Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with William T. Young, Sr., September 5, 2000

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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 BIRDWHISTELL: Mr. Young, I thought today we would spend some time uh--reviewing your association, what's now a long association with Transylvania uh--University. And uh I have done some work uh, looking at the uh, uh, issues around Transylvania during the time you were there, and there you've provided me with this wonderful magazine that sort of uh, talks about uh, your uh, your time with Transylvania. Lets go back to the time when you uh, you joined the board, in 1966, I believe, was that--does that sound right?

YOUNG: That's right. Yeah, my dear friend Alec Campbell had become involved with--he didn't go to Transylvania, but he came and got interested in it, I suppose, in the early `60s. And uh, it was me, he and Clair Vough [Clair F. 00:01:00Vough] became very interested in uh,Transylvania. Clair was the first general manager of IBM, which came here in 1955. And Clair was on our board and uh, Alec was and, at that time, they, they were uh--they were promoting, I don't know how I forge--get the name but they, they called it, but it was--really it was oriented to uh, to South America and Central America, uh. There must have been something in that time period that made that part of the world a little more newsworthy than it usually is, but uh, I suppose with trade with Mexico and this, that, and the other, that uh, they thought it'd be well that, that the 00:02:00school would have something oriented towards, really doing business, I presume, uh, uh, with those uh, Central and South American countries and--which would involve the use of, of course, of the, of the Spanish language and so forth. And uh, they were in the middle of that and, of course, uh, Clair as, as the chief executive of the uh, IBM company here, although it wasn't--I r--I, I suppose the typewriter division was more or less autonomous, but he, he never really had enough influence with IBM on the national level, to get enough support from IBM nationally to make this a go. And they did raise some money for it and uh, I obtained a--I suppose at that time, I must have been chairman of the Spindletop Foundation, uh. I was put in that position for a year or two 00:03:00when Louie Nunn was governor. That's another story. But, uh, uh, anyway, I secured a, a commitment, I believe, from the state, that they would sell or either that or give Transylvania ten acres out around Spindletop, which is on the Iron Works Road, which would've been sort of a sub campus. But that was a background that they were stirring my interest up and, and I think Alec and the board got me to come on, and uh--as you know, I am an alumnus of the University of Kentucky, and--it's difficult to get interested in another school, especially in the same town with your alma mater, but I did and I became a board member in nineteen uh, sixty-six, that's how it came about.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's interesting.

YOUNG: But to finish the story on the South American school, it uh--we did raise some money, at s--that time I was chairman--I reckon I became chairman in 00:04:001966, so--Royal Crown Comp--Cola Company, and they were trying to get donations from national companies, and I did get them the--half a million dollars grant from Royal Crown, and I've forgotten what happened to it, I doubt if we ever--the school ever gave it back, or the company even demanded it, but, the uh, the South American School, really never came about. And I know after that, that uh, that both uh, Clair Vough and Alec Campbell's interests over the next few years sort of waned--after that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Did anything ever come of the property out on--Iron Works Road or--

YOUNG: No I, I think it was more or less a commitment.

BIRDWHISTELL: That didn't--

YOUNG: That if the school were--associated, or this, if the school became a reality, that the land would be made available. I think that's as far as I got.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now the uh, the, the school of, the South American School, that 00:05:00was going to be--to train American uh, business people to work in --------(??)

YOUNG: Well it would be--I, I, I forget the details uh--Terry uh--my guess it was you, I don't know whether you--I presume that they would have set it up where you got a degree as you would in business administration, and what that degree would be you'd have to talk to--I don't know if there is anybody left out there that knows anything, Lunger [Irvin Lunger] was president. Clair Vough's dead. And uh, Alec might uh, might fill you in on it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, that's an intere--I've never heard of that, that's pretty interesting.

YOUNG: Well it's an interesting episode. I doubt if it's--I doubt if it's much, much around, but there was a lot of effort, I know I went to New York--with them on one or two occasions and met with uh--I don't know what corporations we met with, but uh, uh--it was a serious effort, and I think it 00:06:00was always a great disappointment to Clair. It was his idea--it also was a disappointment to, to Alex. I think the reason it failed, they just couldn't get garner enough interest, corporate interest. I always felt that if IBM had come along with a multimillion dollar grant--

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??)

YOUNG: --which they easily could have done, it would have made all the--it'd probably be a reality today. But I assume that the degree would be in uh, business administration with a major in uh, uh--South American business or, or something. But I don't--it'll--thinking back, that's so far back--that must have been a national interest of uh, uh--of doing business in Central and South America.


YOUNG: And uh, my guess is, if you got a degree, you'd probably have to have a reasonable speaking uh, ability in Spanish, and so forth and so on. My guess, 00:07:00so they would have brought uh--teachers or professors, or some contact with, with either one or more countries down there. But it was an interesting thing, and it was a serious endeavor, we raised uh--I reckon must have raised several million dollars, but--it uh, it almost died of, died of nourishment--lack of nourishment, I think.

BIRDWHISTELL: But I mean, when you look at --------(??)

YOUNG: I never was that sold on it but uh--you can't always just back your own ideas and--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, that's right.

YOUNG: This was a genuine effort, and I suppose there, there would have been and there is today, a future for--young people in America getting degrees, especially in business, that if they--they've had some study oriented to uh--the Spanish speaking, speaking uh, countries. We do export an enormous--we do a lot 00:08:00of business, especially with Mexico.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was going to say, Mr. Young, about, you know, if you look at what's happening in the business world, year 2000, that the relationship with Spanish speaking countries.

YOUNG: Oh that's right. And I forget uh, I forget whose administration they passed that law that--really set up uh--I reckon trade relationship with uh, with uh, Mexico. Well it must have been when uh--who is that guy in Texas that ran for president? Perot.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: Yeah, what's his name? Ross Perot.


YOUNG: Remember he ran for president in what? Was it uh, ninety-two?

BIRDWHISTELL: Ninety-two, ninety-two.

YOUNG: Yeah ninety-two, it wasn't so many years, ninety-two. Remember that, that treaty they were negotiating with the--he was dead set against it, he said he can hear the loud sucking noise?

BIRDWHISTELL: That's r --(laughs)--

YOUNG: Sucking jobs from the United States to--it hasn't proven that way, but 00:09:00there're still people that are--

BIRDWHISTELL: A hot issue.

YOUNG: There are pro and con on that issue, but we do have--a fare trade treaty with them.


YOUNG: And a lot of American companies have settled in Mexico since ninety-two. But anyway that's when I came on the board and that's what was going on at the time.

BIRDWHISTELL: But when you uh, when you first uh, uh--became a member of that board, what were your--impressions of Transylvania as a school at that time?

YOUNG: Well I had always known about Transylvania but--(clears throat)--knew very little about it--(coughs)--.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, --------(??)

YOUNG: It was a very small liberal arts school, they had about 600 students, and uh--I think I gradually--came to the realization that, that a private, a small private school like that had its place in academic America--(clears throat)--probably a very valuable place--(clears throat)-- My interest became 00:10:00more intense as I--it at least gave a kid an option if he came, even a Kentucky p--kid, and my interest doesn't go much further than Kentucky, at least on this subject. And--they had an option of going to a state university which is--the University of Kentucky which is probably typical of the University of Georgia, or Ohio State and so forth. And I got a good education there but uh--a kid also has an option of going to a very small school, and perhaps enjoying smaller classes, and uh--maybe a little more intimate relationships with professors and so forth. When I t--first to work as an engineer, with General Electric in Cleveland, they sent me to Cincinnati after about a year, and I was in the Cincinnati office, and I traveled Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, I think. 00:11:00And I was impressed with Ohio--as to the small schools up there.


YOUNG: And uh, I came away with, this was about 1940, thirty-nine or forty, but I came away with a good feeling about small schools and--a lot of times when I would travel through Ohio, calling on National Cash Register Company or--Hobart in--Troy, Ohio, or this, that or the other,--(coughs)-- I'd make a habit of staying--of spending the night at those schools at the fraternity house. I was an SAE.


