O'HARA: This is an interview with George Dudley at his home in Louisville, Kentucky conducted on May 1, 2007, for the Community College Oral History Project. Mr. Dudley, in the 1960s, the demand for a community college in Jefferson County exceeded expectations. Jefferson Community College received 1,911 applications from prospective students during the summer of 1968. With the approximately six hundred spring semester students returning, fall enrollment reached twenty-five hundred in its first year. Because Governor Ned Breathitt appointed you to the Jefferson Community College's advisory board, 1:00you can explain the growth of this community college from an advisory board's standpoint. Wh--

DUDLEY: Well, uh, I don't honestly recall. Uh, we didn't have much to do with the growth; the board didn't. Uh, but, uh--so I, I just witnessed it, I guess, but I, I wasn't aware of it really.

O'HARA: Well, as far as your involvement, um, do you--uh, at what point did Governor Breathitt appoint you?

DUDLEY: Well, I think right at the '68. Ellis Hartford was in charge of the, uh, community college system at that time, and I had known him way back when he taught at Manual High School here in Louisville, uh, with my uncle, Hal Dudley. Uh, but, uh, as far as the growth goes, uh, I 2:00guess I was aware of it, but I don't specifically recall it.

O'HARA: As Louisville is a metropolitan city, of course the growth is much faster than in the rest of the state, and I think that's why it was so noticeable; the demand for--

DUDLEY: Well, it was sort of unusual to, to establish a community college here because of the existence of the University of Louisville, but, uh, Ellis worked it out somehow. I don't know how, and, uh, it took off as you say.

O'HARA: Because of its geographical proximity to the University of Louisville, as you just mentioned, the establishment of a community college in Jefferson County involved an agreement between Kentucky's two universities; UK and U of L.


O'HARA: Can you explain Jefferson Community College's relationship with the University of Louisville during your tenure?

DUDLEY: Well, it, uh, somebody from U of L was on the board at that 3:00time. I don't who it--I don't recall who it was--but, uh, relations were pretty good right from the start, I think. Uh, I can't remember who that, uh, person was. The initial board was, uh, I think, Barry Bingham, Jr., who, who since has died, uh, John Bell, I believe, a psychiatrist, uh, myself, uh, somebody from U of L, and I don't, I guess there was one other.

O'HARA: Were you on the board at the same time as, um, Herb Segal?

DUDLEY: No. I don't think so. Yes. Yes, I was. Yes, I was.

O'HARA: A Louisville attorney?


O'HARA: He's, the, another one that I have on my list to interview.


O'HARA: So that's, that's good. Okay. Well, you're helping me recreate 4:00this time period. Um, Jefferson Community College established a branch campus at Stuart High School in the early 1970s. Please describe the need for development of an additional campus outside of downtown Louisville.

DUDLEY: Well, uh, that was out at Valley Station, I think, or close to it, the south end of the county, and it was just a long way for them to come in to the downtown campus plus I don't suppose we had room for 'em. And, uh, I didn't have much to do with that. I remember establishing that, but, uh, I wasn't, uh, a whole lot aware of it other than that we established it. And I went out there one time. I don't remember what for, but I remember going there. But it was too far removed from downtown. That's the main thing. I don't know how--thirty minutes at 5:00least and uh, if, if there wasn't much traffic, but, uh, Dixie Highway was pretty crowded and Stuart was near Dixie Highway. So--

O'HARA: Were there other branch campuses that were proposed but never came to fruition during your tenure?

DUDLEY: I don't honestly recall if there were. I don't believe there were.

O'HARA: How long were you on the advisory board?

DUDLEY: Well, uh, I think I went off--when, wh-, what was Dr. Horvath's tenure there?

O'HARA: I believe it was twenty years, so, um, if I recall properly I think through the eighties; mid-eighties.


O'HARA: No, no. He would have, if it had been twenty years--'96 maybe? 6:00Yeah. If he went, like, '68 to the mid-nineties.

DUDLEY: Well, he wasn't there in '68. Dr. Smith was, I think.

O'HARA: You're right. He wasn't the first one. There was one right before him for a small period of time.

DUDLEY: John Smith, wasn't it?

O'HARA: I believe so, but you were there during most of, uh, Dr. Horvath's tenure?

DUDLEY: A lot of it. I don't remember when I went off. I I, uh--but I was there a lot with him.

