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2008-03-12 Interview with Martin Brown, March 12, 2008 CC001:2008OH090 CC 41 01:23:51 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 Martin Brown; interviewee John Klee; interviewer 2008OH090_CC41_Brown 1:|14(8)|40(2)|62(10)|91(3)|104(8)|117(4)|144(11)|163(6)|179(3)|195(14)|214(2)|225(8)|234(10)|247(12)|263(10)|276(12)|301(9)|320(10)|344(3)|360(9)|373(8)|387(6)|403(6)|417(2)|444(6)|466(9)|493(7)|504(1)|514(2)|528(2)|546(7)|565(8)|583(13)|601(11)|620(6)|640(7)|657(6)|664(4)|675(9)|684(12)|697(9)|710(2)|723(4)|743(1)|757(7)|767(6)|790(4)|808(6)|831(6)|853(9)|866(9)|887(9)|898(13)|913(4)|930(3)|954(12)|966(11)|982(8)|1003(10)|1015(3)|1033(9)|1043(1)|1057(1) audiotrans CommuColl interview KLEE: Long ways, you're a little weary of what you're doing. Yeah. The following is an unrehearsed interview by John Klee for the University of Kentucky Community College system project. It's being conducted on March 12, 2008 I'm speaking with Marty Brown who lives here in Louisville and he is speaking with me on the campus of Jefferson Community and Technical College. Mr. Brown tell me a little about your, just tell me your background. Your family background, your education. BROWN: I was born and raised in Northern Kentucky, Covington and surrounding bedroom communities. Went to school, graduated from St. Xavier downtown Cincinnati at the time. Then went to Villa Madonna College which subsequently became Thomas Moore College. Married in Covington and I now have 5 children and 11, 12 grandchildren. KLEE: Oh my. BROWN: Can't forget them. I began at Northern. I taught for 5 years at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. KLEE: Let me take you back a little bit if you don't mind. BROWN: Sure. KLEE: You're college life, what year did you graduate from the high school. BROWN: Okay I graduated from X in 56 then I went to Villa Madonna and graduated in 60. Went to U.K. for a year graduate study in mathematics. That was my major. Then moved back to Covington and finished up at Xavier University with a masters in math. Left U.K. not because I didn't like it but because there was some damsel in Northern Kentucky that I was more interested in so I came back and got married and finished up at X. KLEE: I see when did you get married? BROWN: 62. KLEE: 62 so your, you got a few years into it. BROWN: Yeah, yeah, we celebrate 45 coming this fall. KLEE: What was Covington like at that time? BROWN: Covington. KLEE: When you were raised in Covington. BROWN: It was it was the step child of Cincinnati to a large extent. The people in Covington quite often thought that they didn't get their fair share of the tax dollar out of Frankfort. It went to Louisville and anywhere in the state except Covington. But I, I have nothing but good memories from Northern Kentucky. My mom's still is living and she lives up in Northern Kentucky. My two brothers live in that area. All my wife's relatives live in that area so we get back up there. KLEE: Pretty often? BROWN: On a good number of occasions. KLEE: That was one of the attractions from coming back for U.K. You said you met your present wife, your wife. BROWN: In college. KLEE: In college, okay. BROWN: We were both math majors. KLEE: Okay. BROWN: So we dated then and when I left to do a year of graduate study I thought, I missed her more than I wanted to put up with so I came back and Xavier had a program at the time. I don't know if they still do or not, I don't think they do. KLEE: Where was Villa Madonna located at that point? BROWN: Okay. Villa Madonna was located then on 12th Street. KLEE: That's 12th Street in Covington? BROWN: 12th Street in Covington. The Cathedral, St. Mary's Cathedral is at 12th and Scott. We were located behind it in the since of going onto 12th Street from Madison towards the river. KLEE: Okay. BROWN: I might said it was at 12th and Scott, it was 12th and Madison. The Cathedral. The college originally was a college reserved to educate sisters in Franciscan order. Then in the 40's they went public if you will and allowed students to come in who weren't. They weren't accredited until 58 not because the education wasn't good but because the Senate Associations likes a certain degree of permanents. The college didn't own a building. KLEE: Is that right? BROWN: We, we were just in residence downtown. I took chemistry in a firehouse. I took history in a bar. We'd have drunks periodically stop in and say what happened here and well it's a school now. They had convinced the Senate Association they wouldn't close up on Friday and be gone on Monday sort of thing. And that, that occurred while I was there so I graduated technically from an accredited school. KLEE: Okay. What about that college choice? Why did you make that choice? Where there other options? BROWN: My dad never I don't think he made more than five thousand dollars a year ever. So we didn't have very much money. At the time Villa gave a test on a particular Saturday and any senior was invited to take the test. The top score received a 4 year scholarship. So my parents said why don't you go up and try. So why not. I came home and they said well how did it go. I said I didn't miss a one. They went oh my God. Because usually when I thought I did well I hadn't done so well on the test. And when I thought I had screwed it up then I did pretty well. Then when they heard that I was just confident I just aced it, they were scared. But I won it. I came in first so I was given a 4 year scholarship. KLEE: Wonderful. BROWN: And at the time the president I think about that when I hear the tuitions now that people are charging. The president when he gave me the certificate said do you realize that you saved your parents, yourself and your parents a thousand dollars. Because tuition was $125 a semester all you could take. So I graduated with 152 hours I think. KLEE: Was math an interest of yours in high school? BROWN: Yes. KLEE: Oh okay. BROWN: That always helps on those test. You know math always. KLEE: Oh yeah I cleaned house on that. BROWN: That kicks other people sometimes. (laughs) KLEE: So that's why I went there. BROWN: So you graduated from, well you came back from U.K. you found a teaching job? KLEE: Right. Came back and I, the interesting thing is I didn't have it, a teaching certificate. BROWN: I was going to ask you about that. KLEE: Now this was Villa at the time, if you were in education that was about you did in the senior year. Student teaching and that kind of thing and education courses as well. I like math more than that so I said well I'll do without and pick that up along the way. Well when I came back from U.K. I got a job in the Kenton County School System. They were opening a new Jr. High called Twenhofel. It's still there. BROWN: Is it? KLEE: I went out and taught 8th grade and I had to sign a statement that I would get my teaching hours lined up and everything. But I only taught there one year. It was enjoyable but I realized that wasn't the level of math that I wanted to teach. So I contacted pe9ople that I knew at St. X High where I graduated and they had an opening. That wasn't a problem a lack of teaching certificate because they could get at that time what was known as a non tax supported certificate. And as long as you had a masters in your field they'll then because you weren't supported by the taxes of the people that was okay. BROWN: You got started there? What was the first time you had heard about this I guess college center? U.K. Northern? KLEE: I had known it was there all the time. BROWN: Right because it had started in 48. KLEE: It started in 48 and it was housed in 6th District School I believe