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1986-05-07 Interview with Wimberly Royster, May 7, 1986 1986OH137 UKMC 40 01:13:31 UKMC001 University of Kentucky Medical Center Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Royster, Winberly -- Interviews University of Kentucky. Medical Center -- History Medicine -- Study and teaching (Continuing education) -- Social aspects Hospitals -- Administration Medicine--Research Wimberly Royster; interviewee Richard C. Smoot; interviewer 1986OH137_UKMC40_Royster 1:|11(2)|22(4)|32(10)|44(4)|56(8)|73(3)|97(1)|108(13)|120(4)|130(3)|149(2)|160(3)|171(3)|183(8)|204(2)|225(1)|237(12)|251(2)|262(1)|280(4)|297(14)|310(5)|327(16)|342(5)|351(6)|363(5)|373(12)|391(9)|414(1)|423(3)|436(13)|462(5)|474(7)|491(13)|501(5)|513(1)|528(6)|540(10)|552(5)|563(5)|575(5)|587(1)|600(4)|615(3)|634(8)|653(3)|669(4)|680(2)|692(7)|706(3)|717(6)|730(1)|738(10)|752(4)|765(6)|778(8)|787(2)|797(13)|810(3)|832(6)|848(8)|862(13)|875(7)|885(2)|895(3)|909(6)|922(7)|938(10)|953(4)|964(4)|973(6)|983(3)|995(2) audiotrans UKMCoh interview SMOOT: Okay Dr. Royster to begin, could you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you were born, what your background is in terms of where you're from, your family background, your educational background? ROYSTER: Well I-- my home is in Henderson County. I was born in the southern part of the county in a little place called Robards, Kentucky, which is spelled R-O-B-A-R-D-S, not Roberts but Robards. And it was a, a neighborhood in which most everyone was related, went to a relatively small high school before the days of consolidations of high schools. And uh, and after finishing high school I went to Murray and um, majored in mathematics and physics at Murray and I took a lot of chemistry. And while at Murray was-- had various odd jobs but eventually ended up as a manager of the basketball and baseball and football teams, so I had a little bit of experience with athletes at that time, about as much as I ever wanted. (Smoot laughs) And then, uh, had planned at that time, this was in 1946 when I graduated at Murray and really knew not much more than to teach I guess. Most everybody that's-- in fact you had to take, that's the only kind of degree you got at Murray at that time was sort of a teaching degree. Not everybody taught but you got a teaching degree. And so with the idea I guess that I would teach in high school because that's more or less what people were doing. But in 1946 the enrollments in the universities began to grow and so the chairman of the mathematics department there received a call from the chairman of the mathematics department and also dean of the college of arts and sciences here, a fellow by the name of Dean Boyd, to see if there was anyone at Murray that would be interested in a teaching assistantship at the University of Kentucky, so the chairman asked me if I'd be interested in going to graduate school, and I said yes. So I came to the University of Kentucky, as a graduate student and finished here in 1952 with my PhD, went to Auburn and taught there four years, and then came back here in 1956. And then in 1961 or '62, I had external funding from NSF (National Science Foundation) and went to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton for about, about a year, then came back here and there was a change in the administration when Oswald came here. And the department chairman changed in mathematics and I became chairman of the mathematics department. And uh, then remained that for six years and resigned the chairmanship because I thought six years as chairman was long enough. And after I resigned as chairman within the week or two, Dean Nagel who was the dean of Arts and Sciences at that time resigned and went to Missouri. And so there was a search committee and, and Dr. Kirwin, who was the president at that time, acting president at that time and a good friend, indicated to me that the committee had recommended that I be dean of Arts and Sciences, which wasn't really my, I guess goal in life. And so we, uh finally came to agreement of a term on that and in terms of the number of years I would serve and so then in '69 Singletary came and we-- I served as dean of Arts and Sciences three years, which was what my initial plan was to serve no more than three years. And then I became dean of the graduate school, and I've been dean of the graduate school and at that time was called coordinator for research, and about two or three years ago they changed it to vice-chancellor for research, but essentially the same kind of responsibilities, that, gen-- the same kind of general responsibilities we've had prior to two years ago. SMOOT: Had you been looking to become dean of the graduate school? ROYSTER: No. I'd really never much looked for any job. Most of the jobs I've had have just sort of come that way, (Smoot laughs) without getting all persnickety, I guess that's been my philosophy. Now--no- rig-- strange, I really never had to look-- I had to look for a job when I got my, first got my PhD, I had three interviews, one that-- no I had two interviews. One of them was setup at one of the branch colleges at Purdue University, the other one was Auburn, and then the other was Rutgers. I didn't go for an interview at Rutgers, but-- and so I chose the Auburn one, largely because it was closer I guess at that time. And then the department at Auburn was building at that time, so I went down-- and that's the only time I've ever sought a job. The rest of the jobs have just sort have fallen whatever way they've fallen. SMOOT: They've fallen very well in your instance. ROYSTER: (both laugh) It depends on how you look at it. SMOOT: Yes sir. So you-- really your association with the University of Kentucky has been along since then, the late forties. ROYSTER: 1946, I came here forty year-- it will be forty years ago this September. SMOOT: The university has changed considerably over those years, hasn't it? ROYSTER: Oh yes, um-hm. SMOOT: Let me ask you in a broad sense first and then I'll become more specific about those changes that have taken place here at the university. Could you describe the changes from your perspective, what you have seen, what has impressed you most about the changes that have taken place here. ROYSTER: Well leaving out physical changes, which I think everybody's had you know and there have been tremendous physical changes, a lot of buildings around here that are not here now that were here when I first came here, even when I was here long-- longer than, than just when I first came here. I think that the major changes that I have seen in the university are, a-are those that are involved with its effort for research and graduate education. When I first came here again I probably because I didn't know much about the university and the university was small and I was a, a, a graduate assistant the first time and the second time an assistant professor and didn't know the interworking of the institution, but listening to the older people talk at that time I got the idea that the university