O'HARA: A lot with him. He's a great guy. And that brings me to another question. While we know the outcomes of those early decades at Jefferson Community College, I do not know the internal dynamics of growth and change. What were the role of terminal programs at Jefferson Community College during your tenure?

DUDLEY: Terminal programs?

O'HARA: Terminal programs. Um, programs that were career or vocational in nature where they would not, they would complete, maybe, a two- 7:00year program like nursing, but they wouldn't go on to a four-year institution.

DUDLEY: Uh, well, I think we had some of those from the beginning, I believe. Uh, I don't recall exactly. (laughs) I'm, I'm sounding like the attorney general before a congressional committee. I don't recall. I don't recall.

O'HARA: (laughs) That's fine. What was the, what was the role of the advisory committee? Um, what, what how did your meetings go, could you?

DUDLEY: Well, uh, the, uh, head of the school--whatever he was called. What, what was he called?

O'HARA: At the beginning, it was a director.

DUDLEY: Director? Okay.

O'HARA: Um-hm.

DUDLEY: Uh, would have an agenda, and he would report to us on various 8:00things. And occasionally, we'd vote but not very often. Uh, I don't remember, uh, you know, any specific things that we had, but, uh, that, that was basically it. He would have an agenda and go through it. We had, uh, lunch at our meetings, and, uh--

O'HARA: What were some of the common topics? Did you all discuss curriculum or was that left primarily to the staff?

DUDLEY: That was left to the staff.

O'HARA: Um, do you recall some of the, the items you might have voted on, like, for example, the, the Southwest Campus; the branch campus, would that happen?

DUDLEY: I guess we did. I don't recall that, but, uh, we must have. Uh, I don't, I don't, I don't remember. The most vivid memory I have 9:00was, is being on the committee, uh, that selected Dr. Wethington to head the system.

O'HARA: Oh, that's a great story. I haven't heard about this. Tell me, tell me some of the details.

DUDLEY: Well, we had, uh--I know Barry Bingham, Jr. and I were on it from, from, uh, Jefferson. Hecht Lackey from Henderson was on it, and, uh, I don't know, I don't know whether we were the committee or not. The consultant was from Florida, and it turned out he wanted the job himself of being the director of the system. Well, we didn't go for him at all, and, uh, so Dr. Wethington, I think, was in Maysville at the time, wasn't he?

O'HARA: Yes, he was.

DUDLEY: And, uh, so we selected him, and we were very glad we did because he was a good one. Uh, but he succeeded, I guess, Ellis 10:00Hartford, didn't he?

O'HARA: Yes, he did. I, I believe that's correct and went on to become UK president. (laughs)

DUDLEY: That's right. Yeah.

O'HARA: So you, you must have done something right there. (laughs)

DUDLEY: I think so. I think--

O'HARA: Well, can you tell us any unique stories about, uh, um, interviewing him or, um--

DUDLEY: No. I, I remember we met in the president's suite, I guess it was, at, uh, at the university, and, uh, the, the most vivid memory I have of that whole affair was the fact it turned out that our consultant wanted the job.

O'HARA: That is interesting.

DUDLEY: And, uh, so we didn't want him.

O'HARA: So, uh, what was the consultant's role in this? Was he supposed to--was he hired to help select a person and he ended up--

DUDLEY: Well, he was hired as I guess to, uh, uh--(pause)--uh, help 11:00develop the candidates for the job. I suppose that's what he was supposed to do. I don't remember whether we considered anybody besides him and Dr. Wethington, but, uh, he was to, uh, uh, locate applicants and that's about it, I guess.

O'HARA: So did he actually submit his own resume even though he was the consultant?

DUDLEY: Yeah. Yeah.

O'HARA: And that's interesting, isn't it?

DUDLEY: It's a little unethical, I thought.

O'HARA: I thought so, too. Yeah. Yeah. And he didn't withdraw as a consultant because of that?


O'HARA: Wow.

DUDLEY: But we didn't, we didn't like him anyhow.

O'HARA: (laughs) Well, I guess he had his own agenda.

DUDLEY: Yeah. I guess he did.

O'HARA: Well, that's interesting. Yeah. I didn't know anything about 12:00that. Wow. That's interesting. (clears throat) Um, area technology centers such as, um, most of--across the state of Kentucky there are area technology centers that served both secondary and post-secondary students, um, for decades.

