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2006-10-24 Interview with A.D. Albright, October 24, 2006 CC001:2006OH187CC03 01:02:17 History of Kentucky's Community Colleges Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Northern Kentucky University A.D. Albright; interviewee John Klee; interviewer 2006OH187_CC03_Albright 1:|13(5)|30(13)|55(6)|68(9)|88(8)|112(2)|131(7)|151(4)|167(10)|181(2)|197(2)|219(12)|240(13)|266(10)|283(7)|299(10)|312(2)|327(7)|345(7)|364(8)|373(11)|392(8)|403(12)|425(3)|444(1)|457(1)|472(8)|490(2)|498(3)|512(5)|525(8)|539(7)|558(8)|570(13)|590(7)|608(6)|622(9)|637(3)|648(7)|658(10)|681(3)|697(8)|716(6)|740(3)|759(8)|779(2)|812(1)|838(11)|860(15)|887(2)|911(3)|923(1)|934(3)|946(11)|964(6)|984(2)|1004(2)|1018(4)|1027(12)|1052(12)|1070(2)|1082(6) audiotrans CommuColl interview KLEE: The following is an unrehearsed interview by John Klee for the University of Kentucky Libraries with A.D. Albright on October 26th, 2006. I'm in Dr. Albright's apartment in Wilmore. Dr. Albright, to start out, the University of Kentucky established an extension center at Covington in the late '40s. What was your experience with any extension centers while you were at UK? ALBRIGHT: Well, at one point I was dean of extended programs. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And that included the extension centers. The one in Northern Kentucky, if I remember correctly, was started in 1946. There was one at Madisonville. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And the one at Madisonville had an unusual twist to it. KLEE: Go ahead and explain that. ALBRIGHT: Well, we were trying to do something that would extend the service of the University in cooperation with other institutions -- KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: -- at the same time. So what we set up was, at this extension center, Murray and Western students could register at this center. KLEE: Really? Was that for classes at Murray and Western or just for at Madisonville? ALBRIGHT: In Madisonville. KLEE: I see. Okay ALBRIGHT: But the they could be taught by faculty members at either of those two institutions or the University. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: Well, it did all right, I think. At least it got the three institutions together. KLEE: What was the purpose of these extension centers and what was the motivation behind them? ALBRIGHT: Was to extend educational opportunities, that's one. The other is to move the University out into the state, more than simply agriculture and so on. KLEE: What was the -- where was the motivation coming from that effort? Was it within the University? Was it political? ALBRIGHT: It was not -- it was more educationally-driven, I think, need in the state, rather than political, although it served two areas of Kentucky that were relatively less touched by the University except through agriculture. And -- KLEE: You're referring to Northern Kentucky and Madisonville, then? ALBRIGHT: Right. And in Madisonville, that program I mentioned of involving more than just the University academically, of course, disappeared when the community college started. KLEE: The collaboration disappeared, you're saying? ALBRIGHT: Well, it went to a community college, then, of the University. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And of course, the principle push on the community colleges came from Bert Combs. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And there are reasons that it was set up like it was. KLEE: Now, in the '60s, you were both a faculty member at some point and then went into administration? Or were you in administration all during that time period? ALBRIGHT: I came to UK from a Kellogg Foundation-sponsored research project in thirteen Southern states. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And as a professor and as a chair of the department of education and director of the bureau of school service, then I moved to this deanship. KLEE: Now, in -- I did do a little research and I saw one article where a Georgia state senator by the name of Tate said you were the most influential professor that he ever had. I don't know if you saw that article? ALBRIGHT: No. KLEE: Uh-huh. ALBRIGHT: But that was Horace -- Dr. Horace Tate, the first doctorate for a black person. KLEE: Yes, sir. He got the first doctorate for an African-American in that school. ALBRIGHT: That's right. KLEE: As I said, he -- I'll send you a copy of that article I found. He said you were the most influential -- and he went in quite detail about what kind of instructor -- how good of an instructor you were, trying to make him achieve. ALBRIGHT: He was very generous. That was an interesting occasion when he -- or before he came to UK. I had a call from the Georgia state department of education, and the call was, would you take a black student at UK for a doctorate? KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: (Laughing) KLEE: And how did you respond? ALBRIGHT: I responded that we had very little interest in taking over the responsibilities that belonged with the state of Georgia. KLEE: (Laughing) They were trying to get out of teaching an African- American student then, is what you're saying? ALBRIGHT: Sure. Well, anyway, we wound up, Horace Tate came to UK. And he was a good student, and we were very proud of him. KLEE: Did he experience, you know, very many problems in regards to his race? ALBRIGHT: Not very many. He -- his wife was a fine person too. And he had two daughters. KLEE: Was he married then and had a family at the time? ALBRIGHT: Yes. KLEE: I see, okay. ALBRIGHT: When he went back to Georgia, he entered politics. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And he became a senator, a state senator. And I think he was senator for eighteen years. He ran for mayor of Atlanta. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: He got nipped in that election. Anyway -- KLEE: Yes, sir. While you were a professor in the department of education, what was -- was there -- what was your knowledge of community colleges? ALBRIGHT: Not great, except I had had some contact with them in North Carolina. I did some work for -- well, in North Carolina, and I did some in South Carolina. And that's where I got -- KLEE: Knew something about them? ALBRIGHT: Right. And South Carolina, in particular, had advanced some. KLEE: What was your appraisal of what their role was in higher education in that time period? ALBRIGHT: Well, it was mostly, at the time, to concentrate on the two years of, say, a four-year college education. That had to be expanded some. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And as a matter of fact, needed to be expanded to include what some of the technical schools at the time were doing, and the technical schools needed to include some of the things that the community colleges were doing. KLEE: Were there discussions like that, even in that time period when you were -- you moved up to a vice presidency -- is that right -- at UK? ALBRIGHT: Well, I went to provost first after the deanship and then executive vice president. Well, the discussion sort of developed as the insights and needs in higher education began to be discussed more openly. There was a period early when the University looked upon -- I say some of the University -- KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: -- looked upon the community colleges as a feeder program for UK. KLEE: Uh-huh. ALBRIGHT: And there was also some question about whether they should expand beyond, well, your -- what you might call the core of, say, a four-year program at UK or Western or anywhere else. KLEE: The general education requirements or the first two years of an education. ALBRIGHT: Exactly, yeah. KLEE: There was also some opposition, probably within UK itself, from professors, letting someone teach English 101 in Madisonville or Covington? ALBRIGHT: No doubt about it. KLEE: And did you catch some of that? And what was your impression? ALBRIGHT: Yes, there was some of that, but it was not -- it did not pervade all of the UK faculty. KLEE: Did it -- was it ever an organized opposition or just kind of single -- ALBRIGHT: No, it was not a planned opposition. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: It was more a collection of some dissidents. KLEE: I see. Now, I think I read that you were interim president before Dr. Oswald became president -- is that correct -- for about a year there in '63? ALBRIGHT: Yes. KLEE: And that would have been right in the time period when all this community college growth was going on. What was your role in the middle of all that? ALBRIGHT: (Laughing) Well, I guess, in effect, during that period, I was more what you would call a chief operations officer for the University, and it included -- well, then I believe -- I'm not just sure when it happened, but there was a fellow in education who came on and took on of more of the community college part. KLEE: Was that Dr. Hartford? ALBRIGHT: Hartford. KLEE: Ellis Hartford. What kind of person was he? Was he someone you had contact with? ALBRIGHT: Yes, a bright fellow. He had ideas about the community college system. He worked hard. KLEE: Had -- did the people in the administration at UK think it was important to give the community colleges a separate administrative structure? ALBRIGHT: That was during Patton. KLEE: Oh, okay. Yeah. ALBRIGHT: Governor Patton. KLEE: But I meant within UK, a separate department or -- ALBRIGHT: There were some who felt that the community college needed to expand its operation. KLEE: How did the politics of the Combs administration, the -- it seems like that was the initial -- there was a push from the Combs administration to build this system. And how did that get translated to UK? Who was the point person through UK? Or how did that -- I mean, were there committees and discussions held? Who were the individuals involved? ALBRIGHT: Well, there -- it was -- the decision about whether to go separate with the Community College System or attach it to the University was fairly simple. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And that was there was no taxing units in the state at that time, other than just the local ones. And there was only one way to get this started without a long delay, and that was to attach it to some organized organization, and that should be in education. So it was UK, which was statewide. KLEE: I hadn't considered that. And did the politicians -- or I don't know if you're aware or have any knowledge of this, but it would have been hard to get a taxing district passed for these things because taxes are so unpopular. ALBRIGHT: No doubt about it. And it would have been politically very difficult. KLEE: I see. So this was a quick way to do it and a politically acceptable way to do it, and UK was there. ALBRIGHT: And it made sense to a lot of people. People in the state -- out in the state were interested in having a community college nearby, because it was ready access. KLEE: Right. Was there a big movement in the '60s across the country or even in Kentucky? What was this emphasis on access about? I mean, what were they looking for and why? ALBRIGHT: Well, I did a little work, as I mentioned, in North Carolina, and I did a little with South Carolina, (coughing) and this experience I had in the Kellogg Foundation program in the South gave me some perspective about development. (Coughing) Sorry. KLEE: That's fine. ALBRIGHT: And there was a general -- I'd say a general push to expand education. KLEE: I see. Yeah. I think -- yeah. ALBRIGHT: Extend it, especially on the college level. Of course, if my history comes to mind correctly, I believe it was in Massachusetts -- I don't know the exact year, but way back there -- the legislature in Massachusetts offered to establish, well, what amounted to an extension of educational opportunity by $20,000. KLEE: Oh. ALBRIGHT: (Laughing) And I think the institutions up there turned it down. (Coughing) Excuse me. KLEE: Going back to the extension centers and where these colleges were located, was there anyone in the Combs administration that stands out in your mind? Did he have a point person on this or a secretary of education or anybody you worked with there? ALBRIGHT: Well, I don't really recall any particular person. KLEE: I see. Now, Covington as a choice, obviously it was already an extension center. So was it a natural choice for a community college, then? ALBRIGHT: Say again, please. KLEE: Was Covington a natural choice for one of the community colleges? ALBRIGHT: Yes, it was a population area sufficient to -- and there was -- there were some colleges in (coughing) -- sorry -- KLEE: That's fine. ALBRIGHT: -- in -- certainly across the river, and there was Thomas More. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And (coughing) there was a need there for a public -- KLEE: Who were some of the people in Northern Kentucky that were important in the early development of the community college? ALBRIGHT: Oh. KLEE: They might have been there when you were -- came back as president of the university or Northern Kentucky State College. ALBRIGHT: Well, I was at the University when Louie Nunn became governor. And he, I would say, was instrumental in the establishment of the university there. And Larry Forgy, who was on his staff for a time, he was also at the University. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: Had a considerable amount to do with the university being created there. I can remember I was at UK at the time, and there was some interest in the addition of the Chase Law School to the new UK center. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And well anyway -- KLEE: Did UK not want to -- they already had a law school. Did they not want to bite on that or -- ALBRIGHT: Well, they put -- Northern people were saying that it won't cost anything. Well, the University put me to work to estimate how much it would cost to add a law school. And (laughing) it was interesting in the difference in the two figures. KLEE: (Laughing) Between nothing and what you came up with? ALBRIGHT: Right. KLEE: How did you go about that research? ALBRIGHT: Well, taking what the Chase College of Law was expending at the current time, and then what you needed to do -- what we would think at the University to be a top- -- fairly top-notch law school, and you add those and the operations figures. Of course, there was the matter of the building and all that sort of thing. KLEE: Sure. Uh-huh. ALBRIGHT: So I don't think we -- that the University tried to make the figure large enough so that it would deny another law school, but that -- it was an interesting -- KLEE: At that point you all decided it was cost-prohibitive, I guess? ALBRIGHT: Well, if the University were going to bear it, yes. KLEE: Yes, okay. ALBRIGHT: We were not overly-funded at the time. KLEE: Now, after you served as interim president, Dr. Oswald came in, and the Combs administration had already created this system. Did Dr. Oswald embrace it pretty enthusiastically? ALBRIGHT: Yes, he was supportive of it, although I don't think -- he was a busy man. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And I -- but he spent proportionately enough time. KLEE: So you're saying that there was -- he had other priorities to look towards. ALBRIGHT: Well, I think Dr. Oswald was brought here to effect some changes in UK. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And he did. Some of it most interesting, in that one of the things he did was affect the infrastructure of UK on campus. KLEE: In what ways? Was that administratively you're talking about there? Explain that to me. ALBRIGHT: Well, I'm going to use one example. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: You knew Dr. Clark, Thomas Clark. And he was the chair of the history department and very active in the University senate. He would say in the senate that changes needed to be made. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: But when John Oswald said that -- in effect, said that the chair people were going to have to change, Dr. Clark didn't really countenance that too well. KLEE: I see. What kind of change was he talking about there, as far as funding or -- ALBRIGHT: Mainly people who were spending some time on program development, the matter of student admissions and so on. And of course, as you know, John Oswald, a lot of people disliked -- they were satisfied to run it the same -- KLEE: Right. Change sounds good till it comes. ALBRIGHT: And those were difficult years in many respects. KLEE: And how did that affect your work? ALBRIGHT: Well, as I mentioned, for all practical purposes, I guess, I was chief operations officer. KLEE: Right. ALBRIGHT: And that included also the overall budget program for the medical center. And that presented the interest in sort of putting together some of the scientific courses -- KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: -- in programs at the medical center, along with some of the scientific on the main campus. We tried that, but that was not wholly successful. KLEE: Trying to merge those. What about budgets for the community colleges? Were they -- how were they determined and what kind of priority did they have? ALBRIGHT: Well, of course, they were growing in number. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And they were a little easier to finance, I think, in the legislature because of the local interest in them. And I don't -- I was not too intimately involved in that stage. KLEE: I see. In that -- when the Nunn administration came in -- again, you know, I know that universities try to stay apolitical, but obviously it is a political thing. How was that affecting your job and UK? ALBRIGHT: Well, when Dr. Singletary -- KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: -- came in, he was brought in to -- for one purpose, to stabilize the -- some of the unrest and unhappiness. KLEE: I see. After the Oswald presidency, then? ALBRIGHT: Yeah. And I know -- Louie Nunn and I got along fine. KLEE: I see. When -- you mentioned Larry Forgy, that he had a role in that administration and also at UK, Northern Kentucky was the only community college that eventually grew into a four-year university. What's your take on that? Explain that a little bit to us. ALBRIGHT: Well, the people in Northern Kentucky became interested in expansion. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And at that particular time, Northern Kentucky was not a central figure in the political arrangement, as I understood it. But I think Louie Nunn brought it into the political picture more and more. KLEE: I see. Was there some reason that your -- explains that from your viewpoint? Did he just see it as a territory that maybe could be developed politically? I mean in other ways too, of course, but usually -- sometimes politicians pay off places that got them to where they're at, but Nunn looked at Northern Kentucky as far as this university is concerned? ALBRIGHT: Well, he was interested in education, as you know. If I could depart for just a minute. KLEE: That's fine. Yeah. ALBRIGHT: I know when -- right at the first when he became governor, he had, I guess, maybe five or six of us over to his office one morning. I think we were supposed to be there at 7:30. And he came in, and I'm sure -- and I told this story in front of him one time later, that he came in, and I think he said, "Good morning." KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: But he said something to the effect that, "I'm here telling you that I'm interested in the promotion of education. And I'm going to have to pass a tax to do it." (Coughing) And in effect, I think he said, "And you best -- if you want any of it, you better get busy." KLEE: (Laughing) And what did he mean by that? Support it? ALBRIGHT: Yeah. And to start thinking about what you need to do. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And if we're going to expand, you need to know what it is you're going to expand into. KLEE: I see. Who was at -- you said that you were at that meeting. Were there representatives just from UK or from different colleges? Who was there? Do you remember? ALBRIGHT: No, I don't. (Coughing) No, I could take a crack at it, but I could easily be off base. KLEE: And did you go ahead and start getting busy, then? What did you think in your role? What did -- ALBRIGHT: Well, at some point after that, Louie Nunn called me and said, "I want you to -- ." This was two or three years after the university had been underway. He said, "I want you to go as president of Northern." And I said, "I can't do it." "Well, why can't you go?" KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: I said, "I'm supposed to go on a Fulbright to Europe." KLEE: And did you go ahead and finish up on that Fulbright? Did you go on the Fulbright, rather than taking the presidency at that point? ALBRIGHT: Mm-mm. KLEE: Now, you were still at UK. Northern Kentucky State College was born in '68, so it didn't stay a community college very long. ALBRIGHT: That's right. KLEE: How -- what was UK's reaction to the idea that this community college was going to be taken away and turned into a university or a college? Was there resistance on UK's part? Was it -- ALBRIGHT: Not -- it was not pronounced. I think UK recognized that there was a need for that whole area, that it was likely to develop. Even then, Northern Kentucky was beginning to expand a bit. KLEE: And grow. Did -- was there any details that had to be -- were you involved in the facilitating of all that? Turning over property or -- ALBRIGHT: I did -- well, I worked with Forgy a little bit on it. For example, there was the matter of such things as the extension of retirement. KLEE: Yes, sir. Right. ALBRIGHT: The matter of appointments that would include tenure and all that sort of thing. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: So it was a pretty wholesale movement, and I worked with him some on that. KLEE: And did most of that -- those kind of things take place? I mean, you were able to transfer years of experience or retirement systems. I mean, there was some type of transition created there. Again, were there any community leaders that stand out in your mind that were lobbying either UK and/or the state to try to get this thing done in Northern Kentucky? Or political leaders? I know Ken Lucas was involved with the university a long time. ALBRIGHT: Yes, he was chairman of the board for quite a while. There was a lawyer up there. I don't remember his name off-hand. KLEE: Well, if it comes to you later, you let me know. ALBRIGHT: I'll think of it this afternoon. KLEE: That's fine. That's the way I do things too. (Laughing) Did the people have to raise any local money? ALBRIGHT: Well, I'd say not much. But that matter of some local money certainly had to be developed. And Northern, in a way, was short- changed from the beginning. Even when I went as president, the -- and I was there seven years. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: A lot of times we had to ask for just grants of so much, let's say, $400,000, maybe, for the library or something like that, where you could move -- within the institution, you could move money around if you got that sort of help. But that usually was built into the base. If it weren't, then you didn't use it on a recurring basis. KLEE: Right. So what you're saying -- why was the university short- changed? What was -- were they trying to do this on the cheap from the state level or from -- ALBRIGHT: I don't think UK had the notion of keeping it from growing, but it was a matter of how the funds were allocated -- or passed to begin with and then allocated. The state Council on Higher Education at the time was not a strong instrument for overall -- any overall governance. It was a coordinating body. And so it -- each institution, of course, at the time was pretty much in competition with every other institution. KLEE: And Northern lacked some of the -- of course, the history and maybe the clout? ALBRIGHT: Some, yes. Now, when I was there we did -- which would be looked upon as a peculiar sort of thing today, we had sort of a caucus of both of the representatives of both parties. KLEE: In reference to supporting NKU? And they were able to get along on that issue? ALBRIGHT: Mm-mm. KLEE: Do you remember any of those political people that you worked with there? ALBRIGHT: Oh, I remember them, but I can't -- KLEE: I also read that, I think, the chamber of commerce -- the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce was born that same time. ALBRIGHT: That's about right. KLEE: Were they -- what was their role? ALBRIGHT: Well, I know at one point when I was there, we had, I think it was, nine financial institutions together. KLEE: Yes. Uh-huh. ALBRIGHT: There were several things we wanted to develop. One was some -- well, kind of like Spindletop. No, not Spindletop, the research area. And one of the prime activists in this was John Brooking. KLEE: Okay. ALBRIGHT: He was a lawyer. And John could be helpful to you. KLEE: All right. ALBRIGHT: And he lives in Northern Kentucky. KLEE: Okay, I'll follow up on that. What -- how important has that college -- and of course, you know, it started as a community college and became a university. What role has it played in Northern Kentucky? ALBRIGHT: Well, certainly one thing, it expanded the opportunities for people in the area. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: It's now about 14,000. That's, I guess, a gain of 10,000. KLEE: Right. From when -- from your tenure there? ALBRIGHT: I think that maybe it was 4,000 when I went there. I'm not real sure about that, but it's grown considerably, and the president is a very able fellow. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And has done a really commendable job. KLEE: And now they've created a new community college, too. UK -- the Community College System has, so he's working again now with a community college. ALBRIGHT: That's right. KLEE: I lost the chronology a little bit from when Northern Community College became Northern Kentucky University, and you were still at the University. You took a Fulbright fellowship, and then you became president of NKU in 1976. Was there some interim activities in there? You went straight from UK to the Fulbright to Northern? ALBRIGHT: Oh, let's see. I went to Northern in '76, and I was there until '83. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: '76. KLEE: That was what I found out. I don't know if that was right; that was my research. ALBRIGHT: That's my recollection. KLEE: Was there -- did you -- had you left UK earlier in the '70s or in the late '60s? When did -- ALBRIGHT: I went to -- yes, I went as director of the Council on Higher Education -- KLEE: That's right, okay. ALBRIGHT: -- from '72 to '76. And the board at Northern asked me a couple of times to take it. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And I finally did. KLEE: (Laughing) While you were at the Council -- and I do recall that now -- what was your experience like working with community colleges in that role? ALBRIGHT: I didn't have a very heavy role in that, for the simple reason that they were attached to the University. KLEE: I see. So you weren't -- the University was dealing with you. And as you said, that was an advisory body. Was that -- what kind of experience was that, being director of that council? ALBRIGHT: (Laughing) It was mainly a coordinating body between and among the institutions. KLEE: Right. ALBRIGHT: To some extent, some contact with Frankfort officials and so on. It was an interesting four years. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And I think I learned a little. KLEE: (Laughing) I'd say. Did that experience help you when you went to Northern, then? ALBRIGHT: Yes, yes. At the -- that was during the time when Bob Martin -- KLEE: Yes,sir. ALBRIGHT: -- and Adron Doran were at their height. KLEE: Right. ALBRIGHT: And I had some interesting experiences with the college presidents. KLEE: I'd like to hear a couple of those, if you have time for me. ALBRIGHT: All right. KLEE: Let me turn this tape over. ALBRIGHT: Okay. [End Side 1, Tape 1] [Begin Side 2, Tape 1] KLEE: -- and I've got some leads. This is side two of a tape for the University of Kentucky Oral History collection. This is John Klee speaking with Dr. A.D. Albright. You were talking about the college presidents in the middle of the '70s, and you said they were at their height. What do you mean by that? ALBRIGHT: Well, they were influential people politically. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And had a lot of influence. KLEE: Now, the two people you mentioned, Dr. Doran and Dr. Martin, hadn't they both come from political backgrounds? ALBRIGHT: Well, Dr. Martin was the president -- well, he was in education and then went as president of Eastern. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: Dr. Doran had been in education in Western Kentucky, but then he went to the legislature. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: And was, I think, was speaker of the house. So they both had an entrance. KLEE: Had some background. ALBRIGHT: Anyway, I know Dr. Martin came over one morning early, and he said he wanted to talk about such and such. KLEE: You were headquartered where at, at that time? ALBRIGHT: Frankfort. KLEE: You were in Frankfort. Uh-huh. He wasn't too far away then, was he? (Laughing) ALBRIGHT: No. He -- and he said, "I want to talk with you about so and so." And I said, "Fine." So he told me what he had in mind, but then he said, "I also know that you went to the attorney general before I got here." KLEE: (Laughing) What was that about? ALBRIGHT: Well, that was -- there was there was one thing up at the time about the development of an agriculture program at Eastern. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And -- well, there were -- I know of one case with Dr. Doran. I believe he wanted a new swimming pool. I asked him what he did with the old one. KLEE: (Laughing) ALBRIGHT: He said he stored coal in it. KLEE: (Laughing) Is that right? ALBRIGHT: (Laughing) Oh, we had some fun with it. KLEE: Now Dr. Martin -- when President Martin found out you'd checked with the attorney general, was that because -- you'd check with him because of the statutory regulations about UK? And what did you find out? ALBRIGHT: Well, it was -- oh, goodness. I'm pretty sure that it was not in Dr. Martin's favor. KLEE: Right. And he -- I guess he had contacts in -- throughout state government. ALBRIGHT: Oh, yeah. KLEE: (Laughing) He knew your move before you'd finished it. ALBRIGHT: I have a -- subsequently, they developed an agriculture program there. And Western wanted a law school. KLEE: Uh-huh. ALBRIGHT: Even took one of UK's faculty members down as a faculty member at Western. KLEE: Is that right? ALBRIGHT: And that was solely the intent -- KLEE: Right. ALBRIGHT: -- of that move. KLEE: That didn't come to fruition? ALBRIGHT: No, no. But oh, that was not the end of that, though. KLEE: (Laughing) Yeah. Going back to your time at Northern, what were some highlights there for you during that presidency? And how did you see that university and community changing while you were there? ALBRIGHT: Well, apparently I went there because Northern had a few problems. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: One of them was in the presidency, more some personal matters. Another was program development. And I, well, started with asking department chairs what needed to be done program-wise -- KLEE: Right. ALBRIGHT: -- or development. And that's where we started. Generally, I think the faculty was quite interested in development and willing to do what they could. KLEE: Did you get pretty good cooperation from across the river? Of course, you know, in those times Northern Kentucky was such an extension of Cincinnati. ALBRIGHT: Yes. What we worked out with reference to libraries, for instance -- Northern's library was weak -- was an arrangement whereby we had access to UC's library and vice versa within a 24-hour period. KLEE: My! That's wonderful. ALBRIGHT: That helped a great deal. We did at some point -- I don't know which year it was -- extended in-state tuition to people in certain counties in Southern Ohio. UC was quite cooperative. KLEE: Were they? ALBRIGHT: We didn't do much with Xavier, as I remember. KLEE: Right, yeah. ALBRIGHT: We did work some with Thomas More. And I guess -- well, there were certain programs we had to expand. KLEE: People must have thought that you accomplished quite a bit. Again, as I was doing research, I know there's an Albright award that the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce gives for educators, I believe. How did your family enjoy -- or did they -- what was living in Northern Kentucky like? ALBRIGHT: Well, there was a different -- it wasn't a subculture, but it was different than, say, Lexington. KLEE: Central Kentucky? ALBRIGHT: Right. Mrs. Albright was a very good person. KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: She didn't try to run things and was very interested in the people. KLEE: And had a social role, I guess? ALBRIGHT: She organized a chapter of an international women's organization that's interested in promoting women's education at the time. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: So that sort of infused her into the region. And our two sons had already -- they didn't move with us. They were into their own -- KLEE: I see. They were young adults at that time? ALBRIGHT: Yes. KLEE: And you left in '83. Was -- what was the thinking behind that? ALBRIGHT: It was time for me to go. KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: I had said to the board when they asked me, I said, "I'll come for three years." Well, you never get done. KLEE: (Laughing) Right. ALBRIGHT: It's an underestimate of what needs to be done, I guess. Anyway, then in that year, just one day, I said to the board, "In six months, you'll need to have a new president." KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: So -- and I remained president during those six months. They allowed me to. But that was -- it was a good board. KLEE: Right. Uh-huh. ALBRIGHT: Oh, there are some interesting things. The -- at one point, just as a little incident -- KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: -- the man next to the governor called me one day, and we went through the field of daisies and all that. (Laughing) I said, "Let's take a crack at why you called. " I didn't put it quite like that, but -- KLEE: (Laughing) Sure. ALBRIGHT: He said, "Well, we understand that your about to employ or on the way to employing a lawyer for the university." I said, "That's true." He said, "Well, we'd like to talk about that." I said, "Do you mean you'd like to place your lawyer?" KLEE: I see. ALBRIGHT: And -- well of course, it toned that down a little. But anyway, I said -- if I remember correctly, I said, "Let me say to you that the board of regents here, according to the law, is the one that employs the personnel. If you want to suggest one, I'm sure the board would like -- but don't plan on it." And I said, "I don't think you would want The Cincinnati Post or the Enquirer to pick that story up, do you?" KLEE: (Laughing) Right. ALBRIGHT: He said, "Been nice talking with you." KLEE: (Laughing) That was the end of that? Do you want to share what administration that was? ALBRIGHT: Yeah. It was John Y. KLEE: John Y. Brown? ALBRIGHT: Yeah. KLEE: And who did you end up hiring there, the lawyer? ALBRIGHT: A woman. KLEE: Is that right? ALBRIGHT: She then went to the University of Michigan. I remember interviewing her, and I said to her something to the effect that, "There are two or three things that I would expect from you. One is that you tell me what you think, whether you think I like it or not." KLEE: Yes, sir. ALBRIGHT: "The other is I want to know whether we're within the law." KLEE: Right. ALBRIGHT: And so on. Anyway, she was a very able person. KLEE: You mention that story. That's a fine line that a university president had to walk, because that's the same administration you go back to for funding and so forth. Was that kind of a constant pressure at UK and at Northern? ALBRIGHT: Oh, you were usually mindful of what part different people played, if you really knew. Well, John Y. was an interesting chap on his own. I know at one point I went to see him about something -- I've forgotten now what it was -- and I knew that his attention span was short. So whatever it was, I spent about thirty seconds. And then I reached in my pocket and pulled something out, a piece of paper of some kind, and handed it to him. He just looked at it. And anyway, it was not related to what I talked with him about, but we got a building. KLEE: I see. (Laughing) Short meeting, huh? I sure appreciate the time, and I know you have a luncheon engagement coming up here. ALBRIGHT: What time is it? KLEE: It's about a quarter after eleven. ALBRIGHT: Oh. KLEE: I sure appreciate the time. ALBRIGHT: If all this rambling of mine -- I don't believe was -- KLEE: Oh, I think it will be great. ALBRIGHT: -- very helpful. KLEE: I got some good things. I sure appreciate it. Oral history with A.D. Albright, president of Northern Kentucky University from 1976 to 1983. Interview covers his work at the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Council on Higher Education before he came to Northern. Highlights include work with the state legislature and changes to Northern since the 1970s, including its evolution from a two-year to a four-year-plus institution. insert here