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2006-10-30 Interview with Darrell H. Abney, October 30, 2006 CC001:2006OH190CC06 00:35:46 History of Kentucky's Community Colleges Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Maysville Community and Technical College Darrell H. Abney; interviewee John Klee; interviewer 2006OH190_CC06_Abney 1:|25(9)|64(5)|106(4)|126(6)|156(4)|180(1)|213(8)|242(7)|274(11)|315(11)|346(4)|362(3)|386(10)|402(4)|424(8)|453(1)|476(4)|492(6)|512(6)|530(5)|559(12)|582(10)|600(9)|618(1)|636(6)|651(9)|668(8)|694(9)|708(1)|719(9)|737(2)|752(11)|771(7)|789(10)|809(2) audiotrans CommuColl interview KLEE: I'm going to try this thing. ABNEY: Okay. KLEE: The following is an unrehearsed interview for the University of Kentucky Oral History Program, the community college project. I'm John Klee, and I'm interviewing Darrell Abney. It's October 30th, 2006. We're at Maysville Community and Technical College campus. And today is October 30th -- I've already said that -- 2006. Darrell, start by telling me how you became associated with Maysville Community College. How did you get this job? ABNEY: Well, in the summer of 1968, I got my master's degree from Western, a master's of arts and teaching, with a major in math. KLEE: Right. ABNEY: And I was looking for a job, and one of the guys at Western, Lee Robertson, was a placement director there, was also from my hometown of Calhoun. KLEE: Okay. ABNEY: And he -- I ran into him on campus one day, and he said how my job search was going. And I said well, I hadn't really found anything I liked yet. And he said, well, that the guy had called him -- Dr. Wethington had called him from Maysville, and they were looking for a math teacher. They had hired somebody originally, and evidently they took another job or for some reason couldn't come. So I called up here and got an interview. And you know, this is probably in July (laughter -- Klee), and school started in August. KLEE: This is right -- sure, yeah. You'd never taught before? ABNEY: Just student teaching. KLEE: Right. ABNEY: And I did some teaching as a graduate assistant, but no full-time teaching position before. KLEE: Tell me about your meeting with Dr. Wethington. How did that -- did -- was there a search committee or was he just hiring faculty on his own? ABNEY: It was just Dr. Wethington. I met him in the -- downtown. You know, we had two buildings downtown that we originally used until the campus was built. KLEE: What were those? ABNEY: I don't remember. KLEE: Presbyterian church, I think, wasn't it? ABNEY: No. KLEE: Oh. You mean -- ABNEY: These are the office buildings. KLEE: -- offices, uh-huh. ABNEY: There are two large office buildings there on the corner of Wall and Second. KLEE: Okay. I see, yeah. ABNEY: And the first building has a Hallmark now in the ----------(??) KLEE: Okay, right. ABNEY: And then the one next to it -- KLEE: That's the Cochran building. ABNEY: -- was where Wethington's office was. KLEE: Okay. ABNEY: And I just met him, and he showed me around. And then, you know -- KLEE: And so the classes -- that was the very first class at Maysville Community College? ABNEY: Uh-huh, right. KLEE: And you all were meeting where? ABNEY: Well, we were using the Presbyterian church and the Methodist church. And I taught -- my classes were all in the Presbyterian church. KLEE: Were they? Uh-huh. What was your class load like that first semester? ABNEY: I think I taught fifteen or sixteen hours. Every one was a different course. KLEE: I see. ABNEY: I had -- you've got my book there. KLEE: Yeah, right. ABNEY: I had Calculus I, Algebra and Trig, an Applied Math course, and a Finite Math course. KLEE: Is that right? Uh-huh. ABNEY: Yeah. KLEE: Now, tell me about some of your colleagues there at the beginning. Who were some of the people you taught with? ABNEY: Well, Rosemary Moffett -- I can't remember her name at that time, but she became Rosemary Moffett -- KLEE: Ok ABNEY: -- was the Eng- -- and my wife -- at that time she was Kay Hargett -- were the English faculty. And Natalie Jarzebowski was our Russian and French teacher. John Crockett was the speech and communications teacher. Dr. Robert Berry was our chemistry/agriculture teacher. Pete Burdine was the biology teacher. Joellen Greenbaum taught art. Ellen Malone was the business education teacher. I'm sure I've missed somebody. KLEE: Yeah. But that's most of the group, wasn't it? ABNEY: Yeah, there were very few. KLEE: Now, Herb Ritchie wasn't -- he came in later. ABNEY: Herb Ritchie] came the second year. KLEE: He came the second year. ABNEY: And he was in physics. And Bob Biddle, who was the -- I think teaching biology at Maysville High School at that time, served as a lab assistant, I guess, to