Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Doris M. Seward, December 1, 1977

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Becoming secretary of the YWCA

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Dr. Doris M. Seward, executive assistant to the president, Penn State University.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Doris Seward is introduced. She talks about why she was offered the position as secretary of the YWCA at the University of Kentucky. She talks about her impressions of the school, her relationship with Dean Sarah Blanding, and her experience living in the residence halls.

Keywords: Boyd Hall; College life; Conservative; Dean Sarah Blanding; Dean of Women; Dormitories; Fear; Graduation; Horse races; Impressions; Jeanette Scudder; Job offers; Labor unions; Lectures; Residence halls; Salary; Sarah Gibson Blanding; Summer camps; Teaching; YWCA secretary

Subjects: College environment; College graduates; College teachers--Social conditions; Indiana University.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky

GPS: View photo of Doris Seward
Map Coordinates: http://kdl.kyvl.org/catalog/xt73j960633j_25_190
00:06:31 - Dean Sarah Blanding's resignation

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Partial Transcript: Now in 1941 Dean Blanding resigned to become the head of the New York School of Economics at Cornell University.

Segment Synopsis: Seward discusses whether Dean Blanding's resignation from the University of Kentucky had any influence on her own decision to leave UK for Syracuse University. She talks about throwing a going away party for Dean Blanding. She discusses whether Herman Donovan's appointment as president affected Blanding's decision to leave, and talks about the rumors surrounding Donovan when he was first appointed.

Keywords: "Donovan sticks"; Controversy; Dean Sarah Blanding; Dr. Frank McVey; Dr. Herman Donovan; Dr. Peterson; Fellowships; Garden party; Graduate school; Jeanette Scudder; Kentucky Derby; Leaving; Lei; Local newspapers; Margaret Lester; Masters degrees; Patterson Hall; Popularity; Public expression of affection; Reprimanding; Resignation; Rumors; Sarah Gibson Blanding; Syracuse University

Subjects: College administrators--Selection and appointment.; College discipline; College environment; College presidents; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College teachers--Social conditions; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Graduate work.

00:13:17 - University presidents Frank McVey and Thomas Poe Cooper

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Partial Transcript: In that first job at UK you served under two different presidents, Frank McVey and Thomas Poe Cooper, who became the acting president in 1940 and '41 after McVey's retirement.

Segment Synopsis: Seward talks about her impressions of Frank McVey as president of the university. She talks about the stability provided by his long tenure at the university. She talks about her experiences at dinners with the president and his wife. She talks about Thomas Cooper's role as interim president.

Keywords: Dean Thomas Cooper; Dinners; Dr. Frank McVey; Entertaining; Etiquette; Farewell dinners; Formal; Humor; Indiana University; Interim presidents; Lifetime positions; Personality; Policies; Retirement; Security; Speeches; Teas

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College administrators--Selection and appointment.; College environment; College presidents; College presidents' spouses; College teachers--Social conditions; Universities and colleges--Administration.

00:19:24 - Becoming Dean of Women after Sarah Holmes' retirement

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Partial Transcript: Then in 1957 you returned to the University of Kentucky as Dean of Women after having served as an associate dean at Purdue University for several years and I believe acting dean the last year you were there.

Segment Synopsis: Seward talks about graduating from Syracuse University and working at Purdue University before being offered the position of Dean of Women at the University of Kentucky. She talks about interviewing for the job and her initial reluctance to accept the position. She talks about her relationship with Sarah Holmes, and discusses the rules she changed as Dean of Women.

Keywords: Assistant deans; Control; Dean Sarah Holmes; Dean of Women; Dr. Frank Dickey; Freedom; Jane Haselden; Job interviews; Job opportunities; Kentucky Deans Association; Lights out; National Association of Deans of Women; PhD; Purdue University; Regulations; Relationships; Replacements; Returning; Rules; Syracuse University

Subjects: College administrators--Selection and appointment.; College environment; College students--Social conditions; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Universities and colleges--Administration.; University of Kentucky; Women in education--Kentucky--Lexington; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:29:32 - Changes at the University of Kentucky since her first time on campus

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Partial Transcript: --campus and university, uh, in 1957 when you came back. Uh, other than just physical changes of course, I'm sure there were new buildings and things of that sort.

