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2007-05-10 Interview with Nona Rhodes, May 10, 2007 CC001:CC001:2008OH023 CC 37 00:45:43 History of Kentucky's Community Colleges Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Nona Rhodes; interviewee John Klee; interviewer 2008OH023_CC37_Rhodes 1:|21(4)|46(8)|79(5)|103(12)|137(2)|170(5)|204(3)|221(10)|256(8)|278(9)|309(9)|336(3)|373(3)|395(6)|426(10)|465(1)|484(11)|505(12)|533(7)|561(4)|578(4)|601(2)|624(11)|647(11)|674(8)|693(5)|727(5)|759(6)|791(9)|811(11)|831(5)|849(3)|877(4)|899(10)|931(1)|952(10)|978(4)|1003(5)|1022(3)|1050(9)|1091(2)|1124(5)|1157(6)|1177(1)|1205(15) audiotrans CommuColl interview KLEE: The following is an unrehearsed interview by John Klee for the University of Kentucky Libraries. The project name is the University of Kentucky Community College System Project. I'm interviewing Nona Rhodes on May 10, 2007, and I'm at her home in Lakeside Park, in Northern Kentucky. KLEE: Ms. Rhodes, let's start just by--tell me a little bit about your background. RHODES: Well, I went to a very small high school. I went to Walton- Verona High School, which is a very small school. So it was an easy transition, going into the Northern Extension because that was very small. And it was in a school building--an old school building in Covington. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: I believe it was Fifth District. KLEE: Okay. Tell me about your high school. And--you said it was small. About how many in your senior class, for example? RHODES: In my senior class, there were, I believe, 19. KLEE: Okay. (laughs) That is small. And I guess people talked about college when they were at that level--the senior level. RHODES: Actually, we received very little counseling about college. KLEE: Oh, really? RHODES: And at the time that I was a senior, I thought I would probably go into something to do with fashion. KLEE: I see. RHODES: Modeling, or something. And right before graduation, I was presented a scholarship, an academic scholarship, to go to the Northern Center of UK. KLEE: I see. How was that--do you know how that was handled? Who was doing--going around doing that kind of thing? RHODES: Our superintendent or principal, one, arranged it. And I was salutatorian, and my friend was valedictorian, and we both got scholarships. So that was kind of all the promotion that we got for college was: Here's the scholarship, now you can go to college. KLEE: If you want to. RHODES: Right. And-- KLEE: And you hadn't thought much about college. You thought about-- RHODES: Well, I didn't know--I just didn't know. I was looking at--more into fashion, and I'd just--we'd got no counseling. KLEE: You must have been a fairly good academic student. You were salutatorian of your class. RHODES: Right. KLEE: What about your family? Had they gone to college before? RHODES: Neither of my parents had gone to college, and that's one of the reasons why I just didn't know. I was kind of on the fence. When I got the scholarship, I thought, "Well of course, I'll go." I probably would have anyway, but at that time you didn't make decisions far ahead back in those days, because it was not difficult to get in at the last moment. KLEE: What year are we talking about here, as far as-- RHODES: I graduated from high school in 1954. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: So entered the Northern Center of UK, and it was not called an extension at that point. They were differentiated. They were not called extensions until later, or maybe it was before. But they were called the Northern--it was called the Northern Center of UK, so it was actually a part of UK. KLEE: Right. I think extension might have been the word that we used prior to this. RHODES: Maybe. KLEE: Yeah. But you're saying--so how did they--how did the people there present this to you? Did they say, "You're at UK here at the Northern Center." RHODES: Right. They said, "This is a northern branch of UK," so you were a University of Kentucky student. KLEE: Right. RHODES: All you classes were University of Kentucky credit, the same class that you would have if you were on campus. KLEE: And the actual physical location of the place was-- RHODES: It was an old school that had been vacated in Covington, and I think it was Fifth District in Covington. KLEE: And how was that as far as facility-wise? Was it--I mean, did it have enough room? Did you have--was it-- RHODES: Well, it was small, so they made it work, although any meetings or that kind of thing were done out of school. KLEE: Okay. You're talking about for faculty or for students, the meetings? For anybody. RHODES: Well, if it required a big room it would be done somewhere else. KLEE: I see. RHODES: But it was a pretty good size building for what they used it for. And-- KLEE: Were you there the whole two years? Was that --or-- RHODES: Yes. In fact, I was there longer than two years, because I was working full-time as well. And so--well, my first year I was a full- time student, and then I took a full-time job and went part-time. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: So-- KLEE: That was unusual for that time period. RHODES: Well, it was--everybody that I knew at the Northern Center worked. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: When my friend and I were freshmen, we were one of the few that didn't have a job. We weren't working because we had scholarships. And then my scholarship was also extended. As long as I was full- time, it was extended. KLEE: Tell me about the other students. Were they mostly out of high school students? RHODES: There were some veterans who were coming back, studying on the Armed Forces-- KLEE: GI Bill. RHODES: GI Bill. KLEE: Right. RHODES: But mostly, they were high school graduates and teachers who were coming to get classes, because they were teaching but they really didn't have their degrees. KLEE: Oh, I see. RHODES: So they would come to get coursework. KLEE: The classmate that you went with, what was her name? RHODES: Her name was Laura Chipman. KLEE: Okay. And-- RHODES: My name was Perkins at the time. KLEE: Okay. You were Nona Perkins. RHODES: Right. KLEE: Some of the other students that you became friendly with-- RHODES: Faye Stokley, who you see in there. She married Ed Beck, who was the captain of UK's basketball team-- KLEE: Oh, really? RHODES: --after we went to Lexington. KLEE: Uh-huh. Okay. RHODES: And she lives in Arizona. KLEE: Does she? RHODES: And I have another friend who's--in some of those pictures whose name was Joanne Arnzen at the time. KLEE: Right RHODES: Her name is now Tennis(??). Her last name is Tennis(??). But she was Stan Arnzen's daughter, who was a coach in Newport. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: And she was the Snow Queen one of those years. And so was my friend, Faye Stokley. KLEE: Okay. And I want to--on student activities and so forth, you mentioned that there was a Snow Queen. Tell me what the Center did-- was it--the activities, were they mostly generated by the students? Were they generated by the faculty? RHODES: They were generated by the faculty or staff, because students coming in--when you're a freshman, you really didn't know. They had a student council, which I was asked to run for and was elected to. KLEE: Uh-huh. And what were the responsibilities? RHODES: The student council planned events on campus, and you'll see from some of those clippings some of the things they did. Well, that's--. there's a note there saying you're elected to it. KLEE: Okay. I see. RHODES: It kind of tells you a little bit about--and you can see the meetings would be off campus. KLEE: Okay. They were held at the home of Dr. Ross A. Webb(??), it says, in Erlanger. RHODES: Yes. He was a professor. KLEE: Oh, was he? RHODES: Yes. (laughs) KLEE: You met at the home of the professor then. RHODES: Right. Meetings were held in people's homes most of the time if they were at night, because the classrooms were used for class. Since most people worked, most of the classes were at night. KLEE: Okay. I didn't realize that. And how were they--what time did you meet usually? Were they 7 o'clock? RHODES: They always had classes--a class that started somewhere around 5:40 or that, so people could come right from work, and then they would have another one after that. KLEE: I see. RHODES: And classes were usually done around 9. KLEE: So you had two classes probably two days a week. RHODES: Right. And they had daytime classes for the few of us who were daytime students like I was at the time, afternoon classes mainly. I don't remember any morning classes. KLEE: Okay. The--you mentioned the student council, and you know, they did different kinds of organizational work. What--I know that there were several dances there during the year. RHODES: Right. The social activities, since there were no teams or anything, primarily was around the different dances that they had. They had a Snow Ball, which was a Christmas dance. KLEE: And that had been ongoing before you came, I guess. I think I saw some older-- RHODES: Yes, it had. I'm not sure when the Northern Center started, since I came in in the fall of '54. KLEE: '48, I think, is what--was the year it started. RHODES: So it was already an annual event. And then they had the Valentine Dance. KLEE: Okay. Now, there was one dance I thought I saw where the kids were dressed up. Was that-- RHODES: That would be Sadie Hawkins. There was a Sadie Hawkins Day get-together, kind of a dance-- KLEE: Right. And were these things-- RHODES: --where people were like Daisy Mae and Little Abner. KLEE: Sure. Were these things pretty well attended? RHODES: Yes. KLEE: Where did you--where were they held at? RHODES: That's a good question. (laughs) I don't know if any of that information shows. KLEE: Well, this one says--this is the King and Queen of Hearts, which was, I guess-- RHODES: That was me. KLEE: Oh, is that right? Okay. That's the Valentine's Dance. RHODES: Does it say where it was held? KLEE: Uh-huh, the Odd Fellows home, Newport. RHODES: See, we had to get places like that were