it was and which was in those days the public schools in Covington were just 3rd District, 4th District and etcetera. I went to grade or to kindergarten in 3rd District school so the 6th District I knew were it was. They had a few rooms there and it was called an extension by the people down there. The U.K. extension classes. So I knew it was there. BROWN: Did any of your class mates go there? KLEE: No. I don't know anybody that every went there. BROWN: Is that right? KLEE: No. I didn't know that many people who went to college to be honest with you. But I knew it was there and it was just part of the territory and I never gave much thought to it. Between the time I was in kindergarten and when I got my job they built a facility up in Park Hills end of Covington. In what's called the Big Bend Area. 25 and 42 were the main North South routes in those days. We didn't have express ways back then. There is a significant turn in that, in that road. It's called the Big Bend and up from that they built the bui9lding upon an overlook. Which is just a drop dead gorgeous view up there. You could see all of Cincinnati. BROWN: Now was that in Dell view Park? KLEE: No not technically. Dell view Park is on the other side of Dixie Highway from there but you were within 3 or 4 miles from Dell view Park. Yeah if someone not there or am I in the Dell view Park area, yes. But for the locals no. It's that kind of thing. BROWN: Yeah. Is that the building that still stands there? KLEE: One of them is one of them is. BROWN: Because when I was up there doing interviews I rode by there and I think I went on that old road and came up on Dixie Highway there. KLEE: Right, right. And that was there and I knew it was there. I don't know how you want to take this chronologically but there was, there was a building and when I first started teaching there that was the only building. And at that time Jefferson wasn't in existence. So Northern was the tail that wagged the dog then. We were the big, the big campus in terms of enrollment. And they had taken course samplings of course to put the building down. When they actually excavated for the foundation and the lower levels, they took that dirt and essentially dumped it into a low spot right next to the building. So they filled it in and made it level. It wasn't used for anything but it was level. Then as we continue to get more numbers they thought we ought to build another bu9ilding up here. And so there going to put it on this open area and it was going to be a rec-area with some classroom meeting facilities, space. They built it and it was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen because on the day we had the grand opening for the building, half of the building was roped off. Because what had happened is they hadn't taken the time to take core samples. So and I'm just using numbers here, lets say rock was 10 feet down well they drilled down 10 feet and put the core samplings in or put the foundations, the footers in and everything but they forgot they had filled in all this low land. So now the rock might be 20 feet down and it was right on the edge of a hill side and one of the engineers explained to me if you put an ice cream sandwich on a table and push down with your hand. What will happen is the ice cream will squirt out the side. Well you had the rock say 20 feet down and now you had the building sitting on top of it and the fill dirt got squished out. BROWN: That was the ice cream. KLEE: So you could actually if you wanted you could go behind the Hankins Building which was named after Tom Hankins and look and see underneath the first floor. Because they did not dig for a basement or anything like that, it was just a slab affair. So you could see underneath the slab and I think it cost, I'm not sure the exact numbers 500, a million dollars lets say to build the building and I think it cost 500 or 600 thousand to redo it. Last time I was up there that building was gone. BROWN: Gone, right. When did you get become a member of the Northern Center? KLEE: In let me think, in 65. BROWN: 65? KLEE: I taught 62, 63 at Twenhofel. No, 61, 62 at Twenhofel. Then I taught 62 to 65 at St. X High. There was a fellow teaching at Northern at the time and that, his name was Cliff Wager. He got in touch with me and said they had an opening would I be interested. I've always enjoyed teaching but I think I enjoy mathematics more so I thought teaching at the college level would be more interesting than teaching at the high school. So in the fall of 65 I was started at Northern. BROWN: Did you ever take a cut in salary? Of course you were in a private school so they don't pay that much either. KLEE: No I remember the starting salary was $3,600 dollars and that was a little bit high than I was making at the high school, not much. But what made it so sweet was the fact that you could teach two classes in the summer and at that time one class was 10% of your salary and second class was another 10%. So you could make 20% of your salary. So $3,600 with 20% kicked in, my wife and I thought geez pretty soon if we keep going we could be up near $10,000 a year. And when I came here in 71 at Jefferson it was for $10,400. BROWN: Is that right? KLEE: Yeah. BROWN: Well I want to talk about those. You were there and they already had these new buildings? KLEE: They had one. BROWN: They had one building and where they calling themselves Northern Community College at that point? KLEE: Yep. BROWN: I think that was the year. Tell me about the people, this Hankins was, he was still there? KLEE: Tom Hankins was, in those days we didn't have a president we had a director and an associate director. Tom Hankins was the director. Tom, Tom was a good old boy kind of thing. Now he had credentials don't get me wrong. But quite often, quite often the appointments had as much politics with them as they did academic justification. BROWN: Now was it local politics we are talking about? KLEE: I think. BROWN: People connected to the area? KLEE: Yeah. He was a nice man, I thoroughly enjoyed him. Easy going, easy to get along with, he was near retirement. BROWN: Because I think he went there with the center in the beginning like in 48. KLEE: Oh yeah, yeah. I didn't know him until I was hired. So they subsequently named the building the Hankins building for him. But he was, he was a nice man. I don't think he was academically the cream of the crop but he was good for the community. He was known in the community, he was a good PR man for the community. He ran a good ship. So nobody had to do research. We weren't there for that we were there to teach and. BROWN: You were teaching 15 hours? KLEE: 15 hours, that was normal. If you got a calculus class then it was 16 because that was a 4 hour class. BROWN: Where you the only math person? KLEE: Cliff and I. BROWN: 2 of them. What kind of enrollment are we talking about there approximately? KLEE: I think we were in the 6 or 7 hundred stage. So the most of the other ones in those days were in the 2 to 3 hundreds. So we were the big dog. BROWN: Oh yeah. A lot of these colleges as you said, Henderson, and Maysville and Hazard, Jefferson hadn't even started. KLEE: No, no Jefferson hadn't. Now the rest of the system was pretty well in tact. By the time I got there. What was, what was fascinating but it got to the point it was prohibit ably expensive is in those days Ellis Hartford was the head of the whole system and were taping this in the Hartford Building here KCC's campus. He was an Ohio County boy and I don't say that derogatorily because that was the way he introduced himself. And he always told Ohio County stories. Which were ungodly long shaggy