Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

LANE: I'm just establishing, uh, a nice record here of good history for this amazing project called KCTCS. I think Pam needs you, so we're gonna.

[Pause in recording.]

LANE: But, but if you would, would you just generally overview your, your history with the university, or your educational history in the profession leading up to the time when you became involved with KCTCS?

NEWBERRY: Okay. Well. I began my, uh, career, uh, as a faculty member in, in history teaching at Jefferson Community College when the community colleges were part of the University of Kentucky system. Uh, I went right out of graduate school, and I was ABD in history from Ohio University. I went to Jefferson. This was in 1976--just a few years after the college was, was established. So I had ten years as a classroom faculty member at Jefferson, and then had an opportunity 00:01:00to, uh, go to another UK Community College, Southeast Community College in Harlan County, where Vivian Blevins, uh, was, uh, was president at the time. In those days, the title was director, but she recruited me as, uh, dean of academic affairs and, um, right out of the, of the classroom. And there are stories to be told there--

LANE: I'm sure.

NEWBERRY: --but, I'm just giving, I'm just--(laughs)--

LANE: I'm sure. That sounds like a good interview in itself.

NEWBERRY: It is. It is. But, uh, I was there for just about eighteen months, and Dr. Blevins went on to another position in Texas. And, uh, Dr. Mary Bacon, uh, academic dean for Somerset, was the interim president for a year and then Bruce Ayers, uh, became president. He still is, and uh, so--

LANE: I talked with him last week. It was a real pleasure.

NEWBERRY: Right. Right. And then from there, I had a chance to go to Ashland as president, and uh, Dr. Wethington was, uh, still, uh, chancellor at that moment. That was in nineteen, uh, uh, '87 when I 00:02:00became president of Ashland. I was at Ashland for a little over five years and, uh, uh, then moved, uh, to the Community College System office, when we were based at, in Breckinridge Hall and Ben Carr was the chancellor at that time. I was his, uh, vice chancellor for academic affairs, and that was uh--so from about '91 through about, through House Bill 1, I was with, uh, the Community College System. And then came, uh, uh, the huge debate over House Bill 1 and, uh, uh, like most of the folks who were either the president, uh, or vice chancellor level at that time, we, we could see it coming. There was, uh, uh, uh, a wonderful meeting when, uh, with Paul Patton, when he was, uh, lieutenant governor--

LANE: Really?

NEWBERRY: --in the Lieutenant Governor's Mansion--

LANE: Really?

NEWBERRY: --with Ben Carr and all the presidents, uh, and the senior staff, uh, that would have been around.


LANE: That's the first I've heard of that. That's really an interesting point.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. Yeah. It was an incredible meeting, because, uh, Gov-, Lieutenant Governor Patton at that time--it was clear that he was going to be running for governor, and, uh, it was clear that he had very, uh, strong views on technical and community college education. And, uh, I'm not sure if Ben Carr arranged the meeting or whether, uh, Lieutenant--

LANE: --I was going to ask you that--

NEWBERRY: --uh, Lieutenant Governor Patton arranged the meeting, but it was in the Lieutenant Governor's Mansion and it was, uh, it was, uh, uh, you know, almost a summit meeting setting and, uh, it was--we had a nice, nice dinner and a lot of, uh, good social interaction, but, uh, at a certain point, uh, uh, Governor Patton basically called the meeting to order and had--asked some very pointed questions of Dr. Carr and the presidents, uh, about what they thought about the organization of community and technical colleges.

LANE: So he was fact-finding? Was that your sense of it?

NEWBERRY: Yes, it was. And it was also clear that he had some very 00:04:00strong views already about um--

LANE: Where do you think those came from? Could you tell?

NEWBERRY: I would say that it came, uh, primarily from his own observation and study. I mean that's we learned about Governor Patton later, is that, uh, he's an independent thinker--and, uh, at that juncture he had a fairly, uh, negative view of, uh, of the community colleges under University of Kentucky, particularly as it related to work-force development. Of course, he was simultaneously the chair of the, of the Commerce Cabinet. Was it?

