Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Otis Fluker, Jr., November 9, 2004

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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ADAMS: The is an oral interview with Otis Fluker and his wife Yvonne, and it's for the Lexington Community College 40th anniversary Oral History Project. The interview is being conducted by John Adams, on November 9, 2004 at Otis's house on Gail Drive here in Lexington. The first question I'd like to ask, just for the record, if you could, just tell me your full name.

FLUKER: Otis Fluker, Junior.

ADAMS: Junior. Okay. And when and where you were born?

FLUKER: Born in Fleming-Neon, over in Letcher County, over in the coal mines; the mountains.

ADAMS: And when were you born, sir?

FLUKER: I was born in 1926. September 4th.


ADAMS: You just had a birthday here a while back then haven't you?


ADAMS: '26. If you could, tell me a little bit about your parents, and what your father and mother's name were, and what they did for a living?

FLUKER: What my mother did for a living, she was a housewife. My dad became a Baptist minister. And as I would give a little background; they would-- coming all the way down south to gather, a lot of coal miners, because they were people that worked in the mines, and they could be a lot of help to them. And I can remember them. I suppose that's why my dad died so early. When they get in the coal mines, they 00:02:00would sort of contract some kind of disease, and they would pick it up. And of course that's what would deal with a lot of them.

ADAMS: Your dad was a coal miner?


ADAMS: Something like black lung or something like that?

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: I take it your dad's name was Otis Fluker, since you're a junior?

FLUKER: He was always Otis Fluker, Senior.

ADAMS: And what was your mom's name?

FLUKER: Her name was Annie Fluker at that time.

ADAMS: What was her maiden name, do you remember?

FLUKER: Means, M-E-A-N-S, Annie Means.

ADAMS: And she only got mean when you didn't mind. (laughs)

FLUKER: She got meaner than that.

ADAMS: Oh did she? (laughs) So did you grow up in Fleming?

FLUKER: No, no I didn't. I grew up in Alabama. After my father died, 00:03:00my mother took me back to Alabama where she had relatives.

ADAMS: Do you know the name of that town in Alabama?

FLUKER: That I'm going back to? Tuscaloosa.

ADAMS: Tuscaloosa.

FLUKER: Home of the Crimson Tide.

ADAMS: There you go. You said your dad died early. How old was he when he died. Do you remember?

FLUKER: Might have been somewhere in his early thirties.

ADAMS: Oh he died real early?

FLUKER: Oh yeah, he died 4 years after he got up here.

ADAMS: So you moved back to Alabama with your mom where her family was from?

FLUKER: Right, right, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. And I sort of gravitated back to the place where I was brought up. And she read me from down 00:04:00there. And I finally graduated from the University of Alabama.

ADAMS: So you did your high school, elementary school, everything and then graduated from University of Alabama.?

FLUKER: University of Alabama.

ADAMS: When did you graduate from University of Alabama?

FLUKER: Grad. School, University of Alabama, what was the year Yvonne?

MRS. FLUKER: Late seventies, early eighties.

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah, because I went through a period of adjustment and got through that way.

ADAMS: So the University of Alabama in late 1970s or late 1980s something like that. What did you get you degree in?

FLUKER: Got my degree in counseling and guidance.

ADAMS: Oh, well that fit well, counseling. Is that where you met Yvonne?


FLUKER: I met her beforehand.


FLUKER: She came along. (laughs)

ADAMS: You put up with him a little bit down there huh? Well, I guess then my next question would be how you ended up back up here in Kentucky? Once you graduated down there, then what happened?

FLUKER: Then--

MRS. FLUKER: He was the dean of students at Stillman College.

FLUKER: At Stillman College, what was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. That's a Presbyterian school. And I hooked up--I had gone to Stillman all the way through and then the University of Alabama on the master's level; the graduate level, and I suppose Yvonne you persuaded me.

MRS. FLUKER: Ended up with a specialist degree in counseling.

ADAMS: So you got your graduate degree in counseling as well from the University of Alabama?

FLUKER: Sure, sure.


ADAMS: Was that around that same time, late 1970s, early 80s?

FLUKER: Yeah, uh hm.

ADAMS: So, surely you don't like the Crimson Tide none, do you?

FLUKER: Oh, I love them.

ADAMS: Understatement, huh?


ADAMS: Alright, so you graduated from college, what did you do before you went to Spillman?

FLUKER: Stillman.

ADAMS: Stillman, okay.

FLUKER: Before I went to Stillman I worked in a factory for a little while because they hadn't started giving us those jobs then. (laughs)

MRS. FLUKER: Goodrich.

FLUKER: BF Goodrich.

ADAMS: You worked for BF Goodrich?

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: So that was your first job out of college?

