Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Tony Newberry, March 10, 2008

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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KLEE: Now I'm on. The following is an unrehearsed interview for the University of Kentucky Community College System Project. The interview is being conducted by John Klee on March 10, 2008, at the offices of Dr. Tony Newberry at Jefferson Community and Technical College. Dr. Newberry is the president, and he's my subject of the interview. Just to begin, tell me a little bit about your personal background, where you're from, where you were educated.

NEWBERRY: All right. I grew up in Southwest Virginia, in the mountains of Southwest Virginia in a very rural county, sparsely populated, 00:01:00called Bland County, Virginia. It's close to the West Virginia line near Bluefield. It's close to Wytheville, Virginia. And these days it's crisscrossed by a couple of interstates, but in the days that I grew up, it was a great and fairly isolated community. But that's where I grew up, and then went to high school there. Started my college career at a community college that had just been established in the--in 1966 in Wytheville, Virginia. Went on to undergraduate education at Emory & Henry College, which is a Methodist-affiliated institution near Abingdon, Virginia, where my father had been a student. And eventually went on to graduate school at Ohio University, 00:02:00where I earned master's and eventually my doctorate in history. And just about the time I'd finished my exams at Ohio University and was ready to start on my dissertation, I got a position with the history faculty at Jefferson Community College -- and this was in 1976 -- and began my career here. And eventually after quite a long and excruciating time as ABD, I finished the doctorate while I was here. But I was here at Jefferson for almost ten years, actually nine and a half years, as a faculty member, and then began a trek, all within Kentucky, but to some other community colleges around the state.

KLEE: Let me back you up a little bit. Why was the community college the choice you made, as far as higher education? It was brand new.


NEWBERRY: Right, right. It was brand new. And it made a big difference in my life at that time, in fact, in the lives--I graduated with a high school class that numbered forty individuals, a very small class. And the previous year, the year I graduated, the community college had just been established. It was a branch of--actually of Virginia Tech. And it operated it an annex of the local courthouse. I mean, it didn't have a campus at the time. But--so it was a brand new phenomenon. But the previous year, only one of the previous class of roughly forty students had gone on to college. And because of the presence of the community college, there were about fifteen or sixteen of us who were able to go on. But because my dad had been to college, I was not first-generation college. And my dad had passed away when I was a young teenager, so I was determined to go to the college where he went. And--but--and I was admitted to Emory & Henry, but they also let me know that according 00:04:00to their analysis I needed to take some--to--they invited me to come to campus for the summer to take some developmental coursework--what we would call developmental coursework. But I really wasn't ready to go that summer, and then--so I went to the community college and took all the classes that so many of our students take. I took developmental math, developmental English, took a study skills class, and it was quite an experience, and just terrific faculty members. It gave me--and then in the fall I went on to Emory & Henry and did pretty well as a student, at least my freshman year until I pledged a fraternity in (Klee laughs) my sophomore year. I was quite a student. But the community college, it gave me a taste of what that kind of an institution was like. And after finishing graduate school and looking for a job, I focused a lot of my attention on community colleges.


KLEE: Well, Jefferson was relatively new at that time. How did that come about, that employment here? Did you see an ad? Did you have contacts?

NEWBERRY: Well, it was one of those crazy things. And, John, you know, being a historian yourself, you probably remember the job market-- (laughs)

KLEE: Oh, yeah. Horrendous. (laughs)

NEWBERRY: --in those days, although I think you're younger than I am. But I don't know that there was ever a good job market during that period. But it actually came through a rumor. There was a book salesman talking to graduate students at Ohio University, said that he'd heard about some jobs in Kentucky, that there was a new college that was hiring a dozen history folks.

KLEE: Gee. (laughs)

NEWBERRY: Now--you know, so that got my interest, and I checked it out. It turns out that it was a dozen new faculty in general, but in the group were two history positions. And one was in U.S. history, and the other one was in European history, teaching Western Civ classes. 00:06:00So I put my hat in the ring and got a--had an interview, and I didn't hear for quite some time. But I thought the interview had gone quite well, and then in early August got a call that the position was open.

KLEE: And had to be there in two weeks or something? (laughs)

NEWBERRY: Yes, had to be there in two weeks. And I moved down here when my wife --

KLEE: So you came to Louisville for the interview?

NEWBERRY: I did, yeah.

KLEE: And who--do you remember who was on that committee?

NEWBERRY: Well, I do, yeah. It was folks who are still--some of whom are still around in Louisville. I'm sorry-- David Driscoll was the chairperson. He was a historian and was chairman of the social science division. A historian by the name of Dick Lindstrom. Then Mike Zalampas, who was one of the great teachers and characters of the early 00:07:00faculty members. And that was primarily the committee. And one of the oddities of that was that in graduate school I'd had a real interest in African-American history and civil rights history. I wrote my dissertation on the civil rights movement. And when I walked into that interview, there was a look of surprise. (Klee laughs) They thought that I might be a minority candidate; they really did. And I did--you know, later on I was able to verify this. And--but the college was really looking to diversify its faculty at that time. And actually- -and they had a number of really strong candidates and actually made a job offer to a student of John Blasingame, you know, the great African- American--John Blasingame is a great historian of slavery. But that candidate ultimately turned the job down and opened the door for me 00:08:00(laughs) at the ninth hour, so--

KLEE: Now, the president at that time was --

NEWBERRY: Ron Horvath.

KLEE: Oh, Ron Horvath.

NEWBERRY: Well, it was in his second year. Ron had been president from 1975, and I came in the fall of 1976. Yeah.

KLEE: What was Jefferson like at that at that point, physical layout and so forth?

NEWBERRY: Well, at that juncture the campus was comprised of--well, the downtown campus was ninety percent of the college then. Today, of course, we have campuses--southern Jefferson County, there's a technical campus at 8th and Chestnut, plus campuses in Carrollton and Shelby. But in those days it was the downtown campus. And this was '76. It was eight years after the founding of the campus, so it had developed fairly well. It had at that juncture an enrollment very close to 10,000 students. And--but it was a more intimate culture 00:09:00then than now, where we're--you know, have over 320 faculty and spread out in about a half a dozen different locations. But it was a great and exciting place to be in those days. And I found the students--I was right out or graduate school, of course, and my--tried to run my freshman introductory classes like a seminar, (Klee laughs), you know, talking about, you know, the various interpretations of the closing of the West. And so--and that didn't really work very well for those beginning students. So I had an adjustment; there was a major adjustment that first year.

