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2008-03-11 Interview with Sherman Bush, March 11, 2008 CC001:2008OH088 CC 39 00:57:36 History of Kentucky's Community Colleges Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Jefferson Community and Technical College Sherman Bush; interviewee John Klee; interviewer 2008OH088_CC39_Bush 1:|17(8)|37(2)|54(3)|73(2)|88(2)|104(13)|125(5)|143(13)|162(10)|183(13)|200(6)|222(9)|239(11)|257(5)|280(17)|303(10)|324(11)|343(8)|363(4)|375(12)|404(7)|424(9)|440(2)|457(4)|473(7)|495(7)|523(9)|538(3)|554(12)|569(9)|590(5)|605(14)|625(4)|646(1)|662(7)|678(3)|692(11)|715(7)|730(8)|745(9)|764(8)|781(10)|800(2)|820(10)|835(8)|852(10)|877(8)|899(6)|923(8)|945(5)|960(8)|982(9)|1004(2)|1030(3)|1050(7)|1066(7)|1085(11) audiotrans CommuColl interview KLEE: I will check the sound levels by using this thing every once in a while, make sure I'm getting things. I've got a little meter here too that's moving along. BUSH: You're good at this. KLEE: I've done a few, but I've messed them up before too. The following is an unrehearsed interview by John Klee for the University of Kentucky Community College System Project. I'm interviewing Sherman Bush from Jefferson Community and Technical College. It's March the 11th, 2008. I'm in Mr. Bush's office in downtown Louisville. Mr. Bush, I want to start -- just tell me about yourself, your personal background. BUSH: Basically, this is my thirtieth year at the community college system. I started out as a student in 1971, upon finishing high school. After graduating from Jefferson, I matriculated to the University of Louisville, got a bachelor's degree, taught school for a year, didn't like it, went back and got a master's and then came back to Jefferson as the first full-time faculty -- first student to come back as a full-time faculty, in 1978. I have degrees in social work, sociology and psychology, and a master's in educational psychology. I am a helper. I love helping students, helping students to reach their full potential and to see what they can become and to move them to the next level. So I enjoy very much what I'm doing and I think I'm in my right place. KLEE: What about -- going back again to your background, are you from Louisville? BUSH: Born and raised in Louisville. KLEE: Where did you go to high school? BUSH: I went to Shawnee High School, graduated in 1971. Our thing was I was drafted for Vietnam, and the only way you could get out of going to Vietnam was to be in school. I had no plans to go to college. I had plans to get a job and get an apartment, but the only way I could get out of that was to get in school. So I immediately enrolled in Jefferson the summer of '71, upon my graduation from high school. KLEE: What was -- how was Jefferson for you as an opportunity? Was this -- I mean, I guess you looked around. U of L was right here in town. BUSH: I didn't really apply myself in high school well. I waited around until my senior year to just jump on the ball and do everything. So I probably wouldn't have gotten into U of L at that point. So JCC was a viable option for me. Also, the cost, because I didn't -- my parents made too much -- I didn't qualify for financial aid. So I was paying out of my pocket. So it was something I could get into very quickly. I finished in June; I started in here in June. I finished high school, but -- I had already graduated. It was the best thing that ever happened, because -- coming from Shawnee, I had one of the largest graduating classes. In Shawnee, the 1971 class had 240 in our graduating class. The sad thing about it is the counselor only let the college reps talk to the top 50 students. I never saw a college rep, because I was not in the advanced class. You were in the advanced class, then the college reps came. They said, "So and so is here from Morehouse -- Morehead school. Come down." They'd call the names on the loudspeaker. I might have been, like, 120-something in my class, 130. I never saw a college rep, so I didn't have preparation for this. Neither of my parents are college graduates either, so I didn't have anybody to lead me in that regard. But I knew that I had a quest for education and I enjoyed school. I just fooled around too long in the tenth and eleventh grade and waited until the twelfth grade to kind of say, "Okay. You need to turn these grades around." KLEE: Can you tell me about a few of the first faculty members you experienced or any of those faculty members here at JCC stand out in your mind? BUSH: Yeah. One of them is still here: Hilda Stoddard. She was my English teacher and she is still here. She's probably been here -- the school opened in 1968, so she's been here since then. Had a wonderful counselor named Elouise Alston. She was my counselor. There were just two counselors here: her and Allan Steinberg, who's now retired, one of our counselors. So they saw all the students. We only had two buildings then; that was the Seminary Building and the Hartford Building. So all the classes were right there. These other buildings were lots and apartment buildings and homes. Mary Sutherland was a wonderful instructor that was my sociology teacher, along with Dr. Lillian Shein. Those are -- because I was a sociology major, social work. Jim McKeans (??). Those are some of the people that really influenced me in my formative years as a student. KLEE: You said that in high school you didn't always apply yourself. Was it an academic challenge to succeed here? BUSH: No. Once I got here, I knew if I didn't do well, I was going into the service, so that (Bush laughs) -- I knew I wasn't the only son, so they would take me out of school. And that was -- Vietnam was at its peak in 1971. Once I got here, I realized, with the care of Ms. Alston and small classes -- and it was like a family atmosphere here, you know, just small and right downtown. Everybody that wanted to go to U of L that didn't go to U of L came to Jefferson. We became real close. And the odd thing was the group that I met my first year were the people in the human services program, which was then called social work technology -- that's the associate degree that I have, social work -- we all studied together, we ate together, we worked together. So I had a group that was like my nucleus that gave me that -- what I needed to be supported. So what strengths I didn't have, they had. KLEE: You almost had a cohort, kind of, going. BUSH: Yeah, it was really nice. Of course, class sizes were small. You knew the instructors by name. There was no email, none of the things we have now, none of the technology. Everything was done in a very personable -- Dr. Smith was the president, John Smith. John Smith had an open-door policy. Students did not have to have an appointment to see Dr. Smith. That's when you know we must have been real small then, to have that kind of open-door policy. He always walked around and stuck his head into classes. It was nice to know that you had a president -- most impressive to me was, he was the first African- American president I'd ever met. He was the second president of the college, but he was African-American. We now have the -- our library is named the John T. Smith Learning Center, and we also have a John T. Smith Scholarship in his honor. So that was a very -- he was very, very supportive. KLEE: So he knew a lot of students by name. BUSH: By names, by