YOUNG: And usually I'd get a free--you know--free, free bunk at night. I wasn't making any money hardly and--but that's when I became aware of--Ohio Wesleyan and Miami of Ohio, Kent, and Ohio University. Uh, but they just have a numerous schools and they are all very highly rated ac--academically even today. 00:12:00So I'd had some preparation for--a school like uh, Transylvania but, but my initial tenure on the board--was the beginning of my education of, of a small college.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now you can't get in?

YOUNG: And I formed opinion, I finally g--became to believe that it was a, it was a very desirable option in our educational system. And--they obviously needed so much help that I just gravitated to--it's very hard to--help the University of Kentucky--it's so vast. And the uh--the board is always nearly completely--political, and the two or three years I served on the UK board, was only because John Y. Brown was governor and I was--his right hand man, and I probably asked him to put me on the board. But it was uh--I got nothing out of 00:13:00it. I felt like that I did--I felt like as a board member of the University of Kentucky board that I made no difference. Uh, I learned to believe that uh--that the Transylvania board and my difference was, was, was important.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well that's one of Billy Joe Miles's uh, contentions before he came, became the board chair, that there was no role for the board members at UK per se--unless you were in the executive committee on the UK board.

YOUNG: Well I don't know about his complaints, I don't even know him, I looked at the roaster the other day, I think Mrs. Young wanted to know who was on the board for some reason, I got a list of them, I didn't know any of them--didn't know any of them.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Had you wanted to be on--

YOUNG: But they're all, they're all political appointees and--they have a function but it's, it's so impersonal and so big.


YOUNG: See they have a billion dollar budget. And uh, Transylvania we might 00:14:00have a ten million dollar budget. Something that you at least can, can contemplate and understand, but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Had you wanted to serve on the UK board prior to going --------(??)

YOUNG: Well I must have, John probably asked me if I wanted to serve, I forget the circumstances.

BIRDWHISTELL: But I mean before that.

YOUNG: I didn't have any burning ambition, no.

BIRDWHISTELL: You--I mean before you went on Transy board, you hadn't thought about--Oh I want to be on the UK board.

YOUNG: No, no, no. Never gave it a thought.

BIRDWHISTELL: Because I guess--

YOUNG: But one of my principle--duties down there with, with Brown, was to--pass on, on, on appointments. And his major appointments, of course, were basically the--boards of these various state universities, and uh--but anyway I wound up on the board and as I said, I didn't--it wasn't a bad experience, I just felt that uh--I contributed little or nothing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me about President Lunger when you went on the Transy board, 00:15:00what was he like?

YOUNG: Well Irvin was a--Irvin may have been an ex preacher, I don't know. The relationship with the--Disciple of Christ Church, the Christian church--and Transylvania to me has always been meaningless, uh. Their influence is almost nil--they contribute almost nil. Uh, I reckon you asked me to vote on it, I'd, I'd vote to be independent of any churches. Although I do think that some of the churches, congregations throughout the--Midwest did send the odd student--to Transylvania, but it's not a religious school, it's not--

BIRDWHISTELL: It's not how they--attract students, so--

YOUNG: It's not, in, in, in no sense, is it uh--they probably have a chaplain, he probably is a--member of the church. But there are two or three church board 00:16:00members on it, but you know the, uh--College of the Bible before my time was, was, was an adjunct of uh--Transylvania, and it was separated years before I came on the board. But I don't consider any aspect of Transylvania's to be uh--church oriented.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was thinking, in, in preparation for this session, Mr. Young the things you told me about organized religion and the major impact you had on both Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky, and of course Transy still had that, that affiliation.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: But the histories of Transylvania and the University of Kentucky are-- is riddled with religious interference--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and, and uh--played a key role in, in--

YOUNG: Well I think--

BIRDWHISTELL: --in major setbacks at both institutions.

YOUNG: Well I, I, I don't uh--well I believe in the complete separation 00:17:00of--church and state which would come down to schools, I don't think that--I don't have any, I, I, I do not support any--church related school.

BIRDWHISTELL: So if John Bowman had come to you in 1865 and said "Mr. Young, I want to merge Transylvania and this new A and M college and the College of the Bible," you'd said "John I don't think that's a good idea." --(laughs)--

YOUNG: No, that's exactly right.

BIRDWHISTELL: You would have give--given him good advice. --(laughs)--


BIRDWHISTELL: It didn't workout.

YOUNG: But I can't, even if, even if the Christian Church gave s--if they gave substantial financial help, which all these schools need, especially the small private schools, you might have a little bit--but as far as I know, to give very little, I don't know what it is, but it's practically nothing. And uh, I'd, I just don't think there is any place for it myself, but uh--and I've grown 00:18:00stronger in that opinion as I've gotten older, but it uh, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: I've often thought --------(??)

YOUNG: Really, really, what a parochial school does that uh--it would be less evident in uh, in a, in a college setting in age, than it would in the primary grades where you do have parochial schools, I reckon mostly Catholic. I think what a parochial school does, is really deny a child of freedom of choice of his religion, uh. We're getting into another subject but I reckon this--purpose of this series is to--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: --find out how I think about things.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: But I'm perfectly candid. I did not have a free choice religion growing up, I was raised in the Baptist Church, and my mother was not uh--she wasn't a 00:19:00zealot, but I reckon she thought to be a good mother, she dragged me to church every Sunday, and I finally joined the church, this, that and the other. But I've been plagued with that all my life, it's taken me uh, it's taken me seventy-five years to become a free thinker about religion, but I had no choice of religion, I just picked up what I was exposed to. It's like uh--Ivan Pavolv's dog. It uh--and usually you uh--I don't think a lot of people think about religion much, I think they do it--deliberately, they don't think about it, but I, I'm a little bit of an agitator but not too much, I don't care about offending how you feel about church in particularly--but uh, but that's another subject. But uh, uh--there is no religious, I wouldn't even have a chaplain out there if it were I. But I haven't interfered with anything but--what it was 00:20:00before the uh--College of the Bible, I don't know but it uh--and I don't know why they separated, but it was, it--I, I agree with you, it's a good thing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Well you know, Transy--

YOUNG: It's probably a good chance that if it had been tied up with the church that I never would of stayed on the board.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. You know Transy and UK were once merged after the Civil War and, and stayed merged--------(??)

YOUNG: Well I think UK was, is out of the old M and E, wasn't it?

BIRDWHISTELL: A, A and M, Uh-huh.

YOUNG: A and M.

BIRDWHISTELL: And they, they were separated by the eighteen seventy-eight legislature.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Because of a religious fight.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And uh, Transylvania got all the land and, and all the money, And sent A and M College out to that little barren hillside --(laughs)--heading toward Nicholasville.

YOUNG: Well the situation has reversed since then, but I haven't read that history.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's a, it's a fascinating uh, uh, history, and John Bowman really tried to do--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --something big.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And he failed and--but uh, out of that failure came the 00:21:00University of Kentucky, and the two schools uh, in 1960--

YOUNG: Of course in the revolutionary days the colonial days uh, the church had to do a lot of things, it had to--I reckon a lot of schools simply would not have existed if it hadn't been for the church, so you got to give the church credit. It's just a question as to when they backed out and turned it over to the public. But uh, the same is true of hospitals. The church has no, no business being involved in a hospital today. They've outlived their usefulness. But in the early days, from what I've, what I've read, uh, there have been little medical care, serious medical care that, if the churches hadn't--involved themselves. But that was--service to mankind. And I reckon school is the same way but the, the main focus of any denomination--of the church, that I can find 00:22:00out today, is to simply further--their own doctrine, to whomever they can persuade to their point of view. Now whether that's for good or bad, I don't know, I think it's, I don't th--I don't see any good come from that. And uh, the churches today do far less for their fellow man, than they do in attempting to get him to--come to their church and believe as they do, but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Later on we'll be talking about your role Shakertown, have you given much thought to the Shakers and their--world view --------(??)

