Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Ed Hughes, April 11, 2007

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

KLEE: The following is an unrehearsed interview between John Klee and Dr. Ed Hughes. We're meeting at the Chamber Center, which is right on the edge of Lakeside Park in Fort Mitchell in Northern Kentucky. It's at President Hughes' office. The interview is part of the project of the University of Kentucky Library's -- of the Community College System in its earlier days. Dr. Hughes, start by giving me a little about your personal background.

HUGHES: Well, I grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. My parents were both -- during my lifetime, were both teachers, elementary school teachers. I have one sister who is older. I went to a private institution in North Carolina called Catawba College. Was a -- at the time was fairly heavily affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Of course, that was in 1968-72, a rather tumultuous time in the 00:01:00country. Then I went on to Middle Tennessee State University, where I got a psychology degree, a master's degree. My undergraduate's in psychology as well. Then I began teaching at a community college in Western Tennessee called Jackson State Community College. An interesting story about that was that I had actually applied for a position in the Psychology Department, was sent a letter by the president saying there was no openings, and about four months later I was called by my major professor to go back to Jackson State. They had a job in mental health technology. They were starting a program. So I used to joke that I had, within a four-month period, a letter of rejection and a letter of offer from the same president at the same institution. I taught there for two years and went on and got a PhD in higher education at Southern Illinois University.


KLEE: Let me back you up just a little bit. Your parents were in education, you said?

HUGHES: My parents were -- my mother taught elementary school for 33 or -4 years, and my dad taught elementary school for about seven or eight years.

KLEE: And the undergraduate college, Catawba, was that influenced by your religious background? How did you choose that out of --

HUGHES: I chose Catawba -- this is a different era; we wouldn't do this today. But my high school in Gettysburg, we -- as junior and seniors we were required to attend, especially as a senior, we were required to attend something called a college night. And it's where all the seniors came together at the school. There must have been fifty colleges and universities, and you had to pick three. You were required to pick three. I picked two schools in state that I was very interested in, and I simply saw on the roster, Catawba. I was a sports 00:03:00fan, and there was a fellow who was a tight end for -- a wide receiver for the Los Angeles (Klee laughs) Rams at the time, who was known as -- his name was Bucky Pope, but he was known as the Catawba Claw.

KLEE: Oh, really?

HUGHES: And I said "Catawba, what the heck?" I went -- site unseen, left that event and told my parents that's where I wanted to go. They were very -- it was the best decision -- one of the best decisions I ever made.

KLEE: Uh-huh.

HUGHES: I actually applied and was accepted and never visited the campus till I moved in.

KLEE: Is that right?

HUGHES: It was a great four years. It is probably -- I say that the institution was very involved in the community, and I learned about the value of a community-based education institution from a private institution -- from Catawba -- and I've said that all my life. 00:04:00That's probably the thing that turned me toward the community college environment and away from teaching in either the high school, which was a goal --

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: -- or maybe at another institution. It was so heavily involved in the community -- in fact, you're sitting in my office as president of Gateway, and there's a throw on the couch that's Catawba College.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: Because it reminds me of how important it is to really reach out into the community, and that was a real institution that did that. It had all the things we think about at a community college. It had small classes. It had caring faculty members who knew you by name and came to your room if you didn't show up for two or three days. (Klee laughs) They'd come to your dorm room and say, "What's going on?"

KLEE: Right. "Where are you at?"

HUGHES: So all of those reasons.

KLEE: Sure. So you went to Middle Tennessee, and you were studying a 00:05:00graduate program in psychology?

HUGHES: Graduate degree in psychology, in experimental psychology.

KLEE: And the community college connection, you just heard about an opening or someone recommended it to you?

HUGHES: Well, I wanted to teach. I knew I wanted to teach. With a psychology degree, I had two avenues. I could go into experimental psychology, which is really my love. But the job market in 1972 for experimental psychologists was just slim and none.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: I also needed to think through, you know, do I really want a PhD without doing any work in the field? So I decided either I'd go through teaching or I'd go with a -- counseling. I had enough counseling in my background that I could have done behavioral therapy with disturbed children, and I actually had interviews in both areas. But I really 00:06:00thought teaching might be the thing that I liked.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So I went -- basically went to Jackson State Community College --

KLEE: You were at Jackson State?

HUGHES: -- at the ripe age of 22.

KLEE: I was going to say, yeah, right out of college.

HUGHES: -- and started teaching. And I can tell you, I got there five -- about eleven days before school started with no syllabi, no nothing. They'd just received approval for this new program.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So I got there, everybody was gone except some major administrators. And the admissions director -- God love her -- tried to recruit me during that first week at least four times to the school, because I was on campus. And she'd say, "Do you need help?" (Klee laughs) I finally had to say "Ma'am, I'm your newest employee. I need you to help recruit some students for my program."

KLEE: To your program. (both laugh).

HUGHES: Then interesting how I got there. I taught that program for a year. A very good friend of mine at the school was teaching psychology. 00:07:00He left to go to Southern Illinois University. I was given the opportunity to take his position, so I did. When he came back a year and a half later, I literally went to SIU and replaced him there.

KLEE: So you went from the applied science degree, essentially, the technical-type mental counseling to more traditional teaching transfer classes?

HUGHES: And I loved it. And so then I picked Southern Illinois University, because at the time Southern Illinois was one of the premier model programs for higher education. In fact, it had been written up in numerous books as a place, if you were looking for what we would call leadership in higher ed. And they had an emphasis on community colleges, on finance, a few others, student services. I 00:08:00picked the community college. Studied under a number of people, but one influential person, Don Tolle -- he's now deceased -- had been the vice president at Jacksonville Community College, rather large, in Florida. And you know, as they say, I finished that degree and ended up in a little school called Mississippi County Community College in Blytheville, Arkansas, where I taught and was a division chair for five years.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: Then I moved to a dean's position, dean of the college at Saranac Lake, New York, called North Country Community College, where we stayed about two and a half years. And in 1985, I came to Kentucky.

KLEE: Now, you're making these moves. I heard you say "we." You had a family at this point?

HUGHES: We -- in 1982, I was remarried. I blended a family. I had two 00:09:00children, two daughters, and married a lady with -- whose was also a teacher, a nursing teacher, at the same school. She had a daughter. So we took off -- we got married in December, took off for Northern New York, which is near Lake Placid, is where this college was located, with a blended family of three daughters: seven, five, and slightly more than two and a half.

KLEE: Gee.

HUGHES: It was very interesting.

KLEE: And you were just looking for opportunities, I guess?