KLEE: Right. You mention diversity. Jefferson's always had, I guess, the highest percentage of African-American students. How--was--how did that environment--that was something you probably weren't familiar with 00:10:00in your schooling environment.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, that's true. I came from communities that were very homogeneous. That was paradoxically one of the reasons I became so interested in --

KLEE: Civil rights.

NEWBERRY: --civil rights and African-American history, yeah. Jefferson was and continues to be a very diverse campus, and that's one of its great strengths. And in fact, our current enrollment, we have more African-American students here at Jefferson today than any other institution in the state -- UK, U of L, or Kentucky State.

KLEE: I didn't realize that.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, ----------(??). But it was a great experience. In fact, one of the things that I did while I was a faculty member here, you know, there's a conspicuous absence of African-American history in the curriculum. And I had a great interest in that, and so I started teaching African-American history at that time.

KLEE: I'm sure you had full enrollment?

NEWBERRY: Yes, full enrollments. And there were--and most of the students, as it happened, were African American, not all. And--but 00:11:00I would have come to my class folks like Louis Coleman, who is today a great--very prominent civil rights leader. But I had a number of African-American leaders who would come to the class. ----------(??) My idea was to get these courses started to demonstrate the feasibility of them, and they were very popular. And in the years since, David Cooper now teaches African-American history. He's a literature and history faculty member, qualified in both. But you know, we kind of trace the lineage of the current Afric---and we just established an African-American studies certificate program here this year. We trace that lineage back to the courses that were taught.

KLEE: Did the UK label, when you were looking at this job, did that take any--play into your selection? Or how did that affect you coming here?


NEWBERRY: Well, it did. It was an attraction, you know. I mean, I had a very positive view of community colleges, and--but the fact that we had a community college that was associated with a university, I think, enhanced the attractiveness of the program.

KLEE: How long was it before you were in this process that you started going into -- and I don't know about this, but I assume you did -- division chair and those kind of things and system work and --

NEWBERRY: Well, there was--actually, I didn't do a great deal of that. There was one two-month period when our division chair, Bess Cleveland, was on medical leave that I did fill in as division chair. I was program coordinator, and there were several--I mean, I was--led a--one of the committees for our SACS visit. I mean, there were certain experiences that I had that were positive that led me to believe that, you know, I could enjoy that kind of work. But it 00:13:00was really more by accident than anything else. What happened was, I had--I did not have any ambition of moving into a dean's position or certainly into higher administration in a college. But I'm sitting in my office one day with Charlie McCombs, who's still with us on the faculty. In fact, he's co-chair of the faculty this year. And the phone rang, and on the other end of the line was Vivian Blevins, who was the director at Southeast Community College at that time. And that was in the days when we called--the title was director, as opposed to president. And Vivian was just a great community college leader. She went on to some major posts elsewhere in the country, but she was from Harlan County, but very persuasive, high-energy person. And she started the conversation as if she'd known me all my life. But long story short, she invited me up to Southeast to apply for an academic 00:14:00dean's position. And what had happened was that, as I found out later- -I was very complimented, you know, somehow she knows my reputation. But actually they had already been through these long searches (Klee laughs) and had offered the job to many, many candidates, and--none of whom wanted to have anything to do with the job. And she had called Ron Horvath and said, "Ron, who might you suggest for this?" And Ron put my name into the hopper. And so I went up for the interview. This was, again, in the late summer. And she actually offered me the job on the spot. And I just couldn't psychologically make--come to grips with, you know, leaving teaching, even though I was going to be able to teach a class or two, into an administrative post. That--you know, it wasn't part of my plan. It wasn't something I'd anticipated, and so I called her back a few days later and said, "No, we just--my wife and I have talked, and we're just not ready to make that move." And almost 00:15:00immediately I had kind of the reverse of buyer's remorse (both laugh). I was thinking, "You know, that was an interesting college."

KLEE: That was an opportunity.

NEWBERRY: That was an opportunity. And there were, at that time, twenty-five full-time faculty, which was a smaller faculty than I had in my division here. The social science division at Jefferson had thirty-plus folks and so. But you know, I'd grown up in the mountains and felt an affinity, and plus just really liked the people. And so she called--I didn't call her back, but she called again and they were still having difficulty. They had actually hired somebody who had only stayed a couple of months, and so she called me around November and made another offer. And at that time I accepted it and moved up to Southeast in December of 1985.

KLEE: Is that right?


KLEE: December, '85. Now, how had your wife--how'd the family find 00:16:00Louisville for living?

NEWBERRY: Really, really liked it. It was--my daughter--at the time we moved here--I had one child, who was born in 1976. She had obviously not been born. So it was--but we--Louisville is not a large city. And I mean, it's the largest city in Kentucky, but it doesn't have the feel of a large metropolis, and so we were able to find our way very easily. We liked it a great deal and missed it just as soon as we left and considered ourselves fortunate a few years later when we had the chance to come back.

KLEE: Come back. Of course, Cumberland's a different kind of place.


KLEE: So what was that like there? Before I leave Jefferson and those early days, was there anyone in that late '70s period that stood out in your mind, as far as in the community or among the faculty? Who were the faculty leaders at that time? You might have mentioned some of them.


NEWBERRY: Mm-mm. Well, there are folks like sounds like Jerry Reidling, who I think may be on your list to interview -- I hope that's the case -- who was a leader in the English faculty. Let's see, I mentioned David Driscoll. I may need to come back to that. Some of the names --

KLEE: --remember. So you went to Southeast and became the academic dean?

NEWBERRY: Mm-mm. Yes, that's right. And I was there at a really interesting time. As it turned out, I was only there eighteen months, but if I was going to look at a--identify a turning point in my career, my whole appreciation of community colleges, that would be the eighteen-month period. The first six months I was there, Vivian Blevins was the director. And she was just high-energy, entrepreneurial, just 00:18:00an extraordinarily gregarious president, and had a great passion for the role that community colleges play. Then after about six months, she got a job in Texas at Lee College, which is outside of Houston, actually over on the bay. During--for the next six months, Mary Bacon, who had been an academic dean at Somerset--or no--yeah, had been the dean at Somerset and had been an applicant for the directorship at Somerset, but had not--in a controversial move, had not been selected, and became the interim. And then the last six months, Bruce Ayers, who's the current president, was there. So I was there during this --

KLEE: These three.

NEWBERRY: --transition period, and as a very green academic dean. But it was during those days--I mean, that college, then and now, is just 00:19:00the epitome of the very open, access-driven institution reaching out to the community. I mean, we had extended campus locations in places like Pine Mountain, in Whitesburg, of course, in Middlesboro, in the town of Harlan, and in high schools like at Evarts, which was about eight miles from Harlan, up the mountain, deep in the coal country there. And you know, what that college was doing was just opening the door to opportunity to a lot of folks [who] without the college's existence couldn't have even dreamed of going to higher education. And --

KLEE: Of course, we're talking about an economically challenged area. I mean, they have coal booms and busts, I guess. I don't know which one it was in '85.

