Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with A. D. Albright, September 26, 1988

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Becoming president of Northern Kentucky University

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Partial Transcript: The, uh, community college, uh, development had some very interesting quirks to it.

Segment Synopsis: Albright talks about the community college development in Kentucky. He also addresses the differences between the two Governors Chandler and Combs, along with how he was asked to become the university president at Northern Kentucky University.

Keywords: Bert T. Combs; Community colleges; Eastern Kentucky; Governor Happy Chandler; Governors; University of Kentucky; University presidents

Subjects: College presidents; Lexington (Ky.); Northern Kentucky University; University of Kentucky

GPS: Northern Kentucky University
Map Coordinates: 39.031944, -84.465278
00:03:11 - Relationships with governors and other politicians

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Partial Transcript: Sounds like you had a pretty good relationship with Governor Combs.

Segment Synopsis: Albright addresses the relationships he had with various governors and politicians in Kentucky.

Keywords: Fulbright; Happy Chandler; John Y. Brown; Louie Nunn; Northern Kentucky University; Relationships; Wilson Wyatt

Subjects: Education--Political aspects; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; University and colleges—Administration; University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:08:08 - Governors' effects on the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: It's sometimes difficult to make an assessment or it has been for me in terms of how beneficial or, uh, somewhat--or, uh, if the governors have actually been a hindrance to the University of Kentucky, looking at it from administration to administration.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Albright assesses Kentucky governors Combs, Chandler, Nunn, Carroll, and Ford and their effects on the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: Appointments; Increase funding; John Oswald; Martha Layne Collins; Medical centers; Public welfare; Resources; University of Louisville

Subjects: College presidents; Education--Political aspects; Louisville (Ky.); University and colleges--Administration; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; University of Louisville

GPS: University of Louisville
Map Coordinates: 38.215, -85.760278
00:16:18 - Relationships between universities and politics

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Partial Transcript: Well you know it seems interesting to me you mentioned, uh, Collins', uh, closeness with Dawn Swayne and the University of Louisville.

Segment Synopsis: The relationship between different universities and politicians is discussed in this segment. Thoughts on increase of funding for the university is also discussed.

Keywords: Disorganization; Equalize expenditures; Increase funds; John Oswald; Leadership; Martha Layne Collins; Ned Breathitt; Revenue; Spending; University of Louisville

Subjects: Campus planning; College administrators; Education--Finance--Kentucky

GPS: University of Louisville
Map Coordinates: 38.215, -85.760278
00:22:12 - Conflict among politicians

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Partial Transcript: Going back to the Combs administration for a moment, he did seem to let the university kind of go its own way.

Segment Synopsis: Albright discusses the Combs administration. He talks about different leadership roles along with the conflict between various politicians and university administrators including Chandler, Combs, and Frank Peterson. Albright says that Bert Combs had a good idea of what the university needed to look like to succeed. He wanted to clean up the damage that Peterson left.

Keywords: Black colleges; Combs administration; Eastern Kentucky; Established criteria; Frank Peterson; Governor Happy Chandler; University interference

Subjects: Discrimination in higher education; Educational change--Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.)

00:30:28 - Governor Nunn’s take on education

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Partial Transcript: I think I mentioned to you the, uh--when Governor Nunn, right after he'd been, been elected called about six or seven, six or seven of us together--

Segment Synopsis: Governor Nunn’s intentions, views, and thoughts on higher education are discussed.

Keywords: Conservative; Liberal; Louie Nunn; Philosophical society; Political influence; Political philosophies; Sales tax; Social education philosophy

Subjects: Education--Kentucky; Education--Political aspects; Educational change

00:34:51 - Governor Nunn and political interference at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Seemed to me that, you know, Oswald was looking at the changes in society and the changes in education and trying to adapt to it...

Segment Synopsis: Albright discusses Nunn and Oswald’s different views on societal changes at the University of Kentucky. Albright recalls the details of a board meeting with Governor Nunn. He discusses how the traditions and relationships at the university have changed. A feud between Dr. Oswald and Louie Nunn over the direction of the university is also described.

Keywords: Disagreement; Dr. John Oswald; Dr. Thomas. D. Clark; Feud; Governor Louie B. Nunn; Philosophy traditions; Relationships; Research; Sales tax; Social institution; Societal changes; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Educational change; Lexington (Ky.); Universities and colleges--Departments; Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:42:00 - Combs-Wyatt administration and Spindletop research

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Partial Transcript: Want to go back again to the Combs-Wyatt--what they call the Combs-Wyatt administration, and, uh, uh, one of the things that developed during that period was Spindletop research.

Segment Synopsis: Spindletop research and its value to the university is discussed. The idea of Spindletop research was described as a relationship between university and state government. This idea failed due to a lack of leadership and state support. The Combs-Wyatt administration is also discussed in this segment.

Keywords: Bert Combs; Combs-Wyatt administration; Leadership; Principle; Selection of directors; Spindletop research; University of Kentucky; Wilson Wyatt

Subjects: College administrators--Selection and appointment; Research; Universities and colleges--Research

00:45:55 - Spindletop research--Leadership and the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What could have, what could have made it work?

Segment Synopsis: Albright discusses how the research projects at the University of Kentucky could have worked and why they didn’t. The university had no idea of the future and was not aggressive enough. Spindletop research was brought about by politics and education, however, it was never funded.

Keywords: Aggressive; Combs administration; Different discipline; Education; Exertion of university influence; Funding; Initiative; Political ambition; Research projects; Senators

Subjects: School management and organization; Schools; University of Kentucky

00:52:20 - Spindletop research--Efficiency and increased funding

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Partial Transcript: Seems to me the Spindletop research history is, uh, much like a lot of other initiatives the state takes...

Segment Synopsis: The history of the Spindletop research is discussed by Albright as well as plan changes and development. Albright also discusses what efficiency means to the university and what they depend on for efficiency.

Keywords: Bert Combs; Child care; Commonwealth; Constitutional; Education; Efficiency; Frank Dickey; Higher education; Increase funding; Lab equipment; Libraries; Public school system

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky; Schools; University of Kentucky. Libraries

00:57:12 - Relationships between politicians

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Partial Transcript: In, in looking at the Spindletop situation, the relationship between Dickey and Combs, because Frank Dickey, some think was picked by Chandler--

Segment Synopsis: Albright says Dr. Dickey and Combs had a bad relationship which led to failure and conflict. Albright recalls more relationships including that of Dickey, Combs, and Peterson. Chandler’s influence on the university is also discussed.

Keywords: Bert Combs; Chairman of Board; Dr. Frank Dickey; Fate; Frank Peterson; Free institution; Happy Chandler; Relationship

Subjects: College department heads; Education--Finance--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

01:02:35 - Happy Chandler’s effects on the university

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Partial Transcript: The, uh, medical center, uh--(chuckles)--it’s been somewhat surprising that, uh, people who’ve been over at the hospital would overhear some of the families of the patients say, uh, "Happy gave us this, and, uh, Happy's gonna look after us, and this is not gonna cost us anything."

Segment Synopsis: Albright says that Chandler was unusually active in some aspects of the university. Chandler was given a strong hand but was caught in wrong places. He got very involved in the medical center. The addition of the A.B. Chandler Medical Center is discussed in this segment.

Keywords: A. B. Chandler Medical Center; Governor Happy Chandler; Happy Chandler; Paid institution; Patients; Politicians; University affairs

Subjects: College costs; Medicine; Research; University of Kentucky. Medical Center

01:06:17 - Connections between politics and higher education in other states

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Partial Transcript: Uh, John Y. Brown wanted to do something for Happy.

Segment Synopsis: Albright discusses the University of Kentucky’s political situations compared to other states. He says the University of Kentucky did not play the political game very well. It wanted to become a research university but it didn’t know its strengths.

Keywords: A.D. Albright; Authority to employ; Higher education; Honorary position; North Carolina; Politics; Republican lawyer; Tennessee; Texas; University of Kentucky Medical Center; West Virginia

Subjects: Education Higher--Kentucky; Education--Political aspects; Lexington (Ky.); Universities and colleges--Departments; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Medical center

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5