public. There weren't- -there was no room big enough at the school to have anything like that. And then this one will probably tell you where the other one is. KLEE: I looked at that. So you were the Queen of Hearts at the Valentine's Dance. RHODES: Right. I was also in this court. KLEE: You were in this Snow Ball Queen--or Snow Queen Court. RHODES: Right. KLEE: This one doesn't say where--I don't think it says where it was-- RHODES: Oh, that's the nominations. I've got other pictures of it that have it. Then it narrowed down to--voted down--somehow they got finalists, and then you--for the court, yeah. And then they announce it that night. KLEE: They had judges for the affair, and one of the judges was a judge, Joseph Goodenough. RHODES: Right. He was a very prominent judge in Northern Kentucky. KLEE: And then a trustee of the University of Kentucky, Marian Moore. RHODES: They really made a big deal out of these-- KLEE: Pageants. RHODES: --these queen pageants, because there wasn't anything else much. KLEE: So I mean, there must have been quite a bit of interest in it, because-- RHODES: Yes. KLEE: --there were a lot of kids--there were 17 girls nominated. RHODES: Right. KLEE: And how did that take place? I mean, how did they get nominations? RHODES: I think they were nominated by the student body. The student body could nominate, and then the people that got the--and then they voted. And the people that got the top number of votes--I believe it's--it was down to five, and then the judges picked-- KLEE: The winner. RHODES: Right. KLEE: And you mentioned Faye Stokley, who was a friend. RHODES: Yes. And she was a close friend of mine who went down to UK with me also. KLEE: Okay. How--what was the relationship like among the students? I mean, were people--did people get to know each other pretty well? RHODES: Yes, they did because it was small. It was more like a--kind of like high school in a way, except people came from many different-- KLEE: I was going to ask you about that. RHODES: --backgrounds. KLEE: You had--you were from a school that had only 19. What--where was the student body coming from? RHODES: Well, it came from Newport High School, Covington Holmes High School, Lloyd--Erlanger Lloyd, Boone County. One of my later roommates was a graduate of Boone County I went down to UK with. KLEE: Who was that? RHODES: Rae Carol(??) Feltman, F-e-l-t-m-a-n. And then her married name was Cooper. KLEE: Okay. And she was from Boone County. RHODES: Yes. KLEE: And you know, of course, these form--a lot of communities like these get real rivalries among their groups and so forth. People made friends pretty easily and-- RHODES: Yes. KLEE: --crossed those old school boundaries? RHODES: Oh, yes. There was no rivalry. It was, I guess, too small for that, as far as high schools were concerned. [phone rings] I mean, some people came from large schools, some came from small, and it didn't really matter. KLEE: [phone rings] Do you want to answer that? RHODES: No, they'll leave a message. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: Just--unfortunately the message is going to be on there. I have more than two names. My name was--I was Nona Perkins, and then Stricker was my first marriage. And I actually got married when I was--my last year at UK, so when I graduated from UK, I was a Stricker. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: So I use Nona Stricker Rhodes now-- KLEE: I see. RHODES: --as far as UK is concerned. KLEE: All right, yeah. RHODES: --because otherwise they get too confused. I was a Stricker for 20 years. KLEE: Sure. Tell me about some of the faculty members. Do you remember any--remember some of the faculty members? RHODES: Yes, I do. KLEE: Tell me a little bit about them. Yeah, I'll let you-- RHODES: Well, the director-- KLEE: They're in the back. RHODES: Dr. Hankins was like--he was like a father figure to everyone. KLEE: Really? RHODES: He was just wonderful, and everybody loved him. And he-- KLEE: I think he'd been there from the beginning, too. RHODES: He was there from the beginning. He started it. He died a few years ago. KLEE: What--you said he was like a father figure. In what way? Did he-- RHODES: He was just so kind. KLEE: --hang around the students? RHODES: Yes. He got to know all the students well. You know, he had students stop in his office anytime they wanted to talk about anything. And he had a secretary who also helped with any questions students had. KLEE: Uh-huh. He attended all the activities and-- RHODES: Yes. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: He was very much a part. And most of the faculty was very involved with the students' activities. Different faculty members would sponsor--would be like chaperones or whatever for different events. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: And all the faculty that I had -- and I think it was pretty much across the board -- the classes were small and the faculty all knew you well. KLEE: I see. RHODES: And they knew if you were on scholarship and ----------(??). So it was a kind of a family atmosphere. KLEE: Some of the names are in the back, I think, of the faculty. As you go down through that list, do you have any memories of any that are particularly harder teachers than others or some that maybe stood out in your mind? RHODES: Well, Dr. Miller was--you know, was a very good teacher. And since I was in the college of education, you know, she was very involved with all the education students. KLEE: Now, did you decide that early on, that you were going to go into education? RHODES: Actually, no. I was going to go into fashion design in the college of home economics until I found out that you had to know how to sew. (laughs) So one thing about the advising back then was that our adviser, whoever was advising at the time, had said, "Well, it would be good to be a teacher, because when your children are home during the summer, you would be off. And you'd be off when your children were." And--or to be a nurse. KLEE: Yeah. RHODES: And that's really-- KLEE: It was really kind of sexually stereotyped a little bit. RHODES: Right. And I think most of the people I knew who went there were channeled into education, the women. KLEE: I see. RHODES: And-- KLEE: Guess that was just a product of the times. RHODES: Yes, and I think it was probably true in most colleges at that time. KLEE: Right. Right. Now, this Miller was Dr. Edna Miller that you said was-- RHODES: Right. KLEE: --someone that worked closely with everybody? RHODES: Dr. Byron was our English teacher, and he was very interested in students. And he was active in a lot of of events that students had. And we had a journalism teacher who was very involved with students also. I'm trying to see if I can remember his name. KLEE: I think I might have had a list too that had him on it. RHODES: Bob Knopf was the director of the choir. KLEE: Uh-huh. You all had a choir? RHODES: Music. Well, it wasn't a choir. It was chorus. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: And--a student chorus. And he was a music--the music director. And he was very involved with students and everybody loved him. KLEE: Uh-huh. Somewhere I was looking, one of these people, I think, was associated with the Enquirer that taught journalism. RHODES: Yes, that's the one I was thinking about, but I can't think of his name. KLEE: I'm trying to find his name too. RHODES: Rankin was his name, I think. KLEE: Okay. Robert Rankin. RHODES: Yes. KLEE: And you said he was a--students liked him? RHODES: Yes, he was a very good teacher. And what we found was that everybody took journalism--everybody took the classes that were offered because you didn't have a whole lot of choice. But even if you weren't going into journalism, you took his classes and you learned how to write. I think--you know, I remembered him and I remembered his classes from years later, because after I raised my children I went back to school and got my master's-- KLEE: I see. RHODES: --and taught special ed for a year out at Boone County. And then I decided that I really didn't want to be in the classroom. I had spent a lot of time as a community organizer and leader in the community, organizing different charities and working on community activities. So I didn't--I was--felt like my wings were clipped in the classroom, but I was offered the opportunity to be the executive director and to open a literacy coalition agency for Greater Cincinnati. KLEE: Yes. RHODES: It was non-existent, except there was a board and they had to hire an executive director to form an agency. KLEE: Quite a responsibility. RHODES: Yes, it was. But it was right up my alley, because I had been a volunteer for so many years and had, you know, worked with volunteers, chaired lots of events and everything in the community. And so I didn't go back to teaching then. I took that position, and for twelve and a half years I was executive director for the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati. And in that position I was writing, writing press releases, and I thought about that journalism class, you know. And it was helpful. And I--so I've often told younger people, you know, a journalism class is a great class to take as an elective-- KLEE: Right. RHODES: --because-- KLEE: You never know when you're going to-- RHODES: Right. But that was all goes back to Bob Rankin. And-- KLEE: So what you had as a freshman or sophomore, finally it did come to bear eventually, didn't it? RHODES: Right. It did. KLEE: You talked about advising and so forth. What did they tell you about you being part of the University of Kentucky? I mean, was there any--did they say these courses could go other places or that we're fixing you so you can go right on to UK? Or how did that work? RHODES: Well, your classes would go anywhere that--as far as we knew, and you could see it's the Northern--it was Northern Center of UK, not an extension. It was not an extension class; you did not get extension credit. You got on-campus credit. KLEE: Right. RHODES: So it would go anywhere that UK credits would