HUGHES: Yeah. At that point I had taught for five to seven years. Been doing a division chair role as well. I liked it, applied for the dean's job. I was the internal candidate, didn't get it. Didn't 00:10:00have to leave, but decided I really wanted to take an opportunity, so I moved to New York as a dean with a fellow who was from New York as a dean, and this was his first presidency. So we went in as first president and my first deanship, and I do not regret that. It was a union environment. I learned a great deal about how to deal with people, and yet I got anxious after two or three years and said, "I really think I could do that job."

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: Not that job at that college, but I think I'd like to try that.

KLEE: Be a president. And so Hazard had an opening, and I applied, along with -- I applied several other places. I wanted something small. I enjoyed rural. We were living in a rural area in Northern 00:11:00New York, very rural and in a very poverty-stricken area, even though Lake Placid, you think "Well, that's -- Olympics and all."

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: If you moved anywhere outside, you were in poverty. Indian -- Native-American Indians in the Malone area. So I came here to Kentucky. And remember getting off the plane in the spring of 1985 for the interview in Hazard. And my wife and I got off the plane, and the first thing we saw was Calumet Farms. We got out of the airport, the Bluegrass Airport, and there's Calumet Farms. (Klee laughs) It's -- we'd left Saranac Lake with probably twenty-three to twenty-four inches of snow still on the ground in late April, and we get out and 00:12:00it's sunny and the flowers are there and it's beautiful, and we both remember that. We were talking last night.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: We drove to Hazard, two and a half -- almost three hours away and found a bit of a different community. Not quite horse farms.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: I think we clicked pretty well with the interview committee. Met with Dr. Wethington, and probably a couple of weeks after that was all over, he called me on a Sunday and said he would offer me the job. And I said, "Well, can I think about it for a couple of days?" And in true Charles Wethington style, he said, "Well of course, but don't take too long. How about if I hear back from you on Monday afternoon?" (both laugh).

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: Which was about eighteen hours later, you know. We had considered and knew that we had a good opportunity there. Were 00:13:00concerned about our children. Were concerned about what Sarah would do because she was a teacher. She was teaching at the institution, and we were already told that she would not be able to teach at Hazard in nursing. So you know, what do you do?

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So we moved to Hazard in the summer of 1985.

KLEE: Now, you weighed advantages and disadvantages and so forth? Hazard, as you said, is in a -- I wouldn't -- not necessarily isolated, but it's -- you know, it's --

HUGHES: In 1985 it was very isolated.

KLEE: Was it? Okay. And some of the roads hadn't been built that made it more accessible. What was the community like at that point?

HUGHES: It was very small. It hasn't grown substantially in terms of numbers of people who actually live in the community. But what's happened over the time is Hazard has continued to grow as a destination 00:14:00for jobs, for health care, IT, all of those kinds of things. It was also at the time developing a regional CBS affiliate, which began to even focus more communications center, police center, political center. Eastern Kentucky had Pikeville, Hazard, and probably Somerset as the political power bases. To some degree during the history, Jackson. But Hazard was small. It was very close-knit. There were two banks and one savings and loan, and the two bank presidents did not get along. There was a very unorganized business community. It was mainly small shops. There were no industries other than coal. There was the 00:15:00hospital, which was the Appalachian Regional Health Care System. There was the -- a growing -- I would say a growing county government and county school system. There were individual high schools, but they had been talking about doing some mergers. It was very isolated. I can tell you at the time there was one shopping center. There was no movie theaters at the time. And many things happened in rapid order between '85 and '90 that brought some real new, entrepreneurial kinds of things to the community. Probably the single biggest change was when WYMT 00:16:00television, a CBS affiliate, opened its door and went on the air in the fall of 1985. They were located literally in -- about two miles from the main campus. At the time Hazard had one building that had been built in 19- -- Marvin, when did you build that building -- 1970, and it had had that one building since 1970. In '85, with the start of the new TV, we were the closest -- the interesting thing here is we were the closest institution of education to WYMT. WYMT was pretty well staffed with about four very veteran people, including a veteran newsman of 00:17:0025 years who was brought to Hazard to develop the news team. The only people he could find were brand new, right out of school graduates, with visions of being the next great television news anchor. (Klee laughs) And poor things, some of them had virtually never done TV.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So this was a one-person shop. So you went out with your camera, you set it up, you did the interview, you came back to the station. And they were all wonderful kids, but there were times when they would -- if they needed some expertise, they'd come to the college. That helped us.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: If they wanted a comment from me about some- -- I just simply said "Just tell me. I'll make our -- us available." Our history 00:18:00professors became -- and political science -- became the people that they would call for the election results. So they would -- we'd have some guy from Hazard Community College analyzing the state's election.

KLEE: I see. Free publicity.

HUGHES: So we got a lot of benefit, but I think -- I'll also say this. When we got to Hazard, there was no NPR available. There was a cable television network that probably had seven or eight channels. And none of the channels were very local. I mean, we got news from Secaucus, New Jersey; Knoxville; Huntington, West Virginia; Lexington; Chicago, WGN or something from Chicago; and two other stations. And so we often learned about Eastern Kentucky from the eyes of people outside of Eastern Kentucky. And I would say to you, it would -- there 00:19:00wouldn't be a week that would go by that one of those stations didn't have some cute little story about some anecdotal something event in Eastern Kentucky or Appalachia that really built on the stereotype, the stereotype of the Hatfields and the McCoys and all that. And I used to say, you know, you could always find -- it was unfortunate, but you always find somebody who had a mule who could tap out, you know, the rhythm to some stupid little song, and they would be on television.

KLEE: Yeah. The locals might not ever knew about them, but they could find them somehow.

HUGHES: But they could find them. And so the world knew about Appalachia from a very outside looking in.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: WYMT took on as a mantle as their theme, "We're your mountain television -- WYMT." And they really meant it. And they did really 00:20:00good things to focus on the folks in Appalachia from Appalachia. They built relationships with county, city, education institutions. And I think YMT probably had more to do with changing the way Eastern Kentuckians feel about themselves in the last 25 to 50 years than anything we've done. Eastern Kentucky has no regional newspaper.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So you only get the Lexington Herald's view of the world. It doesn't have -- up till then, it didn't have a TV station. So all of that, we just used it. We told Mr. Baldridge, "Anytime you want to talk to anybody, we'll make them available." And that helped us.

KLEE: Can you give me some of the names of some of those professors they talked to? I know John Brown may be one of them.

HUGHES: Well, I was going to say, John Brown was one of the professors. 00:21:00Later in life, Mike Strickland, who is still there --

KLEE: Uh-huh. Right.

HUGHES: -- became a political analyst. We had -- oh, my goodness. We actually developed such a good relationship with them, that Evelyn Wood -- her name prior to that was Burnett (??) -- came from the television station to head our PR office. I hired Evelyn to handle our PR. We did all kinds of things. We -- and I will get you a copy of this if you'll get it back to me. I may have two. We, actually, in 1988 did a twenty-year celebration of the college, and we aired a half-hour show about the college. It has some footage of, I think, Dr. Jolly talking and some other people. It would be good for you to see.