Segment Synopsis: Seward talks about how the university had changed since her initial days as secretary of the YWCA, including the trend towards freedom for the students. She talks about preparing for the integration of the dormitories, and discusses the reactions of both staff and students when African American students were accepted into the residence halls.

Keywords: Changes; Control; Conventions; Democracy; Dormitories; Dr. Frank Dickey; Generations; Kentucky State University; Meetings; Participation; Procedures; Residence halls; Restricted; Restrictions; Roommates; Social attitudes; Staff; Support; Treatment

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American college students.; African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington; College administrators; College discipline; College environment; College integration; College students, Black; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Discrimination in higher education; Minorities in higher education; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Student housing; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky; Women in education--Kentucky--Lexington; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:37:35 - President Frank Dickey

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Partial Transcript: Dr. Frank Dickey was president of university from 1956 to '63.

Segment Synopsis: Seward discusses her opinion of Frank Dickey as president of the university. She talks about his relationship with the faculty due to his former position as a faculty member himself. She talks about his personality, as well as his decision to leave the university.

Keywords: Age; Betty Dickey; Decisions; Dr. Frank Dickey; Familiarity; Leaving; Paperwork; Personality; Regulations; Relationships with staff; Respect; Rules; University presidents

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College discipline; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Social conditions; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Professional staff

00:41:38 - Kentucky Kernel editorial

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Partial Transcript: Now October of 1957 you took issue with a feature of the Kentucky Kernel.

Segment Synopsis: Seward discusses a Kentucky Kernel column called the "Kernel Kutie" and talks about a negative editorial written about her in the Kentucky Kernel after she discussed the column with a student. She talks about how the article affected her career, and discusses students' opinions of the position of Dean of Women.

Keywords: "Kernel Kutie"; "Kernel Sweethearts"; "Witches"; Administrative pressure; Advisors; Consequences; Dean of Women; Discontinued; Editorials; Exploitation; Folklore; Freedom; Kentucky Kernel newspaper; Leonard Niel Plummer; Name changes; Phone calls; Pictures; Polls; Purdue University

Subjects: College administrators; College discipline; College environment; College publications; College student newspapers and periodicals; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Sexual behavior.; College students--Social conditions; Journalism, College; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Periodicals.; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; Women in education--Kentucky--Lexington; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:52:17 - Deferred rushing policy

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Partial Transcript: Another policy you advocate as Dean of Girls was deferred rushing by the sororities.

Segment Synopsis: Seward talks about her attempts to convince UK sororities to adopt a policy of postponing pledging. She gives her reasons for her belief in the success of this policy, and talks about the results of her efforts.

Keywords: Academics; Authority; Computers; Dean of Women; Decisions; Deferred pledging; Experience; Freshmen orientation; Greek letter organizations; Panhellenic Association; Purdue University; Sororities

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Greek letter societies.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; Women in education--Kentucky--Lexington; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:58:04 - Political interference with the university

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Partial Transcript: Do you recall Dr. Gladys Kammerer who was a professor in the political science department?

Segment Synopsis: Seward discusses Gladys Kammerer, a professor at the University of Kentucky who claimed that her denial of a pay raise was due to political interference by Governor Chandler. She talks about the amount of influence governors had over the university at the time.

Keywords: Board of trustees; Complaining; Criticism; Dr. Frank Dickey; Governor Happy Chandler; Governors; Injustice; Political influence; Political pressure; Professor Gladys Kammerer; Raises; Salary increases

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Salaries, etc.; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; Women in education--Kentucky--Lexington; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

01:04:08 - Emphasis on athletics

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Partial Transcript: In 1958 the university won the NCAA basketball championship for a fourth time.

Segment Synopsis: Seward discusses the claim that too much emphasis was placed on sports at the University of Kentucky. She talks about whether athletes received special treatment.