both Pete and Dr. Berry, because we used their labs the first year. KLEE: Oh, okay. ABNEY: Downtown labs. KLEE: I see. Oh, did you? ABNEY: Yeah. KLEE: What about your administrators? Who were -- ABNEY: Well Dr. Wethington was the director -- that's what they called them then. And Robert Bowers was the business manager. Alpha Straub was the counselor. And that was pretty much it. Joyce Moore was a librarian. KLEE: Right. Tell me about working for Dr. Wethington. What kind of supervisor was he? ABNEY: He really was not a real hands-on supervisor. You know, he pretty much hired people and, you know, let them do what they're supposed to do unless something went wrong. But we had monthly faculty meetings and -- which was good. And it was real -- you know, you couldn't miss those faculty meetings like you can nowadays, (laughter -- both) because there weren't but twelve, fifteen people there. KLEE: Right. Yeah, your absence would be noticeable. ABNEY: That's right. KLEE: Was he kind of acting as his academic dean too, then, in that first year or two? ABNEY: Yeah, I guess he was. He'd pretty -- make up the scheduling, and then he and Alpha and Bowers did the registration. KLEE: Mm-mm. Did you have to kind of work out of your -- out of a handbag or whatever? There weren't offices for you, were there? ABNEY: Yeah, that second floor -- KLEE: Oh, okay. ABNEY: -- of that building, there were, like, fifteen desks all in one big room. KLEE: I see. ABNEY: So everybody had a room [desk]. And it wasn't like today. You know, you didn't have a computer and all those things. KLEE: Right. ABNEY: There was a copy machine in Dr. Wethington's office, but you -- I don't know, you probably had to have permission from somebody to use it. KLEE: (Laughter -- Klee) Right. So you all kind of met together, and students met you there. ABNEY: Uh-huh. KLEE: What was the nature of the college in that infancy? What kind of students were you attracting? ABNEY: The first year, I don't -- you know, we didn't attract as many students because we didn't have -- you know, but everybody in the community was very supportive. And we'd go to places like the Rotary Club or Lions Club or things, and different people would make talks and everything. And it was real well-received. And they were raising funds for the scholarships and things like this, so the community was very supportive. KLEE: Mm-mm. Now, you came up here to be in- -- you were interviewed in Maysville. Was that the first time you'd been to Maysville? ABNEY: First time I'd been to Maysville. KLEE: What was your appraisal of the community? ABNEY: Well, it was a small town, but it was a lot bigger town than I grew up in. KLEE: I see. ABNEY: You know, I grew up in a town of less than 1,000, so -- KLEE: Okay. ABNEY: And you know, the downtown was a lot more active then than it is now. There weren't as many buildings. Those two buildings we were in were kind of vacant, but you know, most of the stores were still operating downstairs -- downtown. There were a couple of drugstores and several jewelry stores, so it was pretty active. And there wasn't anything -- remember, from -- Mason County High School went out this way; there wasn't anything. So everything was downtown, and it was, you know, a very supportive community. KLEE: Right. Were there individuals in the community that stood out as supporters of the college in those early years? ABNEY: Mrs. Calvert, probably, is the one I remember the most, you know. KLEE: Okay. ABNEY: After I was hired, I came back up, and she took me around and helped me find a place to stay. KLEE: Did she? ABNEY: Then there were people from both banks, State National Bank and the Bank of Maysville. And you know, they -- it seemed like they were supportive. And I think people were kind of encouraged to use both banks rather than the one. I think the college was trying to support the community. KLEE: Mm-mm. And got support back that way. ABNEY: Got support back. KLEE: Uh-huh. Very quickly, you were downtown for one year? ABNEY: For one year. KLEE: And they were building this building out here? ABNEY: Right. And we would come out, like, once a month or so and take a tour of it. KLEE: I see. ABNEY: And we'd actually see which buildings were going up. And you could kind of say, "I want that office," or whatever. (Laughter -- Klee) KLEE: Right. And did you attend that dedication of the building or the groundbreaking or -- well, I guess that's two different occasions. ABNEY: The dedication of the building, I attended. The Governor was here, and I think the president of U.K. was here. KLEE: Mm-mm, yeah. ABNEY: Yeah. KLEE: Dr. Singletary, I think, at the time. ABNEY: Uh-huh, yeah. KLEE: Right. Do you remember any specifics? Was it a cold