KLEE: All right. You've mentioned Dr. Jolly a couple of times. He was 00:22:00the founding president of Hazard?

HUGHES: He was the founding director, that's right.

KLEE: And -- director, that's what they called them at the time, I guess.

HUGHES: That's right.

KLEE: And I recall, because I was at Maysville at the time, Maysville and Hazard and Henderson always were kind of in this bottom tier.

HUGHES: Right.

KLEE: And Dr. Jolly had built some programs and so forth.

HUGHES: Yes, he did.

KLEE: When you came in, you know, you looked at the situation, and what -- did you come in with a certain predisposition? Did you have a certain vision that -- or did you just look at the situation and decide where you were going to progress from there?

HUGHES: Well, when I came to Hazard -- and my guess is if you were to interview my wife, she was none too happy about moving to Hazard. (Klee laughs) And I understand that, because she couldn't continue her love of teaching.

KLEE: Her career. Right.

HUGHES: Now, she eventually -- within probably two or three months, Dr. Henry Campbell at Prestonsburg, who was the president there, actually 00:23:00offered her a job, and she was teaching in the nursing program at Prestonsburg for the first couple of years we were there. But back to when I got there, I was a young 34-year-old looking for a presidency. That looked like a good first presidency. I would say the only thing I did in going there was say to myself, "We're going to do this for five years."

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: I felt -- at my age, I was probably one of the youngest, if not the youngest president in 1985. I said, "This seems to be a college that has not grown significantly over the last two or three years." I didn't hear anything about outreach programs. I came from an 00:24:00institution that had three campuses, outside -- three branch campuses besides the campus in Saranac Lake. And those campuses were -- one was an hour to the north, one was an hour to the south, and the third one was an additional hour to the south in Ticonderoga, New York.

KLEE: Oh, my.

HUGHES: And I saw what we did there. So I guess the only thing back in my mind I had was, How does Hazard, which supposedly had a service area of about six or seven counties, and yet most of our students were coming from Perry County -- how do we reach out? I had met people from Hyden. That's Leslie County. I had met people from Letcher County. In fact, the advisory board had a member from each one of those counties. 00:25:00So in meeting with them early on, it was, How do we take the college there? Because it was pretty obvious, with the transportation lacking -- I mean, there were no major roads. It's difficult to get out of the hollers. How do we take it there? And that was probably the only thing I really had in my mind of terms of expansion. The other thing that was pretty clear after I got there was the institution's faculty and staff had never really been through a strategic planning process. I don't mean to say never, because I don't know -- but within the recent past, had not been through a strategic planning process. I couldn't see plans beyond a year. If they were there, I didn't know where they 00:26:00were. People didn't talk about their dreams. They didn't talk about the what-ifs. They didn't talk -- they didn't have what we would call a vision statement or what you want to become. And it became pretty clear that we had to do something to bring a shared vision together. So that first year, we -- I introduced a planning process, hired some people that I had worked with before to come in and develop a strategic planning process. We took, I guess, the first eight or nine months. I met with everybody individually -- and the faculty. I met all the board. You know, did the normal thing of a new president coming in.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: But it became clear they had ideas, but they weren't together in any organized -- so we did a strategic plan. And we did a five year -- I think a three to five-year strategic plan. We literally 00:27:00took the entire institution to Prestonsburg, to the new Holiday Inn in Prestonsburg for an overnight. I brought some people in who would lead this. Everybody from the maintenance people to the senior professor, who at the time was John Brown, participated. I participated as an individual, not as director. And we came away -- in fact, I still have in my files the original notes for some of that. And we came away with a vision and a strategic plan. Then from each year, we would develop a strategic plan for the year, and I would present that, and that would be our goals for the year. And that's what -- back then we would present our annual plan to our colleagues at a retreat that 00:28:00Dr. Wethington would have, and we'd defend the plan. We'd answer questions about what we did. And back then we did a lot of sharing of best practices among the colleges, and I frequently stole ideas. And learned a lot, and we did some good things in those sixteen and a half years. But that first five years, it was, Can we dream big enough? And what are the dreams? And what are we going to build here? Not only on that campus -- there was a lot of pressure in Hazard to build that campus up -- but out in Leslie County and Letcher County and over in Knott County and up in Jackson, what were we going to do? There was a private four-year school at Pippa Passes, Alice Lloyd; a junior college 00:29:00in Jackson, Lees Junior College. They were seen as -- they would have seen us -- they did see us as competitors.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So that was the environment in 1985.

KLEE: Uh-huh. So I guess you moved pretty quickly for going off-campus?

HUGHES: We did. We kind of did it simultaneous. We knew we couldn't grow a whole lot more. I mean, we literally had one building, so I think that Dr-- . I never have asked him, but I think that Dr. Wethington felt it was time for Hazard to have a new building. There was a need, but finding the political strength in little old Hazard to get a building -- so in that first strategic plan we started to lay out what our needs might be in Hazard and what we might do over in some of 00:30:00the other counties. We were doing a little bit of outreach, a couple of classes here and there, maybe in Leslie County. Virtually nothing in Jackson, because that was Lees' territory. And we were doing some things in Letcher County, in Whitesburg, much to the chagrin of Vivian Blevins, who was the director at Southeast. So two things happened. Vivian and I and Dr. Wethington made an agreement that Whitesburg would be Southeast territory, and beyond a certain point, Hazard would not venture without Southeast asking us.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And then the second thing we did was we moved to Leslie County, because we had a strong advisory board member there, and began to offer more classes at the high school.

KLEE: Do you remember his name?


HUGHES: He's dead now. Eddie -- oh gosh.

KLEE: I know names are hard.

HUGHES: Eddie Moore.

KLEE: Okay.