names, yeah. He walked -- he was not a person to stay in his office; he walked around the building. Of course, the Seminary Building was so ornate at that time. Everybody just loved that building, had just renovated it, and we'd just moved in. So the school opened in '68; I came in '71. So a lot of classes were there, had a lot of history in that building. It was nice because I didn't know what to expect coming from a big high school to a college with maybe 20, 25 in a class. That was the average size then, 20, 25 people. But I learned, and it was the best sounding board for me to go to U of L. I think if I'd have went to U of L instead of coming here, I probably would've flunked out. I wouldn't have been prepared. KLEE: But the Seminary Building you said had just been renovated. BUSH: Yeah. And the Hartford Building was brand new. KLEE: Oh, I see. So you had nice, very pristine kind of conditions. BUSH: Sure, and they were nice buildings, right downtown. Of course, I didn't have a car, so -- it was right on the bus line. You got right off on the campus. You got right off on the bus line. What I think happened was, because it was such a small group of people, you knew the instructors by name and they knew you by your name, you had that constant support. It wasn't like you couldn't go to a teacher and say, "I'm having this issue." They were always willing to help you. And since it was so small, it wasn't like you felt like nobody cared. Everybody wanted to motivate you. KLEE: Did the University Of Kentucky name have much play here for you as a student? BUSH: Yeah, I guess it did. My degree says University of Kentucky. They don't even -- the community college system's don't say that anymore, it's just KCTCS. It wasn't influential to me because I planned to go -- I'm a U of L fan. I wasn't planning to go away from home. But I think one of the drawing cards to a lot of people was it was a tie to UK. Since we didn't have a UK campus here, a lot of students said -- and I think that was the -- maybe the premise that a lot of our students would be -- we'd be a feeder school to UK. And in fact, we were. A lot of our students went to UK. But then those who couldn't afford to go or didn't get scholarships, who didn't have the GPA to get in at that time or the ACT, tended to stay home and go to U of L, because they could stay here and keep their -- like I did, they could stay here and work. KLEE: How about your courses here going to U of L? How did that work for you as a student? Were they pretty -- BUSH: I made sure that I -- Ms. Alston made sure that I was taking the course that would transfer to U of L. She knew I was going to go to U of L. And I knew I couldn't get the -- at that time U of L didn't have a bachelor's degree in social work. It was a master's program. So I had to switch from social work technology to sociology. So she made sure that I took all my general ed courses. I don't think I lost hardly any courses. I transferred with, I think, 60 hours. So I transferred as a junior. KLEE: And you say that you did have classmates that went on to UK? BUSH: Oh, yeah. Some of them went to UK. At that time UK was still new. You're talking about '73, you know. A lot of African-American students didn't feel comfortable at UK at that time. And U of L, at least they were home. U of L and UK both were offering me scholarships, transfer scholarships. UK had a really good transfer program, so if you did well at the community college you could always go to UK because they figured you'd already done well and proven yourself. So the UK/community college transfer scholarship was real helpful to a lot of students to go to UK. KLEE: You mentioned the idea of being an African American. With an African-American president here, how did the -- what was the atmosphere like at Jefferson Community College? BUSH: It was wholesome, warm. The instructors -- we found a picture of a faculty meeting with Dr. Smith and the faculty. Small faculty, so it wasn't very large. We didn't have a lot of offerings at that time. But I think because he was the kind of president that had the open- door policy and faculty knew him and he went to eat with them and lunch with them, he was more like a supervisor, he was there to motivate and assist and push and encourage. For the students here, like myself, coming from a school that did not have an African-American principal, it was nice to see a -- have a role model, somebody -- you know, and he would always talk about, "Don't stop." He always encouraged us not to stop at the associate degree level. That was his main thing. "Go to UK, go somewhere. It's so hard when you quit and try to go back." And he's the one that got me enrolled at U of L. He talked to me and said, "You got your associate degree, but I want you to go to U of L." He wrote a letter for me. And I went straight from Jefferson to U of L. KLEE: Because you really had a -- I guess what they would have called an associate of applied science. BUSH: Right, and I could have got a job as a -- I think I interviewed for a job as a food stamp worker, making, I think, three dollars and something an hour. (both laugh) BUSH: Maybe not (??) that much. Two dollars and something an hour. KLEE: Your instructors were making sure you had the gen ed things too. BUSH: Sure, right, right. Because what they did, even then we had curriculum guides to look at and see what transferred and what things were -- we didn't have, maybe, all the articulation agreements that we have now in place. But most of the students either wanted to get their applied science degree and go to work, because that is what they -- they didn't want to go for a four-year degree, or they had intentions of either transferring to U of L, UK, or maybe Kentucky State. KLEE: Tell me about the -- after you got your degree and you were -- you got a master's degree, how did this job come about? Was there openings? Did you know somebody here? BUSH: I kept in contact with Dr. Smith the whole time I was gone until he retired. Then he went back to UK. I would go to visit him. And so when I finished my master's, I applied for several positions, and then this position came up -- a position came up in the Financial Aid Office at Jefferson. It was a financial aid counselor/assistant director. At that time we only had one person running the office, the Financial Aid Office. So you can imagine what kind of -- he had two secretaries. KLEE: Who was that? BUSH: His name was Emil Maresz, Mr. Maresz, M-A-R-E-S-Z, first name's Emil, E-M-I-L. He retired. He was an engineer from GE that retired from GE. He was the first financial aid director here. And so I interviewed, and Dr. Joe McMillan, who was the chancellor for African-American affairs at the University of Louisville, wrote me a letter of recommendation. Of course, Dr. Smith wrote me a letter of recommendation. I came and interviewed, and I got hired in 1978 as a financial aid counselor. And I stayed in that position for six years. Then I moved to the Counseling Center as a counselor. From that position, I became director of career services, which I did for about seven or eight years. And then back to counseling. KLEE: So you were one of the first people that -- one of the first Jefferson graduates that was employed by -- BUSH: Yeah. I was recognized at the -- one of the graduations as the first student to finish Jefferson, graduate from