Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mary Ida Gray, September 18, 2007

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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LANE: Testing. One.

[Pause in recording.]

LANE: Okay. We are here at the system headquarters on September 18th- -system office. I need to learn to say that. Talking with Mary Ida Gray about the inauguration of first KCTCS permanent President Michael McCall and the date of that was September of 1999.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: So now where--again if you would Mary Ida, where was the inaugural held?

GRAY: Uh, the inauguration was held in, uh, uh, a tent on the grounds of the, uh, uh, KCTCS System Office at Spindletop--in next to the Administration Building. It was a beautiful crisp fall day.

LANE: Right. Uh, Dr. McCall had actually begun his work, uh, in January of '99?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Is that correct?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: So then, then you spend that whole year or-, he was getting organized and then his inaugural was in September of that year.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Tell me about your first, um, contact with who--who called you and 00:01:00said would you serve on the committee?

GRAY: Well. I think Tim Burcham, uh, was the one who, uh, was given the job of putting it all together. And, um, he, uh, he kind of, he did, he kind of got representation from kind of all areas--

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: --within the system office and also some of the colleges, there were several colleges involved. Uh, I can't remember 'em, at least two colleges that I can think of that were involved. Plus there was a representative from, uh, Governor Patton's office.

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: And, um, since I was in the chancellor's office I was, I was, uh, representing the chancellor's office.

LANE: Um-hm. And when did you begin planning?

GRAY: I don't remember it was, it was, uh, it was probably two or three months out. I don't remember exactly.

LANE: So, summer of '99?

GRAY: Yes. Yes. We spent, we spent quite a bit of time, you know, and kind, you know, it took a little while to kind of figure out exactly what to do and how to do it.

LANE: Um-hm. Um-hm.

GRAY: And, um--but we got, um, it, it, you know, everybody was assigned 00:02:00certain roles, and my role was, um, food, flowers, um, for all the events. Let's see food, flowers and also registration, and I--so I took the, uh, um, the, uh, response cards came into me and I kept track of who was coming and who was not coming. And, um, it, it was really-- it turned out to be a huge job, because there were several pieces of it. There was, uh, the, the gala dance, dinner dance.

LANE: Okay yeah, give us an overview of the events for the inaugural.

GRAY: There was, um, the gala dinner dance which was on Friday night. And then on Saturday, there was the inauguration which was in the afternoon, or I think it was early afternoon. I can't, you know, I don't remember the exact time.

LANE: Um-hm. Um-hm. (Gray laughs)

GRAY: But, um, and so we had to have, we had to have--and they originally 00:03:00were going to have kind of a, um, kind of a--I don't know exactly what they were calling it. It wasn't a carnival exactly, but an event on Friday afternoon before the gala. And so we were eventually--I mean originally even talking about, you know, having plans for something for that and, you know, I was going to do food and flowers for that and then have, and then have--plan the--I, I had to go to the hotel and plan the food and get the flowers together for the hotel for the gala.

LANE: Right.

GRAY: And then, uh, and that was at the Embassy Suites.

LANE: Embassy?

GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: And, uh, then we had, uh, then I also had to do--we had the inauguration on, on Saturday, and I had--we had flowers at on the-- around the podium for that.

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: But also we had the reception in the, uh, the atrium area at the Administration Building was beautiful. It really was. And I--and we had to have flowers and food for that set up in there, for following 00:04:00the, the, uh--

LANE: --inauguration--

GRAY: --inauguration, so there were a lot of different pieces to it.

LANE: Um-hm, sounds like Derby--(laughs)--in Frankfort.

GRAY: Yeah. Yeah. It was a lot of planning and a lot of, uh, a lot of preparation that went into it.

LANE: Where did the guest list come from?

GRAY: Um, you know, I rem-, we discussed, we kind of talked about everybody in the, on the, kind of on the committee talked about, you know, where to get the guest list. And I know that Jackie Bondurant was real involved with that as well as Tim, you know, with, uh, with, uh, all of Tim's contacts.

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: And foundation kind of contacts. Plus all the colleges around the state. And, and there were a lot of people who actually showed up. Uh, to, to, to walk in the academic processional which was very exciting.

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: Because it kind of gave us some legitimacy.