YOUNG: Well I think they were a quaint people, I think they're the last people in the world that you want to emulate--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- I don't think they, I don't think they leave you any less than whatever--outside of curiosity footnote in history.

BIRDWHISTELL: Interesting, interesting.

YOUNG: I don't know what uh--there again, maybe--I don't, I really don't know 00:23:00what they did for their fellow man. The only thing they've left in main for s--society, they were, they were good at designing furniture and a few things like that, but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Fairly good farmers, I guess.


BIRDWHISTELL: Fairly good farmers, I guess.

YOUNG: Well but there were a lot of farmers.

BIRDWHISTELL: There were a lot of good farmers --(laughs)--.

YOUNG: Lot of good farmers.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, when you went on the board of Transy, uh, what--as you got acclimated to that board and what the--as you say got on the inside and to see what was really going on at Transylvania, what did you see, looking back. I know we'll be talking about all the things that you've done, and those uh, decades when you served on that board, but--can you think back early on and try to--think about what your assessment was of the strengths and weaknesses?

YOUNG: I don't think I, I don't think, Terry, I had any profound assessment of anything, the uh--the board has always been a congenial board, I wouldn't call it a, a close knit affair. We must have forty members or, or more, and uh--a 00:24:00lot of people are asked and maybe it's a legitimate reason, are asked to join boards like that because they're wealthy, or they're generous either with their time or money, and that's what the uh, that's what a private school needs. I find it very difficult to give money to the University of Kentucky for instance, my alma matter, because that's the responsibility of the, of the citizens of the state through the legislature. Uh, on the other hand uh, and I always resent uh, private money that goes to the University of Kentucky that replaces money from the legislature. Because private money is finite, and even though, uh, public money may not be f--may be finite, people don't act like it is. So--everything that uh, that supports a private university like Transylvania, 00:25:00has to be, com--has to come out of the private sector. So uh, I don't know my thinking evolved on the, on the thing. Frankly I was, I was very close to uh, uh--Lunger. I simply admired him now--as I say, I think he was an ordained preacher. But it never came through, I think that uh, I think he was a good president.

BIRDWHISTELL: What did you admire about him?

YOUNG: And he had limited assets, the school did, and uh, I forgot, what attracted my attention at first, but I, I did get involved in that, that South American school, but that didn't work out. The--

BIRDWHISTELL: The uh, the private schools in Kentucky, I guess Berea's endowment has been rather large for a long time, but the other private schools in Kentucky, the ones that come to mind that are, I guess the most successful, 00:26:00Center and Transy, and more recently I guess, Georgetown would be in that category, uh, their endowments weren't large, at the time that you joined the board.

YOUNG: Well they were non-existent, you might say.

BIRDWHISTELL: For all practical purposes, yes.

YOUNG: For all practical purposes they--

BIRDWHISTELL: And so that, sort of uh--say in comparison to the private schools in Ohio that you mentioned, and private schools around the country, those endowments, I think, were larger --------(??)

YOUNG: Are, are the little schools in Ohio, are they private or public?

BIRDWHISTELL: Many of those you nam--named, well Miami of Ohio is public, but many of those out there are private.

YOUNG: Well Kentucky Wesleyan is g--Ohio Wesleyan, I don't know, they're small schools that, and, and a lot of them were private. Where, I, I don't know how they are set up.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Wittenburg, Heidelburg.

YOUNG: Yeah.


YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: All those are private, private schools. They have a--just a--large, large number of--good private schools--------(??)


YOUNG: They do, but I don't know whether they're all private or--I don't know which ones are part of the uh--the state system.

BIRDWHISTELL: But you look at the other private schools around the area, like Hanover in Southern Indiana, you know James K. Patterson, UK's first president--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --was a--Hanover graduate, as a matter of fact.

YOUNG: I don't know when--I reckon I really uh--like all organizations--the board can be progressive but--all boards need a leader and unless, unless the chairman of the board uh, is qualified and is interested, and so forth, it all, it all comes down to the chief executive officer, all organizations I've, I've seen, now see I was, I became chairman in uh, 1977.



YOUNG: And that's when I started taking an interest. You shouldn't become chairman if you are unwilling to assume the responsibility. But uh, if you have a supportive board, that's good, but you still have to do virtually all the work yourself.

BIRDWHISTELL: So those eleven years you were a board member but not chair, you were--

YOUNG: No, no, I was just a member, I went to the meetings and I don't think that--outside of maybe responding to a fund drive or something, I don't think I took any active interest after that uh, South American school episode.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Now --------(??)

YOUNG: I don't remember anything, I think everything that, that I've been interested in has happened since then, since I became chairman.

BIRDWHISTELL: What were the circumstances of you becoming chair, was there a, a --------(??) within the board?

YOUNG: I don't know, Jack, Jack Ball was chairman. Jack is from North Carolina, in Charlotte. And he owned uh--what the hell is that pretty farm out, 00:29:00out towards Harrodsburg?


YOUNG: A great big farm, it was a standard bred farm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

YOUNG: Three in Jessamine County, and Fayette County. What the hell is the name of that farm?

BIRDWHISTELL: I can't think of it.

YOUNG: I'll think of it in a minute. But anyway, Jack, Jack for some reason was he was chairman, I kept thinking he was only chairman for about a year, but somewhere later, I, I 'd--learned that he must have been chairman for about three years, and I don't why Jack wanted to step down. He is a very able fellow and uh--but his primary interest was Duke University, and after he stepped down, they asked me if I'd become chairman and I, I agreed. I don't even know what made me agree to do it. That was 1977; how old was I? This is what, twenty-five 00:30:00years later, seventy-seven, eighty-seven--well see I said, it might have been just twenty years, twenty--

BIRDWHISTELL: Twenty-three.

YOUNG: Twenty-three years ago. I was sixty. And I think you get to that age, you think about things that uh--you do things then you wouldn't do, wouldn't have time to do if you were younger.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was going to say, you take this on in seventy-seven and you take the uh--Brown administration on in late seventy-nine.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So this is a very uh, important part of your, your life and career in terms --------(??)

YOUNG: Well I'd--those, those things you do when you're older, retirement's always been a, a terror for me, and I kn--I haven't retired, but, but I think when, in, different periods of your life you do different things. When I was younger, for instance, I was very active in, in the luncheon Club. I was active in the Optimist Club, which is similar to the Rotary Club and, and uh, I wound up serving as president for--you know two or three years. But I enjoyed that 00:31:00and I did that when I was in my thirties and forties. And we did good work and so forth and so on. In fact I think the luncheon clubs do a lot, do a lot more for their fellow man, than a lot of churches do. I'm now an honorary member of all things, of the Rotary Club. The Rotary Club does a lot of good. I'm not active in it, but I've lost interest in that, and you go on to something else, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: That was very uh--it was a good match between you and the Optimist Club, I can't think of a, a, a better named club for you to be a member. --(laughs)--

YOUNG: Well that might, might, might have been, but--I took an active part and when I was president I did what--I should do, I shouldered my responsibilities and--we were as active as any other luncheon club and, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: I bet you were.

YOUNG: Ascertaining uh, needs of the community and trying to address them.

BIRDWHISTELL: So when you become--chair--chairman of the board of Transy, in 00:32:001977, that you start--look at that in a, in a different context. What did you--

YOUNG: Well I had to, I looked at the figures and then. Well I had to look at everything and uh, we went through--the, the first ordeal I had, we had to get the--we had to get presidency filled out, Irvin retired, do you know what year he retired?

BIRDWHISTELL: I should know that, but I don't, Mr. Young. I, I do not know that.

YOUNG: And then we had a, had a president come in here, named uh, Bill Kelly. He was president of some little--Mary Baldwin College in Virginia, girl school, prep school. And he came in and uh--I thought he was a weak president, uh, uh. But anyway he had problems and he--who in the hell came next, I don't know--


BIRDWHISTELL: I should have had --------(??)

YOUNG: In the meantime we had hired Charlie Shearer as chief financial officer from--he came from uh, Albion College, up in Michigan, where I think he was the chief e--accounting or finance officer up there. And uh, I was--I got to know him and his work, and he uh, uh--I always thought very highly of him, and when--we made the change after Kelly, the board in his collective wisdom, which is usually non wisdom, they wanted to make a national search, and I served on--the search committee was some other good guys. We traveled around and--we finally settled on a fellow named David Brown, who was Chancellor at Miami University at Oxford. That's b--he probably had a number two or three spot, he 00:34:00wasn't, wasn't the chief executive. He looked good, we brought him down, but uh, he turned out to be a bad choice, and uh, uh--I reckon he came in September or whatever the year he came, and it was evident by s--Spring or earlier that, that he was a misfit. And uh--so I knew how the faculty felt and--I knew how I'd, what my evaluation was, so, in essence I, as chairman, let him go.

BIRDWHISTELL: What was the n--

YOUNG: So that's, that's the advantage of having an interested chairman that--is accustomed to making decisions. Now when I say I let him go, I didn't go down and say--

BIRDWHISTELL: You're out of here.

YOUNG: "You're out of it." But I called the executive committee of the board, and, and uh, uh--the board always go along with the chairman, and if they don't, 00:35:00they ought to change, except in rare cases, they ought to change chairman, which they have the right to do. So we didn't lose four or five years fretting about a--bad placement. And when uh, he went out I recommended strongly at the board that they, they select Charles Shearer. I had made the same recommendation when we hired David Brown, and uh, uh--for reasons that I, for reasons unknown they thought Brown was a better candidate, mainly because he came from an academic position. I always think that Charles' business orientation in the school, mitigated against him, and it shouldn't have, what the uh--the, the primary role of a college president is not, is not scholarship in my--book, I think he has to 00:36:00appreciate scholarship and recognize when he sees it, and bring it about when he can, but basically he has to be a top administrator, uh. It's usually a big business with a lot of employees, like the University of Kentucky has got a billion dollar budget and--God knows how many thousand employees, and uh--so you don't need a--you don't need a scholar in that job, you better need somebody that can run an organization, and uh, and--but I thought Charles could do it and the thing that impressed me about Charles--(coughs)-- that--while he was financial officer at Albion and at Transylvania, he obtained his PhD.


YOUNG: So that told me that, that he was serious about his profession, and I reckon you can hardly uh, select, select a president today of any college, if he 00:37:00doesn't have a PhD. And I'm not sure it means all you think it is, but it does represent a, a person's serious effort to master his field. Now--but that always made a big impression with me. And uh--and Charlie has turned out to be the best president, as far as I know, that school ever had.

BIRDWHISTELL: I want to talk about President Shearer some more in a minute. What was the problem with the fit?

YOUNG: With what?

BIRDWHISTELL: The fit with President Brown. Why did that not fit?

YOUNG: Oh, I don't know we--you know it's a subjective thing uh, uh, uh--little things make a big impression on--he uh--my, my impression is that he wanted to be known as a big shot, and that was a big step up for him to go from--being two 00:38:00or three in a small school, to the chief executive and, and to make him comfortable, I owned a house for instance over on Barrow Road which is--in my opinion, the nicest street in Lexington, it's only about a block long, but anyway I had a house --(coughs)-- that's another story --(laughs)-- Anyway I--

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--About the house is another story?

YOUNG: I still have the house and I'm hoping, I'm saving it for my grandchildren but--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's good.

YOUNG: One of the--but it--anyway we put him in there, you know, it's a lovely, lovely house, and I fixed it up and so forth and so on. And hell he wasn't in there two or three months, he was unhappy and a house came up for sale across the street. And he liked to worry the holy hell out of me to buy the house across the street. Well the house across the street was--I didn't think was as attractive as the one he was in. So I thought he had a--I thought he had a false sense of values.

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??)

YOUNG: And uh, extremely bad judgment uh, uh, so anyway that, that's the, 00:39:00that's one, it's a trivial thing--

BIRDWHISTELL: But it's in you --------(??)

YOUNG: --that stick in your mind.

BIRDWHISTELL: No that's kind of exactly --------(??)

YOUNG: But he was very unpopular with the uh, with the faculty, and faculties, everybody is unpopular with the faculties, but, but some get along with them better than others--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- But I couldn't see me being chairman for four or five years and wrestling with him, when I didn't think he was the man, so--I think I did him a favor, and the school a favor, and me a favor, for bringing about his departure. Now that was up to the chairman. You can have committees, this, that and the other, but I didn't uh--I didn't, I didn't, I didn't act arbitrarily. Obviously, if they hadn't gone along with me, they would--

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??)

YOUNG: --they might have lost both of us. So uh--and there is nothing wrong with that.


YOUNG: Uh, if I'm going to be chairman, and I don't have reasonably sound 00:40:00ideas, and I'm not supportive, why sh--why should I r--frustrate my life. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Who needs that?

YOUNG: But I recognized, I worked with o--people very well, I think. Because I've always--thought that, and I've been told that, but I don't, I don't f--I don't fall out with anybody. But uh, if the board is not going to support you on what you're willing to stick your neck out on, unless you're obviously wrong, I hope I'm not as, so hard headed that I can't uh, be talked out of things. Uh, there is no sense me being there, there's not honor of being chairman--and not being able to accomplish something, and uh--so, but I never had that problem with the board and--so-- But the initiative always comes from the chairman. If it comes from some board member, that's very unusual. And uh--the chairman gets 00:41:00ideas from the board, that type of thing, but I've served on God knows how many boards in a lifetime and--if uh, if the president of the club, president of the Rotary Club, or any other organization, is not pushing, it's like the president of the United States, he should be given the credit and the blame for the success of the country, but people uh--whereas we have a Democratic--political system, and a Democratic life, uh, business is not democratic. And the chief executive uh--he has to be a well informed dictator. And uh, I think the only function of a board, in commerce, in business, the only, only function I've ever 00:42:00seen is that they--they review and oversee the performance of the chief executive officer and replace him when necessary.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's their function.

YOUNG: If they have any other function I'd be goddamn if I know what it is. And uh--just like Procter and Gamble, I've had Procter and Gamble stocks since I sold out to them in 1955 that's--Christ, that's forty-five years ago, it's done nothing but go up. And the first of the year it was up around a hundred and seventeen and they've had, had a couple of bad quarters and they went--down in half. If I had been dependent on them, whatever it was worth, I was worth half that in a matter of two or three months.

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow --(laughs)--

YOUNG: Well what happened is, and you could have predicted it uh--they, they had a new chief executive up there, name was Durk Jager, and sure enough they 00:43:00let him go and they have a new one.

BIRDWHISTELL: Every time you --------(??)

YOUNG: Same thing happened in Bank One.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hang on just a second.

[End Tape 1, Side 1]

[Begin Tape 1, Side 2]

BIRDWHISTELL: There we go, Bank One.

YOUNG: But boards uh, boards--if I have a--avocation, that interest me is, is my--evaluation of boards of directors of different organizations over a lifetime and uh--I got some very specific ideas about it. But uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Well you had a variety of experiences, but uh--to gain this insight, I mean you're stint on the RC board was a very uh, successful experience, your experience on the--Kentucky Fried Chicken board was a different kind of uh--experience, then of course your experience on these--(coughs)--non-profit boards, is different. Why do you think, why do you think a person who obviously could be so successful to get--to the upper 00:44:00administration of higher education and then land a presidency of a great liberal arts college, would find themselves getting into--discussions about wanting to move across the street--of a house, what c--what causes that?

YOUNG: Well it, you. Well it's, it's, it's a flaw in character somewhere along the line, it uh, uh--this the reason your, your wife usually is--one's wife is usually intuitive and, and sensitive to things, uh. Even much as I despise cocktail parties--(Birdwhistell laughs)--if you meet and talk to someone in, in a cocktail party and uh--whatever impression you'll get of him, and it's just a brief--meaningless conversation, you form an opinion, you probably carry it over to his, uh, his business ability. He doesn't change just because he gets up the 00:45:00next morning and assumes a r--a different responsibility.

BIRDWHISTELL: Makes it difficult.

YOUNG: Not everyone is cut out to, to be a, a leader in any sense, and they're hard to find, they don't, they don't, they defy description, leaders do. They come on all shapes and forms and uh--but the most a board can do is, is realize when they don't have a leader, for whatever--reason they need one, whatever cause, the best thing they can do is act immediately and uh, make a change. They do everybody a favor. They do the person affected a favor, 'Peter's Principle'--which simply stated, as you know, in, in humor that all of us promoted to our, finally to our level of incompetence. And uh, that's more than just a social humorous remark--(Birdwhistell laughs)--it, it's the most valid truth in, in life.



YOUNG: And uh, I've been pretty successful and one's really been successful everything I've undertaken. But I've always been aware that uh--that I couldn't do anything, regardless of all these--Norman Vincent Peale's book on --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- power of positive thinking, and all this, that and the other, uh, if you really are smart, you avoid being promoted to your level of incompetence. There's some things that I simply am not qualified to--undertake and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: What would you've like --------(??)

YOUNG: I've stayed, I, I basically, in my lifetime, looking back, I've stayed within myself. And uh, I don't think success is transferable, necessarily. Good work habits, and good attributes, they are transferable. But you're 00:47:00successful in this field and you get out and go in, no guarantee at all, you're starting over, you might have a little more experience, but uh--success is not guaranteed by success. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So what could you have gone into that, you shouldn't have, you think. Have you ever thought that?

YOUNG: Well I, well I don't really know, I don't--

BIRDWHISTELL: Run for governor? --(laughs)--

YOUNG: Well I had a chance when I was thirty-nine, to go with Procter and Gamble, and I'd have been--just under the level of--


YOUNG: --of uh, vice-president. And uh, even then I was paid a large salary, Procter and Gamble paid me, in nineteen fifty--seven, paid me sixty thousand a year, which was a lot of money.


YOUNG: And uh, I would have gone in the--with a cadre of people that have been working there twenty years. And they knew the environment--they'd had specific 00:48:00experience with the way they did business, and so forth and so on. And I think, knowing myself, that I would have killed myself trying to be president. And I think I've been uh--I'm not sure I was capable of assuming that responsibility without the earlier training, and then it, it, it didn't, I've, just out flat out competition with, with hundreds of other guys that--I think all I'd have brought on myself was misery. And really when I sold out I made myself independent to do anything I want--surely I would have achieved some happiness. And uh, relief from worry, financial worry.

BIRDWHISTELL: But it's not that you think you couldn't have run Procter and Gamble, it's that--it's what you have to go through.

YOUNG: Well I think, I think if I had started out with Procter and Gamble, when I was twenty-five, that uh--I'd stayed right in there and--then I may have been president, but uh--that may not be a good example, but that's one time I did 00:49:00make a conscious decision.


YOUNG: And I had to come back here and get into something, so I went in, just came back here and did do that and uh--I've had a much more interesting life as it turns out. That usually is the case.

BIRDWHISTELL: But if it's--even with--'Peter's Principle' that we're, as you say, is uh--it's real and we're very aware of it, it doesn't stop people from, from uh, suffering at the hands of it. I mean in--people still fall off that --------(??)

YOUNG: Well they do and uh, uh--it's unfortunate but it's out there and uh--I think I've avoided it but, uh, a lot of people don't and you can't--I've always thought it's unfair, in industry, where a man will have a brilliant career in a company, gets up to be the best sales manager the company ever had. Then they make him president. And 'Peter's Principle' gets him. Well usually the policy, 00:50:00in years past is if he doesn't make it here, he is out.


YOUNG: I think there's more thinking today that they may put him back down, he'd still be the top salesman.

BIRDWHISTELL: It'd be great for the company.

YOUNG: Now if, if that can be worked out, that's a human plus a sensible--he probably knows more, he's probably more, knows better than anyone, which he has to do some shifting, what do you do with this salesman, what do you have to work that out.--(coughs)-- But a guy, if, if, he's, if he's come up in a company and he's just not cut to be--president, the thing to do is to uh--what they do now, of course, what they do if a guy fails in American industry as CEO, they make an, they make an obscene financial settlement and turn him lose. Probably give him more money he ever made if he'd stayed with the company. A lot of the settlements are absolutely obscene. And they're usually given to failed CEOs, not successful ones. But it's still not a bad system. But get back to where we 00:51:00were on being chairman.


YOUNG: If the--that, the chairman, the organization is not going to make any headway without an, without an aggressive, intelligent, interested chairman. And the chairman will fail, if he tries to run the business on a day to day business. And one of my strengths has always been that uh--I think, looking back, that uh--I must be a pretty good delegator. I never go near Transylvania, never did unless I'm invited out there. I could go out there if I wanted to. But I, I don't know what Charlie does every day.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were there people that--

YOUNG: And I, I was the same way at Royal Crown, I was chairman, I wasn't chief executive.

BIRDWHISTELL: But when you made the decision to make this change in the presidency at Transy, were there people, critics maybe, who thought Mister Young's --------(??)

YOUNG: Oh I forgot, I just went, I, I did was in, I think it was a no brainer, 00:52:00I think you, everybody feels the same way. And uh, we had an executive committee meeting and decided what to do, and then had a board meeting and we, we did it. See that was in, within the purview of our responsibility.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: We were responsible for the chief executive. We weren't, we weren't removing the academic dean, that wasn't our job, that's the president's job. If Charlie wants to replace Mr. Mosley out there, he does that, the board doesn't do that. And any time the board starts doing that, they screw everything up.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. And talks with Doctor Singletary, he's very, he's very clear on that issue. H worked for the board, and his responsibility was to run the university.

YOUNG: That's right, that's the way it is, it's exactly the way it is.

BIRDWHISTELL: And he said that he'd get, he also says "if you get that confused, and things really start --------(??)"

YOUNG: But in a public university like UK now--David Roselle was a good 00:53:00president, but he couldn't get along with the governor, and the governor, historically used to be chairman of the board, and he still should be, but the small schools in Kentucky, state schools, they've politically got that eliminated. And then Wendell Ford was too lazy to uh, to be chairman. But during most of my adult years, a president, the chairman of the board of trustees at UK was the governor. In the first place that involves him, it makes him empathetic to what's going on. And you, you shouldn't have that rift between the pre--political rift between the president and the other now. But--who did David fall out with? David fell out with Wallace Wilkinson.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--A knock down drag out. --(laughs)--

YOUNG: Well, it was inexcusable. I went out there and talked to uh, Roselle, I liked him, he was a scholar. But he was pretty good. But he was stupid the way 00:54:00he handled the governor, I told him to put the governor on the board or make him chairman. There were plenty of precedents for it. And I went down and talked to the newspaper publisher, gave him the idea, and they never espoused that idea so--

BIRDWHISTELL: No, they wouldn't do that.

YOUNG: So--and I told uh, I told Roselle, I said "hell, uh, Wilkinson, you know he's going to be gone in four years," I said "what the hell is your problem?" But they couldn't get along together and, and the worst thing that David did, he would, he would speak out against the governor, and the governor could be very thin skinned and--he was unsure of himself.

BIRDWHISTELL: Why do you think Roselle couldn't take your advice on that, it's--


BIRDWHISTELL: Why do you think Roselle couldn't or wouldn't take your advice?

YOUNG: It was just too and too dramatic--too dramatic.

BIRDWHISTELL: I want to go to some--

YOUNG: People, people don't suffer advice easily, you know.


BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--That's, that's right. Before we get too far ahead, I want to go back in time a little bit--and ask you about--

YOUNG: Oh I've got to go, what is it? A quarter to what?

BIRDWHISTELL: It's a quarter to four.

YOUNG: Oh it's a quarter to four, I got to, ok, I've got an appointment at four-thirty.

BIRDWHISTELL: Ok, so you--

YOUNG: It's not four yet?

BIRDWHISTELL: No sir, it's--

YOUNG: Ok. We are ok.

BIRDWHISTELL: Do you want to stop at four?

YOUNG: No, we are ok.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh ok. Uh, going, right as you uh--come on the board, during the time you're on the board but not chair, there is a--sort of this transformation student culture--that uh, of student unrest, and student activism. You have the 1970, you have the uh--

YOUNG: Well that was mostly in the sixties, wasn't it?

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. But in 1970, you have Kent State and the reaction to, to Kent State. And uh--

YOUNG: I'm not aware of any problems, I think I was just a typical board member, I think I just sat, I don't think I took any--particular interest in it.

BIRDWHISTELL: And UK students who are--having trouble on their campus, 00:56:00they--come over to Transy and congregate over there and, and uh--

YOUNG: Well that was back in the sixties, wasn't it? When Louis Nunn was governor.

BIRDWHISTELL: It was Spring of 1970, it was May of 1970.

YOUNG: When did they burn the Guignol Theater down?

BIRDWHISTELL: It would be--

YOUNG: Was that seventy?

BIRDWHISTELL: Seventy, Um-hm.

YOUNG: Well.

BIRDWHISTELL: So--I was just curious if uh--what your--

YOUNG: I don't remember any particular unrest at Transylvania.

BIRDWHISTELL: --yeah, they were--there was just--turmoil in the city.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And I was just curious as to what your view was of that change in student culture or--if it--

YOUNG: Oh I have been aware of that with, you know, our own children growing up, that they have different--points of view. When did the Vietnam War got hot; in the seventies, I reckon.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well it, you know it gets hot in the mid sixties and goes up to nineteen seventy-three, coming seventy, in the seventies, Um-hm.

YOUNG: Well the Vietnam War, you know, you, explains so many things. It, it 00:57:00was a totally immoral war, it, it, it shows the strength of this country to come, to come through an experience like that and right itself.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. What do you mean it was a totally immoral war?

YOUNG: Well I think it was unnecessary, I think it was an immoral war. And uh--World War II is different. When uh, the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, well they signed their death warrant, and this country coalesced uh--we had, we had, it was unintelligent for us to get--ever get involved in--and it was immoral because so many people were hurt. And uh, and anyone that spoke out against it were, were criticized in this country, you know. And uh, that's what defeated uh, Al Gore's father, Senator Gore, he was anti war and he--voted out 00:58:00of office at uh. But I didn't get into that, I think I was a, simply a benign member of the board as ninety-nine percent of them are. Most of the board members are very benign, unless they got some personal axe to grind they don't have anything else to do, so they inter--mess around with the school.

BIRDWHISTELL: How would you describe, during the time you were on the board and then since you've ret--during the time you were chair, how would you describe the relationship between Transy and the city of Lexington?

YOUNG: Well I don't think it ever had anything--I, I'd, I was never aware of any super relationship or sup--super--

BIRDWHISTELL: One way or the other.

YOUNG: One way or the other. I think they were responsible--there were a lot of good people on the board, and a lot of them took a lot of interest, uh. Carruthers Coleman, I don't know whether he was chairman, he may have been 00:59:00chairman of the executive committee. Uh, but he raised a lot of money for the school and he was highly respected and uh--I think he was just considered, a--just another small school that uh, had good points, but uh, it was withering on the vine, financially, and scholastically, and, and other ways. And he was--closely circ--circum--what was--I'm about to use that--use the wrong the word. --(laughs)--

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--not--circumscribe, I guess.

YOUNG: Circumscribe I reckon, yeah not cir --(laughs)--

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--right. It's interesting when you look at the--at college, the reason I asked you about the relationship with Lexington, 01:00:00because--there is a--tradition of these, of many small liberal arts colleges to be in a pastoral setting, to be in a small town, like Center, Center College, or, to be out, you know where it's quiet and--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And peaceful and thoughtful and--Transy, uh, with its long history, finds itself in--downt--the downtown of a--during the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, a very fast growing city, small city. And uh, that has changed the--complexion of that university in, in some ways, I guess, in terms of uh--the setting, it's, how to attract students, how it deals with a--issues of being a urban campus as, as opposed to a uh, small town campus.

YOUNG: Yeah, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Prime uh--safety, and how to build, how do you ex--and this is 01:01:00what we get to, as chair, the, the expansion of the physical plant, at Transy which has been so successful in, in a relatively landlocked situation.

YOUNG: Well the first thing we attacked, when I was chairman--(clears throat)--was the student body. I think looking back, and I don't know where I got the inspiration--but I reckon I was responsible, that's the first thing we attacked, was academics, not, not the physical plant.--(clears throat)-- The physical plant is--doesn't guarantee anything but maybe comfort here and there.--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- That's my main criticism of churches, all they do is improve their physical plant, they don't do a--thing that I can see to improve their, their influence of help the less fortunate people, but that's anoth--

BIRDWHISTELL: The sanctuary and not the soul.

YOUNG: Yeah, that's another subject.--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- So I don't know 01:02:00when I started, but the first thing we did was to uh, was to establish a scholarship program, with the idea of uh, of building up--see we had, we had about six hundred and fifty students and we had the capacity--that is dormitories and cafeterias, and so we could handle a th--a thousand.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, there was a, there was a talk uh, in the late seventies, just about the time you come on the board, there you know you could pick up a, a, a magazine or a higher ed journal and, and read "is the small liberal college doomed, is it a thing of the past?"

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Because enrollments were shrinking, costs were going up.

YOUNG: Yeah, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And uh, there was some, it's hard for us to think back like that, think like that now because they, they're hugely successful, but there was a time, right when you got involved with Transy--

YOUNG: Yeah. Well you could question their, their viability and--

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??)

YOUNG: And their importance but--but anyway, the first thing we at--we attacked 01:03:00was uh, was scholarships. And uh, I wouldn't go along on any scholarships unless it was based on merit. And uh, my background brought that--point of view--to that decision. Uh, there was no widespread support for scholarships in nineteen-seventy, whatever we, when did we start them?

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you, you start the scholarship program in nineteen--

YOUNG: Eighty-two, see I'd been chairman five years, see.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you've been--I mean this is something you have to plan and get the proper --------(??)

YOUNG: Well see, I'd been working on it several years for a scholarship program, I forget who was president. I wanted Charlie to become president.

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't have that date and I apologize, I should --------(??)

YOUNG: Well anyway, I talked to some of the faculty members, I'd never really been that close to the faculty, but I talked to them and they, uh, they 01:04:00basically uh, were shy of a merit scholarship program. Of all the things, they thought it would promote an elitist--school. Just the opposite has happened. And all scholarships up at that time were based on need. That didn't interest me, not that I'm not interested in the needy. See my philosophy goes back to the, to the thirties when I went to college. See my opinion is that every person that's eighty-two, in the city of Lexington anyway, could have gotten a college education, if he'd gotten up off his ass and gotten one. There wasn't any financial deterrent, no nothing. When I went to Henry Clay, graduated in 1935, had a big class, my guess then I may be off in my percentage, probably 01:05:00not--ten percent of us went to college. And we did it by walking down Euclid Avenue to UK instead of walking up Main Street to--Henry Clay. Now the ninety percent that didn't--have I given you this crap before?