day? ABNEY: I don't remember any specifics. KLEE: Right. ABNEY: I don't even remember the date of it. KLEE: Yeah. I'm sure I can find that, sure. ABNEY: Yeah. KLEE: Anybody else on that -- in that -- on those early founders that you had -- found yourself working with? When I say founders, I mean community support people. ABNEY: John, I don't remember a whole lot about that. KLEE: Mm-mm, yeah. ABNEY: I just -- I know that -- I remember Harriet Cartmell and -- you know, because I worked with her, but I'm not sure whether it was -- KLEE: Then or later? ABNEY: -- then or later, yeah. KLEE: Now, the college was part of the University of Kentucky System. What did that mean to you teaching -- I mean, how did that impact you? Did you -- ABNEY: Well, we kind of got the idea that we were supposed to use the course outlines, syllabi, and the textbooks that U.K. used. KLEE: I see. ABNEY: And it turned out that was not the -- U.K. was using more of a calculus book that wasn't a straight-forward calculus book. I ended up using that for 2 years. (Laughter -- Klee) KLEE: Okay. ABNEY: And that wasn't the best experience in the world. But again, it helped also that you did have their textbook -- their lists and things, because if you hadn't ever taught before -- and the first year I was the only math teacher. KLEE: Gee, uh-huh. ABNEY: And Herb didn't come until the second year, so there wasn't really anybody locally to help me. KLEE: Sure, yeah. What about being a -- how did that play out in the community, part of the University of Kentucky? Did you see any of that? ABNEY: Oh, I think that gave a lot of support, and the students were happy about that because they were eligible to get U.K. basketball tickets, you know. U.K. basketball is always big with the people in this community and all throughout Kentucky. KLEE: Sure, yeah. What did it mean for you as being an employee of the University? Did that have any impact on you? How did -- I guess you picked up a check here locally and -- ABNEY: Right. The checks were delivered here locally. There was a U.K. credit union you could belong to. And then there were a couple of stores that you got discounts on, maybe because of that, you know. And so you got the same retirement package that U.K. people got. And so being a U.K. employee, you didn't get -- at that time we didn't get any discount on any tuition or anything. KLEE: I see, yeah. ABNEY: Yeah, that came later, I think. KLEE: Were you active in those first couple years in any System-type committees? Did you have to go to Lexington? ABNEY: Well, the first two or three years, all the faculty members met at -- I think we met the first year in Louisville. KLEE: I see. ABNEY: And I was -- everybody was appointed to a committee, and I think I was on a student services committee there for a couple of years. I think we met maybe in Louisville the first year, Lexington the second year, maybe -- I can't remember where the third year. But everybody -- but there wasn't a whole lot of activity between -- like a lot of meetings between September and the next September. So there wasn't a lot of curriculum -- you know, being as we were using the same courses that U.K. used, we didn't have a lot of input into that. KLEE: Yeah. When you go through this list of faculty -- and of course, you know, I've been associated with the college a little bit, too -- you see a lot of traditional disciplines. Was the college -- what -- how did you see the college? Was it a branch of U.K.? Was it for transfer students? What was -- ABNEY: I think it was a lot more transfer-oriented than it was then. Bob Berry did teach agro-business; we had an agro-business two-year degree. And then Ellen Malone-- I don't know what they called it then, whether it was office systems or secretarial science or something, but -- and then we had developmental courses, but not nearly the level we do now. Maybe one English course and one math course, and that was it. KLEE: Were there any special challenges, either as you taught downtown or as you came here, that stand out in your mind? ABNEY: Well, I think one of the biggest challenges for me was teaching calculus, but without having anybody around to -- there were -- those early days, I think there were a few days that I said, "Well, we'll go over this tomorrow after I figure out -- ." (Laughter -- Klee) So I had to spend my night figuring out what was going on. KLEE: Right. ABNEY: I think it was more of a cooperative and fun atmosphere. I think everybody tried to support everything else. You know, we didn't have any athletic building or anything, but we did some innovative things, like we did intra-mural flag football out here in the -- KLEE: In the field. ABNEY: It was in between the building, you