DUDLEY: Um-hm.

O'HARA: And a lot of them offer technical diploma and certificate programs to adults as well as the secondary students. During your tenure at Jefferson Community College on the board was, were you aware of any coordinated efforts between Jefferson Community College and the area technology centers?

DUDLEY: Uh, well, yeah. The, the Vocational Technical Institute--I think it was called--was located adjacent to, uh, Jefferson, and I, I don't know whether that's still there or not. Is it?

O'HARA: It's now, um, as of the 1997 legislation, um, that--the 13:00legislation merged the community and technical colleges together.


O'HARA: So they, they have now been merged together downtown. Um, I'm not sure what happened to the secondary institution in, in Jefferson, but--

DUDLEY: Well, uh, it, my recollection about that's a little vague, but I know we kept 'em separate at that time although they were physically adjacent. And, uh, of course building the building here was a big thing. It started out, I think, just in the, uh, old Louisville Seminary building.

O'HARA: Wow. How did that come about? Were you involved in--

DUDLEY: No, I wasn't. Uh, I don't know how that happened.

O'HARA: It's a beautiful building.

DUDLEY: The seminary moved. I know that. It's a beautiful building. Uh, I don't, I don't recall that--that was pre-arranged as far as I 14:00know. I don't know.

O'HARA: Were you involved in the decision to create the new campus?


O'HARA: Adjacent to the seminary?

DUDLEY: Well, yes. Yeah.

O'HARA: And what could you--would you describe how did the planning go? Was it smooth or--

DUDLEY: Well, it was mainly handled out of Lexington because of the construction, and, uh, I don't--we, we were aware of it, and, uh, but it was, it was a University of Kentucky project really; the, the tall building. And that's--are there any other buildings there now? I don't think so.

O'HARA: Because of their merging with the technical college, there's different buildings downtown that are not all right next to each other.


O'HARA: But, so it makes a larger campus now. So the large, the tall 15:00building, um, what was the role, the advisory committee's role in, in the building? I understand that UK was responsible for the construction of it, but did you all have any say in, in the type of building or how large or--

DUDLEY: I don't think so. The staff may have, but, uh, I don't think we did. It was strictly a UK project.

O'HARA: So UK exercised a lot of, or quite a bit of control over the decisions at each local college?

DUDLEY: Yeah. They did.

O'HARA: And was there any tension between the advisory board and UK because of that?

DUDLEY: I don't think so.

O'HARA: So it was--

DUDLEY: I don't think so.

O'HARA: -- pretty cooperative?


O'HARA: That's good. For a local community which--actually Jefferson, uh, or Louisville is a metropolitan city--there were cultural and 16:00economic benefits involved in community college development. Some of the community colleges in smaller towns, um, promoted cultural activities by arranging for entertainers and lecturers to appear at the community colleges on a regular basis. Because you're in a metropolitan city with U of L and, and so much cultural activity already, do you recall an emphasis from Jefferson Community College on off-, --making more offerings to the community in that way?

DUDLEY: No. I don't.

O'HARA: There may not have been as much of a need?

DUDLEY: Uh, not as much of a need, I'm sure, because, uh, Louisville prid-, prided itself on being a cultural center, and, uh, I don't think we got very much involved in that at all. I don't recall that we did.

O'HARA: So they, they had the two-year transfer program was one of the major emphases of community college and then the second one is more of 17:00a--I called them terminal--but the associate and nursing degrees; the, the, uh, career degrees that at that time were not transferable, um.

DUDLEY: We, uh, tended to emphasize the two-year programs. The, part of the reason was the, uh, African-American community was pretty big here in Louisville, and, uh, they were interested in going to UK--uh, community college and so that may have been one reason that the two- year programs were emphasized. But, uh, we did emphasize the two-year programs. I remember that.

O'HARA: The relationship between the University of Kentucky and its community colleges was unique across the nation. It's one of the only states to, where a major university had, um, governance over a system 18:00of community colleges.

DUDLEY: Um-hm.

O'HARA: And none was exactly the same as UK's, and it's a fascinating relationship. What were the benefits and the drawbacks of Jefferson Community College's relationship with the University of Kentucky?