was more of an undergraduate university at that time. There were a few departments that were oriented toward graduate education but not many, a few departments oriented toward research but not many. And in, in some departments there were going to be two or three people and the rest of them were people who just taught, maybe they may have had PhDs but they still were people that just taught. Uh, that began to change in the fifties, in the late forties and fifties slightly. There began to be a desire to build some departments, largely because they were competing with other institutions, you know the university was beginning to see what was happening outside. The-- uh, uh, it improved to some extent on through the fifties but really of course made its jump in the sixties when a lot more money came into the institution and then we got a new president who was much more research and advanced study oriented than the previous presidents had been. See, I was not here when McVey was president although he was retired. I saw him around on the campus of I think the first few years I was here, but the president was Donovan, and Donovan's background was education. He I guess had been at Eastern or somewhere, I don't know where. And then when he, uh, retired as president they moved Frank Dickie in, who's a fine person, but his edu-- background was education. And so there had not been anyone as president who had been very heavily involved in research in graduate education until Oswald came here, and Oswald I think recognized that in order to make the university even adequate from the standpoint of uh, competitiveness in with other institutions of this type, that we had to move toward research and graduate education. And so that's, and that's what he did. He indicat-- certainly indicated in most every way one can think of, the desire to have higher quality in undergraduate teaching as well as graduate teaching as well as research. So, so-- so those changes then were kept on by Singletary and so I think that-- But I think the biggest changes that I've noticed were between the years when I've had good knowledge of it, years 1956 when I came back here and 19 and say '70 or '71. I think those would be that's when, fifteen year-that fifteen year period was more changes than any time that, any other time I've been here. SMOOT: Dr. Oswald it seems created something of a stir on campus with his sweeping changes- ROYSTER: Um-hm. SMOOT: -dramatic changes in many ways that he was trying to implement rather rapidly. ROYSTER: Right. SMOOT: Uh, did you get a lot of feedback from people who were disenchanted or, uh, unhappy with the types of changes he was trying to implement? ROYSTER: Well, from some people yes, but most of the people I was associated with were, were very much in favor of it, yeah. We were, we were-- the mathematics department was a young, relatively young department. When I became chairman of the department there were ten people in it, and out of those ten all but two either left or retired. And we really built from scratch, so we had a young faculty who were very supportive of the uh, the ideas that Oswald had relative to improving the quality of the institution. They had come from institutions like Iowa, North Carolina, Penn State, uh, uh, Chicago, Northwestern, and they had been at institutions where the pressure was on people to do research, to direct dissertations and so on, and that's what Oswald was saying we needed to do, so it was really something that they could support very easily. Uh, the, the people who had been here a longer time were those who I felt were mostly opposed to it, though some of-- some of the people were comfortable in their positions. Some of the people were, see we had heads of department prior to that time and heads of departments were really dictators, could be dictators if they wanted to I'd say. I don't say they were dictators but they could simply be dictators. We had some department chairmen who I believe would not recruit anybody they thought was better than they were, and one of the things that we in building the mathematics department, and I know in some of the other departments, we always tried to find people who were better than we were, and you know just keep doing that and you keep doing that, and you eventually you get-- you improve the quality of your, of your department. And the other departments did the same thing, always tried to find the best young people they could find. But I don't think that has been true earlier, and the chairmen were willing, the heads were willing to fill positions with people who could teach, and not necessarily people who would be doing research and be uh, capable of directing dissertations, which were, which had research that was at the forefront of the field. SMOOT: Stepping back, if I may, during these years, a practice that really has gone on long before you ever became associated with the University of Kentucky, there had been a movement in the state, particularly here on campus, uh, with certain individuals, but throughout the state as well to varying degrees of strength, to establish a medical school or a medical center here. What's your earliest recollection of these, uh stirrings for a medical center or a medical school at the University of Kentucky? ROYSTER: Well the first I heard about it was really when they started here, I would have to say. It was in 1956 when I came back here, and that's about the time they started, I think that's about when Bob Straus and some of the others came here. SMOOT: That's right. ROYSTER: That's when they were bringing those in, that was when Governor Chandler was, was pushing this, and that's really the first time that I knew anything particular about it. Now I'd heard when I was here before, I'd heard the presidents of the university and others say, "Well it'd be nice if we had a medical school at University of Kentucky," and Louisville, "University of Louisville isn't serving the eastern part of the state, " and you just hear those statements. But I never was in on any of the inter, inter-discussions of this, serious discussions about it. SMOOT: What was the reaction of most of your colleagues towards the development of a medical center? ROYSTER: It was negative. SMOOT: Okay why? ROYSTER: I wouldn't say my colleagues, personally my friends it wasn't that way so much, but, well some of it was. Well as they, as the idea that going to bring these people in here and pay them two or three times what we were getting and uh and then the biological sciences were negative because they figured that the, the medical center would essentially consume all of their programs and uh, it was the kind of reactions that you, that was sort of, that were normal. They were the kind of reactions that were normal and that you would find at other institutions and you still find some of it here. It's not- it's not all gone, it's not all gone you know. There's the view that the medical center gets what it wants and the other people pay for it. I don't necessarily buy that myself and have never bought it. In