know, kind of -- and then we did -- we rented the Washington gym, and we had intra-mural basketball. And we actually tried to play a few other places, without -- you know, it wasn't as successful as it could be. KLEE: Right. ABNEY: There was a Mountain Dew Festival each year, and we took students down to participate in that. And of course, I was younger and had a lot more energy then, so I -- KLEE: And that Mountain Dew Festival, what kind of events were involved there? ABNEY: I know we had -- took a basketball team, and then there were some other athletic events. I don't know whether there were any non- athletic events. KLEE: Well, I think they had a princess as I recall, maybe. ABNEY: They may have. KLEE: They would crown a princess, right? ABNEY: And U.K-- . when they had homecoming at U.K., each community college was -- had a princess there too. KLEE: Mm-mm, yeah, yeah. Were you here when the shift came over to Dr. Shires, then? ABNEY: No, Dr. Wethington and I left, both, after the first three years. KLEE: Three years, uh-huh. ABNEY: Now, being as my wife is from Maysville, I was -- I had a lot of occasions to come back. And usually when I came back in town I'd come out and visit. And I met, you know, Dr. Shires and the other people and talked to them. KLEE: Tell me, was there anyone in those first three years -- what about local politicians? You mentioned Harriet Cartmell was a community leader. Was there -- do you remember the college being involved in any way in that atmosphere? ABNEY: No, I just think probably the Denhams were instrumental in getting the college started. But -- KLEE: Yeah. ABNEY: And I know that Carl Perkins -- I don't know, at some time my wife's family was involved with him, and I think he was instrumental in getting things for this part of Kentucky. KLEE: Oh, yeah, yeah. He was very influential. What about -- and of course, tell me, you came back to Maysville Community College? ABNEY: Right. I was in Nashville, Tennessee, at Nashville Tech for fifteen years, and I came back in '86. KLEE: '86. What were the significant changes when you came back, from looking at those first three years? ABNEY: Well, when I came back, we had a couple of extra programs that were what we called technical programs then. We had the nursing program, which was and still is a very strong program. We had an industrial electronics program, and I think we had a two-year business program. And so maybe the one that we had before had expanded into several things. The agro-business either was gone or was dying at that time. KLEE: Yeah, right. What role -- and particularly, you've seen the changes -- what role did the college play early on and play now in the community? I mean, where does it fit into this community's -- ABNEY: I know when we first started, John Crockett did a lot of plays. And he -- when we were early years, he involved community people as well as students in it. And I know most -- we attended a couple of plays, and I guess it was the Methodist church basement or something. He did The Glass Menagerie one year. That's the only one I really remember. And then there was an arts council. And the college, I think, was instrumental in, you know, bringing people here. We brought the Louisville Players here. And so I think -- we were a lot smaller then, and so everybody had to be involved in something. So right now, I think we still are involved in some of those things, but I think the whole college doesn't really realize which ones we're involved in, maybe. KLEE: Right. ABNEY: Because, you know, we've gotten a lot larger. KLEE: Yeah. Do you think community members feel comfortable here at the college? Is there -- I mean, is there -- as far as attending events or coming here, do they -- is there any kind of town-gown separation? ABNEY: No, I think that people look at the college as being their college. And I think people are comfortable doing it. They come use our library. We've always let them, you know, use our library. We have a computer lab in the library that, you know, patrons can come and do. One thing that always concerned me was we had this -- in the new building we've got this nice stage, and it seemed to me like that maybe they should use it more, but I think in the last two or three years they have it used more. KLEE: Starting -- picking it up. It's a big -- a nice, big facility. Let me come up to date a little more, then, and talk about a few -- one of the -- before I leave those early years, are there any stories you remember that you'd like to share about some of these early people? You met your future wife here, I guess? ABNEY: Right. My wife was Kay Hargett, and her brother was county attorney here for a long time, Bernard Hargett. One story concerning