Jefferson, and come back in a faculty-rank position. KLEE: Tell me -- BUSH: One other person, there was a guy named Buck Bryant, B-u-c-k, who taught at -- who was at the Southwest campus. He and I both were Jefferson graduates and we both came back. I came to Jefferson. KLEE: He went to Southwest. BUSH: Southwest. KLEE: You were employed as a University of Kentucky employee at that point. How did that work for you? What importance did that play? BUSH: It didn't really. I mean, it was a check. My loyalty was to UK. Well, I was a U of L Basketball fan. (Klee laughs) And of course, I did what was required of me, in terms of -- we encouraged students to go to UK. UK was our -- we were a feeder school to them. And I was -- stayed in contact with -- I worked very hard with the Minority Affairs Office at UK then, feeding students. KLEE: I guess they were trying to actively recruit students. BUSH: Oh, sure. They were really active in recruiting. Dr. Parker, Bill Parker, Dr. Parker had gone back there as the chancellor for minority affairs, so he was making sure that all of us got to know him at the community college system. We had meetings together. So we would feed students and make sure that students got financial aid and got assistance, and they knew that there were people on that campus to support them. That's when that Minority Affairs Office was really strong and had a lot of money for scholarships. KLEE: Did they do a pretty good job with your graduates? BUSH: Yes, yes, they did. KLEE: Was it a hard sell to send them, because UK had, with Adolph Rupp and the basketball and so forth -- BUSH: I think there was a fear of racism and "Will I be accepted?" and so far from home. I think all those things may have come to mind. I think with Jerry Stevens and all the people that were in the UK Minority Affairs Office, Buzz Burnam, who is still there. They were just like, "I am your daddy/mama away from home." So that support was there. Some made it; some didn't like it. They had never been away from home. But you also have to remember that also in the early '70s, the applied science degrees were real popular. So a lot of students were coming and getting the applied science and going to work. So they may have decided to go on later, but their motive was to get in and get an associate degree in a field, technical field or applied science field, and go right to work. KLEE: Well, you were right in the middle of that in counseling and then career services. How successful was Jefferson at that point getting positions for people in the community? BUSH: In terms of placing students or encouraging -- KLEE: Placing students. BUSH: Pretty good. Some of our programs are better than others. For instance, you know, our largest program was our nursing program. So they have 100 percent placement. Most all our allied health programs do very well. I worked more with the business, human services, the other areas that were not -- I didn't really work with allied health much, because those students had jobs when they finished. Jefferson did not have a career services office. So I was the first person to create that office, that position. In fact, this year was my 21st annual career fair. So I'm still responsible for doing the allied health career fairs for the college. KLEE: Where do you have that at? BUSH: Here in this building, downstairs in our cafeteria. So we bring in -- at one time it was so big, we had to divide them. Allied health was one time -- one day, and business and other careers were the other days. That was our way of introducing our students to employers, so they could see what employers expected. We had them come in and work on resumes and how to interview, how to dress. It was open to all the students, which it still is. Some of the employers would take cards. They'd give their cards; they'd take resumes. We have pictures from those early days of the job fair. We called it a job fair then instead of a career fair. That was my way of introducing students to -- some of the students were just brand new students who were just kind of getting information about their career. They weren't looking -- they were just, maybe, new freshman. And say, "What kind of opportunities are available when I finish two years from now? What kind of money can I expect to make?" So all of them were not looking for jobs; some were looking for information. KLEE: What about community support for Jefferson? And you probably didn't have much perspective on (??) this as a student, but since you've been here so long, how does the community support Jefferson? Are there -- I'm going to ask you if there are any institutions that stand out, or individuals. BUSH: Well, I think the -- now it's altogether different. Then we were seen as part of UK, and this is U of L territory. So you kind of know how that was. We were kind of sitting in the middle of a pond. But I think we always had the City's support, I think. All the presidents: Dr. Horvath, Dr. Green, and even Dr. Newberry have worked to build partnerships with community leaders, Urban League, NAACP. We've always worked with U of L, Jefferson County Public Schools, GED programs. I think recently in the last ten or fifteen years, I think the community has really gained a deeper appreciation for Jefferson because they realize that education is very expensive. They also realize a lot of students don't prepare themselves, and our school system has not done a great job of preparing students for college. So this is a good place to start and to "hone your skills," so to speak, and get ready for that four-year experience. I think a lot of -- the other thing is that Jefferson has been consistent in being downtown, and of course the college grew. At one time we had an opportunity -- and I tell people and they don't believe it -- to buy all this land across the street. KLEE: Is that right? BUSH: Yeah, and UK said, "No." Because at that time they didn't think we were going to expand. Now we're landlocked, you know. And there were just two campuses then. There was Jefferson and Southwest. And Southwest, if you've ever been there, is a very nice, spread out campus. It's not in the middle of a city. It's out; they have their own parking. It's away from the main street. Of course, now we have five campuses now, soon to have six, with Bullitt. So we have five campuses. I think our total enrollment now is 14,500. KLEE: You mentioned -- you gave me a litany of the presidents, and you've talked about Dr. Smith. You said he retired and went back to UK. BUSH: Yeah, he went back to UK. He retired from UK. In fact, when he left Jefferson, he became -- he was the first African American vice president at UK. KLEE: Were you an employee of his at one point? Or was he already gone when you came back? BUSH: He was gone. KLEE: Dr. Horvath, I guess, was here. BUSH: Yes, Dr. Horvath was president. KLEE: He was here for a good long time. BUSH: Twenty years. That's who hired me. KLEE: He's been interviewed for this project. Can you give me some comments about him as an administrator? BUSH: How can I say it? A taskmaster to some degree. He required excellence. He required attendance, everything. He knew everybody's names. Of course, the school, again, wasn't as big as it is -- KLEE: Smaller then. BUSH: Yeah, smaller then. He was very supportive of all the endeavors of the different -- I happened to be over