NEWBERRY: I think that was a--I believe it would have been a bust, yeah. So it was tough, yeah. And so that was a period--and one of my 00:20:00roles, then, was to travel to those sites and hand--we'd walk up the streets and go to the little grocery stores and set up brochures and put the schedules out and talk to people on the street. And you know, community colleges are very personal kinds of organizations, entities, in that setting, and that was a great experience.

KLEE: And of course, it being small made it even more personal, I guess.

NEWBERRY: Yes, absolutely.

KLEE: That's retail higher ed.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, exactly.

KLEE: What--are there any experiences--you related one. Any other experiences that stand out there at Southeast, as far as, you know, people you met or --

NEWBERRY: Well, there were characters there. I mean--two things I'll mention. First of all, Roger Noe was a psychology faculty member there and eventually became the dean. But it was that period in which Roger was in the legislature. He was part of a group that now--I mean, 00:21:00some of those folks are running the legislature now, folks like Harry Moberly. But Roger was one of five or six Young Turks and was very, very influential. And while I was in--at Southeast he actually ran for statewide office as--for the Secretary of Education position and fell just short. So a lot of memories of Roger Noe. He's a--and then there were characters like James Goode, who's now at Bluegrass Community and Technical College and is a very talented poet and storyteller. He was one of the folks that I used to travel the mountains with as we promoted the extended campus program, and he had all these incredible stories. He told me once that one of his students had--you know, he kept track of all the excuses that his students had given him. And there was this one student who missed and missed and missed again.


KLEE: I want to check and make sure this working all right. I'm getting a little less sound.

NEWBERRY: And James asked him, he said, "Now, you've missed about eight classes. What's your excuse this time?" And he said, "Well I had to go to a funeral. I was a ball bearing down at the local (Klee laughs)--at the funeral home, and I just couldn't be here."

KLEE: A ball bearing.

NEWBERRY: But the way James told those stories was just incredible, had just the right accent. And at least half of them I know were made up, but he swore they were true (Klee laughs). Then Red Sellars, Red Sellars and Bruce Ayers. And Red, just in the last few months, has retired. But Red Sellars is one of the great characters in the system. And one of the things I remember is that he and Bruce -- Bruce, who was a UK graduate and a UK fan, and Red, who was a University of Tennessee fan -- used to have this incredible buildup to any UK- Tennessee ballgame, where they would bet each other these enor---these ridiculous things. And when I was there, the bet was that whoever lost 00:23:00would have to push the other one through the town of Cumberland riding in a wheelbarrow (Klee laughs). And that actually did happen. Of course, it made the first--the front page of the Tri City News. (Klee laughs) But Southeast is a very intimate place. And another thing -- I've got to get this on the record -- Vivian Blevins, in her six months there -- there's something called a Swap and Meet at Southeast, and it's this great festival, you know, at the--and Vivian, who--all kinds of innovative ideas. She had the idea that they added--I mean, they used to do sorghum molasses and all kinds of--but she thought that one of the great products of the mountains was being left out, and that was moonshine. Of course, it's illegal to serve moonshine. But she actually made a deal with the sheriff to let some moonshiners out of jail during the "Swap and Meet" to come up to the festival and serve 00:24:00thimblefuls of real moonshine (Klee laughs). Free moonshine, you can only have one. And it actually worked pretty well for about an hour and a half, (Klee laughs) and then some folks began to get back in line. And--but the real thing that did it in was that Vivian went around the corner, and these moonshiners on furlough from jail had been putting quart jars of the white--of the stuff around the back of the building. And she got--she said, "That's it." And she called the law, and they hauled them back to jail. And the festival was over for that day, so I don't know. (Klee laughs) Vivian was a hoot.

KLEE: I think when I was there that Bruce recounted--I don't know, was there a maintenance man that was kind of a character around the campus? Is that--does that ring a bell?

NEWBERRY: Not to me.

KLEE: It might have been after you'd left.


KLEE: So what happened that made you leave Southeast?


NEWBERRY: Well, it was an interesting development. I heard about a job at Ashland Community College for the presidency. And I knew for sure that it was really too soon for me, because I'd really only been out of the classroom, you know, less than a year and a half. And yet I--by that time I was thinking that someday, you know, I would like to be a president of one of these colleges. And so on the notion that this was going to be quite some time, but you know, I want to start getting into the process, I went ahead and put my materials together and applied for the presidency at Ashland, and was surprised to find out that I was one of the three candidates that they brought to the campus to interview. I was--and so as it turned out--I can talk about that interview process because it was surprising in itself, but I ultimately was hired for the job. But it was kind of like the Southeast job. You know, initially I patted myself on the back, "Man, you must be really 00:26:00something, you've ----------(??)." (Klee laughs). But I found out that at Southeast seven different individuals had either turned down that job or hadn't lasted more than a couple of months. So similarly at Ashland, the other two candidates who really had a bona fide resume for presidency -- one of them had been a president in the Alaska system and the other had been a president actually of a four-year college -- but in both cases, even though they were ranked ahead of me by the local committee -- I was only--I was 37 at that time and so a little green and obviously so -- but in one case, the story goes that the interview with Dr. Wethington didn't go very well, some disagreement over who was going to be in charge (laughs). And I'm not quite sure what happened in the other case. But I was sur---again, it happened right in the middle of the summer. I got a call from Dr. Wethington, 00:27:00wanting me to come up and talk to him. And he offered me the job, so that's why I left Southeast a lot sooner than I thought I would.

KLEE: Had you had any dealings with Dr. Wethington prior to this?

NEWBERRY: Only--I'd only met him. He was at Jefferson one day, and I shook his hand. And it was actually about the point that I was going to Southeast, and this was the fall of semester of '85. And so I'd met him. And then I met him at a system meeting. But other than that, no.

KLEE: And when--your interview prior to getting the Ashland position obviously went well with him. I mean, did he--do you recall anything about that conversation?

NEWBERRY: No--well, yes, I do. I remember it was at breakfast at the-- oh, gosh, that hotel there. I'm drawing a blank on the name.

KLEE: Not the one downtown, was it?

NEWBERRY: No, no, no. It's the one out there on Lexington Road. I'll come up with it in a minute. But had breakfast with him on a Saturday 00:28:00morning. My wife was with me. And at that point it was really just a matter of talking about the logistics of taking the job.

