uh, I would have liked to be in the championship game, but the next day they have all these games. They had the volleyball, so my guys never played volleyball. So they said, "Well, we're here." So (clears throat) we entered the volleyball contest, and they got the hang of it after a while. We got beat, I think. I know we got beat, but they got better. So there was the Mountain Dew 30:00Festival in Prestonsburg, and there was this community college kind of basketball tournament leading up to it. So, you know, week before, we went to E-town and beat somebody and got, and we were in the final four up at part of the Mountain Dew Festival. I know we came back on a Sunday because I remember driving back on a Sunday and dropping Dr. Arnold's car off at his house and talking with him about the game because Ashland had scored 120 points the previous game and only got eighty-four on us. So he was pleased that we kept them under a hundred points. But anyway, um, and when we, when we, when that festival came up and we were invited, Dr. Arnold wasn't so sure that he wanted us to go, so students, not players, went into his office and met with him and made the case for letting us go up to Prestonsburg to play and he 31:00agreed. So he changed his mind, and so we stayed in this little motel in Prestonsburg and, uh, and the cheerleaders went. So here I had the team, I had about ten kids, and, uh, and four or five cheerleaders. I remember their names. And we had the afternoon off the next day. We played volleyball in the morning and had the afternoon off, so there's a lake up there. I can't tell you the name of the lake. Um, there's, you know, there's a state park there, and some of my players had never been on a boat. So I took some of my players, and some of them went out early, went up around the boat, went out on the lake and just drove around and I took, I can tell you the three players. I took three of my players, two of them had never been on a boat before on a lake, and went up there, rented a boat and we went for a boat ride and took them around the lake. And so you kind of remember those things, and, um, 32:00it was two of my players and the manager. And the four of us went out on this little motorboat, and I drove this little motorboat around the lake and we came back. So we did those kinds of things.

O'HARA: I wonder if that was Jenny Wiley.

SHEARER: It was probably Jenny Wiley, and, um, so we didn't stay at the lodge. We stayed at the little motel there, but, um, the Mountain Dew Festival, they still may do it up in Prestonsburg. I don't know, but, uh, that was kind of a fun thing and it was fun for the kids. But they all had to drive their own cars. I don't know if we even paid for their gas, but they all had to drive their own cars. We didn't have a bus or anything to take us up there, you know, so but it was a fun thing to do. I think it's probably one of their memories, too.

O'HARA: That was a great memory. I didn't know anything about that, the sports or basketball. Now how many of the community colleges did you all play against because obviously you mentioned some others?

SHEARER: Well, only, only in that tournament. I don't think the other community colleges had organized teams, and ours only lasted a year 33:00or two after I left. Jim Long who's still, um, he had a nephew up there, Jim Long who's still, um, in Henderson, um, uh, he's the, he's in charge of personnel for the Henderson School System, but Jim took over the team after I left. I went to Ferris State in Michigan and taught two years and then went to Michigan State for my doctorate, but Jim took over the team and it went a year or two after I left. But I don't think it went much longer and, uh, I don't think the other community colleges as a whole, now they had teams that we played against to get to this tournament. We routinely didn't play any other except for that, leading up to the Mountain Dew Festival. We played the little two-year and small four-year schools between Owensboro, Henderson and Evansville and then we'd go down to Carbondale, went down to Carbondale and played. Now they had a big-time, big community 34:00college system with a big-time sports program, and that usually showed. And, um, but we didn't routinely play. I know that we played in Elizabethtown, so I think we beat Elizabethtown. But I remember we played, I think we played in their gym. I can't remember, but, um, except for that Mountain Dew Festival, I don't know what the other activities were at the other colleges. But Prestonsburg had a team. I will tell you Prestonsburg had a team because they came down and played us in Henderson, and they were good. They beat us. They were good, and that's why I wanted another shot at them in that Mountain Dew Festival, uh, which we didn't get. But, but, uh, Prestonsburg had a team, and the guy who coached that team was an insurance man. And he did the coaching part-time, probably for nothing as well. So I know Prestonsburg had a very good team. We played against them, but they drove, they came all the way to Henderson, and we played them. So some 35:00of the, some of the colleges did, but I don't know if all of them did.

O'HARA: And volleyball was another?

SHEARER: Volleyball was just a part of that festival which was a series of games and stuff was this volleyball thing, and they said, Well, we might as well enter. So we, we entered, you know, and our guys are out there and trying to get the hang of it. You know, they were basketball players. They're not volleyball players, and, um, so we entered that. You know, so I think that Mountain Dew Festival included not only the basketball but some other types of competitions.

O'HARA: Now how was there a difference, a difference between the intramural sports that you spoke of on the campus and, um, and the basketball which appeared to be, um, intercollegiate?

SHEARER: Yes.

O'HARA: So it must have been sanctioned by UK community college system?

SHEARER: I mean, it was existing. That team existed when I got there because the minister was coaching, was coaching it, and I just 36:00inherited it. We called ourselves the Henderson Community College Cats, and we, our, the first year, no, the second year we had a little band. We had a very good band director, and they'd come to some of the games. And they'd play the UK fight song.

O'HARA: Really?

SHEARER: Oh, yeah.

O'HARA: What a sense of community.

SHEARER: Oh, it was. It was, and we had very good coverage in the Henderson Gleaner Journal. The Gleaner Journal is the newspaper there, and we had very good coverage in the sports section. And I can tell you that they didn't have a reporter to cover our games, so I would go down to the newspaper after the games and walk in and uh, it was Ryan, I think it was Ryan Jenkins was the sports editor. He may be the editor of the Gleaner Journal now, but he was. And I said, "Well, I've got a story for you on the game." He said, "Well, I don't have time to fool with it. There's a typewriter." So I'd stick a piece of paper in 37:00the typewriter, type out the story of the game. I would type it out as I saw it. I wasn't journalism major. He'd take the story, put it in the correct format and it would appear as a staff report in the Herald, in the Gleaner Journal the next day.