fact one of the things is I've uh, always said about the medical center is that sure enough they came in here and they brought some faculty members in here. I remember the first faculty members they recruited, people like uh, uh, Bob Straus and Lauren Carlson and numbers of people that they brought in here, and I don't remember but- what their salaries were but it seems like they were in the neighborhood of fifteen to eighteen thousand dollars at that time. We were making seven or eight, maybe nine, but uh, prior to that coming here there was always the view or there was the view around the university that well you shouldn't get these salaries up too high because the governor and the legislature and all these people out there will notice it, and as you recall, or may recall there was once a limit on the amount of, on the size of the salary. And so there was this view of you know "Don't, let's don't get these salaries up too high." Well there's no one bashful about publishing that Dr. So and So was hired at the University of Kentucky Medical Center at eighteen thousand dollars a year. Those things got, they appeared in the newspaper what the salaries were and so on. Well the-- you know people didn't think anything about a doctor making uh, eighteen thousand dollars a year-- even though it might have been a PhD, they didn't know the difference; since they were associated with the medical center they were all doctors. And (Smoot laughs) and so it wasn't long until those kinds of salaries were thrown around and no one said anything about it. So it became- became much easier for-- to raise the salaries in the rest of the university in my view, so I saw it somewhat as advantaged. And I do not think that if the-the state had decided not to put a medical center here that it would have made a bit of difference in terms of what kind of funds we would have gotten as a university, maybe, uh, at least-- certainly up through nineteen and seventy, I can't say since that time because budgets have been a lot more tight. But-- and it may well be that the medical center has drained off funds, but uh, I am not sure that the state supports ordinary arts and sciences, academic, engineering, business, namely academic programs. I'm not sure the state is crazy about supporting those, you know to the extent of doing a whole lot more than they're doing now. SMOOT: Um-hm. Was the fear of the biological sciences faculty, uh perhaps more substantive? Did they- ROYSTER: Well I think, yeah it was in a sense because some of the departments were taken over in the medical center, physiology for instance. SMOOT: Right. Okay. ROYSTER: Yeah, so I think it was, and I think they started a medical microbiology program over there. We had, we had, bacteriology it was called here at that time, uh, in arts and sciences, and they brought in some very good professors in these fields and, and when I imagine that when they attended the national meetings that probably the people in the medical center might have been more prominent in the societies than probably the people in arts and sciences, and that concerns them. So yeah they-- I think they had UKMCohimate concerns, but probably overreacted. SMOOT: Um-hm. The name that's often been mentioned in this sort of caustics of relationship between biological sciences and the medical center's development has been Morris Sherago. Did you know him? ROYSTER: Oh yes, knew him quite well. SMOOT: He was particularly, uh disturbed it seemed about the medical center coming in. ROYSTER: Well and that's because he was head of the bacteriology department, and so the medical school brought in bacteriologists or microbiologists and uh, began to build a program and they just changed the name of it, they called it I think cell biology, but, uh, and so yeah he-- yeah I think there's no doubt about that. But I think, I think that may have been part of the culture of uh, of the people in microbiology and bacteriology in arts and sciences programs over the country as in other background-- cultural backgrounds. I think that's probably had its roots somewhere even before Kentucky. SMOOT: So you wouldn't say that it was an isolated sort of reaction here? ROYSTER: No I don't-- no, I don't think it was - unh-uh, no. There's always been the view of biologists that medical centers again, get what they want, they're really not a whole lot better but they're on twelve month salary, whereas you know the arts and sciences department are on nine month salary. They--they have more current expense budget, they buy all the equipment they want, you know they live like the Rockefellers. SMOOT: (laughs) What was your impression of the people being brought in to administer and serve as faculty and other medical educators being brought in? Royster : Well the ones I knew I had very high regard for. I didn't know them all but I had very high regard for the ones I knew. I mean people like Dick Sweet and George Swert, Lauren Carlson, Bob Straus, Ed Pellegrino. There were a number of them I knew and I had very high regards of them. SMOOT: Did you ever have an opportunity to talk with Dr. Willard? ROYSTER: I-- just in passing really. And Willard, was-- everybody that knew him, you know said he was a fine man, but he wasn't easy to get to know I guess. And somebody who's-- I was, you know chairman of a department, a mathematic department and the medical center could have been less interested-- you know, could have cared less I guess about the mathematics department, maybe and maybe not. But at any rate just didn't have the, uh, didn't have the, uh, chances to, to meet with him; as I say and I knew him and knew Mrs. Willard, but it was just purely sort of an acquaintance kind of thing. SMOOT: Were you familiar with the philosophy that was being, uh, instituted by the members of the original team at the medical center, what it was they were trying to achieve with the medical center? ROYSTER: Not really. See I really didn't get in-- I had two encounters with the medical center. My first encounter with the medical center was in 1964 or '65 something like that. I was on committee, put on a committee to, uh, evaluate the whole microbiology, uh, program at the University of Kentucky to interview and discuss with every faculty member on the University of Kentucky campus here who called themselves a microbiologist. And when we started that, we found out there, that there were a lot more than we knew and they started coming out of the woodwork: in agriculture, in arts and sciences, in medicine. And so I did have some contact with the medical center at that time. I think there was the view at that time that, uh, among the people in the medical center that microbiology wasn't worth very much unless it was the microbiology that would be conducted or research that would be conducted in microbiology at the medical center. I think they felt that the college of agriculture was weak; the college of arts and sciences was weak. The idea behind that committee was that-- to, was to see if there could be one microbiology program at the University of Kentucky, and it became obvious that that wasn't possible. Then my second encounter with the medical center was in 1969 when I became Dean of Arts and Sciences. And prior to my becoming Dean of Arts and Sciences, the former Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of College of Medicine and two or three other administrators had combined the two microbiology departments, one in medicine and one in arts and sciences, and had hired a chairman, whom I had never met until I became Dean of Arts and Sciences. The guy is, the person that's still here. It was a disaster, a complete disaster in my view. The way they had set it up for administration, they had the person's salary, everything and budget and so on was out of the college of medicine, but the person was supposed to report to me for the program in arts and sciences, so the person was chairman of both programs, one in arts and sciences and one in, in medicine. And it ended up, you know that he did very little reporting because his responsibilities and the monetary aspects of his program are all located in the med center, so that was my second encounter. So to get back to your original question, I really don't know much about what the philosophy was. I-- You know I've heard it but I really don't know too much about it. SMOOT: Um-hm. I'd like to ask you a little bit more about administrative matters. The original, uh, team: Dr. Willard and Dr. Bost and several others; when it came to dealing with the state legislature and the governor's office for funding, dealt with them directly. When President Oswald came he had a different point of view as to the way the legislature should be approached by the university and its personnel. ROYSTER: Right. Um-hm. SMOOT: Did you know a little bit about the uh, the uh, changes that were being made by Dr. Oswald in terms of this particular--? ROYSTER: Yes and also it wasn't only here, it was in agriculture also. It wasn't just in medicine, yes, uh-huh, yeah, it was in both. And he could get very upset at people doing end runs to deal with the legislature and the governor's office. And I don't blame him. I think he, he was exactly right. SMOOT: So you think then this was an improvement over the previous system? ROYSTER: Oh yes, yes, yes. You can't have everybody running to the legislature, to the governor. You don't, when you do that you don't have an institutional plan. You've got a whole mess of college or sector plans and it just isn't fait to the rest of the institution. SMOOT: You mentioned also earlier that they'd changed from heads of departments to chairmen. ROYSTER: Yeah. SMOOT: I suppose that along with this also went the changes to of a broader committee system throughout the university. Do you know what I'm-- ROYSTER: Yeah I know what you're talking about. I'm just trying to think. I think that really what happened along with this was that the faculty senate obtained more responsibility, here. We had prior to Oswald's time something called the university faculty, which is very much like the senate, which approved recommendations from the graduate council and the graduate faculty and from departments and so on, somewhat similar to this. But when Oswald came he began to establish rules and regulations to codify these, some of the things that had been going on. He was certainly more in favor of, of participatory administration if you want to call it that. I don't think he required that committees be setup in departments and things of this sort, but he did want to see some sort of faculty approval. But he knew he couldn't go too far because if he went too far with that, then he had a number of departments that, that, did not have the quality of faculty that, that, that, was necessary to have a good program and they would obviously-- I wouldn't say obviously, but many times they tend to vote to protect themselves, and so it's difficult to build a department if the members of the department don't want it built and you have participatory, participatory departments or administrations. SMOOT: I'd be interested in hearing your view on whether or not that was an improvement on the previous system. I've heard different points of view on that. Some people like it better, some people think it's much less efficient, some people think of course they look at it from a democratic side. [Pause in recording.] SMOOT: We could stop a moment. [Pause in recording.] SMOOT: Some people see it as a more democratic way of going about handling the various problems they are faced. ROYSTER: Well, I was in favor of it to a certain extent. Uh, and during the time he was here and even the first maybe year or so that Singletary was here, I think it worked well. But uh, more and more departments began to move toward full democratic departmental structure and departmental administration, and that I don't think has been good for us. Uh, I-- there are departments that I can point to where you have to vote every time you do anything, and all that does is just take a lot of time, the decisions are not much better, if any better. They may be a little bit more fair, but you know, who said everything had to be fair in this world. It-- you know, it's not, it shouldn't be an egalitarian society inside of a university, I don't think. That's just my view, you've got to-- you've got to reward those people who do the best work, and that isn't always the case if you have too many people involved in making the decisions. So in my view it's gone too far. SMOOT: Any signs of change? ROYSTER: No, not much. But I really think that, I think that that is, that is a problem the next president of this university is going to have is to take a hard look at our, our governance. And that doesn't mean that you take powers away from faculty or the senate or anything of this sort, but it just means that you take a good look at it. SMOOT: Do you think that the support forthcoming from the state government has been sufficient for the university? And I ask you in terms of the university because I want to juxtapose that with the medical center. ROYSTER: Well no, it hasn't. No, I've been here over the years and I don't think the support has been adequate since in the late sixties, that's just my personal view. SMOOT: Um-hm. Why has it not been keeping up? ROYSTER: Probably two things, maybe even more than two. But the two that come to mind first is that we've had some tight budget years. The second thing is that, this state by and large has never been supportive of higher education over a lon-- over an extended period of time. You will have a governor and, who may want to support higher education and we'll get a nice budget through for one bi-annum and then you know don't have much the next. They fund badly-- have brought in too many institutions into the state system. They grew very rapidly in the sixties because enrollment grew rapidly. They put the colleges which were teacher's colleges, and I went to one of them, made them universities permitting these to expand into masters programs, which again is not so bad in some areas to have masters