the -- and I still am the chair of the black faculty, which is called the Black Affairs Committee. We have different events. He always attended all our events, made sure that he was there. Wanted me to introduce him to the students, he wanted to meet the students. He was more of a -- how can I say it? He was a people person, but not as much as Dr. Green and Dr. Newberry. He kind of just ran the office and he knew everything. He kept -- he didn't keep to himself, but he didn't have the open-door policy. He was a different personality than I had been used to with Dr. Smith. But he knew everything that happened on campus. He was always on top of things, and he had people that -- on his staff that he made sure took care of all the business. If you -- he wasn't the type of president, if you'd ask him, he'd have to say, "Let me go ask somebody." He could tell you the answer. He was very knowledgeable. He was a good person to work for. He really encouraged me when I moved from financial aid to counseling. I didn't want -- financial aid was getting to be a -- it was constantly changing. Some things, we'd just learn it; they'd change on you. So I said, "I'm going to move to something else." So he said, "Go to -- move to counseling. You've got good people skills, students like you, and I think you'll be a role model because they need to see somebody that they can talk to. And plus, what you bring to the table is, you're a JCC graduate." So he strongly encouraged me, and he's always been very supportive of me the whole time he was here. KLEE: Dr. Green, you mentioned. BUSH: Very much so. Dr. Green's family, I knew his family. So again, I had a chance to be under another African American president. And I think that influenced a lot of our students to want to come, because Jefferson had an African American -- they didn't know about Dr. Smith. He brought to us, I think, his business expertise, coming from Honeywell. And so he was, again, a people person, down to earth. He really worked hard at what time -- he was trying to be on so many committees, trying to build partnerships with the community. He didn't have as much time on campus. He was trying to build this -- he was new to the city, even though he grew up here, went to Central High School here. He had been gone. He had a doctorate in chemistry. He'd been gone for years, so he'd come back and tried to build -- relearn the city. His parents were here then. That was one of the reasons he came back. So he had to work with the president at U of L, work with the president of Spalding. They were all new. He wasn't known in the educational field because he had been in the business field. KLEE: Dr. Newberry's been here a couple -- a few years. BUSH: Dr. Newberry was here as an instructor when I was here as a counselor. We know each other from -- and then of course, he went to the community college system. And so I would go up and see him. I can't say anything negative at all about Dr. Newberry. He's a people person. He's assertive; he cares for faculty. He's a good listener. He has a wonderful relationship -- he's really done a wonderful thing working with Dr. Ramsey at U of L and now Dr. Cosby at Simmons College. We're building a partnership with them. He's worked with the Jefferson County Public Schools with the dual credit. I mean, he's out in the community. He's well respected. And one of the things I think that helps Tony is because he was former faculty member. He knows -- it's not like he's always been an administrator and never taught. By him being a teacher -- then he went on to, I think, Ashland when he left here. KLEE: He did. BUSH: When he came back, we were still saying "Tony," because that's the kind of person -- I find myself -- I'll say "Tony" in person, but in public I always say Dr. Newberry, I give him his credit. But I think that was a -- people were glad to have somebody they knew. KLEE: When you were here as a student, some of the colleges started out primarily as transfer institutions and then moved into the technical. What was the mix of students like when you were here? BUSH: We didn't have any technical programs. It was just -- it was associate degrees, associate in arts, associate in science, and applied science degrees. And the tech school, which is now under us now, was separate. It was with the old state system. It was called Jefferson State Technical. So we didn't have anything technical. I guess all of ours was just AAS, AA, and AS programs. KLEE: Were most of your classmates planning on transferring, you think? Or did most of them end up transferring? BUSH: No, no. KLEE: You said -- BUSH: I have friends now who've been with the state system as long as I've been here. They work -- they got their associate degree, like I did, and their degree was called social work technology. They got on their jobs with the state department. They went back to school maybe later or even -- they just were able to work their way up having their years' experience. They are still with the state. A lot of them did transfer, but a lot of them were just looking for jobs. Some of them were older, so they had families. You know, I was 18 -- I was 17 when I came to Jefferson. KLEE: So there were actually non-traditional students from the beginning. BUSH: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Always. Yeah, I had people in my class in their 40s, and I was 17. KLEE: I drove around here, and this is primarily a kind of a business district. I guess people come here by bus, even today. BUSH: Yes. Well, as you can see, we are right downtown. Parking is a problem. We're getting ready to build in May, right adjacent to my building, a new Health Science Building, which is going to take up some more parking. We got that money from the General Association, I think, a couple a years ago. It's going to be a real nice building that's going to house all our allied health programs under one building -- under one roof. So we're going to lose parking again. We are trying to -- Dr. Newberry is negotiating, trying to get some parking away from campus. But a lot of students commute. Most of them drive. They park everywhere. And it's first come, first served. One thing that did help us, I think in 19- -- under Dr. Green we did buy the old bank building across the street, which is now the Jefferson Educational Center. That was a Portland Federal Bank. That gave us a whole parking garage, and it gave us room for offices. No classes can be taught there because it was built before fire escapes and things. So you can't have classes there. There's nothing -- you couldn't get out of there quick enough. There's two elevators and maybe three ramps. That's where our Admissions is, Financial Aid, Records, CREW Center. Some of those floors are rented out. UPS is there, the Metropolitan College. That building gave us more space. We were landlocked. There was nowhere to go. KLEE: You mentioned the partnerships with the school systems and U of L and others. Are there any other individual or businesses that have been particularly important? I mean, you've talked about the career fairs you had. Are there people that you could always depend on to maybe give you some financial help? BUSH: Well, UPS has been a player with our college from day one. UPS -- before we even had Metropolitan College, UPS was one of the first employers to come to my job fair and hire