HUGHES: Eddie Moore. Eddie was a member of the founding board, but he was still a board member there. He was murdered in 1980s, maybe the early 1990s. His emphasis was, What can you do in our community? He and a fellow by the name of Fred Brashear who owned the bank -- his son is now the board chair, Freddie -- really was instru- -- they were instrumental in helping us work with the high school so that we could work in the vocational school. But Dr. Wethington was able to get a building for us. It was the first building since the 1970s.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: We added two, and we never stopped building. We kept adding. 00:32:00And we began to utilize the political power of Benny Ray Bailey, who at that time was the Senate Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, from Knott County. And we became good allies, and he became very supportive. And we opened that new building -- the new wing of the old building in -- I think it was 1988. And that really signaled a change. The building looked different. It was very airy, open, lots of glass. It was designed by Sherman Carter Barnhart. And I remember in the selection of them, they came and asked what we were looking for. The only addition that I made to what all the people wanted -- it was a library/classroom center -- was I said, "I want it to feel open. I want 00:33:00glass. I want the world to come in to us." Because the other building really was a basement floor, partially underground and one-story.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: And if you've ever been to Hazard, where you enter is -- to the left of where you enter is -- where you used to enter, you used to go up a set of steps and go through some small doors. So it was a real closed-in feeling. So that opened it up, and people started flocking. We started doing more advertising. I can tell you that the radio station in Hazard, WSGS, is a 100,000-watt radio station. On a clear day, you can hear it here (Klee laughs) and in Louisville, and it's a powerful station. It's a classic, old-time country radio. But we had free reign on the radio. If we wanted to do a show -- and at the 00:34:00time John Brown did a half-hour talk show. It was a half-hour or an hour talk show called Talk Back. But if we wanted to do a program, all we had to do was go talk to the owners. They literally gave us run of the station, and that helped. We did all kinds of promos. We did all kinds of work. And people actually listened to that station. So we began to grow very rapidly. We did a lot of what I would call "guerilla marketing." We did things that today people take for granted. We got on mailing lists and sent flyers and our spring and fall schedules to every post office box in seven counties.

KLEE: Yeah. Right.

HUGHES: Things like that. You know, we didn't have any money to pay for it, so we went out and asked advertisers to help us pay for it.


KLEE: Put an ad in the flyer.

HUGHES: So you know, we'd sell the edge of the schedule. You put your banner edge around -- we'd sell that for so much. We got very aggressive, because it was clear that we didn't have a marketing strategy. We didn't have a plan. We didn't implement, and we really were not recruiting. So we put an emphasis on recruiting, and it just kept growing and growing and growing and growing.

KLEE: And that went together, I guess, then -- as you grew you had more justification to build another building?


KLEE: It's quite a little campus there now.

HUGHES: Well, it's quite a campus. It was a very small campus. That campus has probably less than fifteen contiguous acres on it. So it's a struggle for parking. I can remember that we used to have one entrance, and we decided we needed to have a second egress into that. 00:36:00There was a -- basically, it was a forest, and we actually went ahead and got the county to cut the trees down. The city agreed to do the gravel. The county came back and said they would do the paving. And in about three weeks we had a new road, from a road that went into the golf course area off of Route 15, and nobody knew any different. (Klee laughs)

KLEE: Didn't have the UK architects down there, I guess, at that point?

HUGHES: No. If there's one thing that probably I've gained is a reputation for being a bit of a maverick, doing what's best, but maybe not always asking for permission, but seeking forgiveness after it was over.

KLEE: You mentioned a couple of those individuals, county officials and city officials that were influential.

HUGHES: Bill Gorman, who's still the mayor, was very instrumental. Bill 00:37:00is and was at the time widely known nationally and within the state, mainly through things like the Jaycees and the League of Cities. He was very politically connected to Wendell Ford and Mitch McConnell, and we took advantage of that -- that closeness. The county judge at the time was Sherman Neace, and Sherman and Bill worked very closely together, the county and city government, and that's how things got done. And it's really how things get done anyway.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: But they were -- Bill was very interested in the college, helped us re-establish the foundation. Another gentleman who just recently passed on was Vernon Cooper, C. Vernon Cooper. Mr. Cooper 00:38:00was the chairman -- or was the treasurer of the foundation and was the first person who called me from Hazard after Charles announced my appointment. And he said "Now, I know you're going to want to move. Find who you want to move and call me, and I'll send you a check from the foundation." I remember he said, "When you're here and settled, I want you to come see me." So I did. He introduced me to every individual who was working at Peoples Bank & Trust. He was president. And we sat and talked and he told me about his escapades and his adventures as a mountain climber and his famous story about how he rescued a -- now a general in the Argentina Army (Klee laughs) and nursed him back to health on the mountain and was given all these awards. And he said, "You know, I travel all over the world, and I climb mountains, but Hazard's my home." That was pretty typical of the 00:39:00way a lot of people felt about the community.

KLEE: Yeah, people love their mountain home.

HUGHES: Absolutely. Yep.

KLEE: Tell me about -- when you became president of Hazard, it was part of the University of Kentucky College System. What impact did that have on you, if any, and then in the community and among students?

HUGHES: Well, I didn't know any better, so I just said, "We're part of the University of Kentucky. Let's figure out how we can make that work for us."

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: It was pretty clear that a lot of students were not going to the University. They were place-bound. Both young, typical-aged students, but also we were beginning to see more non-traditional students, especially women. And they were not going to go to the University. We 00:40:00tried to use the University as a recruiting mechanism. We developed a slogan that said "Hazard Community College -- we are the University of Kentucky in your backyard."


HUGHES: We put mugs out. I wish I could -- I should have brought a lot of that stuff, but I'll --

KLEE: That's all right.

HUGHES: We had mugs made and pens and you name it, but it always was -- even our tag lines on TV ads and radio ads, "We're the University of Kentucky in your backyard." So that in 1997 when we moved away, that still was imprinted on a lot of people. What's going to happen?

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: I'll tell you that the System, for a new president, was very helpful. We actually worked as a system. Yes, we knew who the boss was. But to his credit, after a break-in period where he got 00:41:00to understand what you were about and we got to understand what Dr. Wethington was about, he pretty much left you alone to run your college.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: We all knew that there were certain things that we had to be doing, but we did that. What happened was, if you needed information about something, you didn't have to call Ben Carr or Marie Piekarski at the System Office.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: You could call a colleague and they'd help you. So Bruce Ayers at Southeast and I became lifelong friends and we still are. Pat Lake, when he moved over to Henderson. Henry Campbell and I were very, very close, and I would call Henry and say, "How do you do this? What's your advice on this?" And we'd go ahead and do it without bothering the System.

KLEE: Now, you're talking about --

HUGHES: But I will tell you, when I went to the System Office, I learned early on that while Jack Jordan, who was the finance guy, Ben Carr, who 00:42:00was the academic and student affairs, and Charles Wethington were the big three, you had to know all those other people in the System Office. So I made it a point to walk through Breckinridge Hall to shake hands with people, to introduce myself, because they were there. They were going to help us, and the more they knew us as individuals, the more closely we could get work out of them for our benefit, if you follow that.

KLEE: Now, Breckinridge Hall was the place at the University of Kentucky?

HUGHES: Breckinridge Hall was -- the University of Kentucky off Rose Street, and the System Office, I believe, at the time had the top two or three floors.

KLEE: And you were talking about the other people like Marie Piekarski and --

HUGHES: The secretaries. Mary Ida Gray. Bob Burnett. Individuals who had specific responsibilities that really were important for the 00:43:00colleges. If you built a new building during that time, you worked with Bob because Bob had all of the contacts with the vendors for furniture and equipment.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: if you worked against Bob, you worked against your institution, so you had to get to know him. So we would go to lunch. And I mean, it's something we probably don't do enough of today, but I remember our academic dean, our dean of students. I would say to them, "Go visit more people than just the ones who are running your meetings. Get them to know who we are." We were far enough away that people didn't particularly want to come to Hazard.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: It was a two-and-a-half-hour, three-hour drive, so we did a lot of it long distance. And it was important to be able to pick up the phone and talk to the clerk in Jack Jordan's office to move something along.