her is that she was teaching English in, probably, the Presbyterian church one day, and some FBI agents came in and took one of the students out of her class. KLEE: Oh, gosh! (Laughter -- Klee) ABNEY: They were looking for a person who was supposed to be a draft dodger. His name may have been Crump or something. But the person they took out was a Bertram boy, who was a veteran. (Laughter -- Klee) KLEE: I see. ABNEY: And he, you know, looked nothing like the other one. And that was kind of a -- KLEE: You know, I had kind of forgotten that, that that first couple of years you taught, there were probably some young men in school that were there -- one of their motivations was to stay out of the Vietnam War. Did that pose any special problems? ABNEY: No, I don't think so. But that was certainly, that period of time -- in fact, I think maybe the third year may have been the year that they did that lottery? KLEE: Right. Yeah. That kind of ended the -- ABNEY: It wasn't just the students, though; I was still in that lottery. KLEE: Oh, okay. I see. (Laughter -- Klee) ABNEY: Yeah, when I came here -- I don't think I mentioned Jack Myers and Jack Keith? KLEE: Okay. Right, yeah. ABNEY: They were our social studies faculty. And Jack and I were the two young -- Jack Myers and I were the two youngest members of the faculty. KLEE: I see. ABNEY: And so that was kind of interesting. One interesting thing about Dr. Wethington is we had a -- the second year, we had a -- kind of an intra-mural basketball team where we played other schools. And I was sick with pneumonia one Friday or Saturday night, and Dr. Wethington went with Weymouth Martin, who was a math teacher who came the second year, over to Portsmouth to watch the basketball -- to take the basketball team over there. And they got murdered. And he said "Don't ever do that to me again." KLEE: Oh! (Laughter -- both) ABNEY: Because we had jerseys and trunks, but these guys had, you know, formal-looking warm-ups and everything. They were -- so that was kind of something that -- maybe that's the reason -- one of the -- I met him in Lexington after I was hired a second time. He said that perhaps I was one of the people they made a mistake of hiring twice. (Laughter -- Klee) KLEE: Natalie Jarzebowski was an interesting lady. ABNEY: Right, and she had lots of stories to tell about her adventures. And she didn't drive, so she had to find a way around. I think Kay brought her out here one year or something. So one of our students, Patsy Kennan, who was one of my good math students the second and third years out here, I think double-majored in -- was going to think about majoring in math or Russian. I think she ended up majoring in Russian. KLEE: Okay. Because of Natalie then, maybe. ABNEY: Uh-huh. Probably. One of the things that -- about the first few years, is that we had really good luck with students in engineering going on to U.K.. They weren't really good numbers, but there were, you know, a good number of people -- we had good success with the people going on from here. I think maybe at one time -- maybe I'm giving myself more credit than I deserve for that. (Laughter -- Klee) Herb Ritchie] was a really good physics teacher. And -- but we sent, you know, a few people in, you know, every year. And that's one of the things that we're right now trying to find a means, maybe, to rejuvenate our engineering program. KLEE: Yeah. ABNEY: Larry Poe at Browning. KLEE: He was one of those -- ABNEY: George Day, Charles Sparks, Rodney Earhart, Wayne McCleese. You know, we just had, you know, lots of -- and then we had a lot of the doctors and lawyers and businessmen here. Mike Denham, who is, like, the vice president of the Bank of Maysville and our local Representative, was one of our students out here. Michael Glass, the local vet. And one thing about the community then, it was that a lot of the people who did come here, they went on -- a lot of them came back and became a pillar of the community. KLEE: Was -- what -- the students that came in those early years, do you think it was because this was a new college, and the community people wanted to support it? I mean, today some of those same family groups might not look at the college as a place to send their kids. ABNEY: I think there were several reasons. I think the fact that we were part of U.K. really helped, and that they wanted to support the new college. Another thing is the roads were not very good then. KLEE: I see, right. ABNEY: You know, the roads between here and Morehead and here and Northern were not very good then, especially Northern. KLEE: Yeah. ABNEY: And, the roads between here and Lexington (laughter -- Klee) was not as good as it is now, and I think students hesitated