go. KLEE: I see. RHODES: Most people went on to UK, because, you know, their--they were already a part of UK. We had an ID for all the UK basketball games and everything, just like--there was no difference in being a student there except the smallness and what was offered. You had all the privileges, and if you wanted to go to Lexington--but back then, we didn't have cars to drive to Lexington for everything. But if you wanted to, you could participate in anything on campus. KLEE: I see. You were eligible for sororities and fraternities and all those kinds of things. RHODES: Well, probably sororities wouldn't have worked because-- KLEE: They have to be on campus. RHODES: --you would have to be on campus at the time. But as you can see, we were in the--the honors programs and that for us were held there as well. KLEE: Right. We have a letter from May 12th, 1955, and it says that--it tells you when the honors exercise is going to be held. So if you were on the honors--if you got--if you were an honors student, your ceremony was in Memorial Coliseum. RHODES: Right. And that was to my father. And I thought it was--I hadn't even seen that until I started looking for this information for you, and I pulled that out of my mom's scrapbook. I noticed that the president--they sent it to my father; they didn't mention my mother. (laughs) It was interesting. KLEE: I see that. Yeah, they sent it to your father. And you know, today they'd send it directly to the student, because you couldn't--you know, students are viewed as adults. RHODES: Everything went to your parents. KLEE: Huh. And that was the week of-- RHODES: That was just to invite them to be a part of it. KLEE: The week of commencement. And you said that this Dr. Miller, to try to make things try to have a local equivalent, that you all started your own sorority. RHODES: Yes. And she was the person who since we had not--you know, we were new to it, she helped us write bylaws and everything. And I was an officer in that. And somewhere there's an article, maybe still in that book, about the sorority. KLEE: This is the sorority ball. What did you all do? It was just kind of a social-- RHODES: We had meetings once a month, and then we had activities and had officers. And I--other than that, I guess we were more a social group like most sororities. KLEE: Sure. That's what they are. RHODES: But we tried--yeah, we were novices, and she, like, helped set up all the guidelines. We had rush. KLEE: Uh-huh. To decide who was going to be members the next year. RHODES: Except we didn't cut people out. (laughs) But--and elected officers and-- KLEE: Did this location pose problems for you all as students? There were people commuting. I mean, you had to drive. Everybody was commuting. RHODES: Everybody was commuting, but not as many people drove, as there were buses, since it was in Covington. And a lot of students either lived in Covington or Newport-- KLEE: Okay. RHODES: --or on a bus line. There weren't as many students that had cars as there are today. My high school classmate and I rented a room on Scott Street. KLEE: Did you? RHODES: So we-- KLEE: So that you wouldn't have to-- RHODES: Well, we were from Walton-Verona High School, so we were--that was a distance for us to drive. KLEE: Right. RHODES: And younger students, a lot of them used buses. The teachers who were taking classes who--and older students from the GI Bill and that, they drove. KLEE: Did they have to cancel classes sometimes because of weather or-- RHODES: I don't remember that happening, but I'm sure it must have. KLEE: Okay. But you actually rented an apartment then. RHODES: We rented an apartment. KLEE: Were you within walking distance? RHODES: And then we just--well, we took--we weren't--there was a bus that went directly up there. We were at Twelfth Street, and the school was at Fifth Street. So we could walk if we wanted to, or we'd take a bus or ride with somebody who was driving. KLEE: Sure. How did it--you were there, you say, your first year, you went full-time. And then the second year, you were working and going to school. RHODES: Right. KLEE: So you stayed another year. RHODES: Another--two more years to get the two years in. KLEE: Okay. Now, they didn't give associate degrees, did they? They just-- RHODES: No. This was a part of UK. KLEE: And UK didn't do that. So--okay. RHODES: No, it wasn't like when the junior colleges started later. KLEE: So when they--when you were--you could transfer at any time, of course-- RHODES: Yes. KLEE: --if you had--and did a lot of students do that? RHODES: And some people did go one year and go down there. And there were students who went down on campus who came home. Another friend of mine went to campus and came back home. KLEE: Went there right out of high school? RHODES: Yes. KLEE: And that didn't work out very well, came back here-- RHODES: Well, I don't know what her reason was, but she came back and went there for a year or so, and then went back to campus and graduated. KLEE: I see. Okay. RHODES: That happened--some people