KLEE: Right. You know, furniture or business affairs --


HUGHES: Whatever it was.

KLEE: -- or academic affairs. Earlier, when you said that you would call Dr. Campbell, who actually, I guess, came down and started Hazard --

HUGHES: That is true.

KLEE: -- even before Dr. Jolly.

HUGHES: Technically, he was the first director.

KLEE: You're talking about things like if maybe a self-study was coming up or anything.

HUGHES: Anything.

KLEE: Preparing a schedule. You could just call him up and say, "You know, we've run into a problem."

HUGHES: "How do you handle it?" And I think that's been a common theme-- I know it has. It's been a common thing through the Community College System under UK and under KCTCS. I am the senior, most-tenured president in a public institution in Kentucky, both in the community colleges and -- all that means is I've outlasted everybody else. (Klee laughs) Pat Lake is second by half a year or something like that.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So I've seen -- I think I've seen 29 different changes of leadership in these colleges. I write every one of the new presidents 00:45:00a letter, and I talk to them about, "Feel free to call on us, because we'll walk you through answers and solutions that will work, and we won't tell you no. We'll give you advice." And that was the same way - - and Henry was the one who told me, "Call me. Call me first." I think that was just great advice.

KLEE: Without that shortcut, there would be a great deal of consternation that might be unnecessary.

HUGHES: Yeah, it might be. And you always run the risk of somebody saying, "We don't do it that way." They didn't say no. They just said, "We don't do it that way."

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: There was obviously a need to do things differently.

KLEE: Uh-huh. I see. One other thing about the UK connection, that region down there, they're Big Blue territory as far as --

HUGHES: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

KLEE: -- UK basketball and --

HUGHES: Basketball and football, because in 1956-1957, Johnny Cox, an 00:46:00All-American who played for Rupp, was from Hazard.

KLEE: I see. So that was another tie-in.

HUGHES: Another tie-in. Yeah. We -- and I'll tell you the other thing that I have learned from watching and working with Dr. Wethington. At the time, Dr. Wethington -- the community colleges were certainly a part of UK, but they were not seen as a real benefit to UK, in my judgment.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And during Dr. Wethington's time as --

[End tape one, side one ; begin tape one, side two]

KLEE: This is Side 2 of a tape by John Klee with Dr. Ed Hughes. You were mentioning working with Dr. Wethington, the fact that -- you said something about UK's view of us.


HUGHES: Well, one of things that Dr. Wethington did is, we would meet probably nine or ten times a year as presidents. There might be a month or two in the summer we didn't. But Dr. Wethington would invite to our meeting to talk to us other deans and vice presidents from across UK. So that's where I got to meet, you know, Jim Holsinger. I got to meet Emery Wilson, who at the time was dean of the medical school. I got to meet Tom Robinson, who was at that time -- or shortly thereafter was the allied health dean. I can go down the list. I'd have to do a little thinking about their names.

KLEE: Right. Sure.

HUGHES: What that allowed us to do is to have direct access to what was really our counterparts at the University, the deans of the colleges. And we developed some very -- at Hazard some very close relationships 00:48:00with the medical school deans, the allied health school deans. And as a result, the UK Center for Rural Health is located in Hazard.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: It happened to also be something that was very much an interest of Benny Ray Bailey, who was close to the University and wanted it put in his district. And Hazard was certainly that district. But we got - - myself as president, but our people got to know -- our nursing faculty got to know Carolyn Williams and her nursing faculty. And we really built the UK Center for Rural Health on the basis of some of those meetings where Charles brought people in to talk to us. We would -- I took advantage of it. I would go visit them. How can we work more closely to get a student from Hazard to move into the pharmacy program 00:49:00or move into the school of architecture or whatever? And we moved students from our college there, because, I think, of some of those relationships. When the Rural Health Center was first developed, we were at the table in those planning years of how we were going to put our technical programs in allied health with the University's programs, because the idea was for nursing, physical therapy, and probably three or four others, medical technology, we would be supplying the associate degrees that they would then move into the baccalaureate without ever having to leave the region, which was -- early 1990s was pretty 00:50:00far-thinking.

KLEE: Sure.

HUGHES: I mean, today we have at Hazard the University Center of the Mountains, that when Bob Kustra was the president at Eastern, and he and Ron -- Morehead -- he just left Morehead, Eaglin, and at the time Gary Cox was CPE president or chairman, and Dr. Wethington sat down and began to map out what that might look like. And thank goodness, Jay Box took it and got it implemented.

KLEE: Right. And that location has --

HUGHES: It's -- now, it's working well.

KLEE: Talking about that Center for Allied Health, I believe that's where some of the nursing faculty of some of the other colleges maybe went over to Hazard to get their BSNs?


KLEE: That's what I recall.

HUGHES: Yes. Yes.

KLEE: Any other -- you mentioned Dr. Wethington several times. What kind of person was he to deal with and work for?