LANE: Economic--

NEWBERRY: --economic development--

LANE: --Cabinet of Economic Development. He certainly was under Brereton Jones. Yes.

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. Yeah. So we, we saw it. You could see that, uh, Governor Patton, lieutenant governor, ever became governor that, uh, there were going to be some changes in the works. And, uh--

LANE: What was the mood among your constituents and the presidents after--during and after that meeting? Was it?

NEWBERRY: Well, there was anxiety. The first, the first, uh, concern was that he didn't value community colleges at per se and yet, uh, 00:05:00there was also some excitement about the fact that he had a really strong sense that, uh, um, community, um, colleges and technical education in the state, uh, really were, uh, didn't have the emphasis, didn't get the attention that they needed, that they needed.

LANE: So there were ----------(??)--

NEWBERRY: Right. So, there was some ambivalence, there was first of all a sense of needing to defend, uh, the good work that had been done in community colleges under the UK structure, and at the same time, kind of an excitement that, uh, uh--I mean there were people in that room like Chick Dassance, who was president at Ashland at that time, and, uh, uh, John McGuire who was president at Owensboro who had worked in other states had come to this state--had felt, uh, constrained by the UK structure which, uh, other than Allied Health and Nursing Programs, uh, the UK community colleges were just very strongly oriented towards 00:06:00transferring liberal arts. Whereas in most states, they have been truly comprehensive community and technical colleges and, um, so folks like Dassance and, uh, McGuire felt constrained by the UK system. And one of the interesting things was both of them left, uh, the state, uh, McGuire to take a job in Missouri, uh, Dassance to take a job in Florida in the year, in '96 and or '97. And at the time of the House Bill 1 debates, reporters tracked those individuals down, asked them what they thought of the debate in Kentucky over House Bill 1. McGuire was very explicit, saying, "That it was long overdue, that the Kentucky system, the Community College System was um, um, was um, underdeveloped and unresponsive, and you know, loaded down with bureaucracy." Dassance was a little bit more diplomatic. But, uh, during the period of intense House Bill 1 debate, uh, that was something of a sore point 00:07:00with some of the UK Presidents. But, um, I will say that um, you know, during that period, um, you know, as it happened during the legislative session, during the special session, uh, I actually was out of the country. Ben Carr had arranged to go Vietnam on a trip that was joint, uh, between the College of Ag and the College of Engineering and the Community College System, uh, to go to Vietnam on invitation from a delegation of Vietnamese officials who had been here and were really interested, um, in the UK Community College System. But during special session, Ben obviously could not go and he sent me in his stead. So, I found myself completely out of the state during, uh, during most of that debate.

LANE: For most?

NEWBERRY: Of the special session.

LANE: How long were you away?

NEWBERRY: It was, uh, a total of about three weeks.

LANE: I see.

NEWBERRY: And, uh--

LANE: It was an intense three weeks, wasn't it?

NEWBERRY: It was. It was, and um, it kept me out of it, even though 00:08:00my role was not, um--unlike the presidents, unlike Dr. Carr. I would not have been on the, on the frontlines but, uh, uh, it insulated me somewhat from the, uh, the--some of the, uh, bitterness of the--

LANE: And the visits, the Pat-, the Patton's visits to the community college campuses, and that sort of thing that happened in March and April of that year.

NEWBERRY: Right. Right. I was not present for, uh, any of those. However, on the other side of things, after House Bill 1, uh, I was one of those folks who, uh, served--I was present with Governor Patton on his second round of visits, when he took the large facsimile checks out to the campuses and um, and in several cases, I didn't go on--I wasn't, uh, for every one of those of visits, but uh, uh, on several occasions I introduced, uh, the Governor, uh, on those second visits.

LANE: And what was the mood on the campuses at that time?