FLUKER: First job out of college was at the Gulf States paper corporation. That was one. I guess my hookup was with-- I worked at 00:07:00a job that was there and was available, and so my graduate work--We, I finally got a little sense and I hooked up with that. And one thing about it, my mother never forgot the mountains of Kentucky, even though her husband was one of those miners that didn't catch on, and he died-- four years old. She took me back to Alabama, and Yvonne brought me to Kentucky.

ADAMS: You brought him back huh?

MRS. FLUKER: Really, we, after leaving Tuscaloosa we were in Elizabeth 00:08:00City, North Carolina.

FLUKER: Right.

MRS. FLUKER: There he was the director of testing program.

ADAMS: So that's how you got, that was his first job in higher ed., so to speak.

MRS. FLUKER: No, he was higher ed. in Tuscaloosa.

FLUKER: Yeah, I was the dean of students at Stillman College for a while.

ADAMS: Oh, how come you left there?


MRS. FLUKER: He was looking for other avenues as well. So he worked also at college, at a Lutheran college, as dean of students, and then from there to Elizabeth City, and then from Elizabeth City, we came here to Lexington.

ADAMS: What year was that? That you came here to Lexington?

MRS. FLUKER: seventy-six, seventy-seven.

ADAMS: So in 1976--

MRS. FLUKER: We came to LTI.

ADAMS: What was your position at LTI?


FLUKER: Lexington Technical Institute.

ADAMS: As a counselor?


ADAMS: Now, this is kind of a personal question. What year did you guys get married?

MRS. FLUKER: A while. A while back.

ADAMS: Just a few days back? (laughs) So, I'm trying to figure this out. You said, Otis, that--

MRS. FLUKER: I went to Tuscaloosa to accept a job as a teacher, and I met him.

FLUKER: And oh how thrilled. (laughs)

ADAMS: Made her life, made her life. So you, Yvonne, were from--

MRS. FLUKER: North Carolina.

ADAMS: North Carolina.

MRS. FLUKER: Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

ADAMS: How did you guys find out about Lexington Technical Institute all the way down there, was it just a job came open and he applied, or did you all have family?


MRS. FLUKER: That was the position, well, one of the persons in Elizabeth City who was involved in job descriptions, passed that on to him, the information. He applied and he was accepted.

ADAMS: And he got it. So it wasn't like there was any family that brought you up here.


ADAMS: Okay. Alright so you came to Lexington Technical Institute in 1976, 1977, as a counselor. What, lets see, the Oswald Building was built at that time wasn't it?

FLUKER: Um-hm, yeah.

ADAMS: So your job was it located in the Oswald building, it was a fairly new building when you came, wasn't it?

MRS. FLUKER: But they moved from LTI, I can't recall the name of that building

ADAMS: Breckinridge.

MRS. FLUKER: Breckinridge to the Oswald Building.


ADAMS: Right about that time when you came wasn't it?

MRS. FLUKER: It was that time. We--I remember vividly, because, when I was hired here, the building that I moved into was new also. So, the two of us moved into new buildings, at the same time.

ADAMS: That's all right, wasn't it? New job, new building? What was it, if you could describe, what was it like when you got there in '76, '77, with the students?

FLUKER: I think I adjusted pretty well. They adjusted to me. So we sort of hooked up I guess.

ADAMS: Kind of worked out well huh?

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

MRS. FLUKER: I think he was probably one of the few African Americans hired at that time.


ADAMS: You were the first.

FLUKER: Is that right?


ADAMS: The first African American hired by the Lexington Technical Institute would be you.

FLUKER: All right.

ADAMS: So when you started working there, and this is in the mid- seventies, what was it like being an African American working in higher education at a place to where you didn't have many African Americans working alongside you?

FLUKER: I thought it felt good because here I am, a native African American, and being able to hold a position in a place like that. One thing, I didn't have to go back to the coal mines, like they brought my daddy up there years before. So when I came, I came at another level, and it, I guess it may have made me feel a little cocky or something like that. (laughs)

ADAMS: What did the students think? Because, I bet you know an African 00:13:00American student during that time to see you in the position you were in--

FLUKER: Well, I could dispatch my duties before because of the level I started working at, so perhaps if they had seen me working in some other position or in some other job--I think they would not have accepted me as well, but because when I came up here, I came up here at a different level, and so we've got a black man over there, let's see if we can boost him up. And then here comes Yvonne along with me, and, go ahead hon'--


MRS. FLUKER: I think because he was well-versed in what he was supposed to do and what he was capable of doing. He was degreed in the area, and that was respected. I didn't hear--very few complaints, so I assumed everything was going okay.