dog stories. Then that's when he would get to the point where he was going with it and Stan Wall who was his associate at the time, his assistant director would say, Ellis let's get on with it (laughs). Once a year they would get the whole community college system together. BROWN: Everybody in the system? KLEE: Yes. BROWN: And we would have a planner session with Ellis and Dean Wall and then we would break up into discipline groups. It was, I thoroughly enjoyed those. In the scene that if I went to those and I never missed them, and if you went to them you got to meet your colleges. Name comes to mind Jackie Moss taught mathematics at Paducah Community College. Well Lord have mercy before the interstate system was in place I wouldn't even dream of going to Paducah Community College. But you would get to see her once a year. It was fun. I don't know that we ever did anything profound but the comradely was terrific. KLEE: I was told that this Dr. Hartford he actually lead the group in song once or twice. BROWN: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. If you would, if you would see him and you would line people up and watch the number of Hollywood movies and you had a stereotype image of what a college president or the head of a system would be, Ellis would not be the one you pick. He was a good guy and I thought a little flakey at times but politically he was a stew, he knew what he was doing. But he was an Ohio County boy and that's how he introduced himself. Let me tell you an Ohio County story. So oh God here comes another Ohio County story and you just sort of doze off for awhile. KLEE: Where did you have these meetings? BROWN: They would vary. Quite often we would have them in Lexington at a place called the Phoenix Hotel which has long since been gone. I remember one up at Prestonsburg Community College at Jenny Wiley State Park. Those are about the only two, they really didn't rotate them. They finally settled in on Lexington. Because I think that somebody reckoned that if you wanted to find a spot where everybody had to drive somewhere because there was no Lexington Community College in those days. It didn't exist but if you had to drive, everybody had to drive to get to Lexington so no one person could claim they were picked on or singled out. KLEE: Was it just a single overnight? BROWN: Yeah we would have a weekend. So there would be an overnight. It was fun. KLEE: I guess that ended sometime in the 70's, early 70's? BROWN: Yeah there was one of the fellows in the system was named Larry Stanley. I asked him once I said how much is this costing? He said Marty I can't tell you that, he said I don't know I said yes you do, he said well and he said what do you think it costs. I said I bet that they blow 10 thousand dollars on this and he said you're not too far off. Now a days 10 thousand dollars doesn't sound like anything but back in the 60's that was a lot of money. So finally it just got, and then when Jefferson kicked in I think they were only one or maybe I don't remember that exactly but it sort of died. KLEE: Tell me about some of your colleagues at Northern, any other people I mean is anybody that stands out? BROWN: Yeah. An interesting person that I always thought was Charles Talbert. Charlie he. KLEE: Now was he a history person? BROWN: Yeah. Yes. KLEE: That's what I thought. BROWN: But he was history, he was tenured at Lexington. But Charles was a strange individual. KLEE: You mean at U.K.? BROWN: Yeah on campus. KLEE: I see. BROWN: But it was almost like he was a specialist in Kentucky history. He knew Kentucky history inside and out. I don't think the man ever forgot an historical fact in his life. But I don't know what it was on campus and we never heard exactly. But either he couldn't tolerate them or they couldn't tolerate him. But he taught at Northern. He lived in the Hankins Building. KLEE: Really? BROWN: He had a room downstairs. I never could figure that out. And he would go home on the weekends and that kind of thing but he taught. KLEE: So his home was still in Lexington? BROWN: Yeah. KLEE: But he lived up there? BROWN: Yeah. KLEE: And went back and forth? BROWN: Yeah. As a nice a man I never if he had a gotten, if he'd of gotten mad it would have been the second coming. I mean the man was just absolutely a placid as he could be and we had some brouhaha's up there and he just was just as calm and cool as he could be. KLEE: I see. BROWN: But I never really understood his, his problem let me say it for that, that was so bad that either he couldn't tolerate being on campus or they couldn't tolerate him being there. But he was the only PhD on the faculty. In those days, well he was doctor and professor that's the way everybody associated I think he was technically an associate professor. But the rest of the faculty at the community college in those days were either instructor or senior instructor. KLEE: Okay. BROWN: Senior instructor you were tenured. KLEE: I didn't realize that. BROWN: Yeah. KLEE: They didn't have that right until later? BROWN: Oh yeah, yeah. So everybody else was an instructor or a senior instructor except Charles and he was professor. KLEE: So he kind of wide qualified as? BROWN: Oh yeah, yeah and everybody came to him if you wanted to know anything about U.K. in general or specifically or Kentucky in general. He knew. He just flat out knew. He was he was a neat guy. KLEE: Now when you went there and was, was Northern Community College that just part like U.K. North? BROWN: In a way, in people minds. Yeah it was the U.K. presence and that worked for and against U.K. In the scene that it gave them a presence in the community so there was no other 4 year school up there. So they were it. Unless you went in Cincinnati. The flip side of it was though the regional universities were always bent out of shape because they thought that U.K. was scything off the better students by putting all these tentacles throughout the system or throughout the state. I think the regional universities they didn't look too kindly on the system having all the feelers out in all parts of the state. KLEE: Now the students that were there they were taking U.K. numbered classes, 200 levels? BROWN: Yeah, yeah. And that sometimes presented a problem. They were U.K. numbered classes. We didn't have in those days community college courses as opposed to so my area was math. Sometimes I'm sort of niece and simplistic and I got shot down once on that score about being a U.K. class. Because the calculus we were teaching was calculus I, II, III. 3 four hour courses and that would leave the 4th semester math less if there is such a word. Well I would talk to them on campus and I'd say well what would people on campus be taking now? And they said differential equations and I said why don't we, why can't we teach differential equations up here? And they said because they have an upper division number to it. And I said big deal just put a lower division number on it. Well I'd put that in writing and sent that off and in other words it didn't start with a 2. It started with either a 3 or 4. Even though they were teaching it at the end of the sophomore year. KLEE: Sophomore year, oh okay. BROWN: So I said we'll just call it 220 or make a 200 number and teach the, well Lord have mercy they were on me like you wouldn't believe because that course satisfied upper division requirements in adjacent areas not in mathematics but in other fields and to do that oh my Lord. So I can back with my head in my hands. And we never taught DE up there. KLEE: Did you have pretty frequent communication with the faculty at U.K.? BROWN: Yeah they would, they would try and stay in