programs. I think that's perfectly all right, but all of this takes money. They permit them to build dormitories as if people are going to continue just to pour into these institutions. You've got institutions with empty dorms and so they've never really wanted to support quality education in this state on a continuing basis, and so no they haven't supported us, in my view, adequately, or we wouldn't be way behind in everything. They've never wanted to support research as, as, as an institutional, uh, responsibility and an institutional mission, even though they say one of our missions is research. They really in the past have not wanted to support it. Now things have changed this last bi-annum, and I'm-- certainly need to mention that. But prior to that time is to my knowledge, there's been no funds for research as a-- as an item in the budget, item in the budget. SMOOT: The governor really sets the tone for that, doesn't he? He or she. ROYSTER: That's right, yes, right. SMOOT: What governors would you point to as being the most supportive of education? Can you do that? ROYSTER: Well, now again I'm not an authority on that and it would surely just be off the top of my head. Uh, but since I've been here I would have to say that probably Breathitt, Ford, uh, and to some extent Nunn. A lot of people don't like Nunn and, but I think he did a pretty fair job of supporting salaries and things of this sort. I-- in my view made a mistake of bringing some of these other institutions in at that time, without making proper adjustments otherwise. You know I'm not saying there shouldn't be a University of Northern Kentucky, but if they did, if they established one at northern Kentucky, there should have been some adjustments in the system somewhere and not take it all out of University of Kentucky's hide, which is about what they did. So, [pulls microphone out] and uh, well, pulling that out. (Smoot laughs) And, uh, in some ways, you know Carroll was supportive of some parts in higher education, but I don't remember that much about the particulars. SMOOT: What about federal support? ROYSTER: Well our federal support improved appreciably, uh, up through I guess starting in the s-- well it improved during the sixties and the seventies but it wasn't too large even in the early seventies. Improved considerably through the middle and later seventies even though times were pretty hard and competition was strong. It sort of remained about the same over the last three or four or five years, and uh, federal support is harder and harder to get now, competition is greater. [microphone noise] Well again. SMOOT: What do you think has been the impact of the medical center on the university first of all over the, over the, say twenty-five, thirty years really since '56 when they started but open their doors in 1960 to two colleges and '62 for others, and later others still? ROYSTER: Well I think it's had a positive impact on the university, as I mentioned earlier. SMOOT: Yes. ROYSTER: Uh, it's prob-- it, it's not developed in some areas as well as it probably should have. It, and it may be that in particular cases over the short haul it's had some adverse effect in other parts of the campus. You know it may be that, uh, some years when a certain amount of funds came to the university and part of them had to be split off to the medical center, that those funds could have been used for other parts of the campus in agriculture, engineering, arts and sciences and so on. But as I said earlier there's no way of knowing whether those funds would have been available if the medical school hadn't been here, so it's sort of hard to say. But I think that, I think there are people on the campus who feel that more of those funds would have been available if the medical center hadn't been here, but I'd say that it's had a positive impact. It, it had during the earlier years it had, uh, uh, that's say during the sixties and early seventies had quite positive impact in, in the sense of building quality. Uh, it had a few years seems to me like, in the seventies and very early eighties there was a low point. And then over the last two or three years it has bounced back and I think again having a very positive impact on the campus. There is a lot more collaboration between faculty members in the medical center and agriculture and pharmacy, which-- well pharmacy's in the medical center, sometimes when I say medical center I'm thinking of medical, the college of medicine. But any rate, pharmacy, medicine, agriculture, uh, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, biology, so there's a lot of interaction between these areas now and I think that strengthens, strengthens the university. [Pause in recording.] SMOOT: What about the impact of the medical center on the community as whole, Lexington-Fayette County? That may be difficult to separate from the university as a whole. ROYSTER: No it isn't. It's had, it's had a positive impact. I think that one example of that is the support that the people have given for the aging center, and for the cancer center, to the Markey building and so on. I think that it's had a positive impact there. It probably has had in some cases and in some segments of the, of the society a negative impact. I suspect there's comp-- there's competition between the medical center, especially hospital, and the other hospital and the physicians and so on. I'm sure there are tensions there. But not-- overall I would say it's had a positive impact, definitely had a positive impact. SMOOT: How about on the state? ROYSTER: Oh in the eastern part of the state it's had a tremendous, I think if you probably get west of Elizabethtown, not much. There's some, it's had some; I know people from western Kentucky come here occasionally, but it's not a great deal. When you get to western Kentucky they've got Vanderbilt in the same-- Vanderbilt Hospital and then, hospitals in St. Louis, Barnes and others that uh, that uh, they utilize. And they're much closer than Lexington. So, you don't expect them to relate to the University of Kentucky as much as, as well if they would in some of the other places. SMOOT: But you wouldn't point to the University of Louisville perhaps as having more impact in the west? ROYSTER: Part of the way, but I think you get down to Henderson down in my area and no, people in, people in my county go to Vanderbilt or go to St. Louis SMOOT: How is the-- ROYSTER: --Or some go to Indianapolis, but they not too much. I think probably, again this is all just guessing but I think if you get outside of two counties beyond Jefferson County in Kentucky you see the University of Louisville's influence dissipating. Now there are a few programs, either federal or state programs, that Louisville is tied into, much like we are tied into eastern Kentucky programs, but those are limited kinds of things. Whereas here in Lexington you get people, uh, there are physicians in eastern and southeastern and southern Kentucky referring to UK all the time, their patients to UK. SMOOT: What about the rivalry between