HUGHES: He is very straight-forward, absolutely straight-forward. Gave 00:51:00you all the room you wanted. I wouldn't say that Charles became a great friend of many of us, because he was in fact our boss, and he maintained, I think, an appropriate relationship that way. He was always supportive. What he would not put up with was, you know, a half-baked idea. When -- let me give you a specific example. When I went to Hazard, it was very clear in our strategic visioning that we did that first year, that we were really not reaching out to the community in terms of economic development. And people would say, "Well, there's just no economic development down here." You know, there's coal, and then there's coal. (Klee laughs). And then there's 00:52:00county government and school government. That's where people worked. And there's retail. Well, we had a faculty member who's still a faculty member there, Richard Crowe in the business division, propose to me an idea that later became known as the Business and Industry Technical Assistance Center, an acronym called BITAC -- we eventually in 1991 won a national award for that program -- came to me with an idea that we could develop a partnership, utilizing organizations like the Retired Senior Service Corps, SCORE, the Morehead State University and UK's Small Business Centers, the Chamber of Commerce, which at that point in Hazard was non-existent. But I mean, the idea was there. Plus expertise of faculty to develop a program that would 00:53:00allow entrepreneurs to grow their business in Hazard. It made all the sense in the world. We were not going to attract Toyota. Okay? We weren't going to attract Toyota suppliers. I mean, they weren't on the Interstates.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So what could we do to build the economy of that region using boot-strap mentality? So Richard and I talked about this. Richard came with a six- or eight-page proposal. And I took that to Dr. Wethington, and I said, "If you'll give me -- ." At that time, the way we got our allocations is you would request positions, money, and that would be added to your budget if it were approved at the System level. And I took to him this concept. I said, "If you give me $68,000, a lot of money, I'll hire a coordinator. Our faculty will work together. 00:54:00And I'll hire a secretary and coordinator, and we will start this BITAC program, with the goal of getting people through programs to start their own business." That was our goal: number of businesses created and number of jobs created out of that. And to his credit -- I answered his questions. Richard had prepared me well, and we got the money, and we developed a program. We utilized some grant funds that were available for dislocated miners, because at the time the coal industry was in bust form. Okay? Which also helped -- John, I will tell you, helped the rapid increase in our enrollment. The coal industry was at an absolute low. People were laid off; we were laying off. I remember one month over 1,100 miners in Letcher County alone were laid off. Now, that's a huge number. Letcher County at the time 00:55:00had, maybe, 29,000 people total.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So they were coming back to school, which helped Southeast, us, probably Prestonsburg, grow very rapidly. It wasn't all just great leadership. (both laugh). I'm just kidding. And so we took that notion. And to Charles's credit, we rented a building downtown, he let us do it, we stayed within the $68,000, and we grew that program with other funds, Dislocated Miners, Bluegrass Skills. We grew that into a national model that was then replicated at two other institutions, Madisonville and I don't remember the other in-state school that did it, and they actually got funding for it. It was going to be a model of funding for all the community colleges in Kentucky, but politics got in the way of that, so only funding came for two additional ones. But 00:56:00we created over that, probably, four-year period, we probably created something along the neighborhood of 250 small businesses, most of which were still operating five years later.

KLEE: That's wonderful.

HUGHES: They were things from dog grooming to restaurants. The poster child was a fellow by the name of John -- I can't remember his last -- John -- almost had it -- who was a dislocated coal miner living in subsidized housing, not working, had been disabled -- partially disabled. Couldn't find a job. We put him through this program. He started John's Rent-All. There was not a rental equipment business in the area.

KLEE: Is that right?

HUGHES: Within one year he had hired two additional dislocated coal miners, bought out one of his angel investors, eventually sold the 00:57:00company. And it is a huge company now (Klee laughs) in the Hazard area, doing -- and that was the poster child for what could happen if you had this kind of a program.

KLEE: And this program --

HUGHES: But that was our economic development package for the area. Nobody was doing that, so we did.

KLEE: And that program took people through, like, business plans, taxes.

HUGHES: It did. It did. It was a modular program. You . . . they developed a business plan; they built this idea. We helped them get their financing. For instance, there had not been a Small Business Development loan in that part of Eastern Kentucky ever. We had to convince the banks to work with us. I think it was -- Peoples Bank & Trust was the first one that went into the loan business.

KLEE: You mentioned Mr. Cooper at that bank.

HUGHES: Mr. Cooper.

KLEE: Who was the fellow at the other bank?

HUGHES: L.D. Gorman.

KLEE: L.D. Gorman.

HUGHES: At the time.

KLEE: Right, who was a relative of the mayor.

HUGHES: He was a relative.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And at the time --


KLEE: And you had to work with them?

HUGHES: -- they were feuding. We worked with both of them. We worked separately.

KLEE: With everybody. (Klee laughs)

HUGHES: And Mr. Joe Eversole was the president of First Federal Savings and Loan, and his company's name is on one of the buildings that's at Hazard right now.

KLEE: Right. Let me -- if you've got -- do you have ten more minutes?

HUGHES: Oh, I've got plenty of time.

KLEE: Okay. I was going to ask you, we'll follow up -- and you used the business incubator as an example of the System. Other strengths and weaknesses of that System approach --

HUGHES: Well, I think the weakness was that all money came to the central office and was tightly controlled.

KLEE: I see. Yeah.

HUGHES: But to their credit, in 1988, we also developed our first major gifts campaign. We brought -- our foundation, new foundation, came 00:59:00together and agreed that we needed to raise some money ourselves. We couldn't just rely on UK and tuition in the state. It was too much up and down. They were very proud in 1968 that they had raised the money necessary to buy the land, which is the original deal back for all these community colleges. And then they gave the land over to the University for a community college. So these group of individuals, Bill Gorman was one, Mr. Cooper and others, came together and said, "Let's go ahead and raise some money." I had this new vision. We needed money. We had no scholarship money, and so we brought Ray Clements in. Interviewed three; he was the winner.

KLEE: This is a fundraising professional?

HUGHES: This was a fundraising professional, Clements Associates. And we raised a little more than a couple of a million dollars, maybe $2.3 million, to really start our program of scholarships. We 01:00:00were successful. We wrote a grant, and was successful and getting a matching grant. We had to raise half a million dollars in cash, and we would get a million dollars from the federal government. We did that. It was huge, huge. We raised an additional million on top of that, so I think it was $2.3 million when we finished. What that gave us was legitimacy. And then it also started others in the system thinking, "My gosh, if we can do that in Hazard --"

KLEE: What could we do in --

HUGHES: And so the Community College System developed the -- a private fundraising -- and all the rest of the colleges went through it. And I think at the time in the mid-'90s we raised $44 million. I remember Maysville was involved with it and all that. But that wouldn't have 01:01:00happened if we were individual colleges.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: We had to have the expertise and the support of the System and the University in order to do that. We didn't have the wherewithal to pull out all that support mechanism that was required.

KLEE: The PR kinds of things.

HUGHES: PR. You know, how you write an endowment agreement.

KLEE: Sure.

HUGHES: Again, that allowed me to get to know people in the legal office, Joe Burch, and others. It allowed me to know people across the University that I otherwise wouldn't have, and wouldn't have been able to help us. And that was -- I guess that was one of things that came out of our strategic vision was, we're going to have build the capacity within the institution to sustain it. We can't sit around and wait for 01:02:00the University president to anoint us with a new building or to say -- we had to do things ourselves. And there was never a rule that said you couldn't.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: There was an assumption that you might not want to. But I think as we turned over the original presidents, who had been there, many of them, twenty and twenty-five years, a different breed of presidents came in who were a little more aggressive and were a little more prone to getting out on the edge. And I think the group that's here now is even further on that edge. I think we're a much more edgy group than we were back in 1985.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And that doesn't mean to say anything about anybody. It was just -- it was a different era.

KLEE: Well, yeah. There were different goals and parameters at the time.


KLEE: In those kinds of fundraising campaigns, you've talked about what 01:03:00I would call some of the angels in the community.


KLEE: The radio and the TV station and the banks. Were there any families or anybody else that stands out in your mind that, you know, if you need to get something started, this is where you might go?

HUGHES: Yeah. Kentucky River Coal Corporation was huge.

KLEE: Okay.