NEWBERRY: It varied from campus to campus. By that time, um, the die 00:09:00had been cast. Everybody knew what was going to happen, but uh, there were some interesting visits. I remember, uh, the one that really sticks in my mind, is when Governor Patton went to Somerset where the president there, Rollin Watson had been, uh, one of the three or four most vocal opponents of House Bill 1. Had written opinion pieces for the paper and uh, the Governor's visit to Somerset had been one of the most hostile receptions. And so when the Governor went back to Somerset, Rollin Watson was still president and um, um, had, in, been quoted in the local paper in the week prior to Governor Patton's visit as being somewhat underwhelmed by the largesse of the, of the Patton administration. I mean you know he said things like, "Well, you, with all the fanfare with House Bill 1, I would have expected our budget 00:10:00would have been much better than it apparently is going to be." And so, when we got to Somerset, uh, the Governor had kind of a protocol, uh, where if I was the representative of, you know--I was on Jim Ramsey's transition team--

LANE: Right. Right.

NEWBERRY: --and um, and that was really the um--and so, uh, al-, I was often the one who kind of represented--

LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: --Jim Ramsey when we went out to those meetings. And so, uh, the Governor got to the point where he was going to give out facsimile check, and it was the photo op and um, generally he would have the president of the community college and myself, and he would make some remarks. In this occasion, um, he um, he asked me to come up and, um, I stood on one side of the check and the Governor stood on the other. And he asked Dr. Watson to stand there, and while, right there in front of everybody, uh, he lectured, I mean he really uprated, uh, 00:11:00Rollin Watson--and it, and it was intense. He quoted from the article--

LANE: Oh my.

NEWBERRY: --and um, it was, it was really quite, quite a scene. And afterwards, uh, Crit Luallen was with the Governor at that point, uh, and she said to, uh, me, she said, "Boy, that was, that was brutal." (laughs) It was, I think it was a little bit over the top at that point. But, uh, but it was, um, you know, the Governor kind of making the point to Rollin Watson that the new order, uh, is now in place, and we really expected a more constructive and positive reception.

LANE: Right. Wow. Now that would have been then in the summer, early summer, after the bill was signed.


LANE: Correct?

NEWBERRY: It would have been in the summer. It could have been in the early, early fall, but there was a time-frame there.

LANE: During that?

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. Yes.

LANE: Okay.

NEWBERRY: Uh, and then, um, within six months there were some other- 00:12:00-later that fall we had, uh, visits from, uh, Southern Association, focused upon consolidation, and I was involved in, uh, writing those, writing the response to the Southern Association.

LANE: Um-hm.

NEWBERRY: That was, that was a very difficult time, because on the one hand I was working with Jim Ramsey, and working with, uh, the group that was making every effort to show the positive, uh, uh, potential of the new system.

LANE: And were you working with the brand new board at that time as well?

NEWBERRY: The board was just forming.

LANE: Had just been--was just forming during that summer as well.

NEWBERRY: Right, with, uh, with Martha Johnson--

LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: --as, as the new chair.

LANE: --new chair, um-hm--

NEWBERRY: It was during that very period, and in very short order, we had to produce a very large document. And, um, I worked on the one hand with Jim Ramsey and the folks, uh, who were part of kind of the transition team, and on the other hand with Ben Carr and Marie Piekarski.

LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: Uh, the way that House Bill 1, uh, was, was written, uh, 00:13:00you know, it had to be that first document was supposed to be a joint effort between the university and, uh, it was very, very dif-, --

LANE: Yes. And you were right in the middle of it.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. Right in the middle of it. We wrote a document that was very positive, and in the, uh, in the tone of, of we can do this and this has great potential for Kentucky. And, uh, uh, there was a, uh, uh, wonderful meeting that I remember in Breckinridge Hall, where, uh, Ben Carr and Marie Piekarski and I reviewed that document, after Dr. Wethington had a chance to, uh, to go over it and um, we ended up, uh, uh, deleting large sections--

LANE: Really?

NEWBERRY: --and, uh, and rewriting the document--

LANE: Huh.