FLUKER: And I had worked at the--I had got my masters degree and doctorate at the University of Alabama. So I was in an area like that, and I knew some fellows who had PhD degrees who ----------(??) in that group and I got it in, started in with them and came up here.

MRS. FLUKER: That's the specialist degree after the Master's program.

ADAMS: Now, you said you were a counselor at LTI. Could you briefly 00:15:00describe what you did there? I mean did you teach students or was it more of a sit down and counseling with them what they needed to take and of if they had issues or?

FLUKER: It was counseling and it was counseling at a different level, because University of Alabama had an exceptional counseling department, and I sort of fit in with all the rest of the people when I started saying heck I'm going to be a counselor too, and not knowing I'm going to be up here with all these other counselors; I'm going to shore it up you know--

MRS. FLUKER: --and be counseled.


ADAMS: When you first came, could you describe the kind of affiliation that LTI had with UK? Was that spoken a lot there on campus?


FLUKER: Yeah, what happened, it was not quite as, same line of as mine had been with Stillman College and University of Alabama. And so with a--

MRS. FLUKER: They want to know the relationship now, of LTI as it relates to the University of Kentucky. That's, what was the connection?

FLUKER: Between LTI and UK?


FLUKER: Could have been a little better.

MRS. FLUKER: Was it close?

FLUKER: It was close, but University of Kentucky; this was elitists, so had to bring them back down to us. (laughs)

ADAMS: That's, but I, that hits right on the point. Did you ever feel, and some people have said this that I've talked to, that UK always felt 00:17:00a little above.

FLUKER: Oh yeah, always.

ADAMS: And they treated you, LTI, as just like another department; somebody that really wasn't serving the purpose that they wanted it to serve.

FLUKER: I had worked at the college level, Stillman College. I was a dean of students there, Presbyterian school that it was. The professors--I perhaps would need to get in to that, fellows like Lee ----------(??) all had PhDs and I worked for University of Alabama, and was affiliated with Stillman College. And so it was easy to make the transition to me. Maybe much better than it would be to a group of people who might not have had the same when I'd--


MRS. FLUKER: He also brought in some programs at the level when he came in.


ADAMS: What kind of programs did you bring?

FLUKER: Well we had a program sort of like getting the classes together and I don't know, I think what you were referring to then, to be able to sort of work with a little reciprocity between LTI and UK.

MRS. FLUKER: Career--

FLUKER: Yeah. And so, I think perhaps I was the fellow that could sort of bridge the gap a little bit because I had worked at that level, and I had been a dean of students at the college level, and it just worked in quite well with me.

ADAMS: Now you said you worked with the students as far as the career- 00:19:00wise. So did you work with several people in the community; as far as helping the students get employment and finding maybe what the community needed?

FLUKER: I hadn't gotten to that level quite as yet. Of course I could of have, and what we could have done, we could have set up more meetings and things like that, and--

MRS. FLUKER: We did start with that contact through the churches.


ADAMS: So you worked some with the churches in the community?

FLUKER: Um-hm.

ADAMS: Now, you're feel, as far as the churches in the community; did you get a feel that LTI was giving back to the community? Or did you get a feel from the churches that LTI wasn't doing enough to help the communities?

FLUKER: I would think I would go with the latter, way.


ADAMS: So, the community, as far as what you knew, did not feel that LTI was really doing enough, or what it could have done?

FLUKER: Right, right. And then once you get in, and they feel like you can do the job, you had a community college system throughout the state--so I could always go in and work with high schools in recruiting and bringing students in, without having the turned up nose, this kind of thing.

ADAMS: Gotcha.


MRS. FLUKER: He did a lot of recruiting


ADAMS: Were you well accepted in the high schools?

FLUKER: Oh yeah.

ADAMS: They liked to see you coming, because they could talk to you and feel--

FLUKER: --That is correct, that is correct. And, I had done a lot of 00:21:00recruiting for Stillman College in high schools all over the state of Alabama, where the larger high schools were. I could go to Mobile for example and recruit in six high schools in one day and that kind of stuff.

ADAMS: So not only with your counseling, but you also did the recruiting, and you wore many hats for LTI at that time?


MRS. FLUKER: Seemed to have felt that the enrollment had begun to grow as a result of the recruitment part of it.


ADAMS: So, prior to you coming, LTI had not really done a lot of recruiting?

FLUKER: Right.

ADAMS: So you was able to open up some of the community avenues?

FLUKER: Right.

ADAMS: In the community, who do you think was pushing LTI as far as businesses and that sort of thing?


FLUKER: I don't know, it's kind of--

MRS. FLUKER: Do you remember that?

FLUKER: I--yeah, well I don't know, let's see, all, I know that all of them in the head could do the job in the high schools, if UK would accept.

ADAMS: So, you feel that, even as early as the mid-70s, UK was being elitist as far as who they let in and who they didn't?