touch especially if they were going to make some kind of change. We didn't have to use the same text book they used. We were free to pick our own text books. They would tell us what they were using and that always was in the mix but Cliff and I could pretty much pick our own books. KLEE: What kind of students were going to Northern in 65? Mostly traditional transfer type students? BROWN: Yeah, yeah. We got some older students but it was the way I think it was used more often than not was kind of the way I thought the system was intended to be used. If you had a student who didn't know whether he wanted to go to college or not or she you can go here and stay at home, it costs less and then you know yeah this is for me. Then I can transfer and I'd only have to pay 2 years room and board and that kind of thing. We had a lot of traditional students. Some older ones but they didn't, they didn't really promote I don't think the school as a place where you could come back after you'd been out for awhile. It was promoted as if you want to start your degree here's a place you can do it at home kind of thing. KLEE: Well with that many students, talking about hundreds of students I guess you all were making enrolls in local schools? BROWN: Yeah. KLEE: Student wise? BROWN: Yeah and we were encouraged to go out and have good communication, good repore with the high school near. KLEE: I have just picking up things and so forth. A lot of, did they have a lot of student activities? Dances and? BROWN: No we didn't have a whole lot. We didn't have any kind of athletics at all, period. Even intramurals. We just didn't have much anything. We would occasionally have dances. My wife and I scared the living devil out of me. We were there in our first year and we were asked to chaperon a dance. And a girl arrived and got drunk and threw up in the ladies restroom and we made sure she got home safely. The next day Mr. Hankins called me in and said her father had complained and I must have been out there dancing and not paying attention to what I was doing and my wife and I couldn't barely stand the music. KLEE: Oh yeah. BROWN: And we thought we had done as well as we could. KLEE: Sure. BROWN: they would go out in the parking lot and all of that and I couldn't be in and out and everything. I think that was the last dance we had on campus. Now the father cooled down and I was never disciplined or anything but I thought gee whiz I had it so nice and secure over at X why did I ever come over to this place. But no there wasn't, you came there you took your class and you went on your way. KLEE: Okay. When you, when you considered this position did the U.K. label have any affect on you? In the decision making? As an early employee? BROWN: Oh maybe subconsciously it did. Because I was, I was blue, I bleed blue. Even as a kid. KLEE: Even people in Northern bleed blue? BROWN: Oh yeah, oh yeah because K.W. Ledford was the icon and we could get him on WHAS and so I would listen to all the games that away. But I think that the big attraction, it could have been any school. The attraction for me is that I would be teaching college level math. Little did I realize that so much of our curriculum were devoted to teaching remedial stuff which wasn't a whole lot different than what I was teaching at high school. KLEE: Where you doing that from the beginning? BROWN: Yeah. KLEE: Those remedial work? BROWN: Yeah, yeah. But then you, Clifford would give me a calculus course or something like that as sort of a, its not all going to be basic algebra or intermediate algebra or anything like that but and then to I was hired at X when the quote new math craze was just hitting. They wanted to be cutting edge and I was available when I had some understanding of that but the parent teacher conferences were interminable because the parents didn't have a clue as to what their kids were learning. And that I didn't feel, I didn't find that terribly exciting. And I knew that if I taught college that I wouldn't have to worry about that so that was an appeal. KLEE: What about the U.K. label for the students? BROWN: Oh they liked it. They liked it. KLEE: And transfer, they went to U.K. very easy? BROWN: Oh yeah. Yeah transfer, it was not difficult and we would, we would take the U.K. curriculum guides and we could match up, the number of pairings was simple because there was no equivalency because they were the same numbers. So that wasn't bad at all. KLEE: Was there any criticism from the community or from U.K. that you were, not you but the whole center at that point the community college was, that they were kind of U.K. like, you know the courses wasn't equivalent or? BROWN: Oh yeah we always had that. I think that sort of passed but when I came to here to Jefferson for example the acronym was JCC for Jefferson Community College that was before the technical merger and they said that stood for Jed Clampett College. I mean that was, that just came with the territory. KLEE: That's something community college people have to deal with. BROWN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. KLEE: Are there any other individuals that kind of stand out in your mind? BROWN: Well Cliff, he is the one that hired me and he eventually while I was still there he left and went down to the Lexington campus. And went into administration in the math department. I think retired from that position. The, Jim Perkins, we didn't call him Jim, he was Larry Perkins, he taught English there and then he came to Jefferson here. Just looking over the list of people on the faculty there. Bill Byron taught English and I remember Bill very well because in I guess it was 68, the legislatures, the state legislature was getting heavy pressure to, from the Northern area to come up with a 4 year school. I think at that time U.K. was between presidents. I think it was Ab Curwen who was the interim president back in those days. And I met him once or twice but he was, he was more than past retirement age. Ab didn't really; he wasn't looking for any fights in the legislature or anything. So as a result I think if we had of had somebody like the present president or Wethington or Singeltary. A strong personality they would have fought to keep the community college as a part of U.K. and start a 4 year school independent of it. We didn't have that voice so the legislature past a bill that in essence Northern became the first two years of Northern Kentucky State College. KLEE: State College, uh-huh. BROWN: That's what it was called in those days. So in 1970 that went into affect. Well Bill Byron was sick very ill. When this transference was coming into place. And the new president, well I could go to how the transfer took place. KLEE: Yeah go ahead and tell me all about it. BROWN: What happened is that Mr. Hankins retired and then they could see the hand writing on the wall. They being the people of Lexington so they brought someone up from Lexington to be the head honcho and that was A.J. Houselman. KLEE: Oh really? BROWN: Yeah. So he was, he was our leader during the transition. What was interesting about that was he knew that our days were numbered, our days being U.K. Everybody did because they passed legislature. But U.K. was coming up for accreditation and when U.K. came up for accreditation the whole system was part of that. Okay so we said well we don't have to do that. He said yes you do. I said A.J. give me a break we won't even be in existence when the accreditation takes place. He said I understand that but it was Lexington's take and they had gotten this from Senate Association since they had administered solvent if you will over Northern in the past 10 years