students, because the jobs were part-time, they had benefits, which most part-time jobs did not have. And at that time, students -- the jobs were at night so students could go to school and work, and go to school. They were very, very supportive. They have been very supportive at my career fair. They give us gifts; they give us scholarship money. Philip Morris, when they were here, tobacco -- we had a Philip Morris scholarship program. Every year, Philip Morris -- we had Philip Morris recipients that got scholarships that we announced at graduation. Of course, the tobacco companies have all gone now. We've worked with other agencies. Right now Dr. Newberry has built a good relationship with the Urban League and the NAACP in trying to get the word out that -- about our college and what we have to offer and how we can help them. Also workforce training. You know, that whole thing of going in -- we always work with Ford. I've been out to Ford and done orientations, because we've taught classes at Ford in the Ford plant and at UPS. So we've always had that business partnership, as well as the collegiate with the other colleges. And of course, Jefferson County Public Schools, because we want to make sure we get in -- we get a lot of those students from Jefferson County Public Schools now who can't get into the four-year schools because of their ACT scores. KLEE: Has the developmental education function of the college increased? BUSH: Very much so. KLEE: I mean, when you -- there probably weren't any developmental courses when you were here. BUSH: I don't think I took one. I think I tested into regular English and math and reading. But we're finding out -- and statistics show -- a lot of our students, a large majority of them, test into developmental math. They do well in reading and English, but math is -- unless they came fresh out of high school. If they come from high school that senior year and come right in, they do pretty well. But even some of them, math is just their weak subject. So our developmental programs have increased. That helps get them ready for U of L, because a lot of the four-year schools have developmental programs, but not to the extent that we do. I don't want us to be known as a developmental program. For a while somebody says, "Just go there." They called it -- we've had all kind of names, Broadway Tech, "thirteenth grade." They didn't see it as being a viable college, but now I think that -- with 40 years next year -- this year -- '68, yeah, 1968 -- 40 years being in the same place, I think the school has a proven history and record that we provide quality education for our students in the community. And we expanded to five campuses. It is not just downtown. We're -- you know, Shelby, Carrolton. Our name is out there. A lot parents have graduated and come back and said, "I want my students to go there -- my children to go there, because I went there. It's affordable, it's -- the class sizes are smaller, it's more personable. And I think if they're going to do well, they'll do well there. It's a good sounding board, a good place to start, and then they can transfer on." KLEE: I was going to ask you that. How has the -- how did the community helped shape the nature of this college? And then the flip side of that is, How is the college affecting and influencing the community? BUSH: Probably in the early years, I'm not sure, because as a student I wasn't involved in that aspect. I think since I've been back, all three presidents and the provost and deans have been real diligent in making sure that Jefferson is known, and what we have to serve -- and how we can help employers. We can equip them and train their employees. Especially when new employers move to Kentucky, we try to make sure that we were the person they could contact. [Phone rings.] KLEE: You want to answer it? BUSH: No. I'll cut it off. KLEE: All right. BUSH: We let them know that we had certain programs for their employees, that we could train them. And that was very helpful. I think now the community embraces us. We are involved in so many -- Dr. Newberry is on so many boards. We're involved in so many programs that people know they can call and find information about our programs, find out about the things we offer. So I think the community has embraced us, and that may be because of the -- you think about the number of people that have finished this college in 40 years that stay here. The sad thing about it, I wish we had a strong alumni association. We tried to do that, but a lot of students, when they leave here and go to a four-year school, they always take the four-year school as who they want to give money back to. KLEE: Right. They associate with that more than the -- BUSH: They associate more -- even though this was the starting point for them, and this is where they got their kick-off. KLEE: Right, their start. Most colleges have interesting characters, and you mentioned some of the early -- [Phone rings] You can answer it if you want. I can stop it. [Pause in recording.] KLEE: You mentioned some of the early faculty. Over time -- and you almost go back to the beginning of the college, were there some faculty that stand out, either because of their personality or their activism, even staff members? BUSH: Our administrative assistant here in the office, Linda New, has been here 36 years, started as a student, she's worked in the Registrar's Office. A lot of people that have been here have longevity. When I came on board as a financial aid counselor, the two students -- the two ladies who were our secretaries in the office are still here. So people stay here. I mean, they like it. Allan Steinberg was one of the counselors here; he was also one of our -- I guess they don't call it councilman -- alderman. So he was responsible for getting us all kind of acclamations. Back in the day when he was an alderman, he let the City of Louisville know what things were doing. He kept the press abreast of things. Allan still comes back. He comes back for -- he and I worked in this office together. So he stood out. Even when he retired, he went to the School for the Blind. He just retired again last -- two weeks ago. But he is one of those persons that continues to give back. A lot of the faculty that retire come back and teach as adjunct, part-time. You know, they still enjoy that. So I think most of the people stayed, and there are probably a lot of us in that 25 to 35 years that have been here. KLEE: The -- were there any board members that stood out? Anybody you had a particularly a relationship to? BUSH: No, I did not. I mean, I've been to some of the board meetings. I think the board's been -- the Board of Trustees -- we call them Board of Directors -- has been very supportive of the presidents in terms of getting initiatives out in the community and funding for programs. There have been all kind of programs that we've had, the grant programs that we have written. Of course, you know, like most grants, if the school doesn't take it over, you lose it. There have been a lot of grant programs that board members knew about. Dr-- . all three presidents have had some real strong board members who had business ties. One that's on our board now who's been very supportive, who's an alumnus of the college, is Dick Wilson. Dick Wilson is -- if you ever meet anybody that will sell this college, it's Dick Wilson, even though he's gone on, he has his own business. He's quite wealthy. But in terms of giving back to the school and working and talking about his relationship with the college -- he was the person that tried to start the -- he ended up putting me together, and we tried for three years to start an alumni association. But we just couldn't get students to -- [phone rings] [Pause in recording.] KLEE: You were talking about Dick Wilson. BUSH: Even after all these years -- in fact, I was just on a committee with him. Recently, he came and met with us about -- he had an idea about helping us to get some funds together for those students who may be in a crunch sometimes and need a little help. So we started a little emergency fund now. Dick was the first person to give to that. He's always wanting to give back to students because he feels like that Jefferson gave him his start. KLEE: Let me ask you about that, since you've dealt with counseling from the beginning, financial aid. Have the problems -- have the students changed in what they bring to the college and the kinds of, I guess, assets and liabilities? BUSH: Well, the student age has changed. We're getting more high school students now. I think that's because of the admissions standards that the other four-year schools have set, in terms of an ACT of 21 or 22. We are getting students coming out with 17 or 18, so they come here. So we are getting a younger group. When I was here, there was all age groups. I guess it was non-traditional. The average age was 25, so that's changed in that regard. We get a lot of students not prepared for college. They wake up in the morning and say, "I think I'll go to college," with no preparation, no financial aid, haven't applied for admissions, haven't taken the ACT. So we're spoon-feeding a lot of the students now. I think we have more programs now then we did then, and so we have more offerings for students who don't want to go for a four- year degree. They can go into any one of the programs and they can -- applied science programs and find employment. We've been careful to monitor our programs, because there's nothing worse than to have a program and students can't find a job. The object of those programs is to keep people in the community. We don't want people moving to Indiana, even, because they're keeping -- it's tax base. We've had some programs that we've closed down because they just didn't have the enrollment. We just kind of phased them out because they didn't have the kind of enrollment and because there were not jobs in those areas. And we brought in new programs that would be -- have students waiting to be in those programs. So that's helped. I think a mix -- we have probably have more foreign students now then when I was was here as a student. That's grown, of course. And of course, our community has changed. We are very diverse. Louisville is very diverse. That's good, because I think our students need to learn from other people. It's good to learn about other cultures and -- if everybody was just like Sherman, they'd be a clone. So it's nice when you have people from other cultures, other backgrounds, other races, because we learn from people who are different from us. That's what makes us different now. You are liable to see people from 18 years old to 70. KLEE: You mentioned the Metropolitan College, which you said they have some room next door. Explain that for people who aren't familiar with it. BUSH: Metropolitan College is a joint venture with the University of Louisville, JCC -- JCTC, the city of Louisville and U of L and UPS, where they were -- UPS was on the verge of moving their hub because they couldn't get enough workers. And so they came up with this program called Metropolitan College where they would work with the two schools, where students can work at UPS. While they're working there, they're going to school, Jefferson or U of L. UPS pays their tuition. They get their books paid for. So three or four things are happening. They're gaining work experience, which is going to look good on the trans -- on their -- KLEE: Resume. BUSH: -- resume, on their resume. They have a chance to work up at UPS, because they have a chance to move up the ladder. It's getting paid by the company. In some cases, they get bonuses based on their GPA. If they get good grades, they get bonuses. They get health benefits. So it's a win-win program for the students and for the college, because what it did was -- UPS decided to stay because now we supply them with students who want to work that 12 to 4 o'clock shift at night. But they get their tuition. And a lot of those students are probably students who didn't qualify for financial aid, so it gave them an option. So you could come all the way through Jefferson, two years, and not owe any money to the college, because UPS -- if you did well, UPS paid for your books, paid for your tuition. You got two years of experience on your resume, and you built a name for yourself with UPS. KLEE: That's an ongoing thing? BUSH: Oh, yes, ongoing. Yeah, it's ongoing. It's a wonderful -- in fact, several companies have contacted UPS to try to mirror that, look at that, replicate that. You know, "How did you all do that?" UPS has basically said, "We knew we couldn't get people 45 to 50 years old to come and work at night. We knew if we could get some -- ." We even went as far as Campbellsville at one time, when the Fruit of the Loom closed. Some people moved up here to go to school. They were housed in the dorms at U of L, so that's how they went all over the state saying, "This is a new program, and maybe you don't have a job. This way you'll have a job. We'll help you find a place. We have the training. You get to go to school. You have health benefits." I don't know of very many employers that gives you health benefits working part-time. So that's one of the pluses for our students, and we have a lot students working at UPS. That's our largest employer of students. KLEE: Recount a little bit for me the changes you saw as a student and as a faculty member. You said you started with these two buildings, the old Seminary Building and the Hartford, I guess is what it's called. And the building we are in now is the -- BUSH: Vocational -- VTI Building. KLEE: VTI. BUSH: Then we have the John Smith Learning Center, which is the library and study skills center. We bought the mortgage company on the corner of First and Broadway, which is the president's office. That was the Louisville Mortgage Company. Then of course, we just recently -- the last purchase was the bank -- the Portland Federal Bank. So we now have, I think, six buildings. Then we also offer classes at the Brown Theater down the street, Fourth and Broadway. KLEE: Southwest was with you all early. I mean -- BUSH: Yes, always been. They started in a trailer. They were in trailers. They have a very nice campus. It's laid out different. It's more of a -- because it's a campus, more than -- more traditional than this. But the buildings are not traditional; the buildings are contemporary. They don't have -- of course, none of us have dorms. So it's a different -- I think the changes have been the types of students, the number of students, the programs we offer, the diversity of students and faculty. We have some well recognized programs. Like I said, the Allied Health program. We're right down the