HUGHES: A fellow by the name of Bruce Stephens. The library is named after he and his wife. They were instrumental. Kentucky River Coal was a very powerful organization. It employed a lot of people and had a lot of money. Even though they were headquartered in Lexington, their headquarters outside of Lexington really was the Hazard area.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: Bill Sturgill was -- had remained at that time very close to the college. Eddie J. Moore from Hyden. The Brashear family, who owned Hyden Citizens Bank, were very influential. Obviously the Gormans 01:04:00were. Joe Eversole. Lewis Hopper, he's not in very good health right now. The Hopper Student Center is named after him. A fellow who's dead for some time, Mr. Eblen. Mr. Eblen was one of the real movers and shakers, along with Bill Sturgill and Dewey Daniel. And Mr. Eblen, who was ancient when I got there, (Klee laughs) was very supportive. I think it was Mr. Eblen who gave me the first $10,000 for that -- he called me up to the Cadillac dealership, which was next to the college, and he wanted to chat. And obviously, if Mr. Eblen 01:05:00called you, you went for a chat. We talked a little bit and he said, "I know your starting a campaign. And here's -- I want to give you a little something for it." I remember coming back -- and our development officer at the time and her husband was the dean -- we just all celebrated. Thought $10,000 -- we'd never -- this was back, probably '86, '87. Two years later, we were getting $100,000 checks, and we thought, boy, we're really doing something cool now.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: But they were very clearly important. Billy Smith was from Knott County. He and his family were very instrumental. I've already said politically the Stumbo family, Grady Stumbo and Jan. They were younger, but they were clearly politically attuned. Also, I'd say -- I 01:06:00would -- let me think who else comes to mind back in those early days. They're the ones who you went to.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: They were the ones you went to.

KLEE: Right. In addition to -- it was Senator Bailey, wasn't it?

HUGHES: It was.

KLEE: Were there any local representatives or anybody else in the political sphere that really -- that you had to turn to? Or he was the main --

HUGHES: When you really needed something, you went to him, because outside of maybe somebody in the Governor's Office, nobody knew in Frankfort the budget better than Benny Ray Bailey.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: And so, you know, you worked with Benny. There were obviously other individuals. You're talking back in the early days when I was there. During the latter part of that sixteen years, probably, to be 01:07:00quite honest with you, Bill Strong was very important, as was Governor Patton, who was then Lieutenant Governor Patton. We got to know them very, very well, and he was very supportive of the Hazard region and the community college. I would also say -- I would be real remiss in not saying that Hal Rogers wasn't very significant. Not in the '85 period, '85 to '90, but after that he became very interested in what we were doing, especially BITAC, the business program. He was very instrumental in providing funding, federal funding, for some of our buildings. The large building that's there right now has his name as 01:08:00the conference center. And we became close personal friends, but very supportive of what we trying to do with individuals. We developed friendships for people who left the region. A lot of people left Hazard -- for Lexington, Louisville, wherever. My wife and I would go -- we've been very fortunate in our lives. We would go to places like -- we went to San Francisco one time for a conference, and we stayed a couple of days late and we went to one of the famous houses in San Francisco. And the docent had taught in Hazard in 1940-41 and then also taught in Whitesburg, like, in the late '40s. It was everywhere we went, we'd find somebody from Hazard.

KLEE: Somebody that had a connection. (Klee laughs)

HUGHES: They'd say, "Where you from?" We'd say, "We'll, you've never heard of it -- Hazard." "I used to work down there." (Klee laughs) 01:09:00They all had very fond memories. Nobody had negative memories. Fond memories. You know, and that -- I guess what happened over the time, what I would say to you, John, is the college became embedded in the community. There really are very few things that go on and went on that the college wasn't involved with. If it was a fine arts program, the college ran the Community Fine Arts Program.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: Later, in the late '90s when we were given an opportunity to build the Challenger Learning Center, that came to us as part of the community. The mayor pulled people together, and as a result, 100 people came together because the mayor asked them to. Somebody talked about it, and they all said, "This is a great idea. Who's going to do it?" And everybody, you know, kind of looked at the college.


KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So we put together the application, and then we went to the community and said, "We need $2,000." So the Lions Club gave us $500; you know, the hospital gave us $500; somebody else gave us -- so we put the $2,000 together. We did the sweat equity, sent it off, got it approved. The Governor gave us the start-up money, and we -- our foundation agreed to buy a building, which was the old post office, to put it in. And then three or four years later we were able to secure state funds to build the Challenger Learning Center. And had developed a really close relationship with Mr. Clemons, who died in a skiing accident and never saw that building built. But he was our first million-dollar donor to the college.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So there have been people that emerged over time as the go-to, 01:11:00but it was really all that early -- I will tell you one other thing early on, because I know you're focusing on the early part of the colleges.

KLEE: Uh-huh. Right.

HUGHES: When we began to do our fundraising and develop our foundation, we could not find where the foundation had ever been established, (Klee laughs) and yet we were operating as if it was. And I will -- this is absolutely the true story, I can still see myself sitting here. I went to Mr. Sturgill. I went to Bill, and I said, "Bill, could I borrow your file on the foundation?" "Sure." So he gave me a file about 10-12 inches thick. And he had newspaper clippings. It was a wonderful history. He's since got it back. So I started turning over papers, 01:12:00because he said, "I know we filed with the IRS." We can't find anything; the IRS couldn't find anything. (Klee laughs) I literally kept turning over, reading, and I turned over -- the last piece of paper I turned over was an old, weathered, yellowing-looking letter from the IRS that said they had approved our 501(c)(3) status. I remember jumping up, going, "Yeah!" And the dean and the development director, Kim Willens, came in and said, "What's this?" I said, "There's the document."

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And what had happened was the document got transferred when the IRS moved from Louisville to Covington, Kentucky, and it got lost.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: So they did things the right way to start the college. And I'm glad that you and others are doing the early days, and you'll 01:13:00eventually get to the more modern days.

KLEE: Yeah, eventually.

HUGHES: But there -- you know, I would say that there are other people. As I think about them, I'll drop you a note.

KLEE: Let me ask about three more questions.


KLEE: You're talking about the community. No town-gown separation? People felt comfortable with the college and --

HUGHES: Yeah. Oh, very much. It was their community college. And my philosophy and my strength, probably, was that I wanted it to be their community college even more. There really wasn't a town-gown kind of mentality. What there was was a territory between and among counties.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And so as we grew, as we developed a campus, a real campus, in Leslie County, not just classes at the high school, I think the fruit 01:14:00borne later, in the late '90s -- mid-'90s to late '90s, when we built the Knott County Opportunity Center with about eleven partners, eleven different funding agents to build that, that the college operates. We rebuilt the community -- the only WPA building still in existence in Leslie County, which is now their community college and community center in the middle of Hyden. We did that with Hal Rogers and us and the city and the state, and we were right there with them. And then clearly the merger, which is another whole probably --

KLEE: Project.