the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville? You know, uh, some people were talking from the very beginning that the money should be going to further develop the University of Louisville, but of course that was before it was actually part of the state system. ROYSTER: Um-hm. That's right. SMOOT: But there's always been it seems some tensions between UK and the-- ROYSTER: Well there was when they built it. People-- particularly the people in Louisville opposed it and the other thing you have to recognize is that lots and lots of the physicians in the state were University of Louisville graduates, and that was even true when you get on down into western Kentucky. But uh, so, uh, and I think many of those opposed building another medical school and another college of medicine and of course we know what we've gone through in dentistry; that's just been recent. Pharmacy had no problem because there was just one pharmacy school, but yeah I think-- I don't know about the rivalry between the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. It'll always be there. All you have to do is just look at any other state. You look at Michigan and Michigan State and you know, Ohio doesn't have, Ohio State doesn't have quite that problem because there's no other university that's even close to being as big as Ohio State. SMOOT: I know West Virginia and-- ROYSTER: Plus you've got Indiana and Purdue, and you know, uh so, yeah. But you-- so you have-- so you have, I think you're going to always have some rivalry. SMOOT: But then can you see this as, as a rather positive thing sometimes, keeping each other on their toes so to speak? ROYSTER: Oh I don't think it keeps the rivalry with Louisville keeps us on our toes in a manner which is helpful and a qualitatively in other words in terms of quality of our program. I think what keeps you, keeps an institution on its toes, if it's a good institution, is: one is sort of a zest for learning, but the other is it's uh, it is gaining the respect of its peers in it's-- other universities of, of, of similar kind. In other words, so you look, so you compare institution comp-- compares itself with other institutions. We look at our benchmarks, we don't look at the University of Louisville as a, as a comparison institution. SMOOT: Would it be possible for you to e- evaluate the medical programs here? Really it's not in your realm of administration I know, but perhaps you have heard certain programs being mentioned as particularly superior in the medical center and the first thing that I could give as an example, just to, maybe get this started would be the college of pharmacy has consistently been ranked in the top five or ten colleges of pharmacy in the country for several years now. ROYSTER: Well, I don't put a whole lot of stock in that. I think college of pharmacy is good, but whether it's the best four or five in the country, and I don't know. I think it depends upon what you use as a yardstick to measure on. In the things that they do, they are very good. But who is it to say that some other, uh, college of pharmacy, which might be far more theoretically oriented is, is better or worse. It's so hard to say. SMOOT: You see this really as a very arbitrary sort of thing. ROYSTER: I believe it is, yes. The same thing with dentistry, in my view. It's just that I don't know what they used as measures, but I have suspicion that, that, that when you put these things to votes, that it-- you don't have much substantive data to base it on. In terms of the programs that are good, the pharmacy program is good. They have a good program, I didn't mean in any way to take away from that. I don't know much about their clinical programs over there, which ones are good and which ones aren't good. I would say they have adequate program in nursing, better than adequate and it's getting better. I would say that their dentistry program's not as good as it was at one time, and probably not as highly regarded as it was at one time. Uh, in the college of medicine it would be my view that there are a few departments that are pretty good, uh, but they're probably not better than they used to be. I think they're getting back to the level that they may be, may be comparable to what they used to be. But as I said they had a down period there; they're building back up. The departments over there, have some good departments. Medical microbiology's a good department, biochemistry's a good department, physiology and biophysics is improving. I don't-- I do not believe that it's quite up to the other two. And of course the Sanders Brown Aging Center is very good, so they have some good, they have some good programs. SMOOT: Um-hm. Where do you see the medical center going? Do you think that it's going to be continuing to expand not only in its physical plant but in the personnel? Do you think that the administration of the medical center is going to have to be changed or can it remain pretty consistent with its current hierarchical setup? ROYSTER: I think, well, I think as long as there are the two medical schools in, in the state of Kentucky that about all our medical center can do is attempt to be better, provide better programs. I don't think they're going to be able to expand very much. Their future depends a great deal on what happens in health sciences in general because they have the physicians plan, which supports their program. If, you know, if the payment system for healthcare changes or is in any way reduced, that's going to affect the income of the medical center. They're not going to get that much extra from the state, and so I see them sort of in a rather stationary condition, with-- but with the idea of getting better and probably, and recruiting better people and maybe bringing in more external support be it through, uh, clinical practice or through federal grants, that's sort of what I see. But I don't see that making a big difference. SMOOT: This question has several facets to it, but I've talked to people who have been involved with medical administration and presidents of universities and so forth, and they have told me that medical centers, uh, are very difficult to manage. They are very complex institutions, uh, and university presidents, some people in fact have been both medical administrators and universities presidents that I've talked with, say it's very difficult to keep a handle on what's going on at the medical center. You don't want to let it go too far on its own because that can be very dangerous. You don't want to try to exert too much of an influence over it because that can consume you. Um, just how independent an institution within an institution is this medical center here, you think? ROYSTER: Probably less independent than most medical centers inside the institution. I think that the current chancellor really wants the medical center to be part of the University of Kentucky. And it's not because he wants to be a team player or anything of that sort. He thinks, and I agree with him, that it's important that the medical center be part of the