FLUKER: I would think so. I would think so.

ADAMS: And, the feedback of some the people in the community, did you get a feeling that they thought that as well; that UK was selling the community short?

FLUKER: Depends on the course they were teaching, and it was sort of working around then to where UK would kind of put a little stick out there with an apple on it, and if they could get a little bite of 00:23:00that apple, or get some program they could initiate, well things were getting a little better. And if they would come in and see a black face like mine, and I could articulate between the university and this level of the school that I was on--so I don't know, I think I probably did a lot for UK.

ADAMS: And that's why I was going to ask you. Do you think being an African American really helped as far as reaching out into the community, that UK wasn't doing it? With you, people in the communities here in Lexington would feel a lot more comfortable talking to you.

FLUKER: Yeah, if you could speak well, you could write well, it was 00:24:00a sort of a "hands off" thing that they would, that UK would want to do, but they wouldn't turn down any students you recruited for them you see. And I enjoyed doing that sort of thing. For example, if I'm working at Stillman College, I could go to Mobile and recruit at six schools in one day, and I'm going to recruit at all of them, all six of them you see. So, I feel--

MRS. FLUKER:--So you discovered you could do that same kind of recruitment here in Kentucky.

FLUKER: Sure, sure.

ADAMS: So your previous background--

FLUKER: Was in recruiting

ADAMS: When you came up here, you was able to just get on the band wagon and open some possible avenues, like you said, possibly that UK was "hands off", that you was able to tap into and get, help enrollment.


FLUKER: That is correct, and when you add your system of community colleges, and it started growing, then you ought to have someone in there who can communicate between and among the students.

ADAMS: Do you remember how the community college system was set up at that time? Because you mentioned there was a system. There were numerous colleges throughout the state. How is that kind of set up, do you remember?

FLUKER: Well--

MRS. FLUKER: You talking about LTI as it relates to the whole system?

ADAMS: The whole system, because LTI was just one of many. But how was that set up? Was there like a Vice president that reported to the President of UK, or deans or how was?

FLUKER: We didn't, I didn't report to the President of UK.

MRS. FLUKER: Who was the president at LTI, when you came?


ADAMS: Who was the president?

FLUKER: Bill Price.

ADAMS: So Bill Price, like right now, where I work at LCC, Dr. Kerley is called a president. When you came there and Bill Price was over LTI, do you know what his title was, was he a director?

FLUKER: He was a director.

ADAMS: Okay, so they hadn't started calling that person a president at this time.

FLUKER: No, it was a little later, later on before they drilled it down.

ADAMS: And Price was the director at that time?

FLUKER: Right. And you could get some other persons to come in with him like Tony Smith.

MRS. FLUKER: She wasn't the counselor now at that point, but Bill was the director.

ADAMS: So Bill would report to somebody over at UK who would then report to the president of UK. That's sort of the way it was set up.

FLUKER: Um-hm.

ADAMS: Now this is just going to, just for the record, I'm going to 00:27:00try and get an overall history of your employment, just like a line of when you did what and everything '76 and '77 you came to LTI as a counselor/recruiter. How long did you do that job at LTI?

FLUKER: As long as I wanted to do it. (laughs)

MRS. FLUKER: Until he retired.


ADAMS: When did you retire?

FLUKER: When, about--

MRS. FLUKER: Eighty--

FLUKER: Two years ago?

MRS. FLUKER: No, no, no, no. Eighty-five, eighty-six.

ADAMS: So when you retired you were the counselor and recruiter--

FLUKER: And I could further get some of the other faculty members to go recruiting with me.

ADAMS: To about 85-86? So probably for about ten years.

FLUKER: Um-hm.

ADAMS: So you were there when LTI changed its name to Lexington 00:28:00Community College and became a comprehensive community college, and started teaching general education courses.

FLUKER: Um-hm.

ADAMS: What was that like, because that happened in about eighty-four? Did that help you on the recruiting end of it to say not only do we want tech students, we want all students'?

FLUKER: Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah. And I would get the feeling that even if you had ten or twelve community colleges, one might be reaching out to do one thing, and you might have another fellow who might be director and he wouldn't quite want to do it, because if he had his meeting at over on the campus of UK he'd want to do it, I think.

MRS. FLUKER: He was also, he also taught classes.

ADAMS: Oh, so you taught classes?

FLUKER: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

ADAMS: What'd you teach?

FLUKER: I taught classes like uh-- Well we had a class, and we would 00:29:00call the class, uh, what was I teaching? Okay, we had the class and they would do things like, orientation segments, study skills, and that's the kind of class that I set up where I was.

MRS. FLUKER: You was associate professor.