YOUNG: Well the ninety percent that didn't go, they stayed home anyway, they were still a burden on their families, they didn't have any jobs, unemployment was twenty-five percent, you couldn't get a job. So ten percent of us went to the college, lived with our families and they supported us, we were no more burden than if we were unemployed.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--That's right.

YOUNG: Tuition was fifty dollars a semester, most everybody could manage that, even by working in the Summer time. And uh, people that are pessimists say well the world is going to hell and--we got an educational crisis and all that stuff, I don't even think we got an educational crisis in the year 2000. How could you have one? You got more graduating people going to college than ever. And the 01:06:00ten percent of us that went to college, uh, Tom Brokaw says we're the greatest generation. We're running the whole goddamn country. And out of, getting out of this little area only ten percent of us had the gumption to go to college. So what's the big deal in, in 2000, when you got millions and millions of loan money, and government scholarships for the needy and all this, that, and the other. So I had no interest in a, in a scholarship for the needy, I wanted a scholarship for the guy that had ability, that showed his ability. And most people aren't late bloomers, if they are able, they show it early.


YOUNG: So this thing was purpointed it, it, what was it, the purpose of it, was to build the enrollment in Transylvania with people that--would have the ability to run Kentucky if they stayed here. And we offer a hell of a scholarship. It's bigger it is today, or better, we offered ro--we offered tuition, room, 01:07:00board, fees, and maybe some spending money. It was unheard of.

BIRDWHISTELL: It was--so how did you come up with it? What did you --------(??)

YOUNG: Well, it's obv--it's obvious, I, I knew I could raise money, because I knew I'd be willing to give money for that. If I call on a successful executive, or a person, professional person, and asking him to give me money for instance to raise all the salaries in Kentucky, or, or just scholarship for the needy, he's not interested. But if I tell him that I'm going to do it for the very able people--they earn, they'll, they'll, they'll jump aboard, because I'm talking to them because they are able people, and they have been rewarded for excellence. All the money comes from self made people. The idea they are rich families that disappeared with the depression. There is no old wealth in 01:08:00Kent--in the world in, in the United States. There might be j--in the Rockefeller family, I don't know, but there is no old money in Lexington. I couldn't name you an old family in Lexington that's got a sou. All the money in Lexington that people that got it made it. And they made it by excelling in whatever they were doing.

BIRDWHISTELL: So when you introduced--you come up with this concept to have these merit scholarships that are going to provide everything.

YOUNG: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Which is, you said, was unheard of at the time, and--now many colleges have moved in that direction, but it was a startling uh, thing for Transy to move in that direction.

YOUNG: Well my interest was broader than Transylvania. My, my interest was Kentucky, and from day one I was always hoping it would be picked up by other schools. The interesting thing that here fifteen or twenty years later, every school in Kentucky, private and public, has a merit scholarship program. They 01:09:00are not competing with, with Transylvania, in a direct s--normal sense of the world, but we are improving Kentucky. And the interesting thing about rewarding on merit, most of the merit awardees are needy. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- And that's not surprising.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. So it's a perfect match.

YOUNG: So it's a perfect match, and--it caught on immediately, and I didn't have--I never made a call to anybody for money that I didn't make--get some money.

BIRDWHISTELL: So how did you get it started? Where did you start to raise kin--how much money did you need to, to --------(??) YOUNG: Oh I don't know? We needed several million, whatever it was. I just went out and made a call--people won't make calls.

BIRDWHISTELL: And this would have been--one of my question was, when did you--become a major benefactor for Transy, would this be the first major gift that you gave to Transy?

YOUNG: Oh I don't know, I'd have to look and see. Let me, let me go out here 01:10:00and see a moment. You know I think--my Transylvania experience has been the most rewarding thing that I've ever done, and it uh, all it does is confirm common sense. But the experience we've had out there has been extraordinary, and it's all common sense, and I have tried to share what we've done with every college and university in the United States, four hundred and fifty of them I th--uncovered. I wrote personal letters to four hundred and fifty university presidents.


YOUNG: And then I wrote a second letter, and these weren't the--with material of what we've done, and it was received with a loud yawn, I got virtually no response, no response.


YOUNG: It's not surprising in a way, and another it is, it uh--but nothing has 01:11:00ever succeeded like that merit scholarship program, and later we did get, get, get to be a financial burden, we've never endowed it with enough money, and we cut the benefits from the package I described to where it's now tuition only. My ambition is that--for Transylvania, the only remaining ambition, is they take it back where it was, and that means we'd probably have to raise ten or fifteen million dollars and I'd, I'll probably help them do that, but it uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So, so the--endowment that funds that--it's got--


BIRDWHISTELL: The endowment that funds that scholarship program couldn't sustain?

YOUNG: It, it couldn't sustain what it was.

BIRDWHISTELL: What it was paying out.

YOUNG: But the University should've taking it out of the major endowment, but anyway I got talked out of that one, and I don't know how they talked me out of it, I went along with it, and uh--they should never reduce the benefits, but see we have seventeen million in that endowment, and in the uh, Bingham endowment, 01:12:00now the next, next thing after we got the students there, the odd professor would tell me that they were working out so well, the students were brighter, that they had to prepare a little bit better to--for their lectures. In other words they, you know where, they g--they just give you the same whole thing every year, but they found that they had to--stretch their uh, teaching ability. So the next thing we attacked was--was how do you reward teaching--with a tenured. Damn near impossible. How the educational system can en--has been able to survive tenure, is beyond me. You're probably tenured. Are you tenured?


YOUNG: Well, you, all you've done is run a spike in your, in your heart.


YOUNG: It's the only segment of our, of our--society that's, that's, that's run 01:13:00that way, and it--

BIRDWHISTELL: You have to overcome --------(??)

YOUNG: The problem I had with the Bingham program was mi--with the, with the scholarship program was minor to what I had with the Bingham program. And uh, and I don't know of any function that a university has except teaching. This idea that uh--even the University of Kentucky wants to be one of the top twenty research universities, that's bullshit. I'd say a ninety percent of all research in universities is worthless, worthless. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's pretty harsh.

YOUNG: It is pretty harsh,--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- but all you all do, you all make uh--I'd say it is, I'll give you one example, would be the--Tobacco Institute at the University of Kentucky. They've thrown a hundred million dollars away. I reckon that's the purpose of this series is for me to be honest.


BIRDWHISTELL: Mr. Young, that's--it's your forum. --(laughs)--

YOUNG: It never occurred to me that often, until just then that you were tenured.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--That's alright, I, I say it's something we all have to overcome, you know, in our work.

YOUNG: I'll show you some uh, letters that I have gotten from the U for--when, when I retired, I--told the faculty goodbye and asked them to give me their frank opinion of the--Bingham program. You'd be surprised at some of the letters.

BIRDWHISTELL: I'd like to see those.

YOUNG: They are very complimentary.

BIRDWHISTELL: I'm not, well that doesn't surprise, no--


BIRDWHISTELL: That doesn't surprise me that they're complimentary. Do you ever reflect back, Mr. Young, on--

YOUNG: I gave uh--before 1982--before 1982--I gave about ninety thousand 01:15:00dollars to--from 1982 to 1996, I gave thirteen million. [long pause]. In ninety seven I gave about a million and a half. In ninety-eight, for some reason I don't have anything, ninety-nine I gave a million and a half. So I never gave any money until we got into these programs.

BIRDWHISTELL: And then got--

YOUNG: And I wouldn't have.

BIRDWHISTELL: And didn't --------(??)

YOUNG: I wouldn't have.

BIRDWHISTELL: Have you ever reflected back, Mr. Young, about--what it meant to--Transylvania as an institution, that you came--into their --------(??)


YOUNG: Well.

