Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lewis W. Cochran, October 8, 1985

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Campus reconstruction

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Partial Transcript: I want to do, uh, a little, uh, background, set the stage thing at the beginning of this--

Segment Synopsis: Due to lack of research space on campus, the University of Kentucky began planning the beginning stages of new buildings in the 1950s.

Keywords: 1950s; Basic sciences; Buildings; Campus; Construction; Hospitals; Laboratories; Labs; Storage space; University of Kentucky Medical Center; W.D. Funkhouser Building

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:02:59 - The people behind the plan

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Partial Transcript: In terms of the, uh, the faculty design that they put into it for the basic sciences...

Segment Synopsis: As Kentucky hires a new Director of Development with little experience, this caused a bit of confusion between other parties resulting in a new Director.

Keywords: American Power and Light; Architect competition; Chemical engineering; Elected officers; Indonesia; Industrialists; Lickenhouse; Ratings; Recruiting; Spindletop

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:12:02 - Effects of zoning law on campus

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Partial Transcript: Well now, Merle got the commitment, um, and, uh, he made some mistakes.

Segment Synopsis: Cochran talks about the struggles developers went through to achieve the graduate research institute buildings in 1959, with struggles such as zoning laws and a lukewarm community reaction.

Keywords: Calvert City (Ky.); Columbus (Ohio); Economic development; Kentucky industry; Louisville (Ky.); Lukewarm attitudes; Myrtle Baker; Ohio; Research; Tom Lewis; Zoning Laws

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:22:03 - Financial issues at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: The personnel thing was one error, the failure of the state to provide sufficient, um...

Segment Synopsis: As campus reconstruction took a decline, the university struggled to find financial backing and support.

Keywords: 130 Acres; Informal association; Internal crisis; Lewis Cochran; Mistakes; Severed relationships; Startup money; State operated; Subsidies; Turn to state; Turnover to state; Withdraw

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:28:45 - Scientific politics among developers

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, so I met with them trying to generate funds locally to buy the machine. It was embarrassing.

Segment Synopsis: Due to the lack of communication and finances between the University of Kentucky and the project managers, the intended research buildings were converted to offices.

Keywords: Aesthetic; Art exhibits; Ashland Oil; Chemistry building; Heat pumps; Interior buildings; National Science Foundation; Socioeconomics; Wilson Wyatt

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; College histories; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:37:50 - Administration of buildings transferred to state control

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Partial Transcript: The University promised a, a relationship.

Segment Synopsis: Due to the university's lack of financial backing and a weak administration, the project to build research facilities was not only put on hold but almost fully transferred to the state.

Keywords: 1968; Albert Clay; Economic state management; Engineering colleges; Environmental impact; John Oswald; Kettering Foundation; Ohio; State agents; State funds; State research; W.T. Young

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College environment; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Engineering

00:50:36 - Development back on track

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Partial Transcript: We've kind of talked about this, uh, from many different angles, but maybe just in summary...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Cochran briefly talks about the fact that the University of Kentucky was almost fully backed out of the research facility project as it was getting turned over to state control.

Keywords: Earth sciences; Frankfort (Ky.); Geological surveys; George Evans; International Business Machines Corporation (IBM); Mines and minerals; Paper and pencil research; University faculty; Wright State University

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College benefactors; College buildings.; College campuses.; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Arts and Sciences; University of Kentucky. Department of Geology

00:52:17 - Modelling the University of Kentucky after elite universities

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Partial Transcript: And I suppose there's a lot of competition in that field from some of the universities who've made a name for themselves in that area.

Segment Synopsis: University of Kentucky wanted to model itself after universities like Illinois University, Purdue University, and Colorado State because of their prestige in research when it comes to the sciences. Illinois University was known as one of the strongest colleges in the United States for engineering. The University of Kentucky brought in Bob Drake who provided new leadership to the department. Drake brought in people from Princeton University and other elite universities to help get Kentucky back on the right path.

Keywords: Bob Drake; Colorado State University; Consultants; Dean rotation; Doctoral programs; Graduate programs; High-tech industry; Illinois University; John Oswald; Lexington (Ky.); Mechanical engineers; Ohio State University; Preeminent universities; Princeton University; Purdue University; Stanford University

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; College publicity; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Education--Kentucky; Educational change.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Departments; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering; University of Kentucky. Graduate School

00:57:52 - University of Kentucky on a path to research

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Partial Transcript: Department of Defense has, uh, has a tremendous research budget.

Segment Synopsis: Cochran mentions that Kentucky could have been a preeminent university if they had made it a priority to make the university a research institute. Cochran also calls attention to California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and begins to explain the concept of atom science and the research behind it. He uses his former student, Sam Hurst, as an example of how Kentucky could've been part of the development of a high tech industry.

Keywords: Applied research; Atom science; Basic science involvement; California Institute of Technology (CIT); Contract research; Department of Defense; High-tech industry; Internal academic revolution; Kentucky-based; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Preeminent universities; Raychem Corporation; Ripple effect; Sam Hurst

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College buildings.; College campuses.; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; College histories; College students.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Research.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Laboratories

01:02:56 - Becoming a comprehensive university

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Partial Transcript: And so you had a coursework academic, um, plan developed and implemented there.

Segment Synopsis: The University of Kentucky struggled with staying present and keeping up to date. Once UK president Frank Dickey resigned, John Oswald came in and turned everything around for the University of Kentucky. The intention was to move the university into the present by making it a respectable research and graduate education university. Oswald did this by bringing leadership to the university and creating structure within.

Keywords: Academics; Basic disciplines; Comprehensive university; Coursework; Deans; Engineers; Ferment; Frank Dickey; Graduate education; John Oswald; Leadership; Myrtle Baker; Present century; Research universities; Resignation; Respectable; University of Kentucky Medical Center; University presidents

Subjects: Campus planning.; College administrators; College administrators--Rating of; College buildings.; College campuses.; College department heads; College discipline; College facilities--Planning.; College facilities.; College presidents; Dickey, Frank Graves; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Oswald, John W. (John Wieland), 1917-1995; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

01:05:31 - Industries within the state of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Another thing comes to mind, and maybe I'm way off base on this one...

Segment Synopsis: Cochran discusses the different industries around Kentucky, such as coal and tobacco, and the failure to develop a heavy industry in Eastern Kentucky. He also touches on how he believes that the city of Louisville would have been more interested in putting money and support into corporate industry financial support developments.

Keywords: Board members; Coal meets iron; Coal mining; Contributions; Eastern Kentucky; Failure to develop; International Business Machines Corporation (IBM); Jefferson County (Ky.); Kentucky coal; Lack of industries; Lost opportunities; Radio station coverage; Responsible citizens; Rural valleys; Tobacco; University of Kentucky Research Foundation Board; University of Louisville

Subjects: Louisville (Ky.); Tobacco.; University of Kentucky. College of Mines and Metallurgy