street from five hospitals. Those students -- we have so many scholarship programs that encourage students to go on and do their best. I think that what I've seen is if you want to get an education, it's a good place to start. There's nobody going to be less expensive than the community college system, not at this point. And then of course, we're are going up, but even still, not as much as -- and I look at it this way, sometimes parents will say, "I want my child, my son or (??) daughter, to go to Jefferson." I say, "Why?" They say, "Because he's not good in school, and if he's going to flunk out, I don't want him to flunk out at U of L." They are talking about moneywise, not in terms of the college itself. "But we think that you're going to -- ." And they think a lot of their students -- their children need the small, individualized attention that we give. Our maximum class is 40 people, 35-40. A class at U of L may be 110. So I think a lot of parents realize that, and say, "Well, you know, get that nurturing, get that support and motivation from Jefferson." Then you very seldom find any students leaving Jefferson going to U of L or UK or Western or Eastern and flunking out in their junior year. When you've got 60 hours under your belt, an AA degree, you've basically proven that you can do college work. And so those schools look forward to our students who transfer, because they feel, "Well, you've got them ready for us." KLEE: In those early years when you were a student and so forth, did they have campus activities? Were there dances? BUSH: Yeah, we had dances. You know, we didn't have a lot of space. Allan talked about the football and basketball. They had a little football team, and I don't remember too much about that. We had campus groups, activities on campus. We had the dances, we had -- student organizations were real popular then. We brought in speakers. We went places -- we went to things in the city. That still happens now. That's all we had, though, because we had no fraternities, and we had no dorms, so -- I try to get people to understand -- they have to understand, some students come and say, "You all don't have nothing to do here." They're unaware this is a commuter school. KLEE: Right. BUSH: You know we don't have dorms, we don't have a basketball -- we don't have football, we don't have fraternities. What we do have is we have good education, good instructors, professors, good staff people, and we have a -- [Side a ends ; side b begins.] KLEE: This is side two of a tape with Sherman Bush at Jefferson Community College. You said that there seemed to be a few more activities then, you think. BUSH: I think there's much more activities now. We have a -- we tried a soccer club. One thing about getting student organizations on campus: everybody works, so it's hard to get students involved. I'm the faculty advisor for the African American Student Union. We keep having meetings; we have open house. We have a book exchange program. But just getting students to find a time when students can come, because most of our students come to campus, and they leave. KLEE: Of course, there's -- I mean, you don't have a lot of grounds, so people have to make a special trip to get here. BUSH: We have a Spring Fling during the spring where we have all the different organizations and all the different programs outside, and we have popcorn, and we have music, and you know, showcase the programs. We do that during the spring. The student organizations that are active, they're very active, but it's hard to get students ---------- (??). I would say based on my experiences, 85 percent of our students work. So a lot of them say, "I would love to come, but I have to go to work, or pick up my children," or, "I don't live downtown, so if I leave here I'm not coming back downtown for a program." KLEE: Another activity. BUSH: Yeah, another activity. That's very difficult. And I think when I can get students to understand that when you go to U of L, when you go to UK, you have those chances, you have the opportunity to get involved in those fraternities and get involved in those things. But once you get there, you're going to have -- what you're going to have is your education. KLEE: The base. BUSH: The base. KLEE: How about the coordination with Southwest and these other campuses? Has that been difficult? BUSH: Not at all, no. In fact, all of us -- all the counselors are under one unit. KLEE: So do you have meetings at different places, then? BUSH: We meet. There are probably -- let's see, there's Shelby, Carrolton, Southwest, Tech, and Jefferson. In fact, we have a meeting coming up. All the counselors, we get together. We have meetings. We try to do things the same way, even though our student population is a little bit different. The tech people, the students -- a lot of those students go in the evenings. A lot of tech programs start at 2 o' clock and go in the evenings, but not morning programs. They are just five blocks away. I try to do, and I have done -- haven't (??) always been successful -- a career fair at Southwest. I did a career fair at the Tech School. Again, students, "I've got to go to class, I can't stop." Because their classes are back-to-back, and they were more -- one thing I have noticed, though, I didn't have to work when I was going to school. You know, I had a part-time job, but most of our students have to work. School is just a part of one of those balls they juggle. They're parents, they work, they're married, and they're students. So it's like, "I don't have time to do all these things." The age of our students has changed. Again, I mention that because -- KLEE: More traditional. BUSH: Yeah. We're getting more high school -- and I think the reason -- not because a lot of them want to come here (Klee laughs). KLEE: Right. BUSH: But once they get here, we tell them, "Okay, I know you wanted to go to U of L, you wanted to be at the basketball games, you wanted to be in the dorm. But when you get there, you want to be able to stay there." I always tell them, "Get all you -- take all the courses you can take here that transfer. First of all, you're going to save money. You're going to get good basics, you're going to get good instructors, you going to get a good foundation. Then when you go to U of L, you make us proud, because when you go and you say, 'I'm a Jefferson graduate,' or, 'I did 60 hours, you know, at Jefferson,' U of L says, 'Okay,' or UK says, 'Hey, come on.'" You know, we know -- statistics don't show students -- now, students might drop out in their junior year because of something financial, a death, other factors, but they don't flunk out. What they do, statistics have shown -- and we have a good program called ULTRA, which is a University of Louisville Transfer program. That's where we get our students ready. That's a separate program, where students who know they are going to U of L will do the ULTRA program to make sure they are doing all the things they need to do to get into U of L, the ACT, admissions, how to get a dorm room, all that, through ULTRA. Also, which classes transfer. They can even be a Jefferson Community College student, and they pay a fee and get a U of L ID, so they can use U of L facilities while they are Jefferson students. KLEE: Oh, really? That's a good -- BUSH: Can't live in a dorm. So it's like, "I can still get a discount