Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with William Fishback, September 15, 1977

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Decision to attend the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Mr. William Fishback of Savannah, Georgia, a 1934 graduate of the University of Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: William Fishback is introduced. He talks about why he chose to attend UK rather than another school. He talks about living with his aunt in Versailles and hitchhiking to class each day.

Keywords: Fires; Hitchhiking; Interurban; Tuition; Vanderbilt University; Versailles (Ky.)

Subjects: College choice; College costs.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Economic conditions; College students--Transportation; University of Kentucky

00:01:56 - Attitude about social life

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Partial Transcript: What, uh, were your first impressions of the campus, and the students, and the faculty?

Segment Synopsis: Fishback talks about his own personality, his trouble with social situations, and why he felt like an outsider on campus. He talks about his fears coming to the university.

Keywords: "Country"; Dates; Dating; Engineering; Farms; Freshman caps; Impressions; Outsiders; Personality; Shy

Subjects: Campus size; College environment; College freshmen; College majors; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; University of Kentucky. College of Engineering

00:04:35 - Choosing his major

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Partial Transcript: And then you, you, you chose as your major field of study, uh, engineering.

Segment Synopsis: Fishback talks about why he originally chose engineering as his major at the university. He talks about the difficulty he had in his chemistry and physics classes which led him to change his major to commerce.

Keywords: Alec Zimmerman; Chemistry; Commerce; Electives; Engineering; Failing; Final exams; Otto Koppius; Physics; Preparation; Quality of education; Time

Subjects: College environment; College majors; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College teachers--Rating of.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Examinations; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky. College of Business and Economics; University of Kentucky. College of Engineering

00:09:22 - Favorite professors

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Partial Transcript: Do you recall some of the, uh, people in this College of Commerce? Who some of your favorite professors there were?

Segment Synopsis: Fishback describes some of his favorite professors. He talks about Dr. Best, a psychology professor who was deaf but could read lips, and talks about how students would cheat on his exams. He talks about Dr. Knight, an English professor who did not like engineering students. He talks about his impressions of President McVey.

Keywords: Assumptions; Busy; Cheating; Contact; Dr. Frank McVey; Dr. Harry Best; Engineers; English; Exams; Failing; Favorite professors; Grant Knight; Loyd Averett; Marketing; Mary Frances Jewell McVey; Personality; Psychology; Relationship with students; Studying; Woodrow Wilson

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College environment; College majors; College presidents; College presidents' spouses; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College teachers--Rating of.; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Examinations; Universities and colleges--Faculty.

00:15:59 - Social life

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Partial Transcript: Was it your impression, uh, concerning fraternities and sororities at the time that, uh, members of those organizations tended to dominate, uh, the campus as far as leadership in other non-Greek organizations, let's say, uh, uh, was concerned?

Segment Synopsis: Fishback talks about the role of fraternities and sororities on campus. He talks about the hazing of freshmen that occurred during his time as a student. He talks about the cultural activities available for students.

Keywords: Concerts; Cultural activities; Fraternities; Freshman caps; Freshman-Sophomore Tug-of-War; Hazing; Independents; Leadership; Lectures; Memorial Hall; Shaving heads; Social events; Social life; Sororities

Subjects: College environment; College freshmen; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Greek letter societies.

00:19:18 - Athletics

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Partial Transcript: Now the, the 1960s were known for upheaval and unrest on college campuses.

Segment Synopsis: Fishback talks about the atmosphere on campus during the 1930s. He talks about the interest in athletics at the university. He talks about the emphasis on sports, and on football in particular. He talks about some of the well-known athletes during his time as a student, including Shipwreck Kelly. He talks about selling his football tickets to make extra money.

Keywords: Adolph Rupp; Arrested; Athletics; Basketball; Cheerleaders; Emphasis; Football games; Football teams; Generations; Grades; Labels; Purpose; School spirit; Season tickets; Selling; Shipwreck Kelly; Tommy Harmon

Subjects: College athletes; College environment; College sports.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Economic conditions; College students--Social conditions; Women in higher education.

00:24:24 - Effects of the Great Depression

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Partial Transcript: Did, uh, uh--what about the impact of, of the Depression on the university?

Segment Synopsis: Fishback talks about how the Great Depression affected students at UK. He talks about how he made extra money at the time and that living on his aunt's farm meant that they always had food.

Keywords: Effects; Expansion; Farms; Great Depression; Impact; Jobs; Married; Money; Stock market crash; Tuition; Working

Subjects: College costs.; College environment; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Economic conditions; College students--Employment.; Depressions--1929--Kentucky

00:28:26 - Politics on campus

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Partial Transcript: Was there much interest on campus in, uh, politics?

Segment Synopsis: Fishback says that students were not interested in politics at the time, but says they cared more about controversial issues on campus. He talks about whether any of his professors were seen as being radical or "too liberal". He says he did not know of any women on the faculty at the time, and briefly mentions students' views on racial discrimination.

Keywords: Coach Harry Gammage; Controversy; Football coaches; Interest; Involvement; Men's Student Council; Presidential elections; Women

Subjects: College environment; College sports--Coaching; College student government; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Political activity.; College students--Social conditions; Politics and government; Race discrimination--Kentucky; Women in education--Kentucky--Lexington; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:32:46 - Library / relationship between the University of Kentucky and the Lexington community

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Partial Transcript: How would you assess the university library while you were a student?

Segment Synopsis: Fishback talks about his use of the library as a student. He talks about the relationship between the University of Kentucky and the Lexington community, particularly in regard to students' behavior after football games.

Keywords: Football games; Lexington community; Misbehavior; Misconduct; Professors; Relationships; Rowdyism

Subjects: Academic libraries.; College environment; College facilities.; College sports.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Books and reading.; College students--Conduct of life.; Universities and colleges--Public relations; University of Kentucky. Libraries; University towns

00:34:18 - Career after graduation

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Partial Transcript: It's often said that a college education and experience changes a person greatly, and I think that we would probably all agree that that's true.

Segment Synopsis: Fishback talks about how his college experiences affected his life. He talks about the difficulty of finding a job after graduating from the university. He talks about some of the job offers that he received, and the job he chose.

Keywords: Baling paper; Career; College education; College experiences; Commerce; Engineering; Instructors; Job offers; Jobs; Store managers; Union Bag and Paper Company; Woolworth's

Subjects: College graduates; Universities and colleges--Alumni and alumnae.

00:37:27 - What he would change about his college experience / how the university has changed

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything in your college experience that you would change if you had the chance?

Segment Synopsis: Fishback talks about his lack of preparation in high school for the courses he took at the University of Kentucky. He talks about how the university has changed since he left, including expansion and the development of a medical school. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Advisors; Changes; Contact; Development; Engineering; Football games; Growth; High school education; Interest; Medical school; Physics; Preparation; Proud; Quality of education; Trees

Subjects: Campus size; College buildings.; College facilities.; College students--Conduct of life.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Education--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Ratings and rankings.