ADAMS: You was associate professor as well but did you--because you were the first African American professor at Lexington Technical Institute, and Lexington Community College. How was that perceived by students when they walked in, seventies and here was this African American teacher?

FLUKER: And this African American teacher would start teaching them and they would accept it, okay? (laughs)


ADAMS: I mean--

MRS. FLUKER: The evaluations that I saw were rather favorable.

ADAMS: So the students really took--

FLUKER: That's right.

ADAMS: Did you ever have any African American students come up to you and say hey, you know, I can really relate to you a lot better than I can some other teachers? I mean just really--

FLUKER: Oh yeah. And what I would try to do, I'd try to get, that is who I'd try to get in my classes.

MRS. FLUKER: But you didn't have that many African American students.

FLUKER: No, not when I first came over here.

ADAMS: Did the enrollment of African American students increase while you were there?


ADAMS: So when you came in 1976, how many African American--this is just a ball park--how many African American students do you think was at LTI?

FLUKER: I don't know. I would answer that question by saying a few.

ADAMS: Very few. In eighty-six, when you left, how many African American students?


FLUKER: Oh it was, they was all over the place. And what you try to do, if you could get a group of persons who could share with them what would be beneficial to them, that all of them didn't have to be there teaching one class or two classes. I had what you'd call an orientation class too and that's why I could get some ideas over--and only thing about it, I'd have white students and the few blacks I could get in.

ADAMS: Do you think, in your personal opinion, you being an African American opened the doors for other African American students, or the increased population to come to LCC?

FLUKER: I would think it would increase, but let me put it this way. If I as just a African American, 'Well we got one guy over there, his name 00:32:00is Fluker or something,' I think I could do a hell of a job.

ADAMS: Well, you know I think, what other people have told me, they said, you know, "When Otis was over there, students looked at him and said, "You know what, if he can get there I can get there", and you really set an example for a lot of young kids coming through college to say "Hey, it can be done."

FLUKER: Sure, yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: And you know, when they were in your class it felt like they could talk to you a little bit better--

FLUKER: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

ADAMS: --because you didn't come across as such an elitist type person.

FLUKER: Um-hm.

ADAMS: Now when you worked at LTI and LCC, because you worked at both institutions, did you ever feel like the blue veil of UK was really heavy at times, or holding the institution back?


FLUKER: I would sort of feel like I think that UK's over here, and they're going to be talking down to these people, and the more of these kind of classes they could get, and the more of the kind of--how shall I phrase it, the populations they could get, that they weren't getting when they first started out.

ADAMS: What was the building, because you just had the one building at the time when you left, there was still just the one building, the Oswald building.

FLUKER: Yeah that's it. That was it.

ADAMS: Did you get a feel from the other faculty and staff-- cause this was the first time they were able to be in one building instead of scattered through four or five buildings that were on UK's campus--did you get a feel that everybody was really excited about it; happy that 00:34:00finally we are all in one place, we have our own building?

FLUKER: Well, I suppose, the feeling I would get, and because I was the recruiter; main recruiter, I could go out and get ten students where a UK recruiter wouldn't get but one.

MRS. FLUKER: I think probably there was some camaraderie that had begun, because you were housed in one building, based on some of the things that I have heard you say, with all the programs being there at that point in time.


ADAMS: Was, when you left in eighty-six, was that building getting pretty crowded; the Oswald building, with students?

FLUKER: Yeah, that building got crowded every year. (laughs)

ADAMS: That's where I worked. Where'd you work at? Which floor did you 00:35:00work at in the Oswald building? Do you remember?

FLUKER: Yeah, I worked in the basement because I had orientation classes down there and it suited me just fine.

MRS. FLUKER: He moved from the main floor to the basement.


ADAMS: I work on first floor, yeah that, that one too. I work first floor in financial aid right now, right downstairs in the basement; probably about where you worked I would say.

FLUKER: I was teaching classes down there, yeah.

ADAMS: And it probably hasn't changed a lot. You can't even go to the restroom without a student, "hey, hey." Was it like that when you were there, couldn't walk down the hallways without a student--

FLUKER: I couldn't walk down the hall, but they would sort of, look back to me, and I'm sure a lot of them would start, "Look, look at Mr. Fluker there," There you go; you got your people.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

FLUKER: And you know, Bill Price, I know he was happy to see me.

ADAMS: What was Bill Price like, if you could describe him?


FLUKER: He--I never had any problem with Bill Price. One thing about Bill Price I think; he had more of the mechanics of running an institution such as that, and uh, I sometimes I feel like I'm Bill Price. (laughs) Yeah, and another thing about it, the person who had the class is going to work with the students in that class, get them to a certain level and if they could persuade them, then they could go out and "hey when you go up to such-and-such county, tell them to come back here to Lexington."