it had to be included in the self study. And I said Jay and he, he appointed me head of the team to put together the study. KLEE: Accreditation team? BROWN: Yeah and I said thank you. I said I'm not going to be able to sale this to anybody. And he said yeah you will so he would get on their case a little bit and all of that but we were picking up the accrediting team at the airport. We had people stapling together the self study report in the offices while they, they said if you have to drive around or show them the sights but you can't be back before a certain hour. Because it wont be ready so we, they visited and asked all the questions and all that kind of stuff and this was in spring and we said well now when will we hear from you. Well we'll make our report in September or October or something like that and I'm thinking that's terrific, we won't be apart of U.K. then. So I didn't much care, it was not the greatest self study the world had ever seen (laughs). But considering where we were it was as good as we could do. KLEE: Right. You were just doing make work essentially? BROWN: Essentially yeah. And A.J. said Marty I know it doesn't make any sense but I got to do what I got to do and I said I understand. But after they transitioned over we were told that all of our benefits would just roll over. KLEE: Before you go there let me ask you when was the first inclining you heard of this when you became an employee in 65 where there, there was nothing there? BROWN: Nothing there, well it would always be nice if we had a 4 year school here but. KLEE: They'd been saying that in Eastern Kentucky for 50 years. BROWN: Yeah and I have a feeling and this is just gut feeling that the politician segued on the fact that U.K. had an interim president. Their not going to get any fight much because Ab as I say was a nice guy but he was, he was past retirement and they called him back to take on this interim post that was I think during the Rosell period and all that kind of stuff. KLEE: And we had a Republican Governor for the first time. Where there, are there any names you can remember locally there or a big push behind the Northern? BROWN: I can't remember any political names. Jimmy Ware was influential but I don't know that he was involved in this per say. He was a local politician. KLEE: So you were telling me they said you were just going to be sucked up by this new state college? BROWN: Well yeah, we just became the first two years so all our benefits would roll over from U.K. So whatever we had at that time we were with Humana, I'm sorry Blue Cross/Blue Shield. They would just roll us over well Bill Bryon was sick I mean almost deathly sick and he's in the hospital and my wife's pregnant and the baby is going to come after we are part of U.K. So I have more than a passing interest are we really going to roll these benefits over. So I checked with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and they say well we have to come up and enroll you. And I said well I just thought it was automatic, no you have to be enrolled. Now once you do that it's okay so I asked the new president and he said, I said are you going to tell people they are going to have to do this and he said well I just assumed they knew that. I said well no one told them they just told them everything rolled over. He said well they, I said what are they supposed to do he said he could just get a bridge kind of coverage until we can meet in the fall. So I called up Blue Cross/Blue Shield again and they said we're just waiting, we can come up any time, we don't have to wait until the fall. So I was younger and dumber than I am now. I called a faculty meeting and told them that Blue Cross/Blue Shield would be there to sign us up. END OF TAPE 1 START OF TAPE 2 KLEE: This is side two of a tape with Marty Brown at Jefferson Community College. I didn't get that hang on a minute. Now it working. You called a faculty meeting to try to fix this insurance problem between this transition between you all going into the Northern Kentucky State College System. BROWN: Unbeknownst to the college president. KLEE: Now who was that at that time? Was that Steely? Frank Steely? BROWN: Yes. KLEE: Frank Steely? BROWN: Yeah, Frank Steely. After I had set it up and everything then I informed him of what I did and he wasn't exactly thrilled. But when he came, then they came he thanked me publicly for following his suggestion that we get everybody together and everything. Bill was covered and my baby was covered. Everything was as promised but it was because we had signed up. KLEE: You were proactive in doing it. BROWN: Yeah. So I was told when it came time for contracts I would not get a raise that year. KLEE: Oh really? BROWN: Yep. Because I was already making too much money. I was making $10,400 at the time. When that happened then I called A. J. Houselman who was back in Lexington. KLEE: System office at that point. BROWN: Right. And I told him if you ever hear of an opening in the system let me know. He then called me some months later and said Jefferson's opening a new building, it was the building we're in presently. And he said there going to need a good number of teachers because it's a 12 story building and they could put a lot of classrooms in there and all that kind of thing. So that's why I'm here. KLEE: So if I can get my timing right, you taught the last classes essentially. You and your colleagues as part of Northern Community College and that was in spring of 90? BROWN: No, no, not 90. KLEE: 70 I mean. BROWN: Yeah, yeah. KLEE: Spring of 70 and it went into Northern Kentucky? Now did a lot of them stay up there? BROWN: Oh yeah. I was well Larry Perkins and myself were the only two that left to rejoin the system. KLEE: Okay. And do you know how that turned out for them? I mean did they? BROWN: They did fine. Frank and I, Steely and I just came at things from an all together different view point. I don't mean moral in a since of religious but ethical I guess would be it. And I, I had problems with that. KLEE: So did he actually supervise you for awhile then? BROWN: Oh yeah. I was there one year under the new Northern Kentucky State College at that time. KLEE: Now did they use, did they take the buildings too? BROWN: Yeah they got everything. They didn't built their campus over in Campbell County until I was long gone. KLEE: Right. BROWN: Which I find ironic because at the time we went out of existence, we meaning the U.K. connection with it, I was the faculty representative on the board of trustees, or the regions board. That year that we were I was still with then at Northern I was the faculty representative. So when they build regions hall up in the present NKU campus there's a plaque they tell me on the wall of the regions and there's my name. KLEE: Wonderful. BROWN: And I had never set foot in the campus. I have never to this day, I've been on the campus, but to this day I have never been in the building and my names there. I tell my kids and grandkids that just shows you that that kind of stuff isn't worth anything. KLEE: Well I'll check that next time I'm up there, I'll go and see that plaque. So you were there that year and they had taken all the Northern faculty, I mean Northern Community College and then they were hiring their own people too? BROWN: Yeah, yeah they didn't do a lot of hiring that year simply because we didn't have any more space. So the first year I don't know if they hired maybe one or two. KLEE: Did they start offering junior level classes right away? BROWN: No. I don't remember much in a way of upper, I don't remember much change at all that first year that I was there. It was more they were