KLEE: When you'd start.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. He had run out of options at that point, I think. But he was very supportive and very kind and proved to be just a great mentor and supporter during my--you know, throughout my career as long as the colleges were with KCTCS. I do remember a call he--when he called me. Well, he called me twice while I was at Southeast. When Vivian Blevins left, he called me to tell me that--he said, "Under normal circumstances, we'd consider the academic dean as the interim." "But," he said, "you know, Tony, I think--you know, you've only been there a couple--a few months. And he said, "I don't want you to take this the wrong way." He says, "I think you've got a good career, but you know--." And that was perfectly fine and actually worked out a lot 00:29:00better. And then --

KLEE: Did they appoint somebody there as interim?

NEWBERRY: Well, he appointed Mary Bacon from over --

KLEE: Okay. He brought somebody in.

NEWBERRY: He brought her in from Somerset. Yeah, yeah. And by the way, she was a great lady as well. So--and then I remember talking to him during the search process at one point. He just gave me a call and asked me some questions, but there weren't--it was not in-depth or anything.

KLEE: In Ashland, that's a different kind of community, too, from the other two where you'd been. What were your impressions of Ashland?

NEWBERRY: Well, Ashland was another community where the community college had come to play a very important role. The biggest factor about Ashland was Bob Goodpaster, the previous president, twenty- five-plus years. Bob was a legend. And in fact, I'd been there about five years. I'd still meet people and they'd say--I'd identify myself with the college, and they'd say, "Oh, that's where Bob Goodpaster is president," you know. (Klee laughs) Students, you know, would 00:30:00think that he was still president because he was such an overpowering presence and such a big, big personality. But--so that was one of the factors. But Ashland was a great place to--they were very welcoming, particularly the faculty. Janie Kitchen, by the way, was--who's now the academic dean there, was head of the--she was the faculty member on the search committee. I think there was some--there were a couple of cases where faculty members made it clear to me that they'd understood I wasn't the first choice. (Both chuckle) But that was really not a problem, because I was just very happy to have the opportunity. And it was--the faculty numbered about seventy, and really just one location there, the one campus.

KLEE: Yeah. The campus on the hill had already been built and --


KLEE: --and was relatively new, I guess? I mean, not too bad.


NEWBERRY: Right, right. Yeah.

KLEE: What was Ashland's--and I don't--that would have been, what, '87 you went there?


KLEE: What was the economic situation in Ashland right then?

NEWBERRY: Well, Ashland at that time--as had been the case the previous three decades, industry revolved around Ashland Oil and then around Armco Steel. And it was during those years that there were some signals, some anxiety-producing signals on both fronts. Armco was struggling and was kind of scaling back on its employment base. And there were rumors, even in those days, that Ashland might move its headquarters. I mean, that was kind of a recurring rumor. And the rumor occurred seriously a couple of times after that, and eventually, of course, they did move their headquarters. But Ashland was--and 00:32:00its leadership really was the driver of the progressive forces in the community. And Armco provided a very broad employment base in -------- --(??) the economy at that time.

KLEE: You came in at a time when I think the shift had already taken place. And I'm asking you--did--was there a shift from the community college as being more transfer students and then expanding into technical students? And how did you address that as a president? Because I knew there were--I know there was tension between transfer faculty and technical faculty.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, that's right. Well, in those days, in the '80s, the institutions, with maybe the exception of Lexington, which as you know started out as LTI, Lexington Technical Institute, and then it evolved in the oppo---the other direction, more toward transfer. But the institutions like Ashland or like Southeast had a very strong transfer 00:33:00and liberal arts base. And the one exception to that would be that very early on just about all the colleges had a nursing program. You know, there was a Kellogg Grant early on that enabled the system, Marie Piekarski and others, to plant those nursing programs. But in terms of the tensions, at Ashland, for example, there was a Kentucky Tech Institution out on Roberts Drive. And we worked hard to try to collaborate in areas like engineering technology with that institution. But there really wasn't much overt or even subtle tension at that time. And you know, that would really emerge later on, as we moved toward the '90s and toward House Bill 1.

KLEE: How did you find oversight from the system as a president?

NEWBERRY: Well, it was--in my--as a new president, it was helpful, 00:34:00because you really--I had not grown up in a system with a lot of autonomy. Now, presidents like Chick Dassance later on, or John McGuire, who became president in Owensboro, who had come from states where there was a lot of local autonomy, in many cases maybe a local board, would chafe under the UK system. But in my case, as a green president with relatively little experience, you know, I didn't know any better, for one thing. And you know, you figured out what the parameters were and you worked within them. And I really did find it more supportive than anything else.

KLEE: Tell me how it worked. Did you--you attended monthly meetings? I--you know, you're still in a system today. It's a different system. But how did it work then?

NEWBERRY: Well, it--yes. You attended monthly meetings, which were--Ron Horvath sometimes talked about these as one-way dialogues (both laugh) 00:35:00where--you know, there--Dr. Wethington would have agendas that were rather extensive, and there would be a series of reports. And there was relatively little opportunity for discussion, unless you just wanted to further your own understanding of what the marching orders were.

KLEE: Right, okay. (laughs)

NEWBERRY: But to give some examples of how tight the system was, if a faculty member retired or you had a vacancy in a position, under KCTCS, which is still a very highly centralized system compared to other states, under KCTCS, you know, it's local discretion what you do with those salary savings. And also at the end of the year, if you have a year-end balance, you're able to keep that year-end balance. With the University of Kentucky, you had to really make a case, a rather extensive written case, to use any salary savings. And typically you 00:36:00would only be approved for use of a portion of salary savings. So you kept track of salary savings to the nth degree, and you asked for permission. And then balances at the end of the year accrued back to the system. And then of course, the system then used those monies to address issues: roofs going out and chillers and the rest. But it was a very beneficent, paternal kind of thing. Yeah.

KLEE: And of course, in the present system, I guess, some of those problems get thrown back at you. You don't--the system doesn't have as many resources, I guess, to ask for now?

NEWBERRY: Yes, right, right. There's a lot more expectation that, you create a problem on your campus, you resolve it. You run short at the end of the year you, by golly, you're going to have to figure out-- you're going to have to have an internal budget cut to fix that on your own. So, yeah. Do you have time? I can tell you a funny story that 00:37:00illustrates the relationship of the system.

KLEE: Sure, yeah.