get homesick or whatever. They would come--they would go on campus and come back. KLEE: Well, that's still--being--with my teaching, that still happens. Students either get homesick or sometimes they party more than they should. They come back and then turn back around and go again. So how was your transition then to UK. RHODES: Well, it was--you know, it was easy, because when I went down to campus, several of my friends went too. KLEE: Okay. Were there scholarships available for any of the kids here down there? RHODES: There would have been. I didn't apply. I was working. I worked my way through the whole time. KLEE: I see. RHODES: And so I didn't apply for a scholarship down there. We didn't get a lot of information on scholarships then. Like I was saying, ours was just presented to us, you know, without-- KLEE: You didn't even apply? RHODES: No, no. We didn't apply. It was like at our graduation we were presented a scholarship, and we could either accept it or reject it. We didn't apply, and so we didn't--we weren't really in tune with how to apply for scholarships, and I don't know--nobody talked to me or to anybody I knew about scholarships down there when we transferred. We had an adviser when we got to Lexington in the college that we were enrolled in. KLEE: And you'd-- based on the advice you had up here, you'd gone into that education route. You'd already taken some courses and so forth. RHODES: Right. Yes. KLEE: Did you have--was your academic work here--of course, they accepted it all. It was all UK; they didn't have anything to accept. And then were you prepared academically when you got in those other classes? Was--did you feel like you were getting the equivalent kinds of things here at the Center? RHODES: I think it was--there was less distraction here, because when I went to--transferred to UK, I got into academic trouble right away from all the partying, (laughs) you know, because I wasn't accustomed to the--all the social life that you have down there. KLEE: Sure. And you said you joined a sorority there? RHODES: No, I didn't because, you know, I was far enough along that I didn't--I considered it, but I decided not to. KLEE: So the academic work wasn't any harder, but the distractions were. RHODES: Right. Just-- KLEE: Did you follow--you know, you had been so active there -- you were on the student council, you were the Queen of Hearts, on the Snow Ball Court -- did you follow the--a few years after that or just kind of--that chapter just passed? RHODES: Well, I wasn't as active. I was--you know, I was in one of the finals for the Kentuckian Queen, because I was put up by a fraternity. But I wasn't really that active. I was in a few organizations, but not that active because I was working. KLEE: Sure RHODES: I worked about 30 hours a week when I was on campus. KLEE: What were you doing? What kind of jobs did you have? RHODES: I worked--up here, I worked as a medical assistant in a doctor's office. And when I went to UK, I also found a job in a--as a medical assistant, but I didn't like that situation so I changed and became secretary to the director of the anthropology museum. So I was his secretary for a year, and then I went on to be the secretary-office manager. I got married that year. And I had to work because my husband was in school. And I had all my class work done but student teaching, so I then took a job at UK as a secretary and office manager for the audiology clinic. So I was a--when I was a medical assistant, I was also the secretary. KLEE: So you were busy. RHODES: Right. KLEE: Did--you met your husband at UK there? RHODES: I met him at the Northern Center. KLEE: Oh, did you? Okay. RHODES: Yes, and he went to-- KLEE: Where was he from? RHODES: He went to--he was from Newport High School. KLEE: Okay. Uh-huh. So you all met there. RHODES: And so was my friend, Faye Stokley. In fact, she introduced us. KLEE: Okay. Did you all come back to Northern Kentucky, then? RHODES: Yes. KLEE: Okay. Did you stay in--I mean, did you run into any of these old professors or did you follow what happened to the Center after you left it? RHODES: We did. We used to--you know, we would see Dr. Rankin--I mean Dr. Hankins. And some of the others, you know, changed, but Dr. Hankins was there for a long time. And you know, we'd go back and see him and things. KLEE: Sure. RHODES: And he remembered everybody. KLEE: Is that right? Yeah. Was--did--from what you could tell, did the Center get community support? I mean, were--obviously, it got some, because you had to meet at different places and so forth. Did they seem to support this? I mean, did a lot of students take advantage of it? RHODES: My feeling was that it had probably limited support, as far as financially, not like the University would have. KLEE: Right. RHODES: Businesses provided the scholarships. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: Like my scholarship was provided by a company that's no longer in existence. It was called Monarch Tool in Covington. And my friend's scholarship was another business in Covington. KLEE: I see. RHODES: And then they would take you to--they took us to meet the peo--- the president of the company. And they interviewed us and--so they knew the students they were sponsoring. KLEE: They were helping. RHODES: Right. KLEE: That's interesting. Yeah. So there was some community support then. [phone rings] RHODES: Right. I think it was more in the form of scholarships and allowing events to be held in various halls and-- KLEE: Now, they only offered the first two years of college? RHODES: I think there might have been some courses that would have been considered junior courses. [message left on answering machine] My son. There were some courses that, you know, if people went to UK, maybe they didn't take them. There were courses there that could be--they could be courses like higher up courses, depending on what you were majoring in. KLEE: Right. RHODES: There was a lot of history, because we had--that's my cell phone. KLEE: I'll let you get that. [Pause in recording.] KLEE: --credits and whether you could take--whether it was mostly 100- and 200-level courses, freshman/sophomore courses, or they offered anything above that? RHODES: I believe they did offer some that were above that, depending on what field you were in. But it's kind of--I'm not real sure. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: You can see from this the classes that they offered. KLEE: Right. Yeah, it was mostly-- RHODES: It seems to me that they did offer some for people who--for teachers, you know, who were coming back to take classes to-- KLEE: Most of them are at the sophomore--freshman/sophomore level, however. Was there-- RHODES: I remember that they--they were limited to the kinds of classes, because the chemistry class, the only one that they had, was the five- hour chemistry that all the engineers took. KLEE: I see. RHODES: And I had gone to a small school that didn't have any chemistry. In fact, it didn't have higher math. KLEE: Oh. RHODES: And so I signed up for, you know, this chemistry class my first semester. And I remember it was really a struggle, because I didn't have any of the background for it at all. KLEE: Right. Being so small, I guess they had to try to suit everybody's major, as many as they could. RHODES: Right. KLEE: But it made it tough for--if you just wanted a general science course, obviously. What about any of the people you went to school with? Do any of the students stand out, as far as--you talked about some of the people you became friends with? Is there anyone that, you know, came back to the area or anywhere and stand out as, you know, prominent citizens or-- RHODES: Well, my position was a high-profile-- KLEE: That's true. Yeah, because it was multi-county. RHODES: Right. And a lot of publicity. And I served on a national literacy board when Mrs. Bush was--Barbara Bush was in. KLEE: That was her-- RHODES: And also on the state literacy board. My former husband is a Covington city commissioner now, and has been on the airport board and UK's board of trustees. And I've served on a lot of boards, United Way and a lot of boards in Northern Kentucky. KLEE: Yeah. Once that name gets out there, they start calling. (laughs) RHODES: They do. I think there--probably quite a few of the alums from the Northern Center went on to graduate from UK and probably--largely came back to the area. KLEE: Right. You said there was a lot of teachers. I guess they were pushing a lot of women into teaching. RHODES: Right. KLEE: So probably some of that going on. RHODES: Right. This was one of my friends from there, and she also was my roommate at one point at UK. And her name's--Dale Haskell(??) was her maiden name, and her married name is Hammond(??). And she is--she went on to get her master's in library science, and she is up in the Boston area-- KLEE: Oh, I see. RHODES: --and is real active in the literary fields up there. KLEE: Right. Did--being this--it sounds to me like you, out at Walton- Verona, the Northern Center wasn't something on your all's radar. Did they advertise very much? Or did--was this kind of a little-known secret or-- RHODES: I guess--it wasn't--as students, we didn't-- KLEE: Weren't too aware of its existence? RHODES: No, we didn't know about it. KLEE: Okay. Did you-- RHODES: I'm sure the faculty did. KLEE: Yeah. Your-- RHODES: Our teachers. KLEE: --high school faculty, right. Do you know if other school systems were suggesting this as an option for their students? RHODES: Well, they must have been, because Covington Holmes, Newport, Erlanger Lloyd, they all had lots of students. KLEE: Well represented. RHODES: Dixie Heights, Simon Kenton. KLEE: Okay. How important was it that this was the University of Kentucky? RHODES: Well, it was major importance, as far as I was concerned. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: And I think for everybody. It was important--at that point--at the point where we decided we were going to college, we wanted it to be University of Kentucky credit. KLEE: Right. RHODES: Not going to Eastern or Western and having to transfer. KLEE: Uh-huh. And did--when you got to UK -- I've kind of asked this before -- but they didn't make a distinction about, you know, that this person came from Northern Kentucky or-- RHODES: No. KLEE: You just went right into the-- RHODES: We just went right in. Got a dorm. KLEE: (laughs) ----------(??) RHODES: Got a dorm room and got-- KLEE: Got thrown into it. RHODES: Got thrown in. No, there was no distinction on you classes, because your class record did not show--it just showed UK. KLEE: Okay, I see. Well, the reason I--that question comes up, is when the Northern Center finally did become a community college, very briefly before then it became Northern, even though it was still part of the University of Kentucky and, you know, like places at Maysville, Lexington, and so forth, they began to--you know, make a--they didn't make a technical difference, but they knew that you were from, you know-- RHODES: Right. KLEE: Sometimes they looked askance at it, the professors and administration, and it did say Maysville on it. RHODES: Right. KLEE: Whereas this didn't. RHODES: Well, there were-- KLEE: Your letter was from President Donovan here. RHODES: Right. It--our classes were UK classes. There were classes that were taken by extension. KLEE: Uh-huh RHODES: And mainly these were teachers, because so many teachers did not have a degree. KLEE: A degree, uh-huh. RHODES: And there were classes that were taken by extension through the University of Kentucky. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: But that was different. That was not the-- KLEE: That was a different--yeah. RHODES: That was different. They were called extension classes. KLEE: Okay. RHODES: But ours were resident classes. KLEE: Resident classes. RHODES: I don't know how long that--that was when I was there. I don't know if it was that way from the beginning. KLEE: Well, I think it probably--I don't know if it was from the beginning either, but it sounds--but from when you were there, obviously it was, and then up until it became Northern. Do you remember any of the controversy about the community college, you know, disappearing and Northern being born? RHODES: Yes. KLEE: I mean, what--how did you feel about it? You knew the Center was disappearing. RHODES: Well, I realized that Northern--having a university here would, you know, benefit the area, but I really liked the idea that the University, which is our flagship school, could have a place that you could take classes away from campus and make it easier for people to take classes that were university classes. So I had mixed emotions about it. I thought it was a great idea to have-- KLEE: A four-year-- RHODES: I thought it was a great idea to have classes from UK up here. KLEE: Right RHODES: And I still think it is. KLEE: And from these--some of the people we've talked about, do you think the access that it provided might have provided them an opportunity to go to college that they otherwise wouldn't have had? RHODES: I definitely think it did, because, you know, for me, my parents were not college educated, so I probably would have gone to college, because I was near the top of my class. You got a little more of a push from school administrators. But there were other students from my high school who ended up going there who weren't the top two graduates, so I think that there are a lot of people who could not have afforded to go. And the fact that they could go two years here and get started, then they could work and finish up. KLEE: Yeah. RHODES: And I think there were a lot of students from Covington Holmes and Newport who were in that same boat. KLEE: Right. RHODES: Because every---most everybody was working. KLEE: Yeah. And a lot of those--you know, some of those school districts here, we're not talking about very affluent, in some cases, students or families-- RHODES: Right. KLEE: --or, you know, areas of the community. Well, I appreciate you talking to me. And I got some good information. [Pause in recording.] RHODES: --had the experience that I had and a lot of the students that I went to the Northern Center with really liked the idea of the community college system, which is what it went into, and realized that in other parts of the state there were people who would not go to college, had it not been for the community colleges. KLEE: Right. RHODES: And like Lexington Community College. People who weren't as-- maybe as well prepared could go there and then go on to UK. KLEE: Yeah. RHODES: So I was sorry to see that change. KLEE: Yeah. Yeah, you mean, from UK. Right. RHODES: The community college system, which was a part of UK to not be a part of UK anymore. KLEE: Sure, yeah. Thank you. Oral history with Nona Rhodes, student at Northern Center (NKU) in the mid 1950's. Recollections of student life include early faculty and programs, student activities including various pageants. Rhodes discusses her transfer from Northern to the University of Kentucky and her life's work with literacy. insert here