more interested in administration because now they didn't have all the support that they, that was coming out of Lexington. KLEE: Right. So they had to get the Human Resource people and the insurance people and. BROWN: Yeah. That year as best I remember they just left us do what we were doing. KLEE: You were just teaching your classes? Let me take you back to one point, you mentioned that there was some brew ha-ha's in that 4 or 5 year period. Was there anything that stood out in particular? BROWN: Yeah there was one and I can't remember what precipitated it. But there was someone that was real unhappy about something and I, I guess it was with the dance and that made the papers. I think it was the dance the more I think about it. And they, they wrote an editorial and they, the editors. Charlie Talbert and I took out after the paper and then we, we tried to straightened out what was factually incorrect and the interpretations that the way they viewed it gave which were not, we didn't think was foundationally true. Then they came back at us, so we had this on going thing with the local newspaper. KLEE: For awhile. BROWN: But Charles, I mean I get all fired up. Man I'm ready to fire and brimstone and all that and Charles was say, Marty just settle down and he'd say it would all be fine, this reminds me of the time and then he would quote something and I don't remember but it would be something that had happened somewhere in the state I don't know where, when and at that time everybody's hot and bothered 20 years later they can't even remember it that sort of thing. But that was, that is what I was referring to there. Achievements was good. KLEE: You mentioned one local official, was there anybody in the community at that time period that kind of stood out as someone that was important to the college? As I don't know, I'm sure you had an advisory board, was there anybody that took a led role there? BROWN: I don't have any of those names. KLEE: Okay. That's fine. BROWN: I never was on anything like that. Bill Byron was, he was, he was sort of, Bill was sort of our senior inexperience that outside of Charles, now Charles had tenure and all that business but he never really got involved in anything. Now Bill was more involved, he was our faculty representative to those people. KLEE: Sounds like, it is Talbert? BROWN: Talbert. KLEE: He was the sage I guess that you would refer to. BROWN: Yeah, yeah he was the source of wisdom that you would go to. KLEE: Now that this Byron was an activist just as far as getting into those committees. BROWN: Yeah, yeah and he was always our representative. KLEE: Any, you haven't mentioned any women faculty, did you have some women on the staff? BROWN: Trying to think who was the head of the nursing department then. But one, one of the nursing instructors was Mary Ann Clark and the nursing program. KLEE: Was that in the first year? BROWN: I guess was our strongest two year program. Self, a self contained and an associates degree program because we didn't really give many associates degree per say. I did think of her name, Dixiana Smith was the head of the nursing program of and Mary Ann Clark was one of the faculty members of nursing. And they were well respected in the community. They had a top notch nursing program, they were good. KLEE: They got plenty of community support working at the hospitals and so forth? BROWN: Oh yeah, yeah. I'll never forget one time I stopped in and she said, Dixie said you might find this interesting and it was a man that they were brining into visit the nurses who had had a tracheotomy. So he was explaining to them how you have to learn to speak the esophageal speech, now you've got to remember this is back in the 60's so I'm sure that the technology is considerably altered. He talked about how he would have to swallow air and then in a since you belch it back up and you form and the way he started, he would drink and this was the way they did it until you got the hand of it. He would drink maybe 2 or 3 warm Pepsi cola's and then you would have all that gas in your stomach so it was no problem to belch. I found it utterly fascinating because he had a southern accent before he lost his vocal cords and he had a southern accent afterwards. KLEE: Isn't that something. BROWN: Now the, the tone was different. KLEE: Right, sure. Isn't that amazing? BROWN: Yeah, yeah. But they had a good, a good associate degree program. KLEE: Was that started the first year you were there or did it come? BROWN: It was up and running when I was, when I came in. KLEE: Because that was, that was kind of a lynch pin for all the system, colleges that had of course a high demand field, lots of students. BROWN: Yeah, yeah and they could place their students and then at times they would have a more difficult time. And Dixie and them explained it to me, it's sort of cyclical in that they'll be a big need and so then people become aware of that so a lot of people will go in the field then its satisfied the need is and it, they always had jobs available but they might have to work an evening shift. KLEE: Right, sure. BROWN: Or weekends as opposed to the prime times when they could almost call their own shots. KLEE: And we've seen that over the years, the shortage and then you know we've got plenty and we need to open up more spots. What about are their any students that stand out in your mind? From that time period? BROWN: One, one student that I had up there, I left and came to Jefferson here and went, we found a church to go to here and went the first Sunday to Mass and low and behold there he is and I thought gee whiz how have you been. We got to reminiscing and how many years has it been since and all that kind of stuff and he said you know I never did use any of that calculus that you taught me. And I said oh now come on Jim and he said well I didn't really and I said yeah but and then we'd start talking, well I guess I used it here and I guess it helped me here, yeah I guess it was good. So he was giving me the business but he was a good student. We had, that was nice, we had good students. What I, after I came to Northern what I was worried about X in High School got the cream of the crop. KLEE: Right. BROWN: But I wanted to teach college math. Well then when I got here I though geez I wonder if the cream of the crop will go to a 4 year school and I'm going to get the dregs kind of thing did cross my mind. When I was considering the job but in reality we got a lot of good students. There were a number of them that were bright and good and they, they did well. KLEE: If you got them through calculus III they must have been pretty good. BROWN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. There was some good ones in there. I, I, there is one story talk about do I remember any student. I had this one student come in and he said sir I got a favor to ask I said what's that, he said would you let me out of the final? And at that time, the final was obligatory. And I said why? And he said because I want to go to Florida. I said everybody wants to go to Florida, what's that got to do with anything? He said well he said he was umpiring knot hole baseball games, its called knot hole up there or at least it was then. And his dad knew a major league umpire. So the dad had the umpire come over and he said I think my boy is pretty good at this. Well the major league umpire saw him work some of the games and he said yeah he's, he'd be a good umpire. And I didn't know it at the time but there is a school in Florida where you can go to be trained to be an umpire. It's an umpire school where there are written test and then on the field and all that kind