LANE: Huh, yes you're right. The first, the first time.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Now let's back up and tell us--tell me about the presidents before 00:05:00Dr. McCall because, KCTCS having been organized in, uh, '97, '98 had some interim presidents.

GRAY: Right.

LANE: Before that so do you--would you list those?

GRAY: Yeah there was Jeff Hockaday, uh, there was Jim Ramsey and also, uh, early on and he kind of stayed on, but wasn't an interim president, um, an elderly gentleman from Eastern Kentucky. He had been president--

LANE: Nelson Grote.

GRAY: Nelson Grote. Yeah, yeah he was such a, such a gentleman.

LANE: I'm going to go talk to him soon.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: He asked to me--he wants me to come to Morehead and have a tour of the campus and then do this oral history.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: So I'm enjo-, I'm looking forward to that.

GRAY: He's, he's, he's just such a gracious gentleman.

LANE: Where did Jeff Hockaday come from?

GRAY: Um, he--I'm not--he lives in South Carolina or North Carolina or somewhere like that.

LANE: Is he someone they brought in?

GRAY: Yes. He came and he would stay in, um--(clears throat)--the hotel 00:06:00at Capital Plaza.

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: Holiday, whatever it is, Holiday Inn down there.

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: I think he would stay there, you know, for the week and then fly home.

LANE: I see.

GRAY: Or, or I assume he was flying back and forth on a plane I really don't remember.

LANE: Then of course Jim Ramsey was--(clears throat)--the state budget director.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Who was in charged with being head of the transition team?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: (clears throat) For the KCTCS, or the implementation of House Bill 1.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: And then Nelson is someone--Nelson Grote--is someone that they brought in?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: And having been retired from Morehead?

GRAY: Yes. And, and, uh.

LANE: So those three manned the ship so to speak?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Until Dr. McCall came on board in early '99?

GRAY: Yes. Right.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: (clears throat) When Jeff Hockaday left--(coughs)--um, they had a big kind of reception party for him and, you know, luncheon kind of thing. (clears throat) At, um, Four Points--that Sheraton Four Points 00:07:00there?

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: (clears throat) And, uh--I--and I, I was given the job of getting a basket for him--kind of a going away basket from the system for him. And so we went out and bought, got a basket full of Kentucky items and--(clears throat)--it was a nice, nice basket. I hope he--I hope he enjoyed that.

LANE: I would say he would have. He is coming back in--next month to do something with Dr. McCall. I'll have to find out what that is, because I'm going to plan my interview with him--

GRAY: During that time.

LANE: --while he is in town.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: First of October--there's a conference the first few days of October, but.

GRAY: I don't know.

LANE: I will, I will, uh, talk with Cyndi and get that on my calendar- -(Gray clears throat)--I'm anxious to meet him. All right, so Tim Burcham was on the committee?

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Was heading the committee?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: And you were on there and Jackie Bondurant.

GRAY: Yes. Cyndi Ackley, um, Beth Hilliard, um, uh, Bruce Bailey, um- -oh gosh, there were, there were a lot of people. Uh, there was, uh, 00:08:00a PR person from, um, Bowling Green, you know, I, I, I don't remember people's--(laughs)--names--it's terrible.

LANE: That's fine.

GRAY: (clears throat) Uh, a guy from Hopkinsville. (clears throat)

LANE: Were there minutes kept of those meetings?

GRAY: I'm sure--Cathy Stamper (??) was working for Tim at that time. And she came and, uh, I've, I, I assume she took minutes. I don't know. She--

LANE: I will, I will check with Lori Davis who now has Tim's files--

GRAY: --um-hm--

LANE: --is going through those, so I will do that, because it would be nice to have those in your permanent archives.

GRAY: Yes. Yes.

LANE: Okay. Good.

GRAY: Judith James also was on that committee.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: Uh, let's see, I'm trying to think back, but anyway there was, there were a lot of people--it was a pretty, pretty big group.

LANE: And then those representing some of the colleges and that sort of thing.

GRAY: Yes. Yes. (clears throat) Yes, I've got a thing this morning- 00:09:00-sorry.

LANE: Okay. All right, so you have your committee and you started working in summer of '99.

GRAY: Yes. Yes.

LANE: And you collaborated on the guest list and probably--

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: --pulled out anybody and everybody and any other--all the university and the educational--

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: --community.

GRAY: Yes and you know, um, of course all of the people who had been a part of the community college system and the Work Force Development.

LANE: Oh yeah.

GRAY: All those--

LANE: --state officials--

GRAY: --yes, yes absolutely.

LANE: So you're saying people showed up for the academic profession that--precession that you hadn't even--

GRAY: Well, I--

LANE: --who hadn't responded to you?

GRAY: Well I think they all responded.

LANE: I see.

GRAY: I think they responded but it was just impressive to see them--

LANE: Oh yeah.

GRAY: --there with--

LANE: --their robes and--

GRAY: --their regalia and all lined up and walking into that tent it was very--I mean there were people who actually cried.


LANE: Well, it's a very, um, I don't know--the whole thing is very ceremonial--

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: --I think and, and--

GRAY: It was and I looked--I was sitting there looking, you know, kind of in the back because I'd been busy kind of making sure things were okay for the reception, and sitting there, and kind of watched this precession come in and, you know, of course we've spent all this time planning it.

LANE: Of course.

GRAY: And now to watch it.

LANE: It's really happening.

GRAY: It really happening--it was very emotional. I looked around and there were people crying. There was a young woman who was, uh, a student--a member of the board and she was sitting kind of across from me and she was just really, she was very emotional. And it, it was, it was really something.

LANE: I'd say there were, there were lots of emotions on that day.

GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: I mean it's the first public occasion since the new system was formed.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Yes. You had other things, but this was the, the final seal--

GRAY: --right--

LANE: --and legitimacy as you're saying.

GRAY: That's right and, you know, most colleges have--I, I sat there and I thought, you know, every other college and university that I've 00:11:00ever heard of--I've never seen one start from the ground up. They have buildings; they have rooms to have this kind of thing. We had a tent with a grass floor. (Lane laughs) And, and, you know--and they have, and they already have all the, uh, the seals and the, you know, the kinds of things. We had, we had to make those things [clicking sound] and, um.

LANE: You had to--

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: --invent them?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Well, Jackie has a great story about being put on the committee to help redesign the diploma. And she saying I can't touch that--those diplomas were designed by, by God--(both laugh)--and, and the wax seal is in the vault. We can't mess with that, you know, and I'm sure that a lot of people had those feelings.

GRAY: Yeah. Yeah. Well we did, uh, ask the colleges--some of the colleges I think, you know, for instance, uh, I think somebody at, uh, Southeast made the, um--

LANE: Oh yes.

GRAY: --the whatever that thing is called.

LANE: There is a wooden mace--

GRAY: Yes, the mace.

LANE: --the symbol of power--


GRAY: Yes.

LANE: --uh, made by a KCTCS faculty member--

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: That's very cool.

GRAY: And it was, it really was, you know, and Judith, uh, lead the precession--Judith James-- and she came walking in--

LANE: --representing the faculty--

GRAY: --yes. And she came walking in with that mace, you know, at the head of the precession, and it was very, it was just--it was really, it was really neat.

LANE: Really neat. The, uh, the theme was unity as I, as I saw from the clippings. But I would love to have an official--we need an official program.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Inaugural program and maybe they have some in the president's office.

GRAY: Oh, I know they do. Yeah.

LANE: To put in this archives.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Because I haven't--I'm not sure I've seen that.

GRAY: I'm sure that Tim probably has--hopefully he--I know there are some around.

LANE: Um, I, the quote that I pulled out from his remarks that I thought was just right--was very perfect for the occasion was, "As I build on the experiences of those who have brought us here today, I am reminded that our future success must unify tradition and innovation." And I 00:13:00thought that was perfect. He's respecting the tradition of community colleges, technical schools, but to unify those two we have to innovate and create a new system.

GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: Which certainly as were sitting here in 2007 seems to have been done.

GRAY: I think so.

LANE: Relatively successfully.

GRAY: I think so.

LANE: So there was the founding president's medallion.

GRAY: Yes, and that was something that we had made and they placed on him, you know, it was very impressive. (laughs)

LANE: Supported by a chain whose links represented the twenty-eight colleges and schools?

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Which is very symbolic.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Now as you said the wooden mace was made by a faculty member at one of the technical schools.

GRAY: It, yeah he was, um, from Southeast, uh, Kentucky somewhere. I don't know which exactly which school but--

LANE: And then the bronze seal of KCTCS was on the inaugural lectern, and it was made by students. So there was a lot of symbolism here.

GRAY: Um-hm. And they had a student choir also, or a choir made up 00:14:00of students.

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: Maybe from around the system I'm not sure. I think they were from more than one college.

LANE: I, I think I have heard--read about that. And then Travis Todd, the very first KCTCS degree recipient, spoke and represented the students.

GRAY: Yes. That's right.

LANE: Uh, he was from the Ashland area.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Uh, so there, that, it was, it was a day of much symbolism. I'm sure, putting behind some of the, the traditions if you will, but building on them.

GRAY: Yeah. It seems like there was some kind of a snafu too with our--

LANE: Oh, really? (laughs)

GRAY: --yeah the, you know, the piano or something or the organ that they brought in didn't work and Tim, seems like Tim had to run home and get his keyboard. I don't--there was some kind of something like that.

LANE: With the music?

GRAY: Yeah with the music but you know it all worked out, you know.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: It was all beautiful and I'm sure that people--

LANE: A lot of people don't realize--

GRAY: --have no idea--

LANE: --something has gone wrong.


GRAY: Um-hm. Yeah.

LANE: Well that will be a fun thing to, to talk to Dr. McCall about when I do his interview--

GRAY: Yes. And they had--

LANE: --his memories of that.

GRAY: --actually there were a lot of ducks and, uh, geese around the building, so one of the--

LANE: Oh. (laughs)

GRAY: --concerns was how do we keep these ducks out of, out of everybody's way, you know--

LANE: Right, on that lake.

GRAY: Yes and so, uh--we decided to assign Sema (??)--

LANE: (laughs) Yes.

GRAY: --the job, because she kind of went out and she spent a lot of time with the ducks, and they said, "Well, you know, Sema likes the ducks." And so we asked, actually asked her for that--to come and for that to be her official job that day--to keep the ducks away. (both laugh)

LANE: She probably had food or corn or something to lure them if they got to close.

GRAY: Yeah. Um-hm.

LANE: Well you do have to think of those things.

GRAY: But we, I mean we, you know, we--in that committee meeting, it was like we talked about everything. Every possibility--

LANE: You have to.

GRAY: --every--

LANE: Plan A, B, and C. In case this goes wrong. Then usually something will happen that you don't anticipate. But it sounds like you had a--


GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: --heavy task and pretty well thought about it all.

GRAY: Yeah. Yeah, it was, uh, it was very good. I, and I, and, you know, the job of getting the flowers together. I was, I, I was--I liked that--

LANE: That's a major job.

GRAY: I thought it turned out pretty well, because there were so many different, um, pieces of it that had to be.

LANE: You had to do the gala? Decorate for the gala--

GRAY: --the gala, um-hm--

LANE: --too, now where was it?

GRAY: At the Embassy.

LANE: Oh, that was at Embassy Suites?

GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: Sure you did say that.

GRAY: Yeah, and they had, had a very nice reception, um, at, at, you know, at the beginning of that before the dinner began, where they-- people could, uh, line up and have their pictures taken with the McCalls and that was very nice.

LANE: Um-hm. So that was the very first gala?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: That's true. That was--

GRAY: And, uh, Cyndi, that's when Cyndi got up and, uh, sang. She was responsible for the music, that was Cyndi's job was to, um, coordinate all the music.

LANE: Really?

GRAY: So she, uh, she got the band and everything for the gala together 00:17:00and she, um, she got, um--(laughs)--okay, uh, oh gosh now his name just left me. That just drives me crazy.

LANE: Jimmy Church?

GRAY: No. He's a, he's a--actually he's--he is a choir leader and, uh, an org-, um, an organist in Morehead.

LANE: Oh wow--

GRAY: And he also plays--

LANE: --I know who you're talking about--

GRAY: --with the Lexington Singers and, and Cyndi was singing with Lexington Singers at that time. And so she--

LANE: Cyndi Ackley?

GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: And so she arranged for him--

LANE: Jay--

GRAY: --yeah, Jay, Jay, uh--

LANE: --we'll both think of it. Plays with a jazz band here.

GRAY: Yes.

GRAY: He's a genius.

LANE: Yes, he is.

GRAY: Jay--it's, I can, it's on the tip of my tongue.

LANE: Well--we'll not think of it and then it will come to us. But anyway--

GRAY: But anyway, he, he played, they had a little jazz band kind of prior to the, uh, outside of the doors of the, you know, of the--

LANE: --gala hall--

GRAY: --gala hall--

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: --and then he also played during the, you know, for the music, like for the dance and so forth. And so Cyndi, as a surprise, she 00:18:00didn't tell anybody. She got up and sang and people were just blown away. It took a minute for people to realize who it was.

LANE: What did she sing?

GRAY: Um, she had sung a song--Cyndi has a--have you heard her sing?


GRAY: She has a beautiful voice. And she had sung in--for Lexington Singers, and their pop concert, and she sung a solo for that, and so she, that's what she sang. I don't remember what it was. But, um, Jay, you know, Jay kind of said, "You know, why don't you sing your solo?" And so she had to do it.

LANE: Had she not planned to do it? Do you think?

GRAY: Well, she had planned it, but hadn't told anybody.

LANE: Oh, okay, oh, okay.

GRAY: You know when they were planning this event, you know, Jay said to her, "Why don't you do it?" And she, kind of--I think, I think she gets real nervous and so she didn't tell anybody. But, um.

LANE: In case she decided to back out?

GRAY: I guess so.

LANE: No one would have known. (laughs)

GRAY: I guess so. So she got up and sang.

LANE: Well, I'm glad that went well.

GRAY: And I remember, uh, Dr. Bird kind of walking by my table, and he's like, "Did you see who that was?"

LANE: Because she was, she was working for him at that time.

GRAY: --she was working for him at that time--

LANE: Oh, how fun.

GRAY: He was just--


LANE: That is great.

GRAY: --shocked, and everybody was so impressed, because her voice is, is really impressive.

LANE: Neat. That's, that's exciting. I'll have to ask her about that.

GRAY: Yeah, you will.

LANE: I will ask her about that.

GRAY: She doesn't sing--

LANE: Jay Flippin.

GRAY: Jay Flippin--yes. I knew it was an ippin. (laughs)

LANE: I know Jay, he is just a genius.

GRAY: Yes, he is.

LANE: We went to their pops concert this last year--it was so good.

GRAY: Yeah. Yeah.

LANE: And Jackie and her husband are still singing in that.

GRAY: Yes, they are.

LANE: I didn't see Cyndi I don't know if she still in--

GRAY: No, she's not.

LANE: --Lexington Singers.

GRAY: No, she's not.

LANE: Okay. All right, so you had the reception before the gala. That was the first event of the whole weekend?

GRAY: Yes. Um-hm.

LANE: And then you had the gala itself. Did they do the, the pomp and the marching in like they do every year?

GRAY: Um, yes.

LANE: I've only been to one.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: This past one, but.

GRAY: They had, uh--actually it was a little different, because they weren't, it wasn't, um, they weren't honoring, uh--

LANE: The donors.

GRAY: --the donors--

LANE: Like they do now.

GRAY: --as much so it was a little different in that respect. Um, but 00:20:00I, I think they did, you know, march them in. And of course we had the tables, the seating assigned and so forth. And, you know, at that one the governor, um, I don't believe he came but he, he--(laughs)--he sent, uh, he sent the lieutenant governor, who was not married at that time, and evidently was not dating even at that time.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: And so we had to find somebody to sit next to him. (laughs)

LANE: He sent the lieutenant governor?

GRAY: Yes--Steve Henry came and we--(clears throat)--we had to find a--I mean he may have been dating, but he didn't--

LANE: Who did you chose?

GRAY: There was a young woman who is a single young woman, who's a PR person. I think she is from Hazard or somewhere like that--(laughs)-- she, she ended up having to sit with him. She was not, she was kind of like, okay. (Lane laughs)

LANE: Token date. (laughs)

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Okay. All right so that was the reception and then the gala which was the dinner.


GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: And did you have a dance after that?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: They, you always have a dance, dinner dance after that?

GRAY: Yes. People danced--I mean there was such a big crowd on the dance floor you couldn't--

LANE: I'll bet.

GRAY: --you couldn't get on there.

LANE: Now who played for that?

GRAY: It was Jay.

LANE: Was that Jay, too?

GRAY: It was Jay.

LANE: And his back-, and his little jazz band?

GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: They're so good.

GRAY: Yeah, they did that, uh, whole thing. And then the next day it was--

LANE: You didn't have anything in the morning?


LANE: So on Saturday you all were concentrating on the ceremony?

GRAY: Um-hm. Yeah. And, uh--

LANE: Which was?

GRAY: --all of us set up for that.

LANE: What afternoon? Did you say?

GRAY: It was afternoon yes. I don't remember exactly--it was early afternoon, may, you know.

LANE: Two or so?

GRAY: Two or three--

LANE: Probably.

GRAY: --o'clock. Yeah, yeah.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: And, uh, I just remember at the end of that reception by the time, you know, this food was set out, the flowers were there and people, you know, after, uh, after the inauguration, they came to the reception, and of course, I was, you know, real concerned about all that. And 00:22:00when it was over and we had enough food, but not too much.

LANE: Um-hm. It was just right.

GRAY: And the flowers looked, still looked good. There were--I felt so much relief.

LANE: I bet you did.

GRAY: I cannot tell you.

LANE: There's a great feeling--(Gray laughs)--when it's all gone well.

GRAY: Yeah, so anyway.

LANE: Now where did you get all those flowers? Because you had to do the Embassy Suites--what two areas there and the tables and then you had to do?

GRAY: Well. I went to Best of Flowers.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: And, uh, John, um, I can't remember John's last name right now. But anyway, he--(clears throat)--he worked with, with us. He came out and we walked through the whole area and looked at it and he, he was so good. He's very good at designing.

LANE: Yeah, they're excellent.

GRAY: And, um, he, you know, I--anyway, he, he, you know, he came up with designs, and we talked about it, and he showed us pictures. We at first kind of talked about having one--(clears throat)--one of the colleges do flowers for us--

LANE: Right.

GRAY: --we thought that would be nice. But we couldn't, um, their designs were just not really what--


LANE: Did they submit?

GRAY: They sent some pictures. They sent us some pictures.

LANE: Was that a horticulture--

GRAY: Yes, and I don't remember--

LANE: --from one of the schools?

GRAY: --which, I don't remember which school it was--

LANE: Okay. Okay.

GRAY: --but, we contacted. And it just wasn't what we wanted. We ended up, it, uh, going with Best of Flowers. And then the guy that, um, oh, he had a restaurant over in Chevy Chase on Ashland Avenue but now he, um, is a chef at Woodford, out at Woodford.

LANE: David Larson.

GRAY: Yes, he did the, he did the food, the reception food.

LANE: Okay. So Embassy Suites did the dinner the night before, they did all of that--

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: --and then for your inaugural reception, they did that.

GRAY: And I spent a lot of time talking to Embassy Suites people, and we even had a little taste, you know--

LANE: Yes.

GRAY: --they had a taste, yes and--

LANE: Yes, that's a good idea.

GRAY: --so we, you know, 'cause we had, you know, restrictions on how much we could spend. (laughs)

LANE: Well, of course.

GRAY: So, but I thought, I thought for what we had--the money we had to spend I thought it turned out very well.

LANE: Well. I know, having done large events for years, that you, you, 00:24:00you have to get it right, you have to get the feel and the flow, and the big things right. And sometimes the little details are important, but there are times when you have to kind of let some of them go and just think of the big picture.

GRAY: Um-hm. Yeah.

LANE: It just depends as you say on budget, time, energies and the whole nine yards.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Uh, how many people do you think attended the gala?

GRAY: Well. We were concerned that we were going to run out of room. It turned out to be more than we had expected. The room there was not as--

LANE: As large?

GRAY: --yeah, it wasn't as big as probably it should have been.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: And I think we did have maybe some overflow, and they had to put them around the corner. Because I remember we had some discussion about that. And we haven't been back to the Embassy since then because of that. It was a pretty, it was a very pretty.

LANE: Yes, it is.

GRAY: But, it's just too small.

LANE: Too small for, for your needs.

GRAY: Yeah. So after that we started going for the, you know, subsequent ones we went to.

LANE: Would it be two hundred, eight hundred--what was it--(Gray clears 00:25:00throat)--then?

GRAY: It was more than two hundred.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: It was more like, um, it was probably more around five that first year. And the room just wouldn't hold that many.

LANE: Okay. And then how about the inauguration--(Gray clears throat)-- itself, same number or?

GRAY: No, and it may have been fewer.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: I don't, I don't remember it exactly. But, uh, I think it was probably less than that for the inauguration. It was mostly for the inauguration--it was mostly the, um, you know, faculty and staff who could come.

LANE: Right.

GRAY: And, um, uh, people connected to the colleges that came with the, with the choir people.

LANE: Right.

GRAY: And then the, uh, state people and, um, the academic kind of people that came from the procession.

LANE: Right. It was a little more--

GRAY: --it's a little different kind of crowd--

LANE: --ceremonial than social?

GRAY: Yeah. And of course some people did come and spend the night--

LANE: Right. Right.

GRAY: --and do both--

LANE: --do the whole weekend--

GRAY: --but yeah--

LANE: --yeah, I'd say some of them would need to do that.


GRAY: Yeah. So.

LANE: All right. Now, who was, in who--your committee planned the program, the, there was a teleconference to all the colleges.

GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: KET took care of that?

GRAY: Yeah, and I guess, you know, Bryan Armstrong would have been the one who did all that.

LANE: Um-hm. Right, who was the PR director at that time.

GRAY: (clears throat) Excuse me. (coughs)

LANE: Um, so, so the symbolism was very evident as we had talked about in the--the three implements that, the medallion, the mace and the seal?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Having Travis represent the students--now there was someone who spoke and represented the faculty. Now, Judith did carry--

GRAY: --the mace--

LANE: --the mace and representing the faculty.

GRAY: Um-hm. I don't remember who represented the faculty.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: (clears throat) Um, I don't remember that now. Uh, yeah, I can't see the face--(laughs)--I, I can see the people lined up there but I 00:27:00can't see the face.

LANE: Um-hm. Um-hm. Okay. (Gray clears throat) Well those are good stories. Anything else behind the scenes? Committee, get along okay? I mean it was a big committee and--

GRAY: The committee, yeah, the committee did great.

LANE: --had a task to do and just did it.

GRAY: I believe it was Donna Malloy who came from, from--

LANE: Yeah. Yeah. Donna Maloney.

GRAY: Maloney that's right. From Paul Patton's office and, uh--

LANE: Donna's--she's, she's got it down to a checklist.

GRAY: She does, she really--(laughs)--she does, she was very efficient.

LANE: Um-hm. And at that time she was coordinating special events?

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: In the governor's office. Now I think she is back in Economic Development.

GRAY: Yeah--I've heard her name--

LANE: --planning trips and that sort of thing--

GRAY: --since then, yeah.

LANE: Yep, worked with Donna several times.

GRAY: Yeah. So she was, but she was good to work with.

LANE: Um-hm.

GRAY: Because she knew exactly what--

LANE: Very business-like.

GRAY: Yeah she knew exactly what he would want and, um--

LANE: Um-hm. Well that's right. You kind of, you were as far as what your mission was you had to be sure it was okay for the governor, because this was one of his shining hours as well as Dr. McCall's.


GRAY: Right. Yeah.

LANE: One of the proud stamps of, of authenticity.

GRAY: Yeah. Exactly--it was very meaningful I'm sure for--

LANE: I would think so.

GRAY: --for the governor during all that--yeah.

LANE: And his staff--and I'm sure you had to probably invite, did you have to invite his cabinet and those state officials?

GRAY: Oh yeah.

LANE: Yeah. Yeah.

GRAY: Yeah. Jim Ramsey I believe was gone by that time. So, I don't think he came. I don't remember him being there.

LANE: I think he may have gone to South Carolina or North Carolina, wherever he went by then.

GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: (clears throat) It wasn't too long after that.

GRAY: Yeah. Yeah. Because I believe it was before the inauguration, because we went to a kind of going away reception for him in Frankfort.

LANE: Um-hm. Um-hm. He's getting really good marks at, uh--

GRAY: U of L. That's good.

LANE: --U of L. I'm glad.

GRAY: Yeah. Um-hm.

LANE: He should know state government and the budget process in and out.

GRAY: Um-hm. Yeah.

LANE: Okay, well can you think--

GRAY: --I can't think--


LANE: --of anything else?

GRAY: I can't think of anything else really. There, I mean the committee really worked well together I thought, I didn't know of any-- if there was any friction I didn't know about it.

LANE: Well or just, or just--

GRAY: And, uh--

LANE: --we've got to have more people for this or we, we didn't plan enough for this.

GRAY: You know, I don't think so. I mean it, it, it, um, you know, people worked, uh--I mean it, it really kind took the majority of my time in my office--

LANE: I'd say so, especially with those response cards.

GRAY: --for a couple of months, yeah, I was--there wasn't much else that I was able to do for, for a period of time for probably a couple of months. And especially the last few weeks. You know I was having to meet with people and--

LANE: Oh, sure.

GRAY: --and, uh, so but, you know, it was.

LANE: Did you take care of their trav-, of some travel or just let everybody do their own thing? Like people who were coming in from other places?

GRAY: I did not do that. We did, we did, uh, reserve rooms of course, you know--

LANE: Sure a block.

GRAY: --in the hot-, but I don't--I did not help with that, and I don't remember who did, I don't remember who did that. It was somebody else 00:30:00on the committee, so I didn't have to do that. But I, you know, when the response cards came in, uh, you know, I, I kept them, but I also had--I shared the information and gave the money to Cathy. And so we both had the same list.

LANE: Checks and balance, that's always good. (Gray clears throat) Now had, uh, Tim or anyone else on the committee been involved in a college presidential inauguration before?

GRAY: Uh, Tim I know at, at UK--now I don't know if he had been involved in the inauguration. Um, but I think Jackie had been, because she had been at UK long enough to see a couple different presidents--

LANE: Sure.

GRAY: --come and go.

LANE: Well it's always helpful to get ideas from--

GRAY: Yes. And I think that she had worked with--on Dr. Roselle's maybe at UK.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: And maybe, maybe Dr. Wethington's too.

LANE: Okay.

GRAY: Um, and Tim, Tim of course was there, and I don't know how much he was involved with those inaugurations, but he, you know, he had been involved with the, um, you know, the donor kind of gala events--


LANE: --exactly--

GRAY: --at UK and so he--

LANE: Those. Um-hm, um-hm.

GRAY: I mean he may have been involved in the inauguration, I just--I don't remember that.

LANE: Well and I'd say that some of the folks from the colleges certainly had been and their presidents.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: 'Cause those, those presidents change.

GRAY: Right.

LANE: Every--not every few years but occasionally.

GRAY: Yes.

LANE: Some of them, they haven't, but--

GRAY: Some of them haven't changed in a long time. (laughs)

LANE: They haven't, have they? It's, sounds, sounds like, uh, it's pretty typical.

GRAY: Yeah.

LANE: Well I'm glad you thought of this--

GRAY: Well I just--

LANE: --and if you think of anything else let me know, because I--these are the types of stories that we really need to include. We need, you know, an interesting--people love to read about the behind the scenes, um, the behind the scenes goings on of major events. Now, whether or not we'll be able to publish it--that's, that's all in question, but I will write this up as a kind of a fun story and insert it in the archives. So that it's there.


GRAY: Um-hm.

LANE: You know, it's there for, for historical reference. We're hoping that these files--(clears throat)--will be used by all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons in the future. Public relations is going to be so excited to have not only this system history, but we're collecting the histories from the other colleges.

GRAY: Um-hm. Um-hm. Huh.

LANE: They're, they are pulling together--we've given them an outline. Each of the sixteen and they're going to have to pull that together and submit to us a baseline--whether it be an inventory. Now there are sixty, sixty-six files in our library on this subject, and some of them we're asking them to submit.

GRAY: You want to hear a funny story about Somerset?

LANE: Oh. (laughs)

GRAY: And I don't know--you may not want to record this but. (laughs)

LANE: We don't have to.

GRAY: It's, um--

[End of interview.]