NEWBERRY: --and it was--

LANE: At his suggestion?

NEWBERRY: --at, at, at his--

LANE: --for his direction--

NEWBERRY: --at his insistence. And so there was a period of back and forth between, uh, Jim Ramsey and, uh, and Dr. Wethington and, uh, uh, I remember meetings, um, on the one hand with Ben and Marie where we, 00:14:00uh, were working to try to come up with an acceptable document, and on the other hand, with, uh, being in a meeting with, uh, Crit Luallen, where she was calling, uh, Michael Adams, who had moved from Centre to, uh, University of Georgia, and just happened to be the head of the Commission on Colleges at the time.

LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: Trying to come up with, uh, uh, an acceptable middle ground. But in the fall, back to the presidents, and how they were accepting this. We had a major visit from, uh, the first visit from a team from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and, uh, one of the things that they did was to--that team did, was to hold, uh, uh, focus groups or discussions with the groups of presidents and uh, um, Jeff, abo-, let's see, I think by this time Jeff Hockaday was, uh, kind of interim, uh, interim--

LANE: He had come on board.


NEWBERRY: --president.

LANE: Right. Right.

NEWBERRY: And, uh, uh, there--I remember a meeting with Jeff and, uh, the chair of the, uh, SACS visiting team. His name was John Pickelman. And, uh, he, he told Dr. Hockaday, he says, "I'll tell you some of your presidents are not with you on this." And, um, uh, after that meeting, um, it's kind of--how long is this going to be in the archives? I mean before it's listened to, but, but?

LANE: Oh, I'll turn it off any time you want me to.

NEWBERRY: No, no, no, no. But, you know--

LANE: Whatever you'd like to say for the record. If you want me to turn it off.


LANE: I do, it's not a problem.

NEWBERRY: No, well what, no, what, uh, but after that, uh, uh, we had to have some heart-to-heart talks with some of the presidents, uh, about, uh, you know, this is, this is the way things are going to be. We're going to try to work hard to build a new system here. And, uh, there is no possibility of actually going back to the old order.

LANE: Right. I think some felt that for a long while, which, which just 00:16:00weakens your forward movement. Doesn't it?

NEWBERRY: That's right. That's right. So there was a sorting out period. Let me put it that way. (Lane laughs) And, uh, there were, uh, some presidents who, uh, elected to go other directions, and then there were some other presidents like Ed Hughes and Bruce Ayers and, uh, and Pat Lake, who, uh, made the commitment to do everything they could to make the new system, uh, much stronger than the old one. So, uh, I had the, uh, the fun and privilege of observing a lot of that at close hand.

LANE: Exactly, and being involved in it. Definitely. Right at that time. Of course you, then in March, you were appointed chancellor. Was that after that--those events or during that time, uh, here with KCTCS? Right? Is that correct?

NEWBERRY: That, that's right.

LANE: Is that the correct title?

NEWBERRY: Yes. I was, uh--

LANE: Of '98?

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. Uh, it would have been in January--in January of '98 00:17:00is when the community colleges officially came over to the KCTCS Board.

LANE: Right. Right.

NEWBERRY: And, uh, I believe it was actually at that, uh, that board meeting where um, in January of '98, it could have been, it could have been later that spring that I was, uh, actually officially made, uh, made chancellor. Yeah, I was acting chancellor.

LANE: But you were with them from January obviously, because that's, that was where you had been involved. Uh, January 14th was the board meeting.


LANE: Except Lexington Community College--


LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: Yes. That was right. Yeah, that um, was an interesting, um--I was in Breckinridge Hall going back to the debate over House Bill 1, uh, when the Governor was beginning to make his trips and when the debate was becoming most intense there was a period where the hottest spot was Lexington Community College. And, uh, I remember Aims McGuinness called me at the System office, uh, during that, uh, during 00:18:00that period. I said I was in Vietnam. I was most of the time, but you know, I did, uh, you know, there were so-, part of the period where I was actually in the System office. But uh, Aims McGuinness was--called and he said, "What's going on at LCC?" And then Ed Ford called and, um, all I could do was really report to him. But the Governor made a tactical decision during that period that, uh, you know, we've got a fight on our hands, um, let's try to isolate LCC. And so they basically conceded, uh, you know, at the critical point that LCC would not be part of the, part of the System--I mean part of the House Bill 1 effort.