of business and he said and while he is talking I'm looking at his grades and there all 50's and that kind of thing, passing was 60. KLEE: Right. BROWN: I graded in blocks of 10. A's were 90's etcetera, etcetera. On the last test he had gotten something like an 86 and his average came out to be something like 61 so he said, right now I'm passing, he said if you give me the final in essence what you are going to do is give me one more chance to fail. And he said, I said where is all of this headed? He said well my parents said they would pay for all my expenses to go down and go to umpire school if I was passing all my courses. And I though aw, now I know what the motivation was to get this good grade. And he said I'm passing right now and if you make me take the final more than likely I'm going to flunk it. I'll flunk the course and then I'm in big trouble. And I said well let me think about it and he said well you ask me sir, how much calculus do I need at second base? I started laughing and I said that's a good question, you got your D go on. Take off and I didn't make him take the final and he left and I lost track of him. And about 20 years ago I'm watching a game on television and whose working behind the plate but an umpire named Randy Marsh. KLEE: Is that right? BROWN: And that's the guy. And he still lives in Northern Kentucky and my brother knows him and I thought he blew a call when I'm watching him in the game and I said damn I should have flunked you (laughs). But I'm tempted to contact him and say I need some tickets. KLEE: Sure. BROWN: I need some tickets and you owe me one for not making you take the calculus final. KLEE: Yeah he might not had that career. BROWN: That's right I could have screwed up a good umpire (laughs). KLEE: There must have been a discussion with you and your family. You had children at that point? About coming down here? How did that go and what kind, what weighed into your decision? BROWN: Yeah. Well my parents, I lived in Northern Kentucky all my life except for two years. And that's when my dad took a job down here in Louisville. So my freshman and sophomore years in high school where spent in Louisville. KLEE: So it wasn't a foreign place to you? BROWN: Yeah. In fact the buildings we are in are right across the street from where the school used to be. KLEE: Is that right? BROWN: So my wife knew I was unhappy at Northern and Frank and I were not drinking buddies to put it mildly. So she said well I'm not liking this much because her family was all up there, my family was all up there. But when it came up she said well if it's going to make us happy then lets go ahead and try it. So I had 4 kids at the time. And I moved them, I had to be nuts, I moved them. I sold a house in Cincinnati, bought a house down here, for $10,400. Which was exactly the salary that I was making at Northern a year before so that year I got zero raises. But my brother was in real estate and at the same time he was showing our house up in Cincinnati we were looking for a house down here. We did it. KLEE: Yeah made the move. So you moved to Louisville and you bought a house and really took a pay freeze in 71. What was Jefferson Community College like when you came here? BROWN: It, it was, it was bigger than anything I'd been with. So that was the first thing that impressed me. Because as I say this building that we are in right now which is a 12 story building with a basement was just opening that year. So they where, they had a surplus of students if you will in a since that they had not been able to take as many as wanted to come. Now kaboom there was space available. KLEE: They could bring them on? BROWN: Yeah, yeah. KLEE: Who where some of those early colleagues that stand out in your mind? BROWN: Well from an administrative point of view, Dr. Smith was our, our head man than and he was as gentle a man as God ever put on the face of the earth. KLEE: Is that right? BROWN: He was a black man. He, he found it very difficult to be the hard nose people that has to displease people with decisions. KLEE: Sure with decisions. BROWN: I always thought that the second person, the second in line should be the head knocker and the top person should be the good will person and all that kind of thing. He didn't, the guy under him, Jim Hawkins he was just as gentle as the Dr. Smith was. Our library is named for Dr. Smith. He left here and went down on main campus and headed up or started the Office for Minority Affairs and kind of things like that. He's just a real nice gentle man. Our library is named for him I think I said that. At the time we had this, we had this building and we had all these students and we had no parking lot to speak of. The parking lot that is now used by the students was grassy area. And they could park in the grass if you could jump the curb kind of thing and park in the grass. Otherwise it was just on street parking which was a nightmare to have. The faculty had a little lot. There were buildings in the present parking lot that has since been removed and torn down to make. KLEE: Someone had mentioned an emphasis football game. Where you there at that point? BROWN: I didn't see that. Oh yeah I've seen pictures of it. The cars would just tear up the field. I mean not field in a since of football field, just a grassy area. And then they would play football out there and oh everybody was just a mess. No I wasn't part of that thing. KLEE: You said this Mr. Perkins came down this away too with you? BROWN: Yeah now he went somewhere in between, he didn't come right down here. But I don't remember where that was. But Jim or Larry retired, his real name is Jim but his second name is Larry and that is what everybody called him. He retired from here and I don't know where he is now. KLEE: I think I got an address. I think he is South Carolina. BROWN: Could well be. Could well be. KLEE: Yeah. Again you still had this U.K. connection. How was this working down here as far as, because you're in U of L territory? BROWN: Yeah, yeah. People have asked me because I had five children. I wanted to give them a good education so, Catholic education is expensive. So I taught part time wherever I could. And one of the places was U of L. So here I am working for both U.K. and U of L at the same time and people would say well who do you root for and I said well if there is any decision or doubt then I look at my pay stub and I realize I had better root for U.K. But just teasing them but we, its interesting U.K. and U of L when we were apart of U.K. co existed better I think at the faculty level than it did at the higher up level. Because they were involved in turf games and getting money out of the legislature and all that kind of thing. Where the faculty is more or less involved with teaching. We would go out to U of L quite often and see well what are you requiring especially speed schools since I'm in math. Speed schools are engineering schools. We'd have to be very aware of what they were doing. They would tell us when they were going to make a program change and the repore between the two schools was real good. At the faculty level. Now sometimes we'd think they were nerdy and all that kind of thing and that's the dumbest thing I had ever heard of and all that kind of business. But by large we didn't have any problem with that. KLEE: In this community one of the differences students that you had a large African American population. Did that present any kind of special challenges or anything for you? BROWN: I don't think so. That, for me personally was a problem. KLEE: You had a black president? BROWN: Yeah had a black president. He, he would push fairness. He would