to, you know, drive. But now, you know, a student living in Flemingsburg can get to Morehead just as fast as they can get here, and somebody in Bracken County. So I think -- and also I think the state universities like Morehead and Northern have started giving larger scholarships to attract these ----------(??). We don't get now a lot of the people in the top twenty-five percentile, you know. And I think we did those first few years. We had twenty-some-odd people in Calculus I the second year. And Weymouth Martin, who came the second year as a math teacher, and then he taught Calculus I and II that year. And then Ed Curtis came the third year, and he taught Calculus I and II that third year. But I was able to teach Calculus III and IV to that bunch the third year and never -- let me see that third book. KLEE: Sure, uh-huh. ABNEY: Jim Joe Stahl, who teaches math in Cincinnati now -- KLEE: Oh, really? ABNEY: -- and Patsy Kennan were in that class. KLEE: So today, compared to twenty people in calculus that second year, you have trouble making a calculus class. ABNEY: Right. We didn't even teach -- we don't even teach Calculus I anymore as a fall class. We teach it as a second class. Yeah. Actually, we had about ten in Calculus III. KLEE: Is that right? ABNEY: But you know, in Calculus I, we had twenty-some-odd -- a lot of the pre-med and people, and a lot of the business people would take calculus. You know, they only have to take Calculus I course. KLEE: Right, sure, yeah. Because they didn't have to -- that was their gen ed requirement or whatever. ABNEY: Right. And we didn't have that many non-traditional students then. I'm looking at this 213 class, and Steven Sowder looks to me, like, to be the only non-traditional student in the class. He had taken a college algebra class under me when we were downtown. The second -- KLEE: So someone that -- not familiar with the jargon, what do you mean by non-traditional students? ABNEY: Well, the traditional students, I think, are mainly the 18-, 19- year-old students right out of high school. And we didn't have a whole lot of those. Now, we did -- KLEE: You didn't have a whole lot that weren't eighteen, nineteen? ABNEY: That weren't -- right, most of them. There was a group of students -- I think they were from Mount Olivet -- that were older ladies that were in our elementary education class at that time. And -- but most of the students, maybe those first two or three years, were students that, you know, were right out of high school. And that's -- college has changed a lot now. Our average age now is, what, 28 or so. KLEE: Something like that, right. I guess you -- you left after the third year, and now you're back. What about any specific accomplishments that you see? And talk about yourself. When you came back here, you got a little bit into grant-writing. ABNEY: Right. Well, while I was gone, I picked up a second master's degree in computer science education, and taught a lot of the mathematical computer courses at Nashville Tech. I taught Pascal Basic, FORTRAN, things like that. I also picked up most of the coursework at Peabody, which is now part of [Vanderbilt], for a PhD in higher education. But somehow I thought I wanted to be an administrator, but I found out I didn't want to be. (Laughter -- Klee) And I'd wrote some small grants there when I was at Nashville Tech. But when I came back, Ed Story, who's our -- was our division chair then for science, and now is our dean of academics, had written a grant, NSF Grant, to get biology equipment. And he encouraged me to write one to get some computer equipment for math and science. So we wrote that grant, and then I've written several since then. I had a grant that we did at Northern, a calculus institute that we're going to -- we're having the ----------(??) meeting later this week in Cincinnati, and we're going to have a program on there, "Ten Years Later: What's Happened to Calculus Reform?" KLEE: I see. ABNEY: Then we did several statewide grants since then. We did the NCATE grant, which kind of helped us start our networking program. And then we've done two or three grants; you know, those were all with U.K. And then we broke away from U.K. or whatever you call it, and we became a separate system, and then I've worked on two or three statewide grants for that. KLEE: What do you see that we've lost and gained from that break? ABNEY: Well, I think it did -- we lost a little prestige. I think -- and we may have lost some students. We gained a lot of independence. Supposedly, we were going to gain financially from it. I don't know whether we did or not. (Laughter -- Klee) I'm not sure the faculty did, anyhow. But you know, we have a lot more emphasis, I think, now on technical