institution. It has, it has much to gain. Now you talk to the faculty, a lot of them won't agree with you, there are a lot of others who will agree with you. The academics will, the commission probably won't, then, or some of them won't I'll say. So I would say that this medical center is not as independent as a lot of others. And, uh, I think that's good; that's why they're of value to the university. If they were out, if they were over there operating on their own giving very little concern, having very little concern about the rest of the university, then it wouldn't be much value to have them over there. SMOOT: All right, such being the case then, medical center at the University of Kentucky being closely tied with the main campus, with the overall institution, I ask you to walk out on the plank of prognostication and tell me where is the University of Kentucky going? What can the University of Kentucky look forward to in terms of growth and development and advancement over say the next few years? ROYSTER: I think our major advancements will be through pretty much as I mentioned before, as I mentioned before, one is more income in, from the clinical, and more income through external support. I think that the latter is one of the ways in which we, the rest of the university will be able to improve and that's more external support. It may be private giving, it may be industry, it may be, uh, government support, whatever. I just don't see us getting big loads of money for, from the state, for, uh, new programs and expansion. I just don't see that coming. The state I think may be willing to fund specific kinds of programs, like the cancer center, like aging, but they will be targeted areas in my view. And a limited number of target areas is will enhance the institution, but will not make it great. SMOOT: Does Kentucky need two medical centers? ROYSTER: I think that the way it's spread out that it probably does. I don't know; you know, I really don't know. I just, we-- I'm not from eastern Kentucky but I've lived here and know a lot of eastern Kentuckians and know a lot about eastern Kentucky, and I just have the feeling that, that the health services and health education is better in eastern Kentucky today because of the medical center here. And I just also believe that if it were not here, you wouldn't find the University of Louisville picking that up. So, and so-- because the state is so wide and there are certain barriers in terms of moving things from one section into the other, that it's probably justifiable between medical centers. And I'm not sure how much one would save with one medical center. You would, one would save some administration, but once you get past administration I'm not sure you'd save very much. SMOOT: Well you anticipated my next question and the affordability of two medical centers. We may need them but can we afford them? ROYSTER: Well we can't afford two first rate, you know you can't afford two first rate medical centers. SMOOT: So how do you think that's going to develop? Is it going to be a situation where, uh the legislature or the total-- ROYSTER: They're never going to make that decision. They will not make that decision. SMOOT: Who will? ROYSTER: Huh? SMOOT: Who will? ROYSTER: Uh, I don't think-- probably nobody in my lifetime. You can't think-- you know, just look, the only way that you can reduce-- well, administratively you can, you can chan-- you can change things so that you say we've got one medical center. We just call it the Commonwealth Center of Medical Sciences or something, and you have one president and this president's got two vice presidents and they each run the medical campuses. But eighty miles away, you're not going to get that much cooperation, I don't care what anybody says. You're just not going to do it, not with the travel as it is today. And so you're not going to cut them down to one. The only way that would happen would be for enrollments just to continue to drop off, drop off, drop off and you just couldn't justify keeping one open because there are not enough medical students to go around. Now that would be likely to be the only way that that would ever happen. SMOOT: And that's not likely-- ROYSTER: And I don't, I, I don't see that in the future. SMOOT: What other points do you think I should uh, touching upon perhaps that I have not asked you concerning the medical center here at the University of Kentucky? That's sort of a catchall period here-- ROYSTER: Yeah. SMOOT: --I want to make sure that I have touched all the relevant bases with you, concerning the development of the medical center. ROYSTER: Well I don't-- I don't, think of any particular things now that we haven't touched on in some way or other. I guess, going back to one of your earlier questions about tensions between a medical center and the rest of the campus, one of the things I didn't mention was space. That's been a-- that's probably been more controversial than most anything else. That, you know the college of agriculture had that farm out there, so each time they tear down a building out there, at, close to the medical center then the medical center puts up a building, and there's are some people who feel that the medical center is overbuilt. People in the medical center feel like it's not overbuilt and I think there's, I, some people argue about good utilization of space, but I will say this: that they are in dire need of space for research. I can't speak for the rest of it, but I certainly can speak for that. They are in dire need of, in dire need of research space. They have a lots of programs that are being administered which are not academically oriented, not academically oriented, they are service oriented programs. Those programs all take a lot of space. They have a lot of research programs going on that take a lot of space. They got more parking structures than anybody would like, but that's something that they maintain as necessary in order to have a hospital and also to have the, uh, the medical plaza being a place for the physicians to hold their offices and see patients. So, the-- so that is an issue that you hear a great deal about, about space and the medical center is always gobbling up all the available space, but it's a big organization. And I would say that my, uh, view about the medical center is influenced by the fact that I've been working with them very closely now for three years and I see one side of it. I'm sure I see the research and graduate education side and hear a little bit about the other, but I-- It's been a very interesting working experience for me. The medical center administration is very supportive of research, supportive of graduate education, and it's always nice to work with people who support what you're doing. And they've been very supportive of that. It is, it is big, it does have, it brings with it a lot of problems and I'm sure difficult to manage. But, you know I-- any university is difficult to manage unless it's relatively small and you just sort of turn the deans and the faculty loose and say "Well