push everyone gets treated the same. I think his spirit of looking at things that away and the fact that he lived what he preached. So he wasn't telling us to be one thing and at the same token, time be an almost bias the other way. One time he was giving me the business because I had failed three students in a class, three students that he knew and he, they were black, they were not the only three in the class that failed. These three and he said to me and he was kidding. He said you're just a honkie instructor, you're showing prejudice. I said no I'm not I said I show no prodigious what so ever. I had three blacks in the class and I flunked every one of them. So there was no prodigious, one over the other and he just laughed. That was the kind of thing so there were racial tensions in the city during these times. He would pick up on that and this; the exchange was bang, bang, bang kind of thing. No I flunked them all. We got along fine, he was a nice man. And race never entered into it. KLEE: One of the, U.K. faculty and the community college system often complained about U.K. Did that enter your mind as far as pay or benefits or? BROWN: Oh we chaffed all the time. We weren't paid a commensurate salary. The party line was of course that they were bringing research dollars into the university. We said well not everybody has merit just because they bring dollars in. We're all so educating the educating the thing the populous and I thought that's what universities were kind of about. In addition to doing research. And we never got anywhere. Yeah that is a common and still is today to some extent. Although I think salaries now are a little bit better than they were but I think the last, I was with U.K. all that time and I think the last 2 or 3 years I finally got over $50,000 dollars a year. KLEE: It was a long time coming wasn't it? BROWN: Yeah. KLEE: Are there any, again, any individuals or you know down here as far as community members especially supportive? BROWN: I think in a broad since in the early days anyway the restaurant association was very, very instrumental here. We had a culinary arts program and people, Ed Hastener and some of the Grazoni's and people who had somewhat upscale restaurants really took an interest in it. They would come down and they would donate bucks and they, they were good for the school. It was a 2 year culinary arts program and they would give students jobs. So students knew they had employment. They were good, they were good. Ed since has died and I don't know the extent, I've been retired officially for 8 years so I don't know where the culinary arts program is now. Sullivan University seems to promote their culinary arts program big time. And we don't do it to that extent but its still might be viable. And the other group of people I think supported the school in the beginning is the fire department. Because we had a 2 year program that was fire suppression or I forget the exact title. But we would give good courses and the fireman were the instructors and I would work with them and I was, we, chairmanship of the division sort of rotates and I was chair of math and natural science division for a few years. That's when we were sitting up the fire program and so I get to work with assistant chief of fire and all that kind of business. They were supportive, they got us materials that U.K. it would have been so low on the pecking order we would have never of gotten it. KLEE: You mentioned two of the associate applied science programs. You were primarily teaching in the transfer program. BROWN: Right. KLEE: Over, did, I guess there were plenty of students here, so you always had enough transfer students that you were teaching the calculus and so forth? BROWN: Oh yeah, yeah. We would run maybe a day calculus and an evening. Now 2 and 3 wouldn't be taught all that often. But calculus I would be taught every semester. II would usually be taught in the fall and III in the spring. Now we did get a fourth semester put in after a number of years with a 200 number that was differential equations. We called it 214 at that time and it was recognized for what it was up on main campus but we did get the 200 number. KLEE: Is there anything I should have asked you particularly about the Northern experience? BROWN: No. One just an antidotal kind of thing. There was a fellow who taught up there Terry Robins. Tall good looking blonde wavy hair, the Tab Hunter type and who, who visioned himself a real swinger kind of thing. He went out one night and got into a bar room fight and somebody a pool queue across his face and he came to school about a week later and he looked like he had been beat up big time bad. He left and I don't know what ever happened to him either. Antidotically that, we had some characters up there. KLEE: Did you? BROWN: He was. KLEE: He was one of them BROWN: He headed the list. Yeah but the only other thing that I can think of one time there were three studies being done on what should happen to the university community college system. There were all going on simultaneously and I use this example in my statistics class all the time. How you can take data and massage it. One of the commissions, they were all, this was a blue ribbon panel and on and on and on. But they were hired by U.K. and when they examined all the data and everything it was clearest that the Commonwealth would be best served if the community colleges stayed under the direction of U.K. Then there was one who was sponsored by the regional universities and I don't want to go through all that again but their conclusion was that the Commonwealth would best be served by taking the communities colleges from U.K. and assigning to them to the closest regional university. And then there was a third one sponsored by the technical schools at that time and there was no doubt that all the data indicated the Commonwealth would be best served if it was taken away from U.K. merged with the technical colleges and made a separate entity. That's what happened. But the whole idea of down state I don't know the right word, distaste maybe or little bit of fear, unhappiness with U.K.'s community college system had been there a long time. KLEE: You're talking about in at Jefferson and other places? BROWN: Yeah, yeah. Its sort of bubbled over in 68 when the people in Northern saw we got an opportunity here because there is no strong leader down state, lets go for it and they nailed it. KLEE: Where you surprised that they opened a new community college in Northern Kentucky? BROWN: Yes afterwards I thought damn that's what we should have done and just kept it under U.K. Of course, back then you couldn't tell that they were going to take everything away and make it the way it is now. But what we, we being the faculty at Northern at the time thought was leave us here and start a four year school and we'll feed both you and U.K. We didn't see any problem with that at all but that wasn't the way it played out. KLEE: That's not what they wanted to do. BROWN: Right. KLEE: And you decided to stay in Louisville? BROWN: Yeah been here since 71. KLEE: Okay. BROWN: I'll retire here. I'll be buried here (laughs). KLEE: Thank you very much for talking to me. BROWN: Okay. [End of interview.] Oral history with Martin Brown, math instructor at Northern Kentucky University and Jefferson Community and Technical College. Interview discusses campus construction at NKU and teaching responsibilities of faculty. Brown discusses relationship with University of Kentucky prior to Northern becoming a regional college. Concludes with emphasis on Jefferson Community College programs including culinary and fine arts. insert here