HUGHES: Probably another project is to talk about the merger of Lees with Hazard.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: All that came because I think people saw us as an institution that was their institution. It wasn't the institution on the hill; 01:15:00it was theirs. They could come in; they could walk; they knew me; they knew my faculty; they knew our staff. We had people in the community. Everybody -- we were one of the first ones that, as part of our evaluation system, whether it was official or not, we asked and held people accountable for community service, that you did things of significance. We didn't care what it was. So one of our faculty members was very instrumental in the mid-'90s with the development of the animal shelter in Perry County.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: Others were involved with Inter-Generational Center or whatever. We didn't care what it was, we didn't care if it was religiously-based or community-based, but you had to do more than just come teach your classes or do your work at the college.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And I think that went a long way in making the college more of a regional college and as a community asset in Jackson and Hyden, and 01:16:00with less suspicion about those people from Perry County. Before I left Hazard -- and this is a pat on the back for the college and the community outreach -- I was asked for two years to chair the Knott County Strategic Planning and Implementation. I was the only person --

KLEE: Almost unheard of.

HUGHES: -- from outside of Knott County, and they were asking me to chair the meetings. It wasn't just me; it was the college. So they knew I could bring people to the table. And that was really what transpired over those fifteen or sixteen years, is we became part of the community, and the community got bigger than just Hazard. It got much bigger. It became more regional.

KLEE: You had, maybe, a five-year plan when you moved there.


HUGHES: (Hughes laughs). And I repeated it three years -- three times.

KLEE: Did something happen consciously that you said, "We're going to stay." Or did you -- I mean, were you looking for opportunities? Said, "This is where -- ." What happened there?

HUGHES: I think part of it was we were doing some good things. We were seeing some growth. We were getting some positive strokes. The kids were doing well in school. That was a real concern. Sarah had -- my wife Sarah had become director of the Southeast Area Health Education Center, which was also part of the University of Kentucky. And she was growing that into a formidable ally of the University.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: What that Area Health Education Center does -- and there are numerous of them around the state -- is they actually help with health education from the University. They provide the link in the community 01:18:00for students who are doing off-University campus rotations in nursing, medical, whatever. They're required to go away from the University center at least one four- or eight-week period.

KLEE: Yeah.

HUGHES: And so they were running a regional library that -- for medical. That was unheard of. It's not new now, but it was back then. So I think she was really enjoying that. We were going through an accreditation. I felt very uncomfortable with leaving before that was done. Then the next five years, it was really a blur, is when we really took off and started building. We grew rapidly. We grew at rates of 20 and 22 percent a year. We were adding faculty. Then, you know, about ten years into it is pretty close to when the Lees merger 01:19:00-- that was an interesting -- so there were -- what I like to say about my time in Hazard and to some degree here is, I was there for sixteen and a half years, and none of those years were repeated. It was sixteen and a half different years. We built on things.

KLEE: You didn't get into a routine.

HUGHES: And we did get lucky. It wasn't a routine. There were opportunities. We took advantage. We built the capacity from within for that institution to sustain itself, both from a leadership -- of funding. Benny Ray was certainly instrumental in getting the Lees budget added as a line item to our recurring budget. Without that, we would have been very significantly hurt and not been able to do what's gone on --

KLEE: And that's been pretty successful, that merger?

HUGHES: That was very successful. It was a very interesting time. 01:20:00I worked very closely with Bob Lawson at the University of Kentucky School -- well, he was from the School of Law, but he had been assigned to the president's office. That's probably another chapter in this whole development of Hazard. And then the merger with the technical college in 1997.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: So there were big things happening that sort of kept us there. And my wife and I never could get sort of hooked up -- when we were both ready to leave, there was another accreditation with the merger of Lees. There was a substantive change, which was very significant.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: I guess one of the things that I'm particularly -- you didn't ask me; I'm just going to volunteer. We really got serious early on that we had to build internal capacity and leadership. And over those 01:21:00years that was always something we did. If we did a grant -- we got very successful at grants -- we'd get the grant, and it would be two years. The first year we'd already have the plan of how we keep the people after the grant got over.

KLEE: I see.

HUGHES: And I think in all the years I was there, one person was not able -- we were not able to keep one. And we're talking about probably $20 million worth of grant funds over the years.

KLEE: Gee.

HUGHES: So we were able to build that capacity. And when I was -- why I left was this was an opportunity that I wanted, in terms of developing a -- pretty much developing a new community college out of a vocational system.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And my wife was at a point where she could see she could leave her organization, and it was also built in a way that it would sustain itself. So we both kind of locked -- linked up and said, "Now's the 01:22:00time." But when I left, we were designing two buildings, building two buildings, (Klee laughs) you know. And it still was a lot of good things going on. The School of Craft is another history that I hope somebody writes, because it was built the same way. We did some things that were very unique, brought in a -- and that was a result of our relationship with Paul Patton, who said, "We're going to do this thing called the School of Craft. Now, who's going to do it?" And we said, "We'd like to try in Knott County." And that's a -- and we brought in experts from all over the country to develop that plan, and now it's starting to bear some real significant fruit.

KLEE: Well, I really appreciate it. You've given me a lot of good -- we're out of time. There are other questions I have. Maybe I can come 01:23:00back and do another one?

HUGHES: Come back. I'm going to find you that videotape and send it to you.

KLEE: Okay. Okay.

HUGHES: I'm going to also -- I started looking yesterday. I just didn't have enough time. I actually have some documents that I'd be glad to share with you that are documents that go back to '85. I am a bit of a pack rat. Maybe our first two or three or four years of strategic planning.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: And think a little bit more about some of the people that you might want to speak to as well.

KLEE: Okay, yeah. I appreciate that. Okay. And this experience -- you came here in 2001?

HUGHES: Came here in 2001. Been here five years, and we're building the buildings. We were the seventh fastest-growing community college in our size last year in the country. So yeah, we're growing. It's a different community. It's a -- much more of a metropolitan/suburban 01:24:00area.

KLEE: Right.

HUGHES: We have 400 or 500 small- to medium-size manufacturer-related companies that we work with.

KLEE: Gee.

HUGHES: A lot of the same -- the first thing here was a nine-month strategic planning process. We're redoing that right now. I really believe in that. I really think that's important. If you can capture the vision in such a way that everybody sees a part of it, and you treat everybody as if they're having a very significant part to play in that, it's amazing what you can do, even without money. (Klee laughs)

KLEE: Well, I appreciate it.

HUGHES: So I can send you -- can I send you stuff at the college and you'll get it?

KLEE: Oh, yeah.

HUGHES: I'll just send it to you there. I went to look for it this morning, and I was running late. I said, "I know it's here in this pile."

[End of interview.]