here's the schedule, you all, you teach it and we will recruit the students and it's your job to teach them up till they get here and to develop good quality programs for them." That's sort of the way all of us love not to see a university, but they're not that way anymore. There's a, there's a tremendous bureaucracy within the institution, and it's as true here on the main campus as it is in the medical center. And, uh, it may be a little bit more complex, certainly there are more crises over there in some respects than there are here because you've got so many things that can happen. Something can happen to patients in the hospital, somebody give the wrong drugs, somebody do (Smoot coughs) this, that, and the other, you know. And so, there's, there's room for more problems over there, but on, on, on the whole I think it's uh, been a very, I think it's been a positive force within the university. I really do. SMOOT: Has your relationship in these recent years been more closely tuned to the basic sciences of the medical center and their programs? ROYSTER: Well yes, basic sciences, and some of the clinical sciences as long as they're doing research. And research and graduate education in nursing and allied health and dentistry. And the animal care facilities are under my office, yet they are housed over there. So I've had a, yeah, I've had a lot of contact. I meet with the chancellor and his cabinet every week, but I'd say the basic, the basic sciences and academic programs are where most of, where the majority of my contacts are. SMOOT: Um-hm. Do you think they're doing a good job with the basic sciences within the medical center in terms of producing uh, PhDs and doing a good research, getting monies? ROYSTER: I'd think that, uh, I would say they're doing fair to adequate, would be my view. Um, they're improving; doing much better over the last couple of years. Some of the programs have, what I consider a, a, good number of graduate students, and good graduate students in their program but other programs that are short on graduate students. But overall their graduate enrollment has improved, they're doing a good job of supporting them because they're getting more outside money in. So that I think, you know, give 'em a few years they're gonna- their programs will be much better. SMOOT: Um-hm. Is there any one particular department in basic sciences that you would point to as having solid strengths and perhaps could act as a-- ROYSTER: Well I think there are two of them. I, uh, I, I mentioned before biochemistry and medical microbiology and bacteriology. SMOOT: Um hm. They could be models in other words, in a sense. ROYSTER: Well I think in a sense. Models, not in the way that they necessarily in the way are administered because I, I really don't know that much about how the departments are administered, but models in the sense of the way they are able to support their own research in graduate programs as well as teach undergraduates that they have to teach. Yeah, I would, I would say they do that. SMOOT: Is there anything else you think we should touch on regarding the medical center, the university? ROYSTER: No, I don't have any particular issues, burning issues, I guess that need to be aired, because we're coming to the end of a president's term and there's not much need of going over cloud drown again and we're all anticipating and looking and conjecturing what it might be, you know two years from now. I would say that I'm very pleased that, that Singletary in this last year, or next to last year and the last year is attempting to run the university as if he were going to continue. And I think that's very good, I'm very supportive of that rather than just sit down and say '"Well I'm going to wait until my time, till my time comes to retire and I'll just divvy this out and let other people do things, and I'll take no responsibility." That, he's not doing that and should certainly be commended for that in my view. But even with all, with all of that I think there are still a lot of people who are saying "Well we'll see what the next year is going to bring." But Singletary was very successful in his people, his administration were very successful in, uh, getting support from the legislature and from the governor of this time for both certain parts of the medical center as well as the main campus. And uh, that's, all of us are very pleased about it, I'm very pleased about what's happened here over the last two or three months, extremely well pleased. So I don't have a lot of gripes about the university. Uh, as I said earlier it's a complex organization. We get caught up in our own rules, and if there's probably one thing that I think, a couple of things that I think are or that need changing and that are really slowing down our progress. And these are something I mentioned earlier about the way our, our governance, in terms of committees here, committees there, everything, and then, oh, then the committee recommendations drift up and up and up you know and it takes forever to get decisions made on that basis. And then the other thing is the way we have self-regulated our, we are self-regulated within the institution in terms of, uh, management and in terms of uh, of business procedures and so on, just tremendously time consuming. It makes it very difficult on a person like the chancellors here. I know the chancellor in the medical center has to spend, and as well as the others, spend a great deal of time signing papers, of which they know absolutely nothing about. They have no idea whether someone attended the university on April the 6th and gave a lecture, no more idea than I do. But yet you have to, they're required in certain of these to sign off. And it's just a lot a lot of administrative time consumed there and does not permit time to think about what ought, what should be done and to plan. Everybody, academicians as well as administrators need some time off to think. If you don't have time off to think, you're not going to do much but routine kinds of, of things. SMOOT: And these are problems that the new president will sort of have to face? ROYSTER: That's right. These are problems the new president is going to have to face, there's not any doubt about it. SMOOT: Well on that note I think we'll call this to an end, ROYSTER: Yeah, okay. SMOOT: --and I appreciate it on behalf of the medical center, and the university library and myself. Thank you for taking the time with me, Dr. Royster. ROYSTER: You're welcome, welcome. [End of Interview.] 1 Dr. Wimberly Royster (Chair of Department of Mathematics from 1963 to 1969), a mathematics professor at the University of Kentucky who eventually became chairman of the department, aand later dean of the college of arts and sciences, Royster discusses initial opposition to the Med Center, and the impact which the medical center had on the university, the city and state. He also discuss the necessity of a second medical center in Kentucky, and the tensions the Medical Center brings out both within UK and in the wider community. insert here