ADAMS: Right, word of mouth.


ADAMS: So that really helped you out a lot.


ADAMS: Because that kind of leads into my next question. What do you 00:37:00think were some of the early challenges and accomplishments of LTI and LCC when you worked there? What were some of the challenges and accomplishments?

FLUKER: I think the accomplishments were well, because they could go out, and here again, we would get recruitment out there, and if we could get five or six students out of a class in the community college system, then they could hook onto it, and they could get them.

MRS. FLUKER: That was an accomplishment.

FLUKER: Right, yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: What do you think were some of the challenges for you working at LTI?

FLUKER: Oh I felt very challenged having worked at Stillman College at University of Alabama, and all those places, and sometimes--

MRS. FLUKER: Was it much of a challenge to you?


FLUKER: Yeah, it was a challenge to me, and I would chip it up, and I liked for it to be a challenge to those students. Well, they could say "look, look," I don't know whether I could find one, tap him on the shoulder, and say "there he goes, there he goes," but yeah, I think I was a hell of an influence on them, I put it that way.

ADAMS: Did you ever have any challenges here in the community, when you went out to recruit?

FLUKER: Nothing but going to the recruitment, and usually if they had a black challenger, who would be a lady, she would say, "Yeah, that's the fellow there, he's recruiting for UK," and there you go.

ADAMS: Did you have a lot of parents that wanted to come up and talk to you about their sons or daughters coming to LTI?

FLUKER: I had a few doing that.


ADAMS: So yeah could you--

MRS. FLUKER: Very, very few.

FLUKER: Yeah, very, very few.

ADAMS: Wanted to meet with you and say "what--"

MRS. FLUKER: You did go into some businesses.

FLUKER: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

ADAMS: Did you do a lot; you said you did a lot of recruiting in churches?


ADAMS: I bet you were well welcomed there, wouldn't you?

FLUKER: Yeah, because they don't want to start shouting there, you know (both laugh) Oh, Lordy.

ADAMS: What's some of the disappointments that you had with LCC? I mean, what do you think it could have been and hasn't came to be?

FLUKER: I don't know, I tell you too, you started looking at things and like you said, Bill Price, he could take it a long piece. Toni Spence, she could take it. Some of the teachers who were teaching and the 00:40:00students liked them. They could take a slice of it with them.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

FLUKER: It sort of depends a little bit how well your faculty does its job. And if you can get the faculty to do their job, if you can get the nursing nurses, teaching nursing, if you could get the accounting fellows teaching accounting.

MRS. FLUKER: But there was very little disappointment.

FLUKER: Right, right.

ADAMS: How big was the faculty and staff when you came in '76?

FLUKER: About eleven, wasn't it? About, Yvonne?

MRS. FLUKER: Was very small.

FLUKER: About ten or eleven, something like that.

ADAMS: And when you left in '86, what had that number grown to?

FLUKER: Probably about forty.

MRS. FLUKER: Yea, it had grown.

ADAMS: So it almost quadrupled in your time there.

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah

ADAMS: So when you first started, ten, eleven people, you knew them all by name.

FLUKER: Oh I could tap them on the shoulder, "Hey" yeah (laughs) "They 00:41:00tell me you're not teaching anything up there." (all laugh)

ADAMS: "What's going on with this," right? (all laugh)

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah, you'd get them, get small classes, they could do it----------(??)

ADAMS: Now, Bill Price was there, over it when you came.

FLUKER: Right.

ADAMS: Who was after Bill Price?

MRS. FLUKER: Edwards.

FLUKER: Yeah, Allen Edwards.

ADAMS: Allen Edwards?


ADAMS: And who was after him?

MRS. FLUKER: I think probably--

FLUKER: I'm trying to think now--

MRS. FLUKER: You may have left--


MRS. FLUKER:--with Dr. Edwards

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: So you just got to work with Bill Price now, and Edwards.

FLUKER: Um-hm.

MRS. FLUKER: There was a person--I don't remember a person after Dr. Edwards.

ADAMS: Did you stay, when you retired in '86, did you stay in pretty good contact with the school?

MRS. FLUKER: Yeah, we've been--

FLUKER: Um-hm.

ADAMS: So what did you think, this is ten years after the fact, what'd 00:42:00you think when they took the community colleges away from UK in 1998?

MRS. FLUKER: I was just a flashback, where was Dr. Wethington?

ADAMS: That was what I was trying to find here.

FLUKER: Yeah, Wethington was there, that's who I was trying to think about. He came over there from the central office.

MRS. FLUKER: And after Price, that was before Price.

FLUKER: I believe he was after Price.

MRS. FLUKER: Because Price hired him.


ADAMS: Bill Price hired you?