LANE: The new System. That was one of the compromise factors wasn't it?


LANE: And obviously that, that community college was on the campus literally of the university.

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. Right.

LANE: Were there any other reasons you think? You think that was as--

NEWBERRY: Well, you know, I wasn't--

LANE: --just a concession, do you think?


NEWBERRY: --I think it was a tactical, uh, concession and an effort to, uh--

LANE: Give something.

NEWBERRY: --well to, to manage the fire-storm that was uh--

LANE: --and it was a fire-storm. It was, it was tough.

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. It was absolutely tough.

LANE: And most people remember that KET debate between Dr. Wethington and Governor Patton as just a hot point in that whole debate. Plus, those visits that Ed Ford called, worse than hell visits to the campuses.


LANE: But, but you could under-, you could understand as well as others the emotion that was involved there. It was, it was almost--it was like a divorce or something of the sort. Uh, all right, so then, you are on board with a brand new board of regents with the KCTCS System. Now, was there a chance-, there was a chancellor of the technical schools at that time?


LANE: And who was that?

NEWBERRY: That was, uh, Jack Moreland.

LANE: That was Jack. All right.

NEWBERRY: Yes. He'd, he'd been, uh, appointed. Uh, there were some 00:20:00maneuverings within the Patton administration there around House Bill 1--Jim Ramsey by virtue of being the, uh, the, uh, budget director.

LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: You know he was designated as--kind of the first head. But, there was a point at which, uh, um, there was discussion about making Ed Ford kind of the czar of education.

LANE: Really?


LANE: That's interesting.

NEWBERRY: And, uh, Ed is the one who brought in Jack Moreland, uh, and I remember he actually brought, uh, I was outside Jim Ramsey's office when, uh, Ed walked up, and he had Jack Moreland with him. And I stood up and met Jack and um, so Ed took Ed Moreland, uh, Jack--Ed Ford took Jack Moreland into Jim Ramsey's office and basically said, "This is the person who's going to be the technical, uh, chancellor." It turned out Jack and I got along great. We had a little bitty office in the basement of the annex.

LANE: Yes.

NEWBERRY: I mean, it was literally a closet. And, uh, uh, we, uh, had Debbie Tichenor, who is still with the System as the IT person, and she 00:21:00set us up with a couple of computers. But at any rate, uh, uh, Jack Moreland was, uh, he was and is a great, uh, personality. And, uh, he had a lot to do with, uh, the tenor of things, um, the relationship between community colleges and technical colleges.

LANE: Which was another whole family unit coming together itself, wasn't it? What--so he, did he feel like that was going to be positive move for, move for the technical schools?

NEWBERRY: He did. Um, he was very supportive of House Bill 1 but what Jack did; the role that he played was to really kind of rally the technical school directors.

LANE: --directors--

NEWBERRY: He was great for their morale. He took them on a retreat, the infamous, uh, Rough River Retreat.

LANE: The Rough River. (laughs)

NEWBERRY: At a time when, uh, the effort was--what we were trying to do was build a sense of common purpose but, but Jack who had great political sense, uh, picked up on the sense of the grievance and um, 00:22:00upon the technical college directors. And he basically rallied them. So by the time Dr. McCall got here--(laughs)--and, uh, uh, and, you know, he started holding meetings, uh, with the board, everybody came. I mean there were, you know, twenty, you know, fifteen or so technical college directors who were, who were, uh, who were arriving there, and they really all, uh, uh, were pretty, uh, skeptical about what was, what was going to happen.

LANE: Literally, I understand from some other interviews that, that you have the community college people on one side of the room, and the technical school people on the other, sitting with arms folded. I mean, there was a lot of fear and anxiety as you say about what was really going to happen.

NEWBERRY: Yes. Right.

LANE: But, I talked to um--I went to Morehead and saw Nelson Grote on Friday and had a delightful day with him.

NEWBERRY: Oh, great. Thanks.

LANE: He remembers you so fondly and is so important to those early days of building a foundation for this whole system before Mike McCall came on the scene.


NEWBERRY: Yeah. Well Nelson was very important. Uh, I remember Jim Ramsey told me one day, he says, "We've got to have some help pulling all of this together." Then we brainstormed for a few minutes, and I, I suggested Nelson's name, and I remember giving him a call and he was available. But, uh--

LANE: Yeah. And he had really good background with some of the issues--

NEWBERRY: Oh, he did.

LANE: --you were dealing with.

NEWBERRY: That's right.

LANE: Experience in those fields.

NEWBERRY: That's right. He'd worked with community colleges, uh, not only did he know Kentucky, but, uh, community colleges in Michigan and in Seattle, and just had a great, great resume.

LANE: So they brought you from Breckinridge Hall during that transition period over to the annex?

NEWBERRY: Uh, yes. Actually it was on Wilkinson. Well, first it was in the annex.

LANE: Oh, yes.

NEWBERRY: And then we got the first office there.

LANE: The transition office. Yes.

NEWBERRY: That's right. And then there was Beverly Haverstock and Bryan Armstrong, and Beth Hilliard--

LANE: --and Angela Fields--

NEWBERRY: --and, and Beth Hilliard and that was just about the whole staff.

LANE: Right. Right.

NEWBERRY: Uh, yeah, uh--

LANE: How, what was Crit's role in all of this, Dr. Newberry? Um, I 00:24:00know the Governor had the vision and was hands-on in detailing the, the task force, and the Act and the whole nine yards. But what was Crit's role after, after the passage of House Bill 1, and you were into the transition period. How, what was Crit's role in this?

NEWBERRY: Well, um, she had played a very critical role. The, the role that I observed most closely was that--had to do with the accreditation element.

LANE: Yes.

NEWBERRY: But, uh, she was, uh, um, you know, Governor Patton's primary adviser on this. Jack Conway was there, too. He had drafted a lot of the legislation. He was in a lot of those meetings but um, um, with regard to accreditation, we had this period where we realized that, uh, Dr. Wethington's, uh, strategy--and by the way I visited with him lately and we're, we're in great terms. He came and spent the better of the day at Jefferson.

LANE: Wonderful.

NEWBERRY: But um, Dr. Wethington's strategy was, um, to, um, um, show 00:25:00to accrediting agency that this could not work and um, um, he um, and actually um, um, was, you know, he had lobbied with Jim Rogers at SACS who was the executive director and um, and there was a meeting of the Commission on Colleges that was shaping up as kind of a show-down, uh, and actually Jim Ramsey went down to kind of counterbalance. But, during that whole period, Crit's role was, uh, to, uh, talk to Michael Adams and to, uh, uh, work very, very hard behind the scenes to try to understand the accreditation element of things. But I'm sure she did that on a lot of other elements of this. I think she was, um, she was--

LANE: She was a, she facilitated. She, she knew who to bring together. Of course, Crit knows state government, and I think her connection with Michael had been from Centre, hadn't it?

NEWBERRY: Yes. Yeah, I think so.

LANE: Obviously. Yeah. But, but accreditation was basic to what you were doing. If that fell apart, certainly you knew this was not going 00:26:00to work.

NEWBERRY: That's right. Yeah, the governance, uh, element of it, SACS, the accrediting Commission on Colleges had to sign off on that before we could move forward.

LANE: Right. Right.

NEWBERRY: Yeah--but, about Jack Moreland. Something to get on the record is that he was such a character, uh, and, uh, he was such--he was a natural leader of that, of that group, but he, he played a couple of roles that were interesting. First of all, during that first, uh, uh, aborted presidential search--

LANE: Yes.