NEWBERRY: One of the things -- and faculty had much debated this -- was there a quota on merit on--on the ratings? Okay. And of course, there wasn't. But of course, there was, you know. (Both laugh) There was the non-quota quota. And the way Dr. Wethington managed that, he really did expect the presidents to have a legitimate merit review system in place. And every March he would show--in the meetings there would be an overhead that would go up that would show the number of ratings in various categories that the presidents gave. So--not to send any message particularly, but there really was an expectation that you have a rigorous system and keep those top ratings to a minimum. And one of the--part of my orientation from Dr. Wethington was to say that--his sense that, first of all, merit rating--the merit system was Topic A at Ashland, and it was, and that things had gotten a little bit 00:38:00out of hand. Too many --

KLEE: Too many top ratings.

NEWBERRY: Too many top ratings, that was the message. And so in my first year I sweated and worked-- I was--you know, I'd just arrived in August, and you know, in those days we did the ratings in the fall. So you know, I sweated it and worked through it, and you know, did my conscientious best, read every file, every line, and you know, kind of kept track and tried to make really good decisions. And when I--at the end, when I sat down to do the arithmetic on the percentages, I couldn't believe it, but I had actually been one top rating more generous (Klee laughs) than my predecessor. So I said, "What am I going to do here?" So I called Ben Carr, who was number two in the system, and--(sirens blaring in the background) welcome to downtown Louisville. You know, every five minutes we have a siren whether we need one or not. But--and I got his advice, and he said--he kind of 00:39:00encouraged me. Said, "I wouldn't worry about it too much." He says, "I'll talk to Charles." And so just about the time of the holiday break, I got a call from Charles Wethington. And I--it was the only kind--this kind of a conversation I ever had with him. It was a trip to the woodshed, basically. (Klee laughs) He said, "I told you when you went up there that that faculty was just about out of control (laughs) and that you really needed to watch that." And he says, "I don't know if you're going to be able to regain control of this situation now." So I sweated bullets all during the holiday. And I didn't know I was going to have a job when I came back. So it--comes back in January, and I didn't hear anything from him. February passes, I didn't hear anything from him. And then comes the infamous March meeting when he puts the numbers up on the board. And there was another new president hired simultaneously with me, and that was Chuck Stebbins down at E-town. And when I looked at the numbers, I realized 00:40:00why I hadn't heard anything else, because in my case I was pretty much within the norms. But Chuck had given almost ninety percent --

KLEE: Oh, my.

NEWBERRY: --top ratings. (Both laugh) And so I realized why the pressure was off of Ashland for a minute. (Klee laughs) So--and Chuck and I laughed about that. I laughed more than he did. And later on --

KLEE: He caught the brunt.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, he caught the brunt of it. But --

KLEE: Let me--tell me a little bit about that fraternity of presidents at that time. I wanted to follow up about--it was hard following these founding kinds of presidents, wasn't it? Like Goodpaster and I guess Owen--was it Owen at Elizabethtown? And there was--it seemed like one or two at every place that had been there for a long time.


KLEE: What were they like?

NEWBERRY: Yeah. Well, when I was there, of that founding group, Henry Campbell from Prestonsburg was still around. And James Shires was 00:41:00still there. He hadn't been the founding president, as you know, but he was one of the great characters. And Ron Horvath, really, is the one who held court. And Ron would gather the presidents in his room after the one-way dialogues and have the real meeting, you know, talk about those issues. But Henry Campbell was the great character that I remember the best. I mean, he was just an incredible personality and just seemed to know just everybody in Eastern Kentucky and beyond. I took a trip with Henry Campbell to a presidents--the annual presidents meeting. We used to have a two- or three-day retreat once a year. We drove--I met him up near Prestonsburg, and we drove all the way down to Hopkinsville, across the state that way. And we'd stop into a filling station somewhere, and he would know one person, he'd be related to 00:42:00another person. (Klee laughs) He knew almost--in fact, I was with him in Seattle at an AACC meeting, standing on the corner, and somebody walks across the street and recognizes Henry Campbell. But Henry was a legend. And somewhere probably is not a great value for the historical archives, but there are great Henry Campbell, James Shires--Jim Shires stories.

KLEE: (laughs) Okay. I'll need to get--you give me some leads on those, and I'll trace those down.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, they were characters.

KLEE: Mm-mm. At Ashland, in the community, was Bruce Leslie on that board?

NEWBERRY: He was. He was chair at the time, and of course, he just--he was chair all the way up until about a year ago, I guess, or maybe --

KLEE: Yeah, it hasn't been too long. Anybody else in the community that stood out as far as a supporter of the college?

NEWBERRY: Ed Maddox was also on the board and had been at Armco Steel for a number of years. Those would be two of the folks that I would- 00:43:00-that would come to mind. I mean, from time to time the executives at Ashland Oil would be very instrumental.

KLEE: You mentioned the--how tight the budget was and so forth. Was that a consequence of being with the University of Kentucky? I know you don't know exactly, but --

NEWBERRY: Well, I don't know. I think it was just the times for higher education in Kentucky in general, and budgets just were very, very tight in general. Community colleges have struggled in this state, and I don't think it's exclusive to this state, but just a fundamentally tight funding situation.

KLEE: And of course, I think at that time they didn't really see tuition as being a large part of their budget. I mean, that wasn't, I don't think, seen in that context.

NEWBERRY: That's right. It was state appropriation. One fundamental difference between the way KCTCS and UK configure a budget is that with 00:44:00University of Kentucky, the state appropriation that a college received was rock solid, it was sacrosanct, and the variable was tuition. Of course, as I said earlier, tuition, though, was not--maybe I didn't mention this, but tuition--if you exceeded your tuition projection, you didn't get to keep that extra tuition. It went back to the system. In KCTCS we have something called the public funds model, where the tuition is actually the more predictable piece. The state appropriation can actually vary. It's solid--the system has a solid state appropriation number, but it's allocated differentially to the colleges in a way that's unpre---that's not entirely predictable.

KLEE: You went to the system after Ashland.


KLEE: What entered into that decision?

NEWBERRY: Well, I'd been at Ashland about five years, and I was getting the sense that--you know, I'd had several specific goals when I'd 00:45:00started that I wanted to accomplish, and I was getting to the point where most of those particular goals had been accomplished. We wanted to build enrollment, and we had--every semester I was there we had an enrollment record increase. We wanted to expand our extended campus operations, which we did in Carter County and in Lawrence County and also in Greenup. We wanted to build a new facility, a new library facility, which we were able to accomplish. And it was just--I just got the sense that either I was going to commit to another chapter there or it was time to look elsewhere. But the system was looking for a vice chancellor of academic affairs, because as Charles Wethington became president, Ben Carr, then, stepped up into the chancellor's role.


[End side 1, tape 1]

[Begin side 2, tape 1]

KLEE: This is side two of a tape with Dr. Tony Newberry, president of Jefferson Community and Technical College, on March the 10th, isn't it, or 11th?