FLUKER: Oh yeah.

ADAMS: Okay. Now I was trying to look through my notes here to see exactly where everyone fit in.

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: I think it was-- there was a Sharon Jaggard.

FLUKER: Sharon Jaggard.


ADAMS: That was there for just a little bit.

FLUKER: She was there when Price was there.

ADAMS: And then Edwards came in, right, I mean, she was just there for like a year.


FLUKER: Yeah, yeah

ADAMS: And then Edwards came in after Sharon, is how that was.


FLUKER: Yeah, uh hm.

ADAMS: I think Ben Carr was there for just a little bit, like six months before Allen Edwards came.

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: But, Dr. Wethington was actually--

MRS. FLUKER: In charge of everything.

ADAMS: He was in charge of everything.

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: That's who Bill Price reported to and then Wethington reported to the president of UK is how that line went.

FLUKER: Hierarchy.

ADAMS: Right. And did you ever get to meet Dr. Wethington when you worked there?

FLUKER: Oh yeah.

ADAMS: Was he very approachable type of person?

FLUKER: Yeah, I mean if he knew you I think all of them would tell me, you know, Wethington included.

ADAMS: Do you think that the, that it was a good thing for the separation of the community colleges from UK, to be put with Kentucky 00:44:00Community and Technical College System, KCTCS?

FLUKER: I can say if you can get the right group of people, and if you can meld your faculty with the rest of the people, I would think it would be a good thing, because somebody's going to leave and that's going to be a loss, or somebody might want to leave and that could be a loss. So, I, it has its ups and downs, but you get somebody like Price, you--

MRS. FLUKER: So the separation, what do you think about the separation?

FLUKER: Of the UK and the community college system?


FLUKER: I don't know. I think if I was in it though, I'd get somebody 00:45:00over here and make him the head Czar and then he could work with the people under him, just like the guy across the campus.

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: So like you were saying earlier, that when you left in 1986, the staff had grown about four times. Would you say the student body had grown about that same? They were probably busting at the seams, weren't they?

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: Now, when you went out to recruit people, did it change any when LCC became a comprehensive college and the students didn't have to go over to UK to take their English or Math? Did that help you at all recruiting, at how you can come to one building and get all you general education courses?

FLUKER: I don't know. I was thinking of whether did it help me or did 00:46:00it hurt?

MRS. FLUKER: Help the students.

FLUKER: Oh, it helped the students, yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: Did it help you as far as getting you recruiting numbers up?

FLUKER: I was going to get them up anyhow.

ADAMS: They were coming anyway, huh? (all laugh)

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: Well, I'll tell you what, do you think that it's a, was a good or a bad thing for LCC to no longer be part of the University of Kentucky?

FLUKER: I would think, LCC would think it was a good thing, and of course, the snooty ones over at the University of Kentucky would push them off. In that regard, I would think the better meld would be to get them in the community college system, and then they wouldn't feel like outcasts.


ADAMS: I've, that just hit on something that I've heard from various people that I've interviewed. That we felt like outcasts, step- children, sort of thing.

FLUKER: Oh yeah, yeah. They made them feel like that when they first started working with the University.

ADAMS: Did you ever feel that way when you worked there, that UK thought that way about LTI?

FLUKER: I know they thought that way about LTI.

ADAMS: Was you familiar at all with the budget or the money--the way--

FLUKER: No, they had hoped the business manager was doing it at the-- that the Bill Prices got up.

ADAMS: They said that UK brought, or, LTI brought a lot of money in but UK kept it all, and they would just give them whatever they wanted, type of thing.

FLUKER: Or give them, if they had a teacher that wasn't doing too well, 00:48:00they'd send him over there, or her over there. (both laugh)

ADAMS: That's where they would send their, non-elite teachers, so to speak.

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: Did that happen while you were there, or was that always the rumor?

FLUKER: Well I always--

MRS. FLUKER: That was the rumor.

FLUKER: --they had the rumor and held tightly to my position. (laughs)

ADAMS: There you go. Well did you, you were able to be there over a decade. Do you think that LCC has helped the communities here in Lexington or do you think they are still falling short?

FLUKER: I don't know the time frame that you gave me. I didn't get out that much to have them say hey look, I bet he can't recruit so many students, I bet he can't do this, I bet he can't do that.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

FLUKER: I, no, I wouldn't. I would say UK would be putting the hell 00:49:00onto students over there, like they would the whole community college system.

MRS. FLUKER: I think the community; I think that LCC had helped the community. Frequently, when we are going out to various places that we can hear them saying that they have been or that they are going to LCC. So it has some kind of rapport.


ADAMS: That's what I was going to ask you. Did, do you think Lexington Community College has a good reputation in the communities for a quality education?

FLUKER: Yeah, I would think so and I would think that they did it first. They'd get good--they would have good faculty. Bill Price would have 00:50:00to turn loose of some of his money--(Adams laughs)--but, I think in the first part of it, they would figure, and if some of their students came over there and flunked out by the six weeks exam, 'it's no good over there man', yeah that kind of stuff.

ADAMS: Did UK ever tell you where you could or could not recruit students? Did they say, "Hey, you can't, we're sending our UK recruiters over there, you can't go over there?"

FLUKER: No, what would happen, they would send me to all of the colleges that they had in the system--

MRS. FLUKER: High schools.

FLUKER: But the high schools that they had here; they would welcome a number of them over there, because UK would shut them out, because they 00:51:00would go over there and they couldn't do something.

MRS. FLUKER: I think he had a good rapport with the counselors in the high schools.

FLUKER: Oh yeah.

MRS. FLUKER: So they were always inviting him back.

ADAMS: Okay.

FLUKER: Yeah, they would write me letters to come back, 'this is the night we're going to have it,' and all that.

ADAMS: So it wasn't like you had to go, "I want to go to this high school, and this high school, and this high school" and UK sign off on it and say, "Yes you can" or "No you can't." If you wanted to go to a high school you just went to a high school.

FLUKER: I went to all of them, yeah.

ADAMS: Okay, because with the development in things of that nature, UK would tell LCC, "You can't hit these people up for money--


ADAMS: --because we're trying to get their money." They wasn't that way with the recruiters.

FLUKER: Oh, no.

ADAMS: You could go there. Did you ever go to a high school where you were there recruiting for LTI and there was a recruiter from UK there?

FLUKER: When--the year I first started going they had recruiters from 00:52:00UK, but what they would turn in was your courses; the courses they're teaching at UK and they might be picking them up at LTI, in the community college system.

ADAMS: The technical courses that they couldn't get at UK; they got it.

FLUKER: Right, right.

ADAMS: So there was that close relationship before it became LCC. If they wanted a technical program, Otis is your man you need to talk to, and when you get that done if you want to a get bachelors, then you come right over here and--

FLUKER: Yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: So it was very possible that you could have two students sitting in a classroom right next to each other, one of them an LTI student, one of them a UK student, and neither one would know the difference.

FLUKER: Oh yeah they got one they want to send over there, they'll send them over there, you know. If somebody has paid their tuition and want to go way back down to southern California, they'll send them over to 00:53:00LTI to class. (laughs)

ADAMS: This is one of the last questions that I have. Do you have any particular disappointments or anything that you were disappointed with in your ten years at Lexington Technical Institute, Lexington Community College?

FLUKER: I, yeah, I could have some things I would be disappointed with. And a lot of those things you're disappointed when you're out there in the field, when you're out there recruiting at the community colleges, it doesn't seem so down trodden, you see what I'm saying?

ADAMS: Um-hm.

MRS. FLUKER: Very little disappointment.

FLUKER: Very little disappointment, yeah.

ADAMS: So your exp--

FLUKER: They wasn't going to, about the time I was there they wasn't going to invite you over there no how. (laughs)

ADAMS: So, overall, your ten years--was it ten, or eleven, twelve?


MRS. FLUKER: Somewhere between ten and twelve.

ADAMS: Ten and twelve years. Your experience at LTI was pretty favorable.

FLUKER: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

ADAMS: More joys than heartaches.

FLUKER: Oh yeah, yeah.

ADAMS: Okay.

MRS. FLUKER: He slept very well when he came home.

FLUKER: Yeah. (laughs)

ADAMS: Did you put in some hours?

FLUKER: I punch it, you know ----------(??).

MRS. FLUKER: So there were very few problems. I don't know of any, don't have anything to complain about.

FLUKER: No. It was good.

ADAMS: Well, I tell you what, Mr. Fluker, I really do appreciate you allowing me to come in and talk to you this afternoon, I know you all have a very busy schedule and going to go out of town for Thanksgiving and everything, and like I said, and Yvonne, I appreciate you allowing me to come into your house and record you, and as mentioned earlier, 00:55:00this is going to be placed in the archives and at any time that you want to hear it or they're probably going to be transcribing the actual words down.

FLUKER: You might go over there and say when you start doing like that, you know, we had a fellow from North Carolina. I think that he had been down in Alabama first. Oh, he could just do it. (laughs)

ADAMS: And this is where you get it.

FLUKER: Oh man, yeah. (laughs)

ADAMS: So you enjoyed your work there.

FLUKER: Oh yeah, oh yeah. I didn't enjoy all the people, but I enjoyed the work.

ADAMS: Well, as I mentioned before, thanks for allowing me to come in.

[End of interview.]