Keywords: "Fiddling Five"; Adolph Rupp; Advantages; Basketball; Convocation; Grades; NCAA Championships; Parking spaces; Role of athletics; Special treatment; Winning

Subjects: College athletes; College environment; College sports--Corrupt practices; College sports.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Kentucky Wildcats (Basketball team); Universities and colleges--Faculty.

01:07:43 - Women's disciplinary issues

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Partial Transcript: In January of 1960 you suggested that, uh, there be formed a Women's Advisory Council whose function would be to handle women's discipline problems.

Segment Synopsis: Seward talks about the creation of the Women's Advisory Council, a group of students selected to handle disciplinary issues among their peers. She talks more about which rules she changed at the university when she became Dean of Women.

Keywords: Counseling; Curfews; Danger; Disciplinary problems; Experience; In loco parentis; Interviews; Joyland; Membership; Peers; Regulations; Representation; Rules; Signing out; Women's Advisory Council

Subjects: College administrators; College discipline; College environment; College student government; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Student housing; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; Universities and colleges--Safety measures.; Women in education--Kentucky--Lexington; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

01:15:36 - President John Oswald

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Partial Transcript: In 1963 Dr. John Oswald became president of the University of Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Seward discusses John Oswald's ability as president of the university. She talks about his greatest accomplishments as well as the controversies that occurred during his tenure as president.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Administrative structure; Allegiances; Board of trustees; Changes; Comfortable; Community colleges; Complacency; Controversy; Deans; Dr. Frank Dickey; Dr. John Oswald; Era; Freedom; Personality; Rotating deanship

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College buildings.; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Selection and appointment.; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Professional staff

01:23:18 - Reorganization of the Office of Student Affairs

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Partial Transcript: In 1967 the Office of Vice President of Student Affairs was reorganized into a more student-oriented framework which was designed to involve the student more totally in university life.

Segment Synopsis: Seward talks about the changes occurring at the university due to wider social changes brought about by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. She talks about how these changes led to the reorganization of the Office of Student Affairs, making her the Dean of Student Affairs Planning. She talks about her new duties, her relationship with the staff, and whether she has any regrets about her work at the university.

Keywords: Changes; Civil rights movement; Committees; Dean of Student Affairs Planning; Dean of Students; Dean of Women; Disloyal; Displacement; Dr. Otis A. Singletary; Duties; Jack Hall; Office of Student Affairs; Reorganization; Riots; Staff; Student personnel; Teaching; Tenure; Veterans; Vietnam War; Violence

Subjects: College administrators--Selection and appointment.; College environment; College presidents; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Educational change--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff

01:34:27 - University presidents

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Partial Transcript: In 1968 Dr. Oswald resigned to return to University of California at Berkeley and he was succeeded by Dr. Albert Kirwan as acting president.

Segment Synopsis: Seward compares the six university presidents she worked for during her tenure at the University of Kentucky. She talks about which was the most fun, and which had the most influence on the university.

Keywords: Busy; Dean Thomas Cooper; Dean of Student Affairs Planning; Dr. Albert Kirwan; Dr. Frank Dickey; Dr. Frank McVey; Dr. John Oswald; Dr. Morris Scherago; Dr. Otis A. Singletary; Favorites; Football coaches; Influence; M. M. White; Personality; Purpose; Unhappy; University presidents; Work

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College environment; College presidents; Universities and colleges--Administration.; University of Kentucky

01:40:30 - Leaving the University of Kentucky for Pennsylvania State University

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Partial Transcript: Now in June of 1970 you resigned from the university to become the principal assistant to former president Oswald who was assuming the presidency at Penn State, I believe on July the first of that year.

Segment Synopsis: Seward talks about why she chose to leave UK for Penn State. She talks about the job offered by Penn State president John Oswald, her appointment as a professor, and her salary. She talks briefly about the National House Mothers Training School at the University of Kentucky. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Academic appointment; College of Human Development; Dr. John Oswald; Executive assistant to the president; Job offers; Leaving; Lectures; National House Mothers Training School; Pennsylvania State University; Perceptions; Reasons; Student unrest; Truth

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Salaries, etc.; College teachers--Selection and appointment.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky