Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Marie L. Piekarski, February 10, 2005

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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ADAMS: This is an oral history interview with Marie Piekarski on February the 10th 2005, located in the Oswald Building, room 246 for the Lexington Community College fortieth history anniversary. Uh, the first question I'd like to ask, just for the record, is if you could please state what your full name is?

PIEKARSKI: I'm Marie Piekarski.

ADAMS: And, uh, when and where were you born?

PIEKARSKI: When and where?

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: I was born in New Jersey.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: I guess you want the real date?

ADAMS: Only if you choose to give it to me.

PIEKARSKI: Doesn't matter. May 30th, 1928.

ADAMS: May 30th 19--you came a long way from New Jersey to Kentucky.

PIEKARSKI: That's right.

ADAMS: Um, also for a little more background information, if you could tell us a little bit about your parents; what your fathers' name, 00:01:00mother's name was, and what they did for a living?

PIEKARSKI: My mother's name was Marie Gerke before she was married. And my father's name was Henry.

ADAMS: Marie--how--how do you spell her last name?

PIEKARSKI: G-e-r-k-e.

ADAMS: K-e-. Okay. And I'm guessing since you were born in New Jersey is that where they were living?


ADAMS: --your parents?

PIEKARSKI: That's correct.

ADAMS: And what, uh, did your dad and--and mom do for a living?

PIEKARSKI: My mother was, um, a housewife--homemaker--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: -- and my dad was a business owner.

ADAMS: What kind of, um, business did he own?

PIEKARSKI: He owned a gas station.

ADAMS: Did you have any brothers or sisters?

PIEKARSKI: I have a brother--or had a brother, and a sister.

ADAMS: So there were three of you?


ADAMS: Where do you fit in as far as the--


PIEKARSKI: --oldest.

ADAMS: You were the oldest one?--

ADAMS: --oldest one.

ADAMS: Oh, you had to put up with them.

PIEKARSKI: That's right.

ADAMS: (laughs) Um, what kind of, uh, education did your father and mother have?

PIEKARSKI: They--they had high school educations.

ADAMS: Both graduated from high school?


ADAMS: At that time that was actually pretty good.


ADAMS: Uh, did you--I take it--did you grow up in the city?

PIEKARSKI: No, small town.

ADAMS: Small town? How--how big?

PIEKARSKI: Hmm. Probably about 30,000.

ADAMS: Thirty-thousand people?

PIEKARSKI: Um-hm. Um-hm.

ADAMS: So I guess you went to a city school instead of a rural school; elementary school, high school?

PIEKARSKI: They weren't very large though, they were fairly small schools considering--if you compare them today's schools, yes. For example my high school class there were 140 in the class--

ADAMS: --people?--

PIEKARSKI: --so that's pretty small.

ADAMS: Um-hm. What--what was the name of your elementary school, do 00:03:00you remember?

PIEKARSKI: Nathan Hale.

ADAMS: Nathan Hale.


ADAMS: 'Cause what I want to try to figure out is, uh, when and where did you decide to get into nursing, in the field that you later on went to get into? Did anything inspire you in high school or--?

PIEKARSKI: What--what interested me in nursing was our school nurse. Back then they had school nurses--


PIEKARSKI: --and I became very interested in what she did and I decided when I was six years old I knew I wanted to be a nurse.

ADAMS: Really?

PIEKARSKI: I can remember the day I decided that I wanted to be a nurse.

ADAMS: Because of your school nurse at Nathan Hale?--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm. Right.

ADAMS: Six years old?

PIEKARSKI: Six-years old, right.

ADAMS: Just all of the sudden it hit you or had you thought about it, or do you even remember?

PIEKARSKI: No, she was a role model to me and I just decided I wanted to 00:04:00be just like her.

ADAMS: Do you remember her name?

PIEKARSKI: No, I really don't. I can see her, but I can't think of her name right now. But I'll probably think of it before this is over.

ADAMS: If you think of it you can let me know.


ADAMS: Now what was the name of the city that you grew up in?

PIEKARSKI: I grew up in a town called Carteret, New Jersey. But I graduated from high school--we moved and I graduated in Fanwood--I lived in Fanwood--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: -- my high school time and I graduated from Fanwood from Scotch Plains High School.

ADAMS: So you went on--did you--did you finish up your elementary education at Nathan Hale?--

PIEKARSKI: --in one town and then went to--right--and then went to--we moved to Fanwood, New Jersey.

ADAMS: How come you guys moved?

PIEKARSKI: Because we just moved, that's all.

ADAMS: (laughs) I didn't know whether your dad had bought a larger gas station--

PIEKARSKI: no, no, no--

ADAMS: --or something--

PIEKARSKI: --no, no, no.


ADAMS: So you just moved. And was that hard going from your eighth grade to ninth--

PIEKARSKI: --yes it was--

ADAMS: --leaving all your friends?


ADAMS: Now you mentioned earlier you had a younger brother and sister?


ADAMS: You were the oldest, was your brother the middle child or was he--

PIEKARSKI: --right--

ADAMS: --and then your sister?


ADAMS: How many years separated you three?

PIEKARSKI: A year between my brother and myself, and three years between my sister and me.

ADAMS: So you all were actually like probably in, uh, high school at the same time then probably?


ADAMS: So you moved to Fanwick?


ADAMS: How do you spell that?

PIEKARSKI: F-a-n-w-o-o-d.

ADAMS: Oh, I got you now, Fanwood. Um, you graduated from high school there and I guess still very much interested in becoming a nurse at that time?


ADAMS: I guess you probably took all the science courses and--?


ADAMS: Now upon graduating from high school, where did you go to college?


PIEKARSKI: Okay. I graduated from high school in 1945, which was right after the war.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And I had planned then to go to the University of Pennsylvania, to the school of nursing. But because I was an out of state student, and because the university was flooded with, uh, navy and army, uh, programs, they were not taking any out--any of state students for a period. So that was in June of 1945. Then I decided that I would go to school in New Jersey to a diploma program. And I chose to go to the Jersey City Medical Center School of Nursing. However I could not go right into, uh, nursing school because I was 00:07:00not old enough. I was--I had just turned seventeen. And in order to be licensed--now this is at that time--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --you had to be twenty-one.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: And I would not have been twenty-one. And so I--I then went to work. And, um, I entered the school of nursing in the February class.

ADAMS: Of nineteen--?

PIEKARSKI: Forty-six.

ADAMS: Forty-six.


ADAMS: At the Jersey City--

PIEKARSKI: --Medical Center.

ADAMS: In 1946. So you saw a lot of the, uh, the G I Bill people come back and--

PIEKARSKI: --right--

ADAMS: --that really determined--

PIEKARSKI: --all of them--

ADAMS: --where you would go?

PIEKARSKI: Right. However I did as I said go to, uh, the School of Nursing in Jersey City, and this is almost unheard of--it--it was at that time--for the whole--entire first year of my three year program 00:08:00I had, um, a year of college at Jersey City State Teachers College. That is where we got all of our general education; all of our science courses, our, uh, sociology, our English courses. And we had one day for nursing that first year.

ADAMS: How did you, uh, how did you react to that? You came to this school to become a nurse and you see four of your five days taken other things that--or did you understand the reason?--

PIEKARSKI: --well, it didn't--it did not--it did not bother me because I knew that the general education would be helpful.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: And I now think of the lady's name that was the nurse, her name was Agnes Gavelitz, G-a-v-e-l-i-t-z. And she also graduated from Jersey City Medical Center.

ADAMS: What was her first name, Agnes?

PIEKARSKI: Agnes, um-hm. But anyway, um, at the end--now in the 00:09:00interval, you know, during the nursing program--those were the times when you, uh, had twelve hour shifts. So even though you were a student you still had seven to seven duty. And in the second and third years as you had your--your, um, nursing classes--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --they were held during the day. And if you were on seven p.m. to seven a.m. shift, you didn't get any release time. You still went on, uh, seven to seven duty.

ADAMS: So they didn't cut you any slack and say: hey--

PIEKARSKI: --no, it's very different. Very different than it is today--

ADAMS: --you're--you're coming to this field. So they didn't give you any credit while you were actually doing nursing work towards your degree?

PIEKARSKI: Oh, oh yeah, but I mean, you know, our assignments--you know, today, it's--it's not on an--an academic classroom kind of schedule.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: But when we--the second year and third year when we had 00:10:00classes, for instance in medical-surgical, or in maternity; or pediatrics or whatever, communicable disease back then--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --if you had classes during the day you still had to go on-- on your night shift, yeah--

ADAMS: --(laughs)--and work all night. How hard was--

PIEKARSKI: --we did not have LPNs then, we only had what we called maids.

ADAMS: Maids? (laughs)

PIEKARSKI: Well, now they'd be comparable to today's aides.

ADAMS: Right. And--and they actually called them maids?

PIEKARSKI: Right. Um-hm.

ADAMS: So what was your first job at the hospital? 'Cause you just started school?

PIEKARSKI: Right. I don't even remember where I started first, because you had your different rotations. But I don't remember where I, you know, started.

ADAMS: What kind of course load would you have to have to work twelve hours at night? Now you just did that three days a week--four days a week?

PIEKARSKI: Five days.

ADAMS: They worked you twelve hours--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm

ADAMS: --five days a week?


ADAMS: Man, they don't--people today don't know how good they got it--


PIEKARSKI: they don't know--they don't know how lucky they are, actually. And the--the one thing that was very different--you know I could not do what I did then today. I'd--I'd be too fearful to do what I did then.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: But the thing was that interns were on twenty-four hour shifts. So you always had--even though you were the only person-- the--the only nurse--only student nurse on the floor, you still had the interns to rely on if you ran into difficulty.

ADAMS: So how did you get all our homework done? What kind of coursework--did you have a smaller course load, or just a normal course load and twelve hours of work? I mean that would have been hard--

PIEKARSKI: --well you would have--well, you--you would have--for example you might have--you might be taking maternity classes. And that would be all you'd have. Um, and you'd have your exams.

ADAMS: Is it comparable to like nine hours of today course work, six hours--or?

PIEKARSKI: I guess you could equate it, you know, that way.


ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: But it was, uh, in the, uh, maternity area at the Margaret Hague--the medical center had several separate hospitals.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: And it was at the Margaret Hague where I had an instructor who at the end of my course had the final, you know, uh, conference with me to talk about my grades and so on. And she was the one who said, "Absolutely, you must go on to school and get your degree."

ADAMS: Really?

PIEKARSKI: And so with that encouragement I did make that change and go on. After I graduated then from--from nursing school, then--I graduated in February--

ADAMS: --two years?

PIEKARSKI: It was a three year program--

ADAMS: --so you--

PIEKARSKI: Forty-nine was when I graduated.

ADAMS: So 1949 from the Jersey City Medical?--

PIEKARSKI: --right. Right.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: Then I worked from February--February until January of '50--


ADAMS: --okay--

PIEKARSKI: --to earn money to pay tuition. We did not have financial aid like they have today. If you didn't have money you didn't go to school unless, you were a G.I. Now, that was different and they--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --I'm not complaining. They deserved it. But I did then enroll at the University of Pennsylvania.

ADAMS: In the-- in the spring--

PIEKARSKI: --in the School of Nursing--

ADAMS: of '50?

PIEKARSKI: It was January of 1950. And, uh, it--that was also a new venture because at--up until that time the university had a diploma program much like the one I attended in Jersey City. In 1950 they started--I was in the first class of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Now the School of Nursing, not the hospital's school.

ADAMS: Um-hm. But you were in the first class?


PIEKARSKI: First class at the university, right--

ADAMS: School of Nursing?--

PIEKARSKI: --to grant degrees, right.

ADAMS: Well.

PIEKARSKI: And even though that was in the dark ages, I'm here to tell you that I got all--all of my credits transferred from the Jersey City State Teachers College.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: All of theirs transferred, and then I also took qualifying exams to determine how much nursing credit I would get toward my baccalaureate degree. Now you may not appreciate that, uh, unless you were into the nursing--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --dilemma here I don't know, they may still be arguing about how much credit you should get for nursing and how much you shouldn't. But even in the dark ages I did get credit, at a university. That- -you'll have to talk to some of the nursing faculty to fill you in on, 00:15:00um, on how that's been a dilemma through the years.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: But anyway, then I did, um, go through the program there. And unlike today's baccalaureate programs in nursing my degree is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education. In our program we did fieldwork in our specialty and then we did practice teaching in our specialty. And that is not the way it's done today.

ADAMS: Right. What year did you graduate?


ADAMS: Yeah, from Penn.

PIEKARSKI: With my bachelor's, 1952.

ADAMS: So a lot of about everything you took transferred didn't it?

PIEKARSKI: Absolutely.

ADAMS: So, yeah, that worked. Did you say fall or spring of '52?

PIEKARSKI: Spring of '52.

ADAMS: Two years.



ADAMS: That's pretty impressive.

PIEKARSKI: Well really, it would have been I think five semesters really if I started in February--yeah--

ADAMS: --um-hm--spring of 1952--

PIEKARSKI: --of '52. Right.

ADAMS: --you're graduating from the first class of the School of Nursing--

PIEKARSKI: --that's right. Right--

ADAMS: --with your bachelor's of science degree--

PIEKARSKI: --in nursing education--

ADAMS: --in nursing education.

PIEKARSKI: Not a BSN. And you--I have a problem even with the people at Penn today because they still want to mark me as a BSN and I'm not. And we--I have to correct that all the time because it's--that degree is foreign to them.

ADAMS: (laughs) Right, 'cause--does--does that type of degree in nursing education exist?


ADAMS: See. When did it change, do you know?

PIEKARSKI: I--I haven't--I don't remember, but it was several years after that.

ADAMS: Um-hm. So--well everybody you hear today calls it a BSN.

PIEKARSKI: A BSN. Yeah, I know.

ADAMS: And that's what it is, so when you say--so what did you do, I 00:17:00guess, in, uh, June of 1952?

PIEKARSKI: Okay, after that--let's see, I, uh, I went to work. And again this is, you know, the way it was. In 1952 I went to work as an instructor-supervisor at Muhlenburg Hospital in Plainfield. It was a joint--and that's the way it used to be, a joint position. And the fact that I had a degree enabled me to--to teach.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Um, so I--I ran the department of--of obstetrics which averaged, which is unheard of today, averaged four thousand deliveries a year.

ADAMS: (laughs) Oh my gosh.

PIEKARSKI: It was a large maternity department.

ADAMS: How--how big was the staff that you had?

PIEKARSKI: Very big. I don't remember the specific numbers, but it was 00:18:00a large staff.

ADAMS: And you managed?

PIEKARSKI: Right. Plus did teaching. Plus I went--I was--I went back to, um--

ADAMS: --plus--(laughs)--more?--

PIEKARSKI: --uh, Penn in the fall of '53. I started back on my master's program.

ADAMS: At Penn?

PIEKARSKI: Uh huh. And for Dr. Wethington's benefit--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and everybody else in the Community College System, it is not Penn State.

ADAMS: (laughs) Okay. University of Pennsylvania--

PIEKARSKI: --and they will understand if they listen to this because this is a running saga for thirty-plus years.

ADAMS: Okay. (laughs) When I talk to Dr. Wethington at the end of the month I'll ask him that.

PIEKARSKI: Yeah you ask him and he'll--is that recorded?

ADAMS: Yeah. (laughs)


PIEKARSKI: You better delete that.

ADAMS: (laughs) I'll ask him. I'll say, "Is--is that true that she graduated from Penn State?" And we'll just see what he has to say. Um, well before we go on, was there anyone in your family, aunts, uncles, uh, you said your mother and father had a high school diploma, that had a college?--


ADAMS: So you were the first?

PIEKARSKI: I was the first. Um-hm.

ADAMS: And, uh--

PIEKARSKI: --of my immediate family. Yes, I was the first.

ADAMS: Your grandparents, your mom and dad's parents, were they in the same community?--

PIEKARSKI: --oh, no--no my grandparents, um, on my father's side my grandmother was highly educated in Europe. Um, she had several degrees. And she was from the area of Europe that used to be known as Alsace-Lorraine, which was French-German-Polish?

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: That's where she was--was raised. And she--she had, uh, a 00:20:00college education.

ADAMS: When did, uh, and this is backtracking. I should have asked this earlier. When did your grandparents--were they the first ones to come to the United States?

PIEKARSKI: On my father's side, yes.


PIEKARSKI: Now on my mother's side, my grandmother was born in New Jersey.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: My grandfather Gerke--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --was from Germany. And he came over in 1894 I believe.

ADAMS: When did your dad's family come to America?

PIEKARSKI: I don't remember. I could look it up, but I don't remember.

ADAMS: Were you as a child growing up, were you closer to your mother's side of the family more than your dad's side?

PIEKARSKI: Uh, well my grandparents on my mother's side passed away before I really--I--I was three when my grandmother died--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and I had--I was three--three months old when my 00:21:00grandfather died.

ADAMS: So you really didn't know your mom's?

PIEKARSKI: No, no. Now I knew my fathers' grandparents--

ADAMS: --um-hm.


ADAMS: And they--they came here to the United States?

PIEKARSKI: Right, right.

ADAMS: Uh, but you don't know when; like 1920s, early 1900s.

PIEKARSKI: It would be around the turn of the century.

ADAMS: Okay.


ADAMS: So they missed all of World War I and World War II and all that over there.

PIEKARSKI: Right. Yeah, they were here--

ADAMS: --okay. Um-hm. They were here when all that took place--

PIEKARSKI: --right--

ADAMS: Now--so I bet that your grandmother could speak several languages?

PIEKARSKI: Five languages is what she spoke. Um-hm.

ADAMS: What about your grandfather, could he speak that many?


ADAMS: Like his native tongue and English and that was it?

PIEKARSKI: No, unh-uh.

ADAMS: I bet it was kinda neat growing up around her wasn't it?

PIEKARSKI: It was. Um-hm.

ADAMS: Do you think she had, uh, any inspiration at all on you as far as wanting to--to get more education than the average, because the average person at that time probably didn't attend college?

PIEKARSKI: No because I guess I've always been a--a person who set goals 00:22:00for myself--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and having been alive during World War II and going to school in World War II I didn't really know what war meant as a child. And to experience the fact you knew there was a war going on--my one fear was could I continue to go to school? Now I really worried about: did war mean you couldn't go to school? Would they, you know, destroy schools?

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And so my goal was to get through high school. And once I got through high school then I knew what I wanted to do, and I pursued that--that avenue then to get into nursing.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And then I also knew I wanted to go to the University of Pennsylvania. That was my--where I wanted to go to school. And, uh, 00:23:00I achieved that. And once I got my bachelor's degree, then I knew I wanted to get a master's degree.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And so I then began working part-time on my master's.

ADAMS: Were you ever worried, um, with all the wars, you know, World War II, the Korean War and you in nursing--I am sure nurses were in high demand at that time. Did that ever cross your mind: hey they may come and say--?

PIEKARSKI: --well I know that's--

ADAMS: --we need you to do this and--?

PIEKARSKI: --right. Well dur--let's see--the--when I finished nursing though, you see, the armed forces were kind of--

ADAMS: scaling--um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --scaling down.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: But I always said that if I, you know, were to go in service I would go--become a navy nurse. That was--that was my--the other 00:24:00thing. If I had to go or if I got drafted?

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: I always wanted to be a navy nurse. But of course then when the war was over things began to settle down.

ADAMS: Why na--you gotta--why navy?

PIEKARSKI: I don't know. I just--

ADAMS: why over army?--

PIEKARSKI: --nope. No. Navy has just always been the thing, even though I have very good friends in the army and the coast guard.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: During--during the war we used to write letters to all the-- the people you knew.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Uh, but I don't know, I just always wanted navy.

ADAMS: Wear the white uniform?

PIEKARSKI: Well yeah, I guess, I don't know. (both laugh)

ADAMS: So, so getting back to where we were, um, fall of'53. Not Penn State--

PIEKARSKI: --that's right--

ADAMS: --the University of Pennsylvania. You started working on your master's degree?


ADAMS: When did you complete your master's?

PIEKARSKI: Okay. I completed my master's in June of '57.

ADAMS: Okay, and--

PIEKARSKI: --because I went part-time until my last semester; then I 00:25:00went full-time.

ADAMS: Were you still working as the instructor-supervisor during--when you were working on your masters?--

PIEKARSKI: --no, I was doing--while I was doing part-time, uh, yes I was working full-time.

ADAMS: At the same place we had mentioned?--

PIEKARSKI: --right. And my last semester I went full-time, but I was also teaching at, uh, the University of Pennsylvania part-time.

ADAMS: When did that start?

PIEKARSKI: Um, back in the fall I was teaching part-time.

ADAMS: In '53? That's when you started working on your--were you teaching when you started your master's?--

PIEKARSKI: no, no. It was fifty--'56. Fall, '56 and spring of '57.

ADAMS: That's unreal, you were--how many, and this is probably a question 00:26:00in--in ignorance, how many female instructors were there teaching at the University of Pennsylvania when you were teaching? In other words, were a lot of the instructors teaching nursing women even at that time?

PIEKARSKI: Yes, but there were--there were three men on the faculty, um, in nursing--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --at the time that I was there. Um-hm--

ADAMS: --at that time? And you said--

PIEKARSKI: --in fact my, uh, medical center class had two, uh, male graduates.

ADAMS: Really? At that time?--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm. In 1946, um, we had two--two men in our class. We were a small class. We had thirty-one students. In--in, uh, an- -another other thing that I--I think is pertinent to the medical center episode, um, in February of '46 we were the first non-cadet class to 00:27:00be admitted.

ADAMS: Really?

PIEKARSKI: See, up until then you were--they were cadet nurses. And those students--there were--there were huge classes. Several hundred in each class; February, June, and October. And those cadet nurses also, you know, received stipends and, um, uniforms--cadet uniforms and all that. But we were the first non-cadet, so we were paying everything.

ADAMS: Now you mentioned you started teaching at the University of Pennsylvania.

PIEKARSKI: Part-time.

ADAMS: Part-time.

PIEKARSKI: Fifty-six, fifty-seven.

ADAMS: Did they help pay for any of your courses that you took?--

PIEKARSKI: no. Uh, no. But I will tell you this, and I argued with my dean about this. She called me in one day and said, "I would like to help you with your tuition." And my response was, "I don't want any 00:28:00help. I don't want to have to pay anybody. I want to pay as I go."

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And she said, "Well just listen to me. Just be quiet and listen." And the Department of Health, Education and Welfare had granted the university, uh, two what they called fellowships. The catch was they were in rehabilitation nursing. And I--I said to her, "Well, how does that fit in with my program?" I was--was in, um, um, maternity--maternal-child care. And she said, "That's the challenge for you." And it was a pretty good stipend because it paid my tuition. I did accept it. It paid my tuition, and then I also got I think four hundred dollars a month living expenses.



PIEKARSKI: But, but that was my last semester.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And the catch was I had to do a research project in my field of rehabilitation nursing. And what I finally agreed to do, which was not easy, was to take the topic of rehabilitating an unwed mother back into the community--

ADAMS: --hmm. And I bet that was huge at that time.

PIEKARSKI: It was, and--and I had to submit the project and they-- Washington had to approve it. And I--I finally I had nerve enough to ask, I said, "Well, did they accept it?" And they said of course they accepted it. Because they hadn't even thought of a maternity person--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --doing that kind of project. But she said, "I knew you--you could do it." But she--it was really the fact that--that she wanted 00:30:00to help me with my tuition, because she had known that I had gone to school from 1950--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: -- and paid every bit of it. My, you know, all the way. And she knew that I had worked part-time while I was working on my bachelor's degree. I worked at Philadelphia General of all places which is no more. But anyway I did--you were allowed to work sixteen hours a week.

ADAMS: I bet that was a difficult hospital to work in.

PIEKARSKI: It was. It was.

ADAMS: This is a trivia question. When did you see your first child born, since you were in maternity? Or does that memory stand out?--

PIEKARSKI: --um. It would have been in October of 1948.

ADAMS: (laughs) Unreal.

PIEKARSKI: And as long as you've asked this, I also took care of Nancy 00:31:00Sinatra when she had Tina.

ADAMS: No way, really? Did you get to ever meet him?


ADAMS: But you met her and she--was she nice, down to earth I mean?--

PIEKARSKI: --very nice. When she had Tina she was at the Margaret Hague and that was part of my rotation.

ADAMS: Oh my gosh. (laughs)

PIEKARSKI: Yeah. Yeah.

ADAMS: So, you was able to just to walk in: "Hello Ms. Sinatra."

PIEKARSKI: ----------(??)----------

[Pause in recording.]

PIEKARSKI: --master's in education from the graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. Graduate School of Education.

ADAMS: MS in education?

PIEKARSKI: MS, yeah. Um-hm--

ADAMS: --in education. From University of Pennsylvania?


ADAMS: Okay. And what year was that you graduated?

PIEKARSKI: Fifty-seven. June of '57.

ADAMS: Okay. And what did you do after that?

PIEKARSKI: Okay. After that I had had a phone call from the dean of nursing at St. Petersburg Junior College. It was a junior college 00:32:00then, in St. Pete. She had graduated from Penn a couple of years earlier and she went to St. Pete to start the first associate degree program there in nursing.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And she was calling wanting to know would I come to work there?

ADAMS: As a teacher?

PIEKARSKI: Um-hm. And I said--I don't--I didn't know. I didn't know what I wanted to do. All I wanted to do was get out of school first.

ADAMS: (laughs) Right.

PIEKARSKI: And so she said, "Well, I really wish you would consider a position here." And I'd also considered--considered a position at--at Duke at one time. But anyway, to make a long story short, I did, uh, go to work at St. Pete. And I lived in--in Clearwater.

ADAMS: Oh man. Beautiful place. When did you go down there?


ADAMS: You lived in--at Clearwater?--

PIEKARSKI: --Clearwater. When it was nice and small, not like it is now.

ADAMS: Right, 1957. So you came--started in New Jersey and in '57 you 00:33:00were down in Florida.

PIEKARSKI: In Florida.

ADAMS: On the gulf.


ADAMS: Teaching school?


ADAMS: Oh, man.

PIEKARSKI: In--now that was the first associate degree nursing program in Florida.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And it, um, I don't know how much detail you want. But it was a three-year program, because Florida had a three-year law. And it was finally--they had an internship and they finally cut it down to two academic years. But anyway, during my--my, uh, employment at St. Pete in 1962 the college was given a Kellogg Grant--

ADAMS: --sixty-two? Okay.

PIEKARSKI: --for, uh, faculty development. And our faculty had the 00:34:00opportunity to go to, uh, California, Texas, Michigan and--and New York to workshops. And the dean said, "Well, now how we gonna decide who's going where?" And I said, "Well, as far as I'm concerned, I think I should be the one to go to California, because I'm the one that's been employed here the longest." And so--(laughs)--she said, "Well I think that's fair, and since I've been here longer than you I think I will also go to California." But there was also another person, um, who also went. They divided it up, and a lot of the faculty had families and couldn't--didn't have the freedom to, you know, to be gone for longer- 00:35:00-a long period of time. But what happened was we to--first went to New York to a workshop.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And then we flew out to California for two weeks, and we toured community colleges from one end of California to the other. And really, you know, found out how they were doing things so that, you know, we could improve what we were doing too.

ADAMS: What year was this?

PIEKARSKI: This was in 1962.

ADAMS: So back when community colleges were really--

PIEKARSKI: --were really just booming. We also spent two days at UCLA, because that's where they had a graduate program preparing teachers for ADN, as they did at Columbia in New York. Columbia University had a wonderful graduate program for teachers.

ADAMS: When you were in--

PIEKARSKI: And I would say that that--that, uh, two weeks touring community colleges in California was absolutely what convinced me 00:36:00more than ever that that was where I wanted to be. Also at St. Pete, I was only there about a year when they, um, had--they went into a year's program to prepare a self-study for Southern Association for reaccreditation. I was fortunate enough to be on the curriculum committee of that self-study, and it was then that I really learned a lot about community college programs and curricula. And curriculum has always been one of my favorite things. I've--I've always liked working with curriculum and devising new programs and trying something 00:37:00different. Not doing the same thing over and over again.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And it was really through that self-study process that--that I was really beginning to realize that community college education was where I wanted to be. But going to that--to in '62 then, touring those California community colleges, just reassured me that that's really what I wanted to do with--with--with the rest of my life was be within- -involved with community college education.

ADAMS: So I bet you really got along with Dr. Oswald.


ADAMS: Since he came from the Community College Systems out in California.

PIEKARSKI: Right, well yeah, he--from California, right. And, um, he was very--as you know, instrumental in starting our community college. And our system I think would not have gotten off the ground if it 00:38:00really had not been a person like Dr. Oswald who was willing--to--to really make a--a go of it. And he was very successful at it, and very supportive of everything we did in the Community College System.

ADAMS: Well he truly believed in it I think.

PIEKARSKI: Well he did, absolutely.

ADAMS: It wasn't something that was there. But--1962--we'll--we'll get to Dr. Oswald--in 1962 you toured California; you went back to St. Pete--

PIEKARSKI: --Um-hm--

ADAMS: --had all these ideas and that.


ADAMS: Well, things--what transpired after that?

PIEKARSKI: Okay. One of the things that happened at the New York workshop prior to going to the California--

ADAMS: --um-hm-

PIEKARSKI: --community college visitation. Col--a--a lady at Columbia was doing some research in programmed instruction. As I look back at it the programmed instruction then was really the precursor of the 00:39:00use of computers in education. So St. Pete got a grant and it was to--to show ways that--and--and the instrument we used was called an auto-tutor. Where students could learn programs and learn how to do things at their own, uh, pace. And the lady at Columbia had developed a program in hand washing; that was one of them. And another was mathematics for nursing.

ADAMS: Hmm. Okay.

PIEKARSKI: And, so again, the dean presented this, you know: we have this money. Who would like to really carry out this--this kind of 00:40:00research project to see whether or not it benefits the students at St. Pete? Well everybody else said: oh, they had things to do, and they wanted to, you know, they--they were comfortable with what they were doing. And so the dean said, "Well that's fine." And I said, "Well, I'm interested in different things, so I would be willing to take that on." Because whoever did it was going to get some release time. So that your teaching, you know, you weren't teaching your full load--

ADAMS: --gotcha. Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And so I had developed a project then with a control group and then an actual group that took the auto-tutor program in hand washing, which is one of the skills in--in, uh, fundamentals of nursing.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And then the other was math to be used with pharmacology, in drugs and dosage. But anyway, I did this through the summer. I guess 00:41:00it was probably the summer of '63 probably. And really showed that students did learn more effectively when they could do it at their own pace. Or if they didn't understand something they could go back on the frames and--

ADAMS: --right--

PIEKARSKI: --read them over again and follow the process. So anyway that proved to be pretty successful. And we reported our findings then to, um, um, Dr. Seater (??) at Columbia who had developed the program. And then we also presented this at Southern Regional Education Board to the Nursing Council. Then St. Pete had a full-blown television department in their new building. And nursing got--in their new 00:42:00building nursing, uh, had a new nursing lab with twenty units.


PIEKARSKI: And at each unit television monitors.


PIEKARSKI: But the question was, how were you ever gonna use all that stuff?

ADAMS: (laughs) That's what I was gonna ask you.

PIEKARSKI: And again it was, you know, it's gonna take some doing. Who--who will spearhead this? And so I--again it was something new and different. Because I don't like doing things the same way all the time, and doing the same things over and over again. There's bound to--there are bound to be different ways and better ways of doing things. And so I said, "Well, okay, I'll do it." And so I was--I was then assigned my last year at the college to work with the development television director to develop nursing tapes, videotapes, so that we 00:43:00could use those in--as--as, uh, an aid in teaching the basic nursing skills. We started out with the--the first course--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --now eventually they went on, you know, to the other courses. But we started out with the basic skills. And we had faculty doing the demonstrations on how to do the different, um, skills, and it was my job to--to be sure that things were being done properly and that they were following their agreed upon process. And, um--

ADAMS: --okay. What year was this?

PIEKARSKI: In '63. It'd be'63-'64. It was my last year at St. Pete. And so through the year we had developed several videotapes of these nursing skills. And again, we presented one of these, um, at SRV at 00:44:00a television--they--they had, uh, a--a conference. It was a nursing conference and it was held in Texas. But it was all on the use of television. How you could use television as a teaching aid--

ADAMS: ----------(??)

PIEKARSKI: --because, you know, so many people think once you use television or you use the computer you're gonna do away with teachers. I mean that's--that's one of the things everybody complains about. But the tape that we did was on interpersonal communication skills, teaching students--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --interpersonal skills. And it was really lots of fun because we did role playing in it?

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: It was--it was really fun to do.

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: So in 1963-64 you said that was your last year at St. Petersburg?


ADAMS: Where did you go after that and how did that transpire?


PIEKARSKI: Okay, after I left St. Petersburg--well I didn't--I have to go back to February of '64. I was at the American Association of Community Colleges meeting. And I sat at the meeting dinner banquet table with, um, Mildred Montag and the state director, uh, Robert Burkheimer from Illinois, state director for community colleges; my dean of nursing, and my academic dean. And we--and--there was another--or two or three people from Columbia at the table. But the man from Illinois said, "I just got a Kellogg Grant to develop nursing and I can't get a--a person on--on staff to develop the project. These nurses are hard to get. They are few and far between." And at that 00:46:00point I had agreed--at St. Pete I had always worked twelve months a year I had agreed to go on, um, at that time an eight month contract, and be off four months--

ADAMS: --nice.

PIEKARSKI: So I was going to be off from May until September--October.

ADAMS: Oh man, on the beach--

PIEKARSKI: And, uh, no, I wanted--I wanted to see if I could manage--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --financially and--and I wanted to probably do some other things. So anyways, to make a long story short, this state director from Illinois said, "I'm gonna give you a call." And I said, "No, don't give me a call." And I said, "That's my dean sitting over there." And I said, "If she has any inkling that I will be thinking about leaving," I said, "it won't be very nice, it'll be unpleasant." He said, "Don't worry about her", he said, "we'll--we'll involve her as a consultant if you'll just come and meet with me." And so on the way back--the meeting 00:47:00was in Miami--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: -- and on the way back from Miami to St., uh, Petersburg he, uh, he--he was driving back to Illinois. But he stopped and talked to Dr. Bennett, the president--Mike Bennett at--at St. Pete, and said that he had been talking to me and he wanted him to know that I--that he was going to pursue getting me employed in Illinois.

ADAMS: (laughs) Oh, no.

PIEKARSKI: And Dr. Bennett said, "Well, I would hate, you know, for that to happen, but she's got to make a--a decision. It's her decision."

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: "We--we don't want her to leave but if," he said, "if she wants to that's--I wouldn't stop anybody."

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: And he said, "That would be a--a step up for her." And so then he also said, "Now to keep peace I'm going to, uh, involve, uh, the dean as a consultant." And Dr. Bennett said, "that'll help." (laughs) 00:48:00Well anyway, um, I did go to Illinois, to Springfield, to the state community college director's office, and spent--I spent the summer in developing that project and getting it in order. But he also knew that I had intent for--had every intention of going back to St. Petersburg.

ADAMS: In the fall?

PIEKARSKI: In the fall. And I--I agreed to work there that summer with that understanding. Well then, uh, toward the end of my stay there he did finally get someone to come and pick up the project after I left. But I had already, you know, I had scheduled the workshop and I had visited with the different community colleges trying to orient them as to what associate degree education in nursing was.


ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And then, as I told you earlier, it was at that workshop where the Kentucky people visited with me and--

ADAMS: What year was that, do you remember?

PIEKARSKI: It was'64 it was--

ADAMS: Sixty-four?--

PIEKARSKI: --yeah, that was--it was in August--August of '64.

ADAMS: At this workshop and when you say the Kentucky people--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm. Uh, I mean Dean Marcia Dake, um, Dr. Edsel Godbey.

ADAMS: Godbey, okay.

PIEKARSKI: And I be--I believe Dr. Owen was there, Dr. James Owen. And they talked with me about coming to Kentucky.

ADAMS: In--in August of '64. Right, when all this was taking place--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--And I said I didn't think so, I had to go back to St. Pete. And they said, "Well, would you stop on your way back to St. Pete and visit with us." Which I did.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: And I met with Dr. Hartford then, and Dr. Dake and Dr. 00:50:00Godbey and--

ADAMS: --here--on UK's campus?--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm. And they were very apologetic because Dr. Oswald was on vacation and I was going to meet with the executive vice president, Dr. A. D. Albright.

ADAMS: A.D., um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And so I met with Dr. Albright.

ADAMS: Um-hm. Where--where at--where--do you remember where you met?

PIEKARSKI: At his office over here on campus.

ADAMS: So you met in Dr. Albright's office?

PIEKARSKI: Um-hm. Um-hm.

ADAMS: Okay. What'd you think?

PIEKARSKI: Well everybody was so nice. I--I was really torn, and actually I dreaded having to tell my dean that I thought I was going to accept this position--

ADAMS: --so when you left here--

PIEKARSKI: --because Dr. Hartford said, "The job is yours, and we will hold it as long as it takes for you to get here."


ADAMS: So they offered you a job at this meeting?


ADAMS: So it wasn't just: here's the campus, this is what were gonna do?

PIEKARSKI: Oh no. No. It was that plus: uh, and you're--you're going to, you know, come back here. We're going to hold this job for you. You are the person. You've got community college background and none of us do.

ADAMS: To start the nursing program here at LTI?--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm. No, not at LTI. In the state of Kentucky.

ADAMS: In the whole state of Kentucky you're gonna do--

PIEKARSKI: Right. Yes, and--I'm--the--the--I mentioned the Kellogg--the W. K. Kellogg Grant that was made to the college of nursing because, uh, to develop an associate degree education in nursing. Because there was no Community College System yet. The grant was made in '63--

ADAMS: --before--

PIEKARSKI: --but it was with the full understanding, and it was written 00:52:00right into the grant, that this was for associate degree education in nursing. And there had been some preliminary work done. The grant also identified sites by priority where there would be nursing programs--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and when they would, you know, start; year one, year two and so on. So when I came on board Dr. Hartford had asked me did I want the, um, grant moved, you know, from the college of nursing to here. And I said to him, "Well, is it working?" Did it work, you know, thus far? 'Cause I came in September of '64.

ADAMS: So when you left in August of '64--

PIEKARSKI: --to go back to St. Pete--

ADAMS: --did you know on your drive back down there that you'd be coming back to Kentucky?


ADAMS: So you knew this was where you wanted--

PIEKARSKI: --I had made up my mind that that was what I was gonna do.


ADAMS: Had you told them at this meeting, "Yes, I accept?" Or did you make your mind up on the way back home?--

PIEKARSKI: --no. No. I wanted to talk to Dr. Bennett first.

ADAMS: Okay. So you got back to St. Pete--

PIEKARSKI: --but by the time I talked to Dr. Bennett, Dr. Oswald and Dr. Hartford had--had already called him.

ADAMS: So Dr. Bennett was well aware of probably what the decision--

PIEKARSKI: --right.

ADAMS: Now you came, you said, in September of 1964.


ADAMS: What was your title?

PIEKARSKI: Coordinator for associate degree nursing.

ADAMS: And, um, did you work in the Community College System?

PIEKARSKI: In the office with Dr. Hartford.

ADAMS: And that was--is it Breckinridge was that--what building was it?--

PIEKARSKI: No, we started out in Frazee Hall.

ADAMS: Frazee Hall. So you came in as coordinator of associate nursing--

PIEKARSKI: --of associate degree nursing, um-hm--

ADAMS: --for the whole state. And you worked--who was your immediate supervisor?

PIEKARSKI: Dr. Hartford.


ADAMS: So you worked directly with Dr. Hartford?


ADAMS: And, uh, what--what building did you say you started with?

PIEKARSKI: Frazee Hall. That's where we were housed.

ADAMS: In Frazee Hall. Okay. So you come in, and what transpires after that? He says: where do you want this Kellogg Grant? Do you want it in you or?--

PIEKARSKI: Well, when I came, um, Henderson Community College as of July '64--before that it was the Northwest Center--

ADAMS: --correct--

PIEKARSKI: --had already enrolled a class of--of nursing students. See, they were enrolled through the College of Nursing--

ADAMS: through the College of Nursing at UK?--

PIEKARSKI: --'cause Northwest Center was a branch of the university.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: So when I came those students were beginning their second 00:55:00year.

ADAMS: Were--were there nursing students at LTI?


ADAMS: See that didn't take place till way after--

PIEKARSKI: --that didn't happen until, uh, '65.

ADAMS: Okay. So in '64, you're here.

PIEKARSKI: Okay, um, Henderson had students.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Um, Northern Community College had students.

ADAMS: All these people had students before you had a program established?--

PIEKARSKI: --in nursing. Well, there was a--a program through the college.

ADAMS: through the college. I got you.

PIEKARSKI: The curriculum had been developed. And also Elizabethtown was beginning, but I--they didn't admit until the following year I believe, but I--I'm not too sure on--on that one. But the college was just beginning at Elizabethtown.

ADAMS: Gotcha.

PIEKARSKI: And my--my early times at, uh, time here at the university 00:56:00was spent primarily in curriculum development; looking at curriculum; looking at what they had developed. And we had frequent meetings of the faculty from Northern and, um, uh, Henderson, because they were the two that actually had students at the time.

ADAMS: How did the faculty from those--from those institutions take you? They were already teaching through the college of nursing and here comes this person that's gonna redefine our curriculum?

PIEKARSKI: No, I wasn't gonna redefine anything, because the curriculum belongs to faculty.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: But now you have to understand that these--Northern was also a center.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: You have to understand as centers they were--they took their 00:57:00orders--

ADAMS: Um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --from the college of nursing.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: And you see in--in--in July of '64 that changed.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: We're now a Community College System--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and now we have the freedom to develop our own curriculum.

ADAMS: And there's where you come in.

PIEKARSKI: Well, yes. And--and we worked through several issues with the curriculum. Um, I was so naive, and--and you have to also realize that the university--this community--having a Community College System within a university is a very unique situation.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And I was not at all familiar with the fact that everything had to go through the college of nursing. And I said--I kept saying "Why? We are a Community College System, why do we have to do this? 00:58:00And--and then, um, the--even so--the matter of textbooks. They were told what textbooks they had to have and I said, "Why? Textbooks should be the decision of the faculty teaching the course?"--

ADAMS: --correct.

PIEKARSKI: And we did have several discussions. Now we always got along very well with Dean Dake and her faculty and she was very helpful. But we also had discussions on the differences between baccalaureate education and associate degree education. And, um, more than once we had to remind each other: we are associate degree education, community college education--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and you're a college of nursing, University of Kentucky. And there's a difference.

ADAMS: How did they--so you're--you're--you probably never experienced any problems with anybody in the community college. It probably would 00:59:00have been more with how did the people at the college of nursing relate to you.

PIEKARSKI: It was the uniqueness of the system and the fact that they were not in control anymore.

ADAMS: How did they take that? How did they--?

PIEKARSKI: Well it took a little time till they understood, you know, the organization.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And--and I think likewise for our people too. You know, you can play one against the other when you want to do something.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: But it didn't work because, you know, ultimately you were an employee of--of the University of Kentucky Community College System. And I would have to say we had wonderful, you know, faculty in the beginning. Uh, they--and all through the years too. I'm not saying the others--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --we've always had excellent faculty. But--but we had--had to work through some situations because of the uniqueness of the system. I mean in all honesty, there--there are a lot of differences. 01:00:00You know when you are in a community college, uh, well say at St. Petersburg, you're in control--

ADAMS: --right--

PIEKARSKI: --and you report, you know, ultimately the president has the--the final say-so.

ADAMS: It's not like you have to go through the University of Florida to decide what you can teach at St. Pete--

PIEKARSKI: --exactly. And you know it took--for--for a whole year I did not go out of state to any meeting. I did go to the American Association of Community Colleges, but that was about, I guess, eight months after I came. But, uh, I was very careful because I wanted to be sure I understood the system and the relationships involved.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And I would--would have to say again with Dr. Oswald and, um, then Dr. Willard, who was vice president of the medical center, um, and Robert Johnson, who was, um, um, dean of students; vice 01:01:00president for Student Development, I guess it was; uh, they were all very, very supportive. And all the deans from the medical, you know--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --medical school, dental school, they were all, you know, very pro Community College System.

ADAMS: That's what I was gonna ask you. If you could, define, uh, the structure from the top down to you of the Community College System when you came.

PIEKARSKI: Well I came of course there--as I mentioned we had Dr. Oswald as president--

ADAMS: --the president.

PIEKARSKI: We had Dr. A. D. Albright as executive vice president. And there were several other vice presidents. I believe Glenwood Creech, um, was vice president for, uh, I think he--

ADAMS: --but you had Oswald, then Albright?--

PIEKARSKI: yeah, I think Public Relations, University Relations, was-- 01:02:00was Glen Creech.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: And then of course the deans and, uh,--

ADAMS: All this was in the community college?

PIEKARSKI: Okay, but that was university.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Then we had Dr. Hartford as the dean for the Community College System--

ADAMS: --because that's what you had at the--you didn't have--

PIEKARSKI: --and then we had Edsel Godbey. Dr. Godbey, as assistant dean for the Community College System. And then there was, uh, Jay Hauselman, who was a staff person then, probably for business and other affairs, administrative affairs.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And there was me.

ADAMS: Do you remember Dan Holt much?

PIEKARSKI: Oh, Dan Holt was here--

ADAMS: --he came--he came later.

PIEKARSKI: He was here. He was not el--uh, he was not at the system--

ADAMS: --at the system--

PIEKARSKI: and he was after, he--he came later, you know.

ADAMS: So the way that was structured went was you--as far as the 01:03:00community college was framed. You had Dr. Oswald--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--

ADAMS: --then Dr., uh, um, Hartford.


ADAMS: Then Dr. Albright.

PIEKARSKI: Well no, Albright--Dr. Albright was under Dr. Oswald.

ADAMS: Okay, where?--

PIEKARSKI: --he was the executive vice president.

ADAMS: So you had Oswald. Then who was the dean of community colleges?

PIEKARSKI: Hartford, Ellis Hartford.

ADAMS: And then who came under Hartford, the professors? Or was there like an associate dean?

PIEKARSKI: No, No. Uh, there was an assistant dean, Godbey.

ADAMS: Godbey. Godbey's who I was trying to think of.

PIEKARSKI: Okay. And then Dr. Haus--well he was Mr. Hauselman then, and me.

ADAMS: Okay. So that was what the Community College System was set up at that time?

PIEKARSKI: Right. There was also for a short period of time a John Adams.

ADAMS: (laughs) I didn't know that, really?

PIEKARSKI: He was with us just a very short time, less than a year I would say. And he went out to the different sites where community 01:04:00colleges were being constructed.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: I don't know--I don't remember his official title.

ADAMS: What--what was his purpose, do you remember? The oversee these community?--

PIEKARSKI: --oh, yeah. All the new--new construction sites, yeah.

ADAMS: Do you remember what year that was?

PIEKARSKI: Yeah, '64.

ADAMS: See, I--don't you think I've aged well?

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: So that's the way it was set up in '64, correct?--

PIEKARSKI: --right. Right.

ADAMS: So, uh, in the spring--and this was all before LTI was ever established?

PIEKARSKI: This was before, yeah. LTI became established in January of 1965.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: It was at the board meeting in January that LTI was approved. And I remember this as if it were like yesterday because Dr. Hartford called me at home. He was so elated. He just had to tell me we were 01:05:00all a go--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --for LTI. And that had--we could proceed with planning for nursing. Because one of the reasons, and probably the main reason for LTI, was the fact that in this entire Lexington community and surrounding area there was not an institution preparing mid-level workers. And so there was a great need for a community-type graduate, a person who had the technical skills for--in the technical programs, plus the general education component. So it was a natural fit to have the associate degree level programs set up in this institution. And the first two programs were dental lab--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --dental lab technician and nursing. Now we had to do a 01:06:00real rush job--I can only speak again for nursing and--and you have to understand that nursing has a board that you have to have approval. And you--you have to have a year of planning before you can--

ADAMS: --right--even start the program--

PIEKARSKI: --I mean that's the planning period. And that's why associate degree nursing's been successful through the years, because they've always mandated that year of planning. Well we had an abbreviated, shortened program but they--they were--the board was all the way with us on this. You know, they--they knew exactly what we were doing. And we went ahead and--and I did the planning until we could get a coordinator on--on board. And back then master's degree prepared nurses were not to be found. You, I--I did recruitment for 01:07:00the system too for nursing.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: and I was able to do it because of the Kellogg Grant. I mean I--we'd put ads in different magazines, nursing journals and stuff. And if we had a response that, you know, a person looked like they'd be a good faculty member I'd call them and kind of determine on the phone how much--how much their interest really was in coming to Lexington. And, uh, if they said they were interested--and some of them came because they had husbands that were going to go to med school or dental school or graduate school, that was a plus. I mean Lexington was a little easier to recruit for then some of the other colleges.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Uh, but I'd go and interview them wherever they were and-- and, you know, get a commitment from them. But--but anyway, um, in--in 01:08:00the recruiting students we had a small class of nurses that first time. And I'll never forget, um, I--I interviewed the--the students, um, over in Frazee Hall. And I can remember one lady came in and she was fifty-nine years old. And she wanted to know about this associate degree nursing program in Lexington; that's where she wanted to go. And she was an LPN, but she was fifty-nine years old. And I thought: why does she want RN? And so I asked her. I said to her, "Well, why do you want to be an RN." I was thinking of the future and the number of--of working years she had--

ADAMS: --um-hm--right--

PIEKARSKI: --and she said, "I've always wanted to become a registered nurse, and this is my chance." And I said, "Well, okay," and she was very serious about it. Well, when I talked to her about what she had 01:09:00to do for the application process she said, "Well I'm gonna have big trouble," because she went to a private catholic school in Louisville, this is many years ago, but the school burned and so did all the records.

ADAMS: Oh no, oh no.

PIEKARSKI: and I thought, you know, what do I do now?--

ADAMS: --or how do you get this--

PIEKARSKI: --and it was all so new to me anyway.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: So I went around and talked to Dr. Godbey about it and I said, to him, "How can we get around this." And he said, "Do you really want her as a student." And I said, "Yes." See this was before we had any formal procedures in place.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: You know now we have--

ADAMS: --guidelines--

PIEKARSKI: --everything in place. And I said: "Yes I think she, you know, she's so determined I think she would be successful." He said, "Then we'll admit her." Because he was acting--he was acting for LTI then as the--as the head of it, the director--


ADAMS: --(laughs)-- really? Right.

PIEKARSKI: I said to him, "You think we'll be all right? He said, "If you think so, we'll admit her." So we had I--I think it was either nine or eleven students. There's a picture somewhere around of that first class--yeah--

ADAMS: --the first? What--what year was that first class?

PIEKARSKI: Fifty-seven. They graduated in--or '67.

ADAMS: But they started in '65.


ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: Because I've given them the picture, and the names of all the students are on the back of it. But anyway, those students were all--we did not have a single person right out of high school. They were all--

ADAMS: --non-traditional--

PIEKARSKI: non-traditional students or they had been over to the college of nursing or--or hoping to get into the college of nursing. Two of them could not make the GPA required and there was a rule over at the college of nursing at the time that said that they could not pursue 01:11:00nursing once, um, they had been turned down--

ADAMS: --so if they turned them down they couldn't go anywhere else?--

PIEKARSKI: --they could not come back in. And so these two students came and I thought they, you know, would--would be good candidates. And it was just too bad that--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --they lacked the GPA by just a small percentage. Dr. Godbey again said, "Do you want them, do you think they're good risks?" And I said, "Yes, I'd be willing to try them." And they've become master's degree people. I mean they were very successful in nursing, but, um--

ADAMS: --hm--that's pretty neat--

PIEKARSKI: --but getting, um, faculty was a--a tough job. Um, in fact the lady who became the--the coordinator the first year?--


ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --was at Henderson and transferred. And until--well, and until she got here then I, you know, handled all of the--the paperwork, and all of the stuff that needed to be done to get the students ready.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And also recruited faculty too.

ADAMS: Do you think you were doing enough? (laughs) They had you doing all kinds of stuff--

PIEKARSKI: --no. But, but then, uh, the coordinator who came I think stayed about two years maybe and--and left. And we just could not get--

ADAMS: --you were in high demand and a short supply--

PIEKARSKI: --at that time there just weren't that many. And so the question was: what do we do? Not ad--we could not admit another class and finish out the best we could, what we had.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: But there was such a dire need for registered nurses.


ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: You know, to--to not admit another class was not going to serve this community very well. So Dr. Hartford talked to me then and said--and--and I forgot who the dir-, I guess it was probably Dr. Boyd who was here then, and said if I would be willing to kinda look after, you know, what the--the program here did, the dual jobs, uh, we could continue to admit students. So I did two jobs one year. I worked over here and worked over in the system office until we got a--a new coordinator.

ADAMS: And that was in the late sixties right?


ADAMS: So that's when all the classes were still being taught over in the, uh, Breckinridge Hall?


PIEKARSKI: Oh no, no, no, no. We're not to Breckinridge yet.

ADAMS: Okay, you're still at Fra--Frazee, is that what you?--

PIEKARSKI: Frazee, uh, uh, Frazee Hall. And after we moved from Frazee Hall in the late sixties, we moved over on the corner of Euclid, where safety and security is?

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: That was the community college and LTI. Those were the headquarters.

ADAMS: What was the name of that building, do you remember?

PIEKARSKI: It didn't have a name.

ADAMS: So you stayed there in that little building?--

PIEKARSKI: --we were over there--

ADAMS: --on the corner and then--

PIEKARSKI: --until we went to Breckinridge Hall.

ADAMS: And what year did you got to Breckinridge Hall, do you remember?

PIEKARSKI: I don't remember.

ADAMS: Early seventies wasn't it?

PIEKARSKI: I would say probably '72-'73, around then.

ADAMS: Let me tell you an interesting fact. That was the year I was born, 1972. So you moved into Breckinridge Hall the year I was born.

PIEKARSKI: Right. Right.

ADAMS: Seventy-two.

PIEKARSKI: About then, yeah.


ADAMS: So you--so you can remember what this was like before the Oswald Building was here, the football stadium?--

PIEKARSKI: --oh yeah, there was no football field here then here either. It was down on Euclid--

ADAMS: --what--what was this?

PIEKARSKI: It was just a field--

ADAMS: --um-hm. Was it part of the farm the ag--was it like a cattle pasture?

PIEKARSKI: --yeah, um-hm, probably--the football field was down on--

ADAMS: --next to the bookstore, the old football field across from Commonwealth--or Memorial Coliseum.


ADAMS: Right there on that corner.


ADAMS: I forget what the name of that--

PIEKARSKI: --Stoll Field.

ADAMS: Stoll Field.


ADAMS: So LTI, when it was formed, do you think that there were outside pressures from the local hospitals and from the community that was really pressing for a nursing program here?--

PIEKARSKI: --Oh, abso--absolutely. Primarily, I would say, um, that LTI, uh, received many requests, once we became an entity, received many requests from the local hospitals--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --not only for nursing but for, uh, health programs. Now 01:16:00we also had secretarial programs. We had--we started, um, some engineering programs. Um, I think those were the main ones initially.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Um, but you--you see another thing with the health programs- -the medical center had a radiology--radiography program, and they had a respiratory program.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: Now the medical center's not a degree granting institution. So there was a lot of pressure and a lot of working and a lot of negotiating with the medical center, particularly Dr. Hamburg, in getting these programs moved to LTI. Which we did I believe in '72. I 01:17:00think--I was trying to think when that happened. Yeah, I believe it was around '72 that we got those radiography and respiratory programs over here. We also had an EKG program, electroencephalography program, but we never had too many graduates from that. But in '72 those programs- -we had a grant from, um, HEW, uh, to enable us--it was some seed money to--for faculty and to--to get faculty on board here at LC--at LTI--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --back then, because those faculty at the medical center then had to be moved over here. So I remember Dr. Wethington and I worked on--on that, uh, proposal. And we went to Washington and had them 01:18:00review it before we submitted it. And they gave--had given us some helpful hints on how to make it a stronger proposal. And fortunately we did get the grant, which enabled us to move those people over here, because they were not always over here. They were housed at the medical center. But it was because of Dr. Bosomworth and Dr. Hamburg and--and of course the dental. And back then it was Dr. Al Morris, uh, and--and we al-- we have always had an excellent relationship with the medical center, always. The Community College System has always had good relationships with them. They were always supportive of what we were doing, always, and helped us in many ways.

ADAMS: I was, uh, speaking to, Tri Roberts, do you know him?

PIEKARSKI: Yes I know Tri.

ADAMS: And he was telling me that he worked at the med center, and then 01:19:00he got moved over here and just loved it.

PIEKARSKI: Well yeah, he's a wonderful person. Tri is great, he's one of my best friends here; was very helpful in curriculum development actually.

ADAMS: Well, when we interviewed him, um, because he was a student here--

PIEKARSKI: --right--

ADAMS: --went on to be a faculty member. And now he's staff, so he's been all three--

PIEKARSKI:--right. Um-hm.

ADAMS: Um, I've spoken to several people about what they thought LTI's original mission was. In your opinions, what--what do think that it's original--Lexington Technical Institute's original mission was?

PIEKARSKI: I believe that their original mission--and in part still is today, uh, with, some things added, um, was to provide associate degree level programs, um, in the various disciplines, as I mentioned; Allied 01:20:00Health, Nursing, Business, Engineering, Architecture. Um, and also to provide a continuing education and staff development for the workers that we prepared and that go to work in these various institutions. To continue to provide updating, so that the workers are up on--on things, and--and not doing things the way they did ten years ago or twenty years ago.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: But, um, L-LC-LTI--LCC, uh, continuing-ed is--and staff development, are very important components of the--a community college.

ADAMS: Could you describe, um, because you were here from the very, very beginning; even before you were working in the systems offices; before 01:21:00LTI was even built, the current location of the setting here on, on the corner of Cooper and University.


ADAMS: What was it like before these buildings were built? Because I think Cooper didn't even run all the way through to--to Tates Creek. It ended right here didn't it, do you remember?

PIEKARSKI: I believe so, yeah. This was just a big field, part of the farm as--as you early--you mentioned earlier. Um, there was just nothing here.

ADAMS: I think, uh, I'm thinking it was Paul Taylor, and you probably know who Paul Taylor is--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--

ADAMS: --he said that at Southland Lexington ended. He said when he was a student here you would go to Southland, he said there was nothing else from Southland Drive all the way to Ver--to Versailles--

PIEKARSKI: --he's absolutely right. There was nothing. It--it-- actually Lexington ended at Southland Drive.

ADAMS: That's what he--he said that you would not believe it now.


PIEKARSKI: That's right.

ADAMS: And, uh, everybody that I've talked to, uh, Dr. Birdwhistell even once mentioned that this was, uh, Floyd Bottoms I thinks' what he called it, but he said it was nothing but just a pasture field.

PIEKARSKI: That's right.

ADAMS: And the football stadium was built first, correct?


ADAMS: Do you know outside of I guess just parking and its location, why they chose this particular spot to build LTI's--the first building, the Oswald Building?

PIEKARSKI: I'm--I'm not sure that I know the entire answer, but one of the reasons obviously is the proximity to the Lexington campus. Because the students who enroll--enrolled at LTI--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --uh, needed the general education component for most of--of these technical programs. Unless the students just, you know, came to take a course here and a course there. But if they were working toward 01:23:00a degree and in a particular program, they needed the--the general education coursework. And because of the proximity to the Lexington campus it made it possible for students to either walk or to take the- -the university, uh, bus service to the various sections of the campus for their classes.

ADAMS: Do you think that it was also chosen because of the proximity to the medical center and to those facilities or not, like the labs?--

PIEKARSKI: --I--I think, um, I--I think that probably entered into it, because, um, you mentioned earlier about Breckinridge Hall. Long before LTI ever moved to--to, uh, uh, Breckinridge, um, the classrooms were all over this campus.

ADAMS: Scattered.

PIEKARSKI: Uh, they were in the house on Washington Street, uh, the 01:24:00corner there, uh, as you enter the campus. Um, in fact some of the office--faculty offices were over there at that house. Um, I can remember the year that I was here as acting coordinator I had to go to a state board--the annual state board meeting. And as nurses do they went around the table and wanted to know: what was the most exciting thing that happened in your program this year? And I remembered, uh, saying, "Well I think that the most, um, unique thing about the Lexington Technical Institute nursing program this year is that we probably are the only nursing program in the country that held classes in a dairy science building with all of the aromas. We used to have classes over here--

ADAMS: --(laughs)--in the dairy building?

PIEKARSKI: --right, yeah.

ADAMS: (laughs) Okay, what kind of nursing course could they have in a dairy building?

PIEKARSKI: Well there was a nursing lab over there.


ADAMS: It was just the lab.

PIEKARSKI: But in--and then we also had classes facing Funkhouser. Some classes were held in Funkhouser, in the basement--

ADAMS: --base--when they--in the basement where the business office and stuff's located now?--

PIEKARSKI: --right. Right. And I think in the sub-basement too.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: So, you know, it was almost like LTI was a moving institution.

ADAMS: No permanent--

PIEKARSKI: --that's right. There was not a permanent place.

ADAMS: Can you remember what it was like when this building was being constructed? I mean was--was people at LTI and the--and the systems office, were they very, very excited, the faculty and staff about--

PIEKARSKI: --oh, ab--absolutely. Because it would be the first time ever--(laughs)--that the faculty would be housed in one location--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and that students would--would have a home base; a real home base. Up until then it, you--you know, it was any place you could 01:26:00find space on campus. I mean, that's what it amounted to; where was there going to be space? Now Breckinridge--they moved into Breckinridge in the seventies, and they had the, um, third floor of Breckinridge Hall. And that seemed like that was wonderful, because at least some of the faculty had offices. But it really wasn't, you know--

ADAMS: --(laughs)--right--

PIEKARSKI: --it--it was not adequate. And either we--there was going to be a building to house the institute or there wasn't.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: It--it was not fair to faculty, staff, or students--

ADAMS: --right--

PIEKARSKI: --to be shifting any--each year it was: well, where do we go now?

ADAMS: Do you think when, uh, this campus was constructed, that's when purp--people first started feeling that this is ours; this is mine; an entity; a group?--

PIEKARSKI: --yes. I think it could--the identity issue certainly was a 01:27:00big issue.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And--and I think, yes, they finally felt that they, you know, had a home and a home base.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: Some place to call their own, yes. But of course as you know, they quickly outgrew it.

ADAMS: (laughs) Really quick.

PIEKARSKI: It--it--it did not last long.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Um, those other buildings that came on later on were very much needed.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: Because otherwise they were going back to the same old thing: where do we have classes?

ADAMS: Correct.

PIEKARSKI: We don't have space for the classes that we need to offer.

ADAMS: Now was, uh, was the AT building built next, or do you remember?

PIEKARSKI: Which is the AT building? Yes. Well, the one back here was.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: Oh, wait a minute, no wait a minute. I think that one was.

ADAMS: 'Cause that one was built next to house the offices--


PIEKARSKI: --yeah, and then that one.

ADAMS: and the faculty. And then the AT building was built. Um, going back to your nursing students that were, uh, 'cause you were heavily, it sounds like very heavily, involved with--with, uh, recruiting students into these programs, especially at LTI and throughout the state. Were they dual-enrolled students? In other words, because this is prior to LCC, they had to take their gen-ed courses at UK.


ADAMS: Were they a University of Kentucky student and a Lexington Technical Institute student at the same time?

PIEKARSKI: No, I believe that they were LTI. Now you'd--ask Dr. Wethington about that one. But I don't believe they were dual enrolled. I--I never heard that term used to describe them.

ADAMS: Um-hm. So all that they got--all their gen-ed classes through UK. When they graduated from nursing--

PIEKARSKI: --yeah--

ADAMS: --what was on their diploma, University of Kentucky or Lexington 01:29:00Technical Institute?

PIEKARSKI: University of Kentucky-LTI.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: Remember that's the umbrella institution--

ADAMS: --right--

PIEKARSKI: --and this was the college within it. The same as Elizabethtown or at Henderson or wherever--

ADAMS: --so--right. So--but they didn't have to pay like double fees? They didn't have to have two different transcripts, anything of that nature? In other words, they wouldn't have an LTI transcript and a UK transcript--

PIEKARSKI: --an--oh no, they'd have an LTI transcript.

ADAMS: It would all--everything filtered under LTI--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--right--

ADAMS: --and then it's very possible you could be in a biology course--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--

ADAMS: --and you would have a University of Kentucky student and an LTI student sitting next to each other--

PIEKARSKI: --right--

ADAMS: --and no one would know the difference--

PIEKARSKI: --right. Right, because the umbrella institution was at UK, yeah--

ADAMS: --okay. And that's the way it was set up. Now coming forward, you--you've gotten the Oswald Building. Uh, when the Oswald Building was built where was your office at?

PIEKARSKI: Breckinridge Hall.


ADAMS: So you stayed at Breckinridge where the systems office--

PIEKARSKI: --yeah, we never were with LT--well, I shouldn't say never. We were, uh, LTI was--had some office space on Euclid.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: They also had--obviously we've mentioned Breckinridge; they were on the third floor of Breckinridge, um.

ADAMS: So you stayed over in Breckinridge when LT--

PIEKARSKI: --right.

ADAMS: Okay.

PIEKARSKI: Yeah, our offices were--our offices were on the first--first and second floor.

ADAMS: How long did you stay working in Breckinridge?

PIEKARSKI: Until I retired in ninety--I retired in '96, and then had post-retirement for two years.

ADAMS: What do you think were some of the, uh, hold on just a second.

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: You know, even from, um, LTI's beginnings, what do you think were some of the early challenges, and then how they accomplished those challenges?

PIEKARSKI: I--I think that some of the challenges facing--facing LTI 01:31:00and all the other community colleges in the system, uh, dealt with the newness to Kentucky of the community college, of a community college education. The different types of programs, um, the associate degree programs, often called technical programs, uh, were new to--to most of the people in Kentucky. I--I think that was one of the--the major challenges, educating the communities where there were, uh, community colleges, and LTI of course included, to what a community college was all about. And the fact that, um, they, the--the--people that they educate came to stay in the communities that they are--are 01:32:00living, wherever the college is. Um, I think in that line one of the successes of LTI and the community--community colleges in Kentucky is the fact that students were often students who had raised children, uh, who were--who no longer had to, uh, deal with little children and decided that they always wanted to be a respiratory therapist. And so they enrolled in the respiratory therapist program; were admitted and enrolled in the program at the college, and remained in that particular community, and worked in that community; earned a living there, therefore, um, improving the economy of that community. I think LTI 01:33:00had a real challenge that was different from the other colleges in the system in that they had to work constantly, uh, with the faculty of the university's system in trying to get them to understand the uniqueness of the community college and LTI. The fact that, um, technical courses had college level, uh, number of--college level numbering system, uh, freshmen, sophomore; the 100-200 level, uh, sometimes faculty in the university system tended to look down on those, uh, as, uh, not as good as, um, the 100-200 level, uh, general education courses. But indeed 01:34:00anybody who could, um, get through one of those technical courses was going to be successful for sure. Relationships between the university system faculty and staff, and the LTI faculty and staff, absolutely had to be a challenge in the early days. Um, the--the university people didn't always understand what we were attempting to do. Uh, many, many times, uh--and you'd come out of meetings and would just be exhausted because you--you would try and try to make them understand why we were different. At one point that I remember there was also a university- level committee that worked with the Community College System in--in 01:35:00working with relationships between the two systems; working on improvement--on improving relationships between the two systems. Um, I--I think through the leadership of Dr. Oswald and Dr. Singletary, um, they did the best they could in supporting the community colleges and LTI in particular. I--I think without a doubt the most outstanding success of LTI and the community colleges in general has to be the fact that they have produced thousands of nursing and allied health workers throughout the state. And without those prepared workers one wonders where--where Kentucky would be. Um, there--that is definitely 01:36:00a success story. Many of these people have, um, gone on and, um, obtained, um, baccalaureate degrees and graduate degrees. Um, it--it is safe to say at this point--we can--we can--we can talk about how it was in the early days because, um, early days most people thought that technical graduates, technical programs, were terminal programs. That's how--the term that we used to describe the, um, nursing, the allied health, the engineering, those type occupational programs. We called those ter--terminal programs. We have since learned that was the wrong word to use, because no education is terminal. We--

ADAMS: --right--

PIEKARSKI:--we continue to, uh, improve through continuing education and through life's experiences.


ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And that's--that's one of the joys of teaching in a community college. Many times we have, uh, students who have had many experiences in life because they are the more mature students. And it makes it an enjoyable class when--when a--a mature student can share some of his or her experiences on the topic that's being discussed. So that I think faculty who are in community colleges are really great teachers in--in every sense of the word, because they--they have to deal with students of all age groups. And in many of these areas they- -for example, in--in a--in a nursing situation if you, um, if you're teaching in a fundamentals of nursing class or you're teaching in a--a 01:38:00medical-surgical nursing, you must have a broad background on the whole topic. Whereas in some of the--the baccalaureate and graduate degree programs in nursing, uh, faculty are prepared very well in one--on one topic, one phase of medical-surgical nursing. So one has to marvel at the preparation of our faculty in community colleges. And the same could be--could be said for those in the other technical programs. They--they must be prepared in a broad way--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --not, you know, a specific area.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: Uh, persons--and we have seen this with faculty through the years when we've hired faculty, who, uh, for example, were clinical specialists. They did not have that broad perspective.


ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: But they had, uh, they were specialists in a certain specific area. They were--they were unhappy as teachers in a program in--in an associate degree nursing program because they--they just did not have that background that they needed.

ADAMS: You were, uh, I think we were talking earlier. Nineteen eighty- four was when LTI officially became Lexington Community College, is that correct?


ADAMS: And they were able to start teaching their own general education courses. Who was the chancellor at that time, in 1984?

PIEKARSKI: In 1984? Dr. Wethington.

ADAMS: Dr. Wethington. Now he became chancellor in what, 1981?

PIEKARSKI: Nineteen eighty-one. And he was chancellor until, uh, 1989.


ADAMS: I guess leading up to this, what do you think lead up to LTI becoming a community college in '84, since you worked in the systems office? Was there a push for--for LTI to become a community college?

PIEKARSKI: Yes, I think there was, uh, through the advisory committees and--and through, uh, um, well, of course the advisory board and the, um, I--I--when I say advisory committees I'm talking about, um, advisory committees for the programs that existed in the, um, uh, at-- at LTI. Um, it seemed like the natural thing to do for LTI to become a comprehensive community college. And the only way to do that would be to offer the general education component on your own.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And, um, there was a--a lot of discussion I'm sure that took 01:41:00place before all--any of that ever happened. Um, of course there's a--Dr. Wethington will probably speak to this--the preparation that you--you do, uh, when you change from one kind of an institution to another so far as the accrediting agency is concerned ,with--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and I'm speaking of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, uh, Commission on--on Colleges, specifically. So it isn't a--a--a snap judgment. There's preparation that goes on when one goes from LTI to a comprehensive community college.

ADAMS: Were you involved much as far as discussions about that switch?

PIEKARSKI: No, I--I was--I was not involved in that, um.

ADAMS: How did the--

PIEKARSKI: --I'm sure that, um, Dr. Carr probably was involved in that.


ADAMS: Carr, and Wethington and Holt. How did, uh, as far as the faculty and the staff at LTI, were they very receptive, or--or throughout the state, were they very receptive in becoming a community college?

PIEKARSKI: I would guess that they were very happy because having the title, uh, LTI, Lexington Technical Institute, always seem like--they were different.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: They were not a community college. So, uh, becoming and--and doing the necessary preparation and--and work. Becoming a comprehensive community college I'm sure, um, faculty felt very good about that, and of course they were involved in it. Uh, no institution is ever going to make a change like this unless faculty and staff are involved in it. It can't' be a president saying, "This is what were gonna do, period."

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: You've got to involve faculty.


ADAMS: Right. Do--do you think that that relationship that you were talking about earlier with the university faculty, did that improve any at all when the faculty here became teaching their own general education courses. Or were there still that status that kind of overshadowed?

PIEKARSKI: No, I--I think relationships between the university system and the Community College System and specifically, uh, LCC, um, did change through the years, but it--it--it was not easy.

ADAMS: --um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: You had to take a--a lot from some of the faculty, you know, who had that ownership. They think they own the courses and nobody can teach them like they can. You know--

ADAMS: --right--

PIEKARSKI: --like if I haven't taught, it they haven't learned. And that was the mentality of a lot of professors at the university.


ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And that's--that's where there was always that friction about: I haven't taught them. They'd come in from the different community colleges and of course LCC was involved then too. And so they would say, "Well those students, uh, just are not prepared for this level of work coming from LCC," you know, if they were taking the--

ADAMS: --right--

PIEKARSKI: --the course there. But if--if the student transferred in from a community college with that course and went on to the--the second level of that course, um, often, you'd hear, "Well, they're-- they just didn't' learn anything at the college. They just didn't teach the same course we teach." So you know it's just, it--it was a never ending task. And you just worked at it. And the--the best way to go at it I always felt was to go easy. Don't--don't just go and say, "Well, you know, we are doing it right." Or we are, you know, if--you-- 01:45:00you have to go easy and respect one another.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: And eventually what you do through the process is you make converts. We made many converts through the years of university faculty who really got to--to be our best supporters.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: And that was--that would happen at the undergraduate council level. I mean you would bring them--them up, and you would say, "Well this is how it is." And so they'd come to you after the meeting and say, "Could I ask you some more questions about how you do thus and so." Uh, you know: "I'm interested." But you just go very slowly in--in that whole process. Don't--don't try to make it like: we're better than you. But work toward working together rather than against each other.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And--that's, that's--that's always been our goal; is to make 01:46:00it work.

ADAMS: You--you mentioned earlier about Dr. Wethington was the chancellor of the community colleges till 1989.


ADAMS: Is that when he--when did he become the president of UK, do you know?

PIEKARSKI: Nineteen eighty-nine.

ADAMS: Nineteen eighty-nine.


ADAMS: So for--for that--you know how many years he was president at--at UK?

PIEKARSKI: About twelve years I believe.

ADAMS: That's what I was thinking. Because for the first time, um, the president of the University of Kentucky actually saw the value, the true value, of the community colleges systems.


ADAMS: I mean I've heard from numerous people Dr. Charles Wethington has always been a real supporter--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--

ADAMS: --to Community College Systems. Um, the reason I'm--I'm leading up to that is, uh, you said you retired in '96--


PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--

ADAMS: and then you stayed on and worked another two years. When was the separation--when did the separation of the community colleges from UK take place?

[Pause in recording.]

ADAMS: So do you--what year do you think that the separation took place?

PIEKARSKI: Probably around '96-1996.

ADAMS: Now we're gonna go back just a little bit. Um, LTI--the community colleges systems started in '64, LTI in '65. When did the actual community colleges become independently accredited? Because up to that time when they were formed they were all underneath UK.

PIEKARSKI: Correct. They were all visited in the late, um, sixties and 1970, and submitted their reports, um, uh, and were accredited 01:48:00officially in 1971 as, um, community--individual community colleges--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --so that they were freestanding and were--were authorized to offer college level work and so on, all the privilege--they shared the privileges of any other accredited assoc--two- year college.

ADAMS: Institution.


ADAMS: So, uh, that was very, very important then in '84 when they rolled around and became community--

PIEKARSKI: --right. Exactly--

ADAMS: --colleges having their independent accreditation.

PIEKARSKI: Exactly. And as I mentioned earlier there--there are steps you take--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --and a whole procedure to follow when you change from one kind of an institution to another.

ADAMS: Um-hm. So during Dr. Wethington's presidency, 1996, what led up to this all of a sudden the community colleges are no longer gonna be part? I mean was it strictly political? I mean, what in your personal 01:49:00opinion?--

PIEKARSKI: --well, you'll. Well since 1964 I can tell you that just about every legislative session that was held, uh, there was discussion or even a bill at times, uh, a few times, to separate the community colleges from the university. And up until the mid nineties we were successful in defeating that kind of action. But it--it really was almost a standard joke that every time the legislature met there was a bill there--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --to separate us. In the nineties there was a lot of discussion and a lot of activity with, um, economic development, and, um, preparing technical workers. And there was always a discussion about, uh, people from the vocational school could not get admitted 01:50:00to a community college program; could not get any credit for work they had taken at the vocational school. And we had worked from about the mid seventies on what we called articulation agreements for different programs in the Community College System and the vocational-technical system. And we had several, uh, articulation agreements in place. There--there was always a discussion about: well why can't a--a respiratory technician just move into a therapist program and get full credit? Well, you cannot just assume that that course that that student has had is at the college level, equivalent--equivalent to whatever you're teaching in the therapist program. So we had to--we had several 01:51:00committees for the different programs. We had, uh, the nursing, the respiratory, the radiography, um, the medical lab, the physical therapist--no, the physical therapist was--was with UK and U of L, so that's not the same. Um, there--uh, engineering was--was another one. But we had these articulation agreements where faculty committees, representatives of each system, sat down and compared coursework and determined whether or not that coursework was equivalent to what we teach in--in the therapist or the ADN program, or the engineering associate degree program, whatever. And faculty did this and--and then we would decide on how much credit that course at the vocational- 01:52:00technical school was going to count; how many credits would--would count toward the therapist, or the nursing, or engineering, whatever. And both systems agreed on this. And we would always--because it was the mat--the fact that you were going to award credit. You've always had to run that through your rules committee at the system level and ultimately the community college council. Because it was--it involved college credit.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And we had written articulation reports that were on file so that anybody from an outside agency such as Southern Association could look at--at that articulation report and then the agreement that was signed by both agencies that agreed on the amount of credit to be transferred. But there was always a little bit of that friction about: 01:53:00well, that's so little credit. Why can't they get more? You know, why can't they? Well, the faculty were--were satisfied with it from both systems--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --but is was--seemed to be the higher-ups, the people in--in command, who were saying, "Oh, that's so little. They still have to spend a year there, or they still have to spend three semesters." Well, that's just how it is with--with an associate degree program. You cannot water it down just because you're gonna take students from here to here and just move them. You can't do that; the--the curricula are different. It would be like saying: "You take this associate degree graduate and move him into an engineering program in civil engineering and graduate them in two years." It doesn't work that way.

ADAMS: (laughs) Right.

PIEKARSKI: And so there's always been that kind of friction that we 01:54:00weren't doing enough.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And I had kept records on the articulation agreements, and I could--could produce those and tell you over the years from the day one we started, uh, that--how many graduates--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --from the vocational-techni--technical school moved into our program and how many graduated. And there's quite a number. But apparently this did not satisfy some people. They--they all--always felt that, um, at one--they always felt that we should be doing more, and just giving credit. And you don't give the credit, you award credit.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: You award credit for something, and--and you earn it. Now there's also been in--in looking over some materials I discovered, uh, one of the directors of the Council on Higher Education at one point 01:55:00said that one of his regrets during his tenure was the fact that he did not--he was not able to get the Community College System and the vocational-technical system under one umbrella.

ADAMS: Gotcha.

PIEKARSKI: So there, you know, there--there have been those kinds of pushes along the way. I'm sure the regional institutions, um, felt like they should have some say-so in this. And of course, you know, once the Community College System started then you notice Eastern has a community college segment, Western has a--and probably Murray and the rest of them.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Uh, so, you know, I--I think there was pressure from all angles, not--not just the political arena. I'm sure that this also came from higher education as well.

ADAMS: So you--you--you saw this coming down the pike--as a possibility?--

PIEKARSKI: --I saw this as a possibility but I really did not ever think 01:56:00it would happen. I--I thought that we were--we were--we were never, um, at a loss in defending quality. I always felt that we had quality programs, quality, um, leadership. We--we did things because they were the right things to do, not because somebody said: oh, you know, if you do this you might get x number of dollars extra. Or, you know: this'll get you a new building. Or this--we always--we always operated on the premise if you do things the right way, uh, you're gonna be better off. And I honestly can say I would not have stayed thirty-plus years in the system if we did not operate a quality program. Because I would have left in a heartbeat if I thought I had to do something to satisfy somebody. I was not going to compromise anything, and--and people 01:57:00knew that.

ADAMS: Do you, uh, okay, well, then in your personal opinion, do you think the separation of the community colleges from UK to put under the umbrella of KCTCS was a good or bad thing, and why?

PIEKARSKI: Well I--I can't say it was entirely--well it's--it's a difficult question to answer. Because unless you have a leader who understands associate degree education, and understands that the vocational-technical level programs are different from an associate 01:58:00degree program, I think it's going to be very difficult for that system to be successful. We can talk about numbers, and I read about those all the time, but I--I would question those numbers, um, because I do not believe that they're accurate. Um, enrollment figures is what I'm talking about now. I--I--I think it's probably too early to--to say whether or not it will or won't be successful. I--I think--I think this because the people out in the colleges and the technical- vocational schools have had to make an adjustment. I mean there's adjusting to do on both sides.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: And whether or not, um, they can adjust to what I would 01:59:00consider a quality educational system, you know, I don't know. Um, I--I don't know how--I--I think only time will tell. I--I would hope that it will not become a political system, uh, and yet it started out that way in my estimation.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Um, and, um, I--I think that, um, unless--it's--it's--it's hard to keep politics out. But, um, I--I think there's that real danger of political influence. And--and from my experiences of working through the years with the vocational-technical people on these various committees, uh, various, uh, program committees, um, I do know that 02:00:00there was a great political influence on them--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --uh, in the way that they functioned even before this separation ever occurred. I mean, they were afraid from day one when a new governor took over whether or not they were gonna have a job. And that--that just--that is not, um, educationally sound when--when you have a system like that where people are worrying about whether or not they're going to have a job because there's a new governor.

ADAMS: (laughs) Right.

PIEKARSKI: And that--now I can speak absolutely that's how some of those people, uh, existed in the vocational-technical system.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: They--they worried about their jobs.

ADAMS: From election to election.

PIEKARSKI: That's right.

ADAMS: Now with the separation of the Community College Systems from UK, do you think it was a good or bad thing that Lexington Community 02:01:00College stayed with UK whereas--when the rest of them went off and formed KCTCS, because of where we are now? But at that time, let's talk at that time; did you think LCC staying connected to UK was a good thing or bad thing?

PIEKARSKI: At that time I think it was probably a good thing that they stayed with UK, because of the proximity for one thing--

ADAMS: --correct.

PIEKARSKI: And because of--of, um, the things are really--the programs that were in place. I think, um, L--LCC has probably the greatest number of health programs. And the proximity to the medical center and the other hospitals and health agencies in this area make it a natural. 02:02:00And I think it would have been a problem, of course it could be a problem now too, because I--I think when you separate now, you know, and you go from UK--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --to KCTCS, that's a whole other educational process that you have to do with all the agencies that you use. And they're going to say: KCTCS, well now, should we--they're not, uh, are they higher education or aren't they? LCC was. Now is KCTCS, are they really higher education? And so the president and his staff and all the program people, when they go out to these agencies for their, uh, to negotiate agreements for student experience, that's a whole educational process all over again.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: So it's--I mean--and--and they're probably still going 02:03:00through it, because you don't just go to them that one meeting and say, "We're changed now, we're now under KCTCS."

ADAMS: (laughs) Oh, by the way.

PIEKARSKI: Yeah. And--and agreements, you know, those agreements were all signed by the university.

ADAMS: Correct.

PIEKARSKI: Those all had to be redone I'm sure.

ADAMS: What's--what's your personal--and this is just your personal take now because you retire--officially I guess, officially officially retired in '98. Is that correct?

PIEKARSKI: Um, yeah, after my post-retirement, right.

ADAMS: Um, and since then, you know, you've probably kept up from where UK has--has--or LCC has gone. And now with the whole SACS and the probation that we were on, and--and all that, do you think that, uh, LCC separating from UK now is a good or bad thing for the institution, and not only the institution, but the community of Lexington that we 02:04:00were intended to serve?

PIEKARSKI: Well I think to answer that question; I'm not sure at this point in time that LCC had a choice. I think that the--the fact that the Southern Association questioned, uh, whether or not LCC really was autonomous like the other community colleges: I think the fact that they questioned that and found in their visit here that there was some instances where they--it--caused them to question whether they were autonomous like the others. So I--I think given that situation you really could not be a community college, you couldn't continue on probation and jeopardize the faculty and the students involved--

ADAMS: --correct.

PIEKARSKI: So I think the situation came to a point where SACS took 02:05:00a--an--a stand. And apparently this is not just--it didn't, as my--as I understand it, this is not--this situation that occurred, occurred at other institutions that were similar to--to LCC. So it's--it's--it's really a sign of the times on where SACS was going too. And so I'm not sure that LCC had a choice. Now I didn't like it to happen. I mean I because--'cause I still believe in the UK Community College System. But it--it--I understand that it had to happen. Otherwise, you just would not be--could continue--you couldn't continue as an institution. So I think I've resolved myself to the fact that it was inevitable--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --given the circumstances.

ADAMS: Do you think that LCC is going to be able to better serve the 02:06:00community that our intention--I mean we were intended to serve the community of Lexington and surrounding areas, better or worse under KCTCS? Or is it really going to change?

PIEKARSKI: I don't know that it'll change. I think only time will tell. I think you have another layer here with combining; or consolidating is the term that they use.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: When you consolidate these institutions of, uh, different, um, levels of--of educational preparation you have a difference here. And whether or not this can all be pulled together--

ADAMS: --right--

PIEKARSKI: --I don't know.

ADAMS: Well, the--the--the--the big question right now is we're gone-- we're going from being Lexington Community College here on Cooper Drive 02:07:00out on South--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--

ADAMS: --and in Winchester, to now having, uh, four more campuses--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--

ADAMS: --and being a whole district. So, like you said, I think only time's gonna be able to tell where we end up, you know.

PIEKARSKI: And whether or not you can operate successfully all these units as one institution. Because as I've said, you--you have the vocational aspect, you have the technical aspect, and then you have the associate degree. Now I know you--the technical degrees are--that's a whole other issue that we haven't even talked about. But that was another big to-do, whether or not technical graduates could get associate degrees.

ADAMS: Um-hm.

PIEKARSKI: Uh, but you have all of that. And it's gonna take a unique person--and--and if anyone could do it it'd be Dr. Kerley--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --in terms of leadership to be able to pull it together.

ADAMS: Right.

PIEKARSKI: But it's--it's not going to be an easy job.


ADAMS: He's a--he's pretty good president----------(??)----------

PIEKARSKI: --and I think it's also going to depend on how faculty see this.

ADAMS: Correct.

PIEKARSKI: And if they see this as a good thing. You see, there's a whole--whole in-service education program here that they need, and probably have been getting it, um, in terms of what this all means and how we're going to operate as a consolidated institution. And what is our relationship going to be with--with all those other--

ADAMS: --um-hm--

PIEKARSKI: --uh, people who've also taught out on Leestown Road, uh, in- -in their own little bailiwick? So it's--it's--it's a unique situation and it--if it can be pulled off it'll be a success--

ADAMS: --that's what we're hoping--

PIEKARSKI: but the community is--is--like you said, uh, again it depends 02:09:00on--on how we publicize this consolidated institution.

ADAMS: Right. Correct. Well, they're having consolidation meetings. Now whether or not a lot--much will be, you know, decided in those. But you--you're right, if you can get the community on board--

PIEKARSKI: --and you know, there are some people--I will tell you this. (laughs) I--I know this, I can speak from all the other ins--around the state: if it's not UK, it's not quality.

ADAMS: See that's what a lot of, um, and I guess you were aware of this--I actually was over there in the boardroom when they met and went through their proceedings; which you--you could tell it was already predetermined--

PIEKARSKI: --um-hm--

ADAMS: --and that was just--but they had over three thousand signatures. Uh, the faculty did not want to separate from UK. The students did not want it. The staff did not want it. But yet the--the, uh, faculty and staff representative that represents us on the board voted--


PIEKARSKI: --voted for it--

ADAMS: for it.


ADAMS: And it's just so political. It's like your constituents, the people you represent--

PIEKARSKI: --right--

ADAMS: did not want this, but yet you voted the other way--

PIEKARSKI: --it's just, um--

ADAMS: --so, I mean, it's just left a bad situation in a lot of people's minds, so. But anyhow, I know we've been sitting here talking for the last two or three hours, and I just really want to thank you for taking your time to come down and share with, uh, me your wisdom. And hopefully people can take from these tapes and--and learn a lot more. Is there anything, and I know probably several things, but is there anything in particular you wish that I had asked that I didn't, that you would like to discuss?

PIEKARSKI: No, I think you've--you've covered the--the main topics. Um, and I do want to say it was a privilege talking about the University of 02:11:00Kentucky Community College System and specifically LTI and LCC.

ADAMS: Thank you.

PIEKSARSKI: Thank you very much.

[End of interview.]