to the games." And then that gives them some initiative, "I really want to go to U of L because I got this -- I got an ID. I can go to the gym, I can get discounts for the basketball games. I'm really almost a U of L student." BUSH: When I used to see the old statistics, Jefferson, of course, always had the highest percentage of African American students. Is there still -- and of course, the senior institutions want more diversity. Is there still that -- are they seeking out good African American students to transfer? BUSH: They are. We still probably have one of the highest; you know, percentages of African American students of all the schools, in fact, more than some of the four-year schools. That could be basically because, look where we're located, right in the city. Of course, right downtown's accessible. I would say the downtown campus and Tech have more than Southwest. That is probably just because of their location. And Carrolton and Shelby. I think the schools are now offering -- I noticed that Western and Northern Kentucky University have really been pursuing our students, you know, because they've found out -- they may have two or three to go up there and do a good job, and they say, "Hey, where did you come from?" "Jefferson." Okay. And then there was no community college there. Of course, now there's the -- KLEE: Gateway has just started. BUSH: Gateway is there now. But before that time, a lot of those student went to Northern. I've had a lot of students who went to Northern because it was smaller, they didn't want to go to U of L, they wanted to get away from home, but it was just close enough they could get home in a hour and a half. Western has been recruiting a lot of our students. We have a College Day, where the colleges come and talk to the students about what they have to offer. A lot of that's based on what those schools have to offer in terms of money, scholarships, what programs they have, what majors. KLEE: That's what you look at when you're talking to the students and these institutions, just see what they have to offer and tell them the ins and outs. BUSH: Right. I ask them, "When you're ready to transfer, look at the costs. Look at their particular program. What other school has that program that you're looking for, that major? What kind -- what can you expect to make with that field? What kind of money can you expect to make?" In fact, my students in my class are just doing career papers. They had to interview somebody in their field and get a feel -- you know, what better person to talk to? Somebody who's already a nurse, or somebody who has a business, or somebody who's already in criminal justice. KLEE: What their work's like. BUSH: And give them some advice, and I think that's much better than reading an encyclopedia. They had to do a research paper where they had to actually interview someone, because I want them to realize what you see on TV is not what a nurse does. So they -- I want them to be exposed to that. And so I think the other programs are now beginning to encourage students to do co-ops and practicums and internships, where they can gain some experience -- KLEE: Sure. BUSH: -- while they're here. And they also -- what that does also, it builds that relationship with that employer, because when you finish, that employer might say, "Oh, you did a co-op here. I'm going to hire you. I remember how well you did as a co-op student." KLEE: You -- I know you've got this class coming up, and it's your last one of the semester or the -- it's the bi-term, I guess they call it. You had, I'm sure, opportunities, particularly over the years, and you decided to stay here. How has the community college dovetailed into your life? BUSH: It is my life. (both laugh) BUSH: I guess what ties me to the college -- I've had opportunities to leave -- is because I started here, and I know what it can do, what it did for me. So it's not like somebody working here saying, "Oh, this is a good school." I can talk about it from a personal perspective, and I can share that. KLEE: Someone that hadn't even intended to go to college. BUSH: Yeah. I'm a musician. I'm Minister of Music at a church. I'm well-known in the community, so I have a lot of ties with pastors in churches. They'll call me and say, "I've got some students that want to come to Jefferson. They need this kind of help, that kind of help." So I've been a -- Dr. Newberry's using me as a community resource. I'm on several committees with him, whereby he wants me to go out and -- somebody says, "Oh, you know Sherman? Well, okay." (Klee laughs) But I think the college has been -- I've been good for the college, because I've been able to stay this long, a full professor, tenured. But more than that, the college has been good to me in terms of I want to be able to -- I want it to be said that when I die, I helped somebody. I want somebody to say -- I tell my students, "You don't owe me anything, except to graduate. And when you come back, help Jefferson. Give something. If we start a fund, give back to the college, so that other students can receive what you received." Also, I tell them to reach back and help somebody else in the community. "Don't forget where you came from. Go back and pull somebody along the way." I want students -- I tell my students, "When you get somewhere, come back and tell me what you're doing." And I have students call me back and say, "I got my master's degree," or (??), "I'm in law school." I always keep a note of that and write it down, and I tell Dr. Newberry that I heard from so-and-so, finished in 1978, that are now teaching at this college. Because we like to know. We don't really have the resources to keep up with them once they go past that four-year degree. So unless they keep in contact with personally, we lose them. A lot of them still contact me. They come home summer, for Derby. They stop by and see me. Christmas they'll call me. I even forget their names. I don't know how many reference letters I write. KLEE: (laughs) Right. BUSH: You know, referrals for them to get in grad school or for jobs. They'll say, "Remember, I was in your class, you were my counselor." I'll say, "Refresh my memory." It's been a good experience for me. I embrace the community college system in terms of what it offers. It's the first chance and maybe the last chance for some people. So if I can help them to reach their potential, move to the next level, then I have no reason to leave. I mean, money has never been an object -- objective for me. I'm sure I could do something else, but I think you have to like what you're doing. You have to know that you're making a difference. I feel that I'm doing both. KLEE: I appreciate it. Thank you very much. BUSH: Okay. Did I talk too much? KLEE: No, no. [End of interview.] Oral history with Sherman Bush, counselor at Jefferson Community and Technical College. Bush describes his thirty year history with the community college, first as a student and then as a staff member. Describes the relationship between University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and community college students as they look to transfer to complete four year degrees. Discusses the role of the community college in Jefferson County, local businesses and students' lives. Concludes with reflections on various administrators working at the college over the years. insert here