BIRDWHISTELL: Does that? I mean when you look at the history of Transy. The people who write that history, they liken, you know they talk about Henry Clay, they talk about Jefferson Davis--

YOUNG: Well I don't know why they picked me, I don't--you, you got me, I don't know, it--I think that Center College, interestingly, Charlie and that crowd, they think Center is a competition, and I don't, see?


YOUNG: Well they're on the firing line, they're working for students, uh, the competition is in a friendly way.


YOUNG: But my interest has been for the education of the whole state.


YOUNG: But I think that uh, Center College is a gem, they've got lots more to work with than we had at Transy, they are way ahead, we --(clears throat)-- I think we're dead even with them today. And--they have a marvelous chairman over there, Dave Grissom. I wrote Dave the other day, a letter, I told him I hope he never resign. But uh, if he hadn't been chairman in recent years, Transylvania 01:17:00would pull away ahead of Center.

BIRDWHISTELL: But you took--I mean--

YOUNG: So the people are out there, I don't know who, who makes a good chairman, I don't know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well we have a couple of examples. --(laughs)--

YOUNG: Hmm? Well I think you have to have someone that uh, is an executive. I don't think you have to have a scholar--I wouldn't call myself a scholar. I don't think I'm dumb, but I don't think I'm a scholar, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: But it--but when--you know, part of this is so that, when the next history of Transy is written and we're going to--at our next session I want to go into some more details on this because it's so important, because--when, when you look at the history of Transy, in the last quarter of the twentieth century, it was a crucial time for that institution, it was a crucial time for, for private schools everywhere. And your being at Transy, had such a tremendous 01:18:00impact on where it is today.

YOUNG: Well that hap--well that happens to every school that uh--well I was just another uh, I was just another board member. I never would have changed if that--I'd probably finally gotten off the board, but if I hadn't become chairman, I would have had very little influence on that school.

BIRDWHISTELL: But when you become chair--

YOUNG: You assume that responsibility.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and you take that responsibility, and what you push for is not--let's run the numbers up, let's--build a building, let's do that, you go "let's increase the quality of the student body."

YOUNG: Well that's that we--they, that's what we started out on the academic side. We first started on the students, and then the teachers.

BIRDWHISTELL: But that's appreciate--

YOUNG: I'm afraid, I'm afraid you get lulled asleep with new buildings and that type of thing. Everybody wants a name on a building. I got my name on a building.


BIRDWHISTELL: A nice building --(laughs)--

YOUNG: But--we did--I don't know whether it was divine providence or not, as I say, I'm not all that smart but we got our priorities right at Transylvania.


YOUNG: There is no question about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: You did students first.

YOUNG: And if we hadn't done it, I think it would--the picture would be entirely different today.

BIRDWHISTELL: But you put Transylvania on a, on a foundation now, and it's hard to say that--a school --------(??)

YOUNG: See, and five years later, in eighty-seven we got into the Bingham pro--I re--you're talk about some deci--tough to sell, I like-- it took me years to sell that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Giving more money to--for --------(??)

YOUNG: Well, th--setting it up

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??) selling it, selling it to the students.

YOUNG: The, the fac--the faculty actively opposed it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Because they were resentful of who was going to get it?

YOUNG: Well sure. It upset tenure. They said if I wanted to improve teaching, they just, we'd just pay everybody--ten percent more. I told them the hell with that, number one I wouldn't, I didn't think I could raise any money to do it, 01:20:00and secondly I wouldn't.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--wouldn't if you could.

YOUNG: Yeah, then they said "well you can't, you can't judge the difference between a good teacher and a bad teacher." And I said that was bullshit, and if I can't we wouldn't have a program. I knew who all my good teachers were.--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- And uh--then, then we got, got in this program where we took it out of the hands of the school, and the board. I've never influenced the--a Bingham award. I couldn't.

BIRDWHISTELL: You couldn't if you wanted to.

YOUNG: And we've got this selection committee of five distinguished professors from the top schools, and they've all fallen in love with the program, they're our biggest constituency, and I've been amazed that they would serve on that committee, in a very small honorarium, and uh, uh--they are our biggest, biggest fans. And actually they go in and sit and listen to a professor. They come in, 01:21:00that's revolutionary.

BIRDWHISTELL: It is--it is. I couldn't--

YOUNG: Professor won't let anybody in the school. But what I'm told now is that it's, it has, it has uh, it has brought about the consideration of, of teaching as a profession and a rewardable s--occupation, and all this, all the professors that--they got an entirely different view about what they're supposed to do. We are not a research institution--


YOUNG: --and shouldn't be.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's a teaching institution.

YOUNG: It's absolutely immaterial to me, philosophically, whether you publish anything as professor, who gives a damn. Nobody reads your publications but if you--but your fellow specialists. And to do research you go in the library and you get a lot of stuff and you make up some--that's not research, I--when I think of research, I think of cancer research, or research in Bell Laboratories, or developing Viagra, or something, something useful.


BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--We're about out of--

YOUNG: But anyway, that's, that's about--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well next time, let's uh--I want to spend some more time on the Transy years, so next time let's pick it up here, and I want to hear about uh--

YOUNG: Before we finish, on this Bingham program.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. That's where I want picked up next.

YOUNG: I worked on Barrie Bingham and Mary Bingham, two of the most public spirited intelligent people that I've ever known. It took me three or four years to sell them on this idea, and they were so interested in education, they have a--professional that advised them. And he consistently advised against this as being an illy considered plan. And I finally t--I finally wore them out. And they put three million in and I put two million in, that was the beginning of the--

BIRDWHISTELL: Just like you did A & P on selling the peanut butter.

YOUNG: That's right, never gave up.--(Birdwhistell laughs)--The faculty opposed me on it, and, and, and the first time a lot of the faculty wouldn't apply for 01:23:00the, for the award.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's amazing.

YOUNG: Now I say thirty percent or forty percent of the faculty are Binghams. And uh, it brings sizeable--see a professor gets an extra twelve thousand a year and he can--take it to Las Vegas, or go to Harvard, go to school, he can do anything he wants to with it. Buy a new car. Same as the rest of the society.

BIRDWHISTELL: So trying to implement a program for the faculty that they don't want, no one wants to fund, requires motivation, right Mr. Young? --(laughs)--

YOUNG: And uh--the interesting thing about the Bingham program is to where they would stand the test, the real test when these original grants came up for renewal.


YOUNG: See the philosophy has always been that a good teacher would be a good teacher until retirement. So, if he's given twelve thousand a year, it's been our desire, behind the program, that they carry it to retirement. But they have to s--be good teachers until retirement. And interestingly the selecting 01:24:00committee, entirely independent from our school, uh, didn't renew a handful of them. And that was--that's when I knew that the program was a success.

BIRDWHISTELL: That was a key test, wasn't it?

YOUNG: Really what we--look at it coldheartedly, a person that doesn't qualify f--for a Bingham award, we just soon they leave Transylvania. That's the way the real world works.

BIRDWHISTELL: If you can't make that cut--

YOUNG: That's it.

BIRDWHISTELL: --then you shouldn't be there.


BIRDWHISTELL: Very interesting, very interesting.

YOUNG: And only one university has done the same thing, and that's Marietta College. And they did that because one of my best friends is John G. McCoy, the founder of the--Bank One. And I run into him at--Florida, Michigan, and what not. And he heard me bellow about this thing for so long, that he finally told me that uh, that he had been waiting thirty years for something that uh, 01:25:00interested him to give to his alma mater and he gave them five million dollars to duplicate the Bingham program.


YOUNG: And so we're helping him duplicate it.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a great start.

YOUNG: But I've read in the four hundred--I've got a letter, I got a letter back from the president of Harvard, but it was just a cordial acknowledgement.

BIRDWHISTELL: Thank you very much, he says.

YOUNG: Thank you very much.

BIRDWHISTELL: We're about out of tape, Mr. Young. We will stop there for today.

[End of Interview]