education, getting people a two-year degree and someplace they can go get a job, rather than, you know, transfer. And I think the system has seen that, maybe, has switched too far and is trying to emphasize, maybe, the transfer more. You know, a lot of us were upset when we broke away from U.K., and I think most of us have gotten over that. Maybe the people in Elizabethtown haven't, but most of the rest of us have gotten over that. (Laughter -- Klee) KLEE: Yeah. What do you think I've missed that I should have asked you, particularly about those early years? Anything that I need -- that you want to add? As I said, I'm trying to get, really, kind of a feel for what the college was like when it started and that early association. ABNEY: There was a lot more interaction among faculty and throughout the school. Now I think the science division, we do stuff with the science division, and you know, the business division does stuff together. Dr. Wethington, we were small enough then that we used to go to Caproni's, like, every month or every other month for a faculty meeting, and we met down there. And you know, we met, and we got together, and we did things with each other. KLEE: It wasn't as much -- it seems -- and you can comment on this -- seems to be quite a bit of rivalry, and "us and them." And you're saying that by getting to know each other, that wasn't as prevalent then. ABNEY: Well, it was all "us." KLEE: Oh, right. (Laughter -- both) ABNEY: We really -- we didn't have divisions, I don't think, until the third year maybe. And you know, it weren't but two then. And you know, it was -- you know, we were all trying to work together to get the college, you know, established. And we were too busy getting ourselves -- our classes and things established to have too much of a rivalry. KLEE: Sure. ABNEY: I know that there wasn't a whole lot of money. The salaries at that time were pathetic, but now, I don't know what they would be if you -- like the -- I think, $7,000, $7,300, $7,500, those were the beginning salaries for the people without very much experience. And I think now we pay $30-35,000. That may probably be the same thing if you do it -- adjust it for inflation. KLEE: I don't know. It doesn't seem like it. (Laughter -- Klee) ABNEY: No. There wasn't any money for -- much for travel. I know that the second year -- between my first and second year, I went to a summer institute, a National Science Foundation-sponsored summer institute at Oberlin. And when I came back that year, somehow I guess, maybe one person from each division got to go somewhere or something. Anyhow, I went to a meeting in Texas, and that was the first time I'd ever been on a large airplane. And I went down to that meeting and met several of the people that I had seen before. KLEE: Was there -- was that lack of money also true of instructional supplies and those kinds of things? ABNEY: Well, the instructional supplies were mainly pencils and (laughter -- Klee) paper. And I noticed that where Russ is now, we had a workroom there, and it had one of those blue machines that you made -- and there was a typewriter in there. I was a pretty good typist -- to use a razor blade to -- so mainly, there wasn't a whole of instructional supplies then. And when I came back in '85, I don't think there were over a half a dozen Apple computers in the -- KLEE: In the building. ABNEY: You know, we can't -- can we imagine any place not having a computer? I mean -- so that's, you know -- but I don't think there was any problem with instructional supplies. I think there may have been a problem if somebody wanted to run off gobs of copies on a Xerox machine instead of making them on the blue one. KLEE: Yeah, the mimeograph, yeah. ABNEY: We had -- KLEE: So in your classroom, it was you and the chalkboard and the lectern. ABNEY: Me and the chalkboard. And I was able to -- I guess there was an extra chalkboard -- 207 was the room, the smaller room I used for calculus, for most math courses, and there was an extra chalkboard in there. KLEE: That was -- that made it the math room. (Laughter -- Klee) ABNEY: That's right. It made it the math room; it wasn't anything else. KLEE: Well, I sure appreciate you talking to me. ABNEY: All right, you're welcome. KLEE: Thanks a lot. Oral history with Darrell Abney, math faculty at Maysville Community and Technical College. Interview highlights include the construction and dedication of the Maysville campus, the founding faculty and administrators at the college, and the college’s early connection with the University of Kentucky. Abney concludes with a discussion of changes in the town of Maysville since the college has grown, and changes in the student population since the 1980s. insert here