NEWBERRY: It's actually the 11th.

KLEE: Eleventh, the 11th, 2008. Sorry. You were talking about that Dr. Wethington became president of the University of Kentucky. And that was a controversial move in the state from a community college person moving up.

NEWBERRY: It sure was.

KLEE: You remember how that--did that play out at all in Ashland? I mean, was there any--among the faculty or the community?

NEWBERRY: Well, yes, there were some faculty members, Jim Miller for example. Jim was a--let's see, was he on the Council [on Higher Education] or was he on the board of regents? I think he was on the Board of Regents, yes. But Jim played a prominent role, very supportive of Charles Wethington and the community colleges and that. 00:47:00So yeah, I think a lot of faculty and a lot of folks at the colleges took great pride in the fact that Charles Wethington was moving into that role, knowing as well that it was controversial with the faculty. In fact, I happened to be at the board of regents--board of trustees meeting where he was selected. And there was a photo in the Lexington Herald on the front page with--just happened to snap it when I was shaking his hand. (Klee laughs) And that's somewhere in the archives.

KLEE: So then Dr. Carr got that position in the community colleges.

NEWBERRY: And he went--he didn't fill the academic vice chancellor's position for pretty close to a year, but eventually they got around to that and --

KLEE: Well, before we leave Ashland, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions. There were some faculty members--and you've mentioned Jimmy Jack Miller. Opal Conley, tell me about her, what role she played at 00:48:00the college.

NEWBERRY: Well, Opal Conley was just an incredible faculty member who represents the best that the community colleges represent anywhere in the country. And I often refer to Opal Conley when I'm talking to folks about what community colleges are about. Every time--every year when we have our new faculty orientation, as a way to try to describe the special role that we play, I use her as an example, because she was one of those faculty members who really did believe in the innate ability of her students, no matter what their initial profile may have been.

KLEE: I see.

NEWBERRY: And she was able to--she kept track of every one of her students, who--of course, she advised pre-med and all the pre- professional and medical-related majors. And she kept track of what totaled more than 300 folks who went onto UK and all the other med schools and dental schools and so on. And she never had a single turn- 00:49:00down. Anybody that she recommended would always get in. But my first year there at Ashland we had one of her students come back to give the graduation address. It was a gentleman who actually at that time was an anesthesiologist in Chicago, and at one time had been the president of the National Association for Anesthesiologists. And he was on the faculty at the University of Chicago. But his story was that when he came to the college he had an 11 on his ACT --

KLEE: Oh, my goodness.

NEWBERRY: --and was advised to take the whole round of developmental courses. And once he got into a biology class that Opal was teaching, he wanted to be a doctor. And just extreme frustration and was ready to quit and actually went out--was headed out to his car to quit, and Opal talked to him and said, "I think you can make it. You need to hang in there." She worked with him, and ultimately he became 00:50:00this incredible success. You know, she is--was very rigorous, very demanding, just incredibly high standards, and yet she had this ability to support students. If she saw a spark of ambition and innate ability in them, she could bring that out. And she was just a great faculty member. And she ruled the roost when I was there. She was the most influential faculty member.

KLEE: You--in--I mean, if there--in what context? If there was a discussion about academics or --

NEWBERRY: Yes, yes. But she was very supportive of me, but I'm just saying that her views on issues just carried a lot of weight.

KLEE: And I was told that she even came up to the University of Kentucky Med Center to--I guess to talk to the people about getting her students in.


KLEE: And had quite a bit of respect?

NEWBERRY: Yes. They really respected her at the university. You know, a letter from Opal Conley was worth gold. Yeah.


KLEE: I see. I interviewed Ernie Tucker, who was a different kind of faculty member, too. He's been there some time. I guess he was there when you were there?

NEWBERRY: Yeah, he's also one of the great characters. And Ernie, of course, can't get in his office to hold office hours. You know, he's a historian and an archivist, more--and his office is where his archives is, farm implements and Appalachian furniture and all the rest. Yes, yes, yes.

KLEE: I saw that. The people at the system, tell me a little bit about them. What was the system like at that time? I mean, you were on a floor in a hall at UK.

NEWBERRY: That's right, Breckinridge Hall. There were a total of about thirty staff. A little bit smaller than the current staff at KCTCS, but at the same time--I mean, the reason for that is -- and I always have to explain this to folks -- is that there was one HR personnel officer on the staff, and that was because there was a whole personnel unit at the university that carried--handled all the other functions. But it 00:52:00was an intimate group. Ben Carr was the chancellor; Jack Jordan, who was the aca---was the finance vice chancellor; Wendell Followell was on the staff then and is very important to KCTCS and really, you know, a real character himself. Marie Piekarski is a great, great personality and, you know, the backbone of the whole academic process at the --

KLEE: Well, her name sends shivers up the (Newberry laughs) faculty, because people would--she was--helped with the--I guess it was called the program development committee.

NEWBERRY: Oh, yes. Yeah.

KLEE: And unless things were just right, it didn't happen.

NEWBERRY: That's right. She was a stickler, absolutely, but for fundamentally all the right reasons. And I had the pleasure of--Marie also oversaw the program review process, which every academic--every AAS program, every technical program had to go through on a periodic 00:53:00basis. And that was a very formal process, almost like accreditation for a program. Documents had to be prepared. And then programs that didn't meet certain criteria having to do with graduates, enrollment, and other issues would get a visit from Marie. Not only that, but I was her escort, you know. (Klee laughs) So we traveled the state, visited every college, and I just got to know her and respect her really well. But there are stories at every college about Marie, and I witnessed some of them. (Klee laughs) I mean, she--we used to go look at the mining program at Southeast about every year, and we'd hear that mining's best days are ahead of us. It was the same thing, but anyway --

KLEE: Yeah. It had to do--they did these to make sure there were plenty of students, the faculty were qualified --


KLEE: --the curriculum was good.

NEWBERRY: A very thorough review of all those aspects to make sure the programs were solid and viable. And there were occasions, several 00:54:00occasions, where programs were phased out because of a negative review.

KLEE: Back to talking about the system and the thirty number. All the infrastructure, benefits and all those things, were incorporated into UK, so they were providing all those services. We don't know how many people it took, but --


KLEE: What were the challenges at that point in the system that, you know, you all were dealing with?

NEWBERRY: Well, let's see. One challenge -- and in retrospect it was fairly mild stuff, but it was--those were the days that the AFT was beginning to get established. And I know that there was one point at which the AFT conducted what was known--I guess we would call a "push poll," you know, to see how unhappy the faculty are. And that created some consternation. And in fact, having been a faculty member, it just 00:55:00didn't--you know, to me it wasn't a concern, but it was a concern of some folks. And so there was a discussion about how one was supposed to work with the growing activism among the faculty. When I was at Jefferson, I'd actually been the--one of the officers of a precursor to the AFT. What was that called?

KLEE: KACCP, I think?

NEWBERRY: Yeah, yeah. Something like that.

KLEE: Kentucky Association of Community College Professors, I think.

NEWBERRY: That's it. That's it.

KLEE: I remember it.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. And the officers would rotate from college to college. One college would have the whole group, and I was, I think, secretary of that group. And I remember we invited Charles Wethington to a meeting down at Rough River, and he came and politely gave us about an hour and a half address. (Both laugh) He said, "You --," which was our punishment for having him down on a weekend, I think he said. (Both 00:56:00laugh) But at any rate--but that was really mild stuff during that period. I don't want to --

KLEE: And the concerns were about pay and --


KLEE: Primarily, I think.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, about pay and the status of the faculty and--but pay was the primary thing. And then also performance review came up from time to time. In fact, that's one challenge that I remember, and this was specific to Jefferson. The Jefferson performance review system had not passed muster at one point, and Ben Carr had asked the college to revamp it. Now--okay, let me start again. This is what happened. Dr. Horvath, during his first ten-plus years, had--as was expected, had really ridden a tight--ridden herd on the performance review system. 00:57:00And over time, you know, this finite number of top ratings had not worn well with the faculty, and so there was a lot of pressure, a lot of internal tension over that issue, somewhat like what had happened at Somerset a few years before. Somewhere in your tapes I'm sure you'll probably get that story. There was kind of an open revolt against the director over this. But at Jefferson what had transpired is that Dr. Horvath made a proposal to the system for a new approach to performance review, where he delegated the responsibility for making those decisions to the division level. And that's the way it works now.

KLEE: I didn't realize that.

NEWBERRY: ----------(??) I do a review, but it's a very decentralized system for faculty.

KLEE: Of course, Jefferson was a unique situation because of its size at the time, you know. I mean, it was I guess twice as big as most of the other colleges or larger, when you think about a Maysville or a 00:58:00Henderson or so forth.

NEWBERRY: Right. But the issue was that the faculty--that when this proposal came to the system -- and this was in my very first months as academic vice chancellor -- you know, there was a disinclination to accept it because it was--it deviated from the other colleges. And so Ben Carr came down to talk to the faculty, and I was with him. I actually drove him down. And there was a meeting out at Southwest campus, and most of my old friends were kind of spitting mad at the time. (Klee laughs) So ultimately the system conceded to that. But- -so that maybe gives you a sense of what some of the issues were. The other--the big academic issues--I remember spending a great deal of time--there was a revision of the general education requirements. And it took--you know, we put together a representative committee of the system and went through several iterations and --

KLEE: Was that revision fueled by a change at UK or that was our 00:59:00revision?

NEWBERRY: That was our revision. Now, the one--there was one driver. That was when we implemented the computer literacy requirements, and that in itself was somewhat controversial because a lot of folks couldn't see that as a gen ed. But at that very same time we did a general revision of the general education requirements.

KLEE: Okay. I didn't catch the year you went to the system.

NEWBERRY: Okay, that would have been 1991. There was a period of almost a year where I continued to be the president at Ashland while the search was going on and split my time between there and the system.

KLEE: I see. That was (laughs) quite a trek.

NEWBERRY: That was. And then there was an eight-month period while I was at the system that I was interim president at LCC. Yeah, between Allen Edwards and then Jan Friedel.

KLEE: I remember there was a--quite a long search there at that time 01:00:00period.


KLEE: So you were in the system when the change occurred in '97. Do you recall first time you heard any inkling of this?

NEWBERRY: Yes. Almost as soon--while Gov---while Patton was lieutenant governor, we were well aware that he had some very definite ideas. Not quite sure what he would do, but knowing that he had concerns about the way technical and community college education was structured. And in fact, he had a dinner in the lieutenant governor's mansion with the presidents and the senior staff at the system office.

KLEE: Really?

NEWBERRY: And this is--would have been '94 or '95. And basically, after the pleasantries were over, he kind of sat back, and then he said, 01:01:00"Why don't you all--why don't the community colleges do anything in workforce development?" And then he asked a number of questions that made it quite clear that, first of all, he had less than a positive view of the community colleges as they were then set up, and that he had some ideas about what could be improved. So when he began to run for governor, you know, folks--the system began to brace--we began to brace ourselves for some significant changes. And in fact, during that very period I remember I wrote--the Community College Review published during that period a series of statewide surveys of the way community colleges were set up. And I was asked to do the one on Kentucky. And I was writing in 1995 about the way the Kentucky system then worked. And at the end I noted that Governor Patton had just been elected and was proposing some significant changes. And then, of course, came the 01:02:00special session in April of '97.

KLEE: Were you pulled into service during that? I guess--you know, Dr. Wethington was very strong about keeping the community colleges with UK. What kind of role did you have to play then?

NEWBERRY: Well, you know, it was interesting, because I really wasn't. I was--now, in the office in Breckinridge Hall I was doing a lot of-- Aims McGuinness would call and ask for data on this issue or that issue. There were white papers that the various presidents did, kind of defending the current system, that I participated in. But I remember being in the office one occasion when Ed Ford called. It's when LCC was up in arms about--right after House Bill 1 had been introduced, and basically Governor Patton made the decision tactically to cut LCC 01:03:00loose because he was--at one point he was getting about three-quarters of his white-hot criticism from that quarter, so he just--he kind of, you know, cut his losses. But as it happened during that period, Ben Carr had been scheduled to go on a trip to Vietnam with folks from the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture. There had been a delegation of Vietnamese educators very interested in community colleges and invited--so then comes a special session, and Ben can't go, so he asked me to go. So I was actually in (Klee laughs) Vietnam touring around looking at these fledgling community colleges during the heat of the session. And I really felt kind of left out, because the presidents -- I wasn't a president at that time -- but the presidents- -it was a full-court press. I mean, you know, folks like Pat Lake and Bruce Ayers and Ed Hughes were out there fighting the good fight, and I was out doing something academic, traveling in Vietnam. But in the 01:04:00long run it was probably a good thing for me. First of all, I really could not have contributed much, you know, in the role that I was in, but I didn't really--I wasn't on the front lines. And so once the bill was passed and we got into the transition--and the way House Bill 1 was set up, a companion piece called House Bill 4, which was the budget piece. And it identified the budget director of the state as the kind of the initial quasi-president. That was Jim Ramsey. And Jim Ramsey asked Ben Carr--they put together this transition team, three UKCCS people, three Kentucky Tech folks, and three members of the governor's staff on this transition team. And I will have to say I lobbied Ben 01:05:00to be one of those folks. And so I served on that transition team and got to know Jim Ramsey really well. And actually, my--in my heart of hearts, once the debate over House Bill 1 began, I really knew that it was the best thing for community and technical colleges to be apart from the University of Kentucky, because in the central office you have a lot of interaction with folks at the university, and very seldom would you run--encounter anyone who really appreciated and--you know, what the role of community colleges--and so it just didn't feel right. And I had known from study of other systems that in most cases the strong systems were independent of universities.