O'HARA: What a story.

SHEARER: I know.

O'HARA: Oh, how neat.

SHEARER: That was just amazing, and the second year, he had actually a student at the community college and he got some type of a, maybe an internship there. He actually covered our games, but that first year, you know, I would have to go down and sometimes he'd have time to talk to me and other times he didn't. So I'd have to type the thing up, and I'd always look at my morning paper the next morning to see what, see how the story looked.

O'HARA: See what had changed.

SHEARER: See how the story changed because I pretty much had put it together.

O'HARA: Fascinating.

SHEARER: Because it was great fun. The community, the community at Henderson really opened their arms and were very nice to me, and, um, the people on the board, there was a board at the community college. 38:00I remember being one of the board members there; local advisory board of some type. Uh, Hecht Lackey was his name--L-a-c-k-e-y. He was on the, uh, very prominent on the board and was very nice to me, and people, there was a family across the street. He was an attorney and she taught, his wife taught psychology part-time. They had me over for dinner, and so the community was very warm and welcoming.

O'HARA: Speaking of local community, there were cultural and economic benefits involved in community college development. Um, some of the community colleges promoted cultural activities including entertainers and lecturers that would come through on a regular basis. Um, do you have any memories of those at Henderson?

SHEARER: Absolutely, I do. Um, we had, there were some lecturers and programs. I can remember a relative of Winston Churchill's coming to speak, and I remember Theodore Bikel coming to speak. You know, the 39:00actor Theodore Bikel? Um, Theo, they called him Theodore Bikel came to speak, and I remember, uh, there was a distant relative of Churchill's, a relative and he'd had a little too much to drink. And he fell and broke his glasses coming in to the building and, uh, very interesting speaker, but anyway, that was our impression of him anyway. Uh, anyway, I think he'd had a, I don't know what. But anyway, it was an enjoyable evening, and Theodore Bikel came and he was very good, um, speaker and he was a very highly acclaimed Hollywood actor. Um, and so, um, and the band, there was a good band director. I can picture him. I can't think of his name, and I think they did some performances. Uh, there 40:00was a choir. He did more choir than band, though, so I think they probably did some performances, but I remember the Churchill relative who spoke who was very interesting and entertaining. I remember Theodore Bikel, uh, because one of our, one of the other instructors really liked him, and I still, I see old movies and he's in them. He's in an old submarine movie and some others, and so they would have some, there was some money set aside for some speakers to come in.

O'HARA: Who, who, who would they get to get these people, you know, the prominent actors?

SHEARER: Yeah. I don't know how that happened. You know, I was pretty much going as just a, just an observer, and I, um, I don't know who, uh, who organized that, um, and how that came about and whether they were making rounds, you know, of the other community colleges or what.

O'HARA: That's quite a, quite a picture you've painted of the community 41:00and, and, uh, I appreciate you sharing this information.

SHEARER: Okay. Oh, you're welcome.

O'HARA: Um, you know, I really have a snapshot of the community life and, and the sports part was something I had not heard of. I'd heard rumors that there were sports in some of the community colleges. Is there any other questions that I have not asked that you wish I had that you would want to elaborate on?

SHEARER: No. I, I would just say that, um, I think the students who were at that community college got a really good education. Um, the English instructor had been there a long time, Buddy Overfield, who's really a good English teacher. He wasn't the only one, but he was the one I was closest to. Uh, the language guy next door to me, um, was very good; Spanish, French and Spanish and, uh, Arch 42:00Lacefield. Uh, the math teacher, Mike Barthel, was really a good math teacher. Carl Boyd who taught history, um, who is now an attorney and retired, but he had his stepson go here. Carl went on and got a law degree later, but he was really a good history teacher and from Mount Sterling originally. He had a history degree, master's degree from the University of Michigan. Um, so when you think of the, of the people that I knew, uh, they were very conscientious in their teaching. They really took a good interest, strong interest in the, in the students. Um, the, um, uh, the quality of instruction, I think, was good, and I think the students had to work. I mean, I made my students work, and they would probably tell you that. And, um, so I think the 43:00students who came out of there were really getting a good educational experience. Now most of the people there with master's degrees like me at the time, I had master's degrees, but we were pretty, pretty conscientious in our teaching and took it seriously and were very interested in the students and gave a lot of time to the students. You know, we were there from 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning until late in the afternoon, until 4:30 or 5:00, you know, five o'clock. So we were available. We were available after hours. I mean, we were available in our offices, so I remember spending a lot of time with students coming in my office with accounting questions or econ questions. I think that was true of my colleagues as well, so I feel like they were really getting a good education, and, uh, I think Dr. Arnold did a great job as director and, and gave a lot of us the opportunity to figure out what we wanted to do in our careers and at the same we served the students pretty well.

44:00

O'HARA: It sounds like you had a wonderful experience.

SHEARER: I did. I did.

O'HARA: And I appreciate you sharing this.

SHEARER: You're welcome. You're welcome.

O'HARA: It's really painting a very nice snapshot and, uh, then, um, future researchers may be interested in knowing.

SHEARER: Okay. All right.

O'HARA: Thank you, Doctor.

SHEARER: Okay. You're welcome. My pleasure. Thank you.

[End of interview.]

Search This Transcript
SearchClear