NEWBERRY: --um, there was a period at which--(clears throat)--when the board was stymied, uh, Jim Ramsey came forward as a candidate and, um, Jack um, worked behind the scenes with the technical college, uh, directors basically to torpedo, uh, Jim, Jim Ramsey's--

LANE: Really?


LANE: Really?

NEWBERRY: That was, uh, there's no doubt about that.

LANE: That's interesting.

NEWBERRY: And then as time went along and that became known, when Jeff Hockaday arrived, uh, Jeff's, uh, first charge was to uh--(laughs)--to tell Jack that, uh, this was his last day. Uh, Hockaday's first day 00:27:00and Ram-, and, uh, and Moreland's--it may not have been literally the first day, but it was the first--

LANE: --very close--

NEWBERRY: --joint meeting where I remember Hockaday talking to Jack in the corner of the room. I mean, um, presidents and directors and, you know, everybody were there, and then, uh, and Jack had, he said, "Yes sir. Yes sir." And then he came over to me and he shook my hand and he says, "Elvis is about to leave the building." (laughs) I mean, it was just like that, too.

LANE: Just gone.

NEWBERRY: He's, he's--

LANE: Did he think, did he know it was coming? Do you think?

NEWBERRY: Well, uh, I think he probably did.

LANE: Yeah.

NEWBERRY: But he was, uh, you know, it didn't perturb him in the least. I mean he was ready to move on. It was somewhat of a surprise to me, uh, that, uh, that it would happen that quickly, but um, but Jeff Hockaday kind of sized things up, and he probably had had conversations with, uh, with board leaders.

LANE: Surely. Surely, and knew that that probably needed to happen. So, did--was there a replacement for Jack?


NEWBERRY: There was. It was an odd situation. Uh, uh, there were two prominent staff members. And I'm going to have trouble coming up with their names now.

LANE: The Parkers?


LANE: Tara.

NEWBERRY: Tara Parker and her colleague--

LANE: Herb?

NEWBERRY: Uh, no. Herb was there, but there was, Tara was--

LANE: Ann Cline.


LANE: Dr. Ann Cline.

NEWBERRY: Tara and Ann were co-chancellors during an interim period until, uh, um, until--I'm not sure how long that lasted--prob-, if it lasted all the way up to, uh, when Keith Bird came on board or not.

LANE: Ann Cline and Tara Parker.


LANE: Yes. Good. Now, when did you first meet Mike McCall?

NEWBERRY: I met, uh, Mike McCall during the, uh, when he came, um--let's see, I was present during the interviews of the presidential candidates.

LANE: The, there were, there was a series of two. Two searches. Uh, 00:29:00the first one was aborted or abandoned and then a second search firm and Mike McCall was one of three candidates at the end of that--

NEWBERRY: That's right.

LANE: --search.

NEWBERRY: Right. That's when I met him--is during that, uh, that period. I was part of a group, that, uh, one of the interview groups. I knew him by reputation prior to that, because I had been, uh, in my time at the Commission on Colleges, have worked with several of the South Carolina presidents. And there was one president in particular who said, uh, "You need to meet Mike McCall. He is, he is, uh, he is terrific and talked particularly about distance learning and workforce development." And, uh, I didn't, uh, connect with him at that time. But, um--so I met him during the interview process, met him again at the Maysville board meeting, where he was, uh, he was selected, uh, as the, as the president and, uh, then worked with him intensively after, as he began to build the system.

LANE: And how long did you stay with the system after Mike McCall was 00:30:00on board? That was the beginning of '99. January of '99 was his first month of work.

NEWBERRY: Right. Well, all the way through my appointment as president at, uh, Jefferson--which was in July of 2002.

LANE: Two thousand and two. Great. So you're back where you began--


LANE: --aren't ya'?

NEWBERRY: Full circle.

LANE: Right. So how, how did things