KLEE: And there were--there was overlap in programs. I mean, there would be a community college with a secretarial program, and right down the 01:06:00street, there would be a technical college with a secretarial program.

NEWBERRY: That's right.

KLEE: And vice--yeah, those kinds of things. So you were actually on the team that kind of was the transition to the new system?

NEWBERRY: Yes, yes. That's right.

KLEE: Well, my role in these is mostly to cover those early years, but I want to bring you on up and just --


KLEE: What happened at that point then? A new system was being created.

NEWBERRY: Mm-mm. And there was a period there--of course, Mike McCall was selected president in December of 1998 and started in January of '99. But prior to that, I mean, passage of House Bill 1 in April of '97. It was really kind of interesting during that period, because some of the presidents--well, we don't know--need to go into that; it'll make the story too long. But with the transition team, you had--Jim Ramsey was--in addition to being budget director, was really 01:07:00directed to create the system in those early days. And there were just a handful of employees. There were just three employees, and at one point had an office--we were at--on Wilkinson Avenue (Klee laughs) there near the tower in downtown and near the hotel. And we had a very small office. And at one point I actually had an office with--in the Annex next--a little closet-type office along with Jack Moreland, who was the first chancellor of the technical colleges. It was near the soft ice cream machine down there in the Capitol Annex, so it was a very small operation just in the --

KLEE: So you were actually working out of Frankfort?

NEWBERRY: Right. I was working out of Frankfort dealing with issues. During that period, the biggest development was the search for a new 01:08:00president. And there was--of course, Mike McCall was the result of the second search, the successful search. The first search was troubled right from the beginning. It was a brand new board that was struggling to find some sense of common direction and was very, very divided over what kind of president they were seeking. And just some--a lot of serious internal tensions between board members at that time.

KLEE: Well, I don't think I came up with this term. It might--and it's my term. I'm not--we had a kind of a shotgun marriage with the technical schools and the colleges, and you all were put in the position of trying to keep the families together, I guess.

NEWBERRY: That's right.

KLEE: Keep things calm, and there were people on both sides that were not happy.

NEWBERRY: That's right, that's right. And initially, particularly on the technical college side--I mean, you know, House Bill 1 called for the establishment of two branches, yeah, which in a sense reinforced 01:09:00the divisions. And Jack Moreland, who I got to know and respect -- we worked right next to each other -- basically took advantage of that and encouraged the independent thinking on the part of the directors. I mean, at that point the thought was not merger; the thought was, turn all the institutions into independent colleges. And there were 23 different institutions. There were 13 community colleges and--maybe there were more than that, because they trimmed --

KLEE: I think there were.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, yeah. There was--but at one point they got down to 23 different heads of institutions. And the technical folks among the group were encouraged by Jack to stay as independent as possible. And in fact, during that first search, which was near collapse, at the end of the search, Jim Ramsey was approached by some board members to put 01:10:00his hat in the ring. And I had tremendous respect for him and still do. Of course, he's president of the University of Louisville now. And I thought that would have been really good for the system, but his candidacy was basically torpedoed by a counter-reaction from the technical college folks, who thought he was too much of an academic. I mean, he had a Ph.D. in economics, and you know, did he really understand technical education, and so the divisions were--the feelings were pretty raw at the time.

KLEE: There was someone that was hired in that interim period, wasn't it?

NEWBERRY: Yes. After that point, Jeff Hockaday --

KLEE: Jeff Hockaday, right.

NEWBERRY: --was brought in. Jeff had been head of the Virginia system. He'd been chancellor in the Arizona system, and just had--but was retired, but doing consulting work.

KLEE: Right.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. Jeff Hockaday came in, settled things down, and he's the person who actually hired me for the chancellor of the community 01:11:00college branch. And in fact, I was announced in that--well, I was announced as the interim in that position at the beginning of 1998, the very same meeting where--January of '98 meeting in Ashland where the community colleges officially were moved to KCTCS. And I became the interim, and then at the meeting the following December where Mike McCall was announced as the president of the system, I was--that's when I became the so-called permanent or non-interim chancellor of the community colleges.

KLEE: And what precipitated the move back here?

NEWBERRY: Well, a couple of things. First of all, this college had been through kind of a tough time and had actually had--was in the midst of a troubled search. I mean--and then at that time I was also looking 01:12:00for a change and had actually been looking at some presidencies out of state. But just kind of a combination of circumstances. Mike McCall called me one day after he had, you know, been here to meet with the search committee and they had been unsuccessful in determining which candidate they wanted, which direction they wanted to go. And he asked me if I'd be interested. And so I applied and put my hat in the ring, and later on I was selected. But it was completely unexpected. And I'd made the decision--come to terms with the fact that I would never really be able to come back to Jefferson. It just doesn't work that way.

KLEE: Uh-huh, right.

NEWBERRY: You don't start out at an institution and then eventually come back as president, so I had not applied until invited at the end.

KLEE: When did you come back here?


NEWBERRY: That was in June of 2002.

KLEE: I see.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, yeah.

KLEE: So you've had a pretty good long tenure here.

NEWBERRY: Mm-mm. Yeah. It's--in my sixth year.

KLEE: I'll need to come back and talk to you again. Is there a topic or two you think I missed that I should have addressed?

NEWBERRY: Well, there are probably some undercurrents and some topics that you could probably explore. But no, fundamentally I think you're --

KLEE: Are you enough of a Kentuckian--have you thought about retirement and whether you'd stay in the state?

NEWBERRY: Very likely would stay in the state. I mean, we do have roots in Southwest Virginia where my brother and sister still live, and some East Tennessee roots as well, but--on my wife's side of the family. But my daughter lives here, and we have so many ties, this probably will be the place where we'd like to retire.


KLEE: We might want to do a series after you retire.

NEWBERRY: (laughs) Okay, there you go.

KLEE: Thank you.

NEWBERRY: All right.

[End of interview.]