DUDLEY: Well, I don't know if--uh, I guess the only drawbacks were that the other, uh, institutions of higher learning in the state, uh, resented it a little bit because of, you know, the community college would be in their domain and so UK was invading their, their domain, but, uh, it--for us--it was a plus because it, it, uh, gave us that much more stature being, uh, directly under UK.

O'HARA: So it was the benefit in that regard?


O'HARA: Now was it, um, an academic benefit to have, um, that connection 19:00with the university? Did they req-, did they ensure certain quality standards or was that set by the college?

DUDLEY: Well, it was set by the system, I suppose. Indirectly, UK, uh, had something to do with it, but, uh, I suppose it was set by the system and the college mainly. The com-, the syst-, the com-, the community college system operated, uh, uh, throughout this time, and, uh, so they would, they would have some say-so, I assume, on the curriculum and that sort of thing. But, uh, the staff--I don't know, I don't know about their relationship with UK. They were good. I know that, but, uh, I don't know how they managed, you know, the, the 20:00subject matter and presentation of it. I don't know about that.

O'HARA: As an advisory board member, can you--was there a difference in leadership style when the transition was made from Ellis Hartford to Dr. Wethington? Was there anything strikingly different about a leadership to leadership?

DUDLEY: Well, I think the situation was different. Uh, Ellis Hartford mainly established the different community colleges. Dr. Wethington, uh, I don't, I don't think they added any under him. I'm not sure, but I'm not, I'm not aware of it. (coughs) And he, uh, you know, he would come to our meetings occasionally, uh, but he, his was a more, uh, directorial, uh, approach because they were already established. That's 21:00what--now Ellis Hartford was busy establishing--(coughs)--I don't know.

O'HARA: So Ellis was probably a little, had to be a little bit more hands-on because of, um, getting them up and running and hiring the very first directors and making sure the buildings were established.


O'HARA: And Dr. Wethington was, um, a leader in a different phase of the development, like you said. Well, it's a fascinating story. Are there any, anything else that you would like to add; any other unique memories? I love the memory of hiring Dr. Wethington. I think that was a great story.

DUDLEY: Uh, not really anything I can think of. Uh--

O'HARA: Were there ever any sports teams at Jefferson Community College 22:00that you recollect whether they be--

DUDLEY: I don't think so.

O'HARA: --intramural or, or among the community colleges?

DUDLEY: I don't recall that there were. Are there now?

O'HARA: No. There are not now. What I found was that Henderson and Prestonsburg, Elizabethtown, in the late sixties--about '67,'68, maybe '69--there were basketball teams that competed with other junior colleges inside and outside of the state. It only lasted a couple of years, but I found it fascinating because I just discovered that in the last six months. Um--

DUDLEY: I don't remember, but I don't think there were at Jefferson. Uh, I don't know why, but--

O'HARA: And it may have been, uh, it's a metropolitan city. Jefferson Community College had its own identity that was very unique. You know, the metropolitan city of Louisville offered a lot already.


DUDLEY: Yeah. That's true.

O'HARA: And there may not have been as much of a, a need for it.

DUDLEY: All the high schools and, of course, U of L and Spalding and, uh, I don't know if any others had teams or not, but those certainly did. So there wasn't much, much time for it, I guess.

O'HARA: When Governor Ned Breathitt appointed you to the Jefferson Community College advisory board, what was your role in business and industry?

DUDLEY: I was just a practicing lawyer, so, and I'd supported Breathitt. He, he and I were fraternity brothers at UK, and, uh, I--so I supported him in his race for governor, and, uh, that's all I know. (laughs)

O'HARA: So there's several lawyers. I noticed that. Um, I find it 24:00fascinating to look at the business and industry representation or, in this case, lawyers. Um, were you aware of any type of a, um, two-year program to prepare for, like, legal secretaries or something that your field would be in need of; paralegals?

DUDLEY: I don't think so. I think U of L had a paralegal training program, and, and maybe some other college here did, I don't know, but I don't recall that we did. Uh, I don't recall.

O'HARA: Well, Mr. Dudley, thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

DUDLEY: No. No. (laughs) I don't remember a lot because I've been off that board for thirty years anyhow.

O'HARA: I'll tell you what. It's been a real treat, though. I, I loved, um, you know, learning more about the system, how it operated, Dr. Wethington's tenure. Very interesting, and I appreciate your 25:00time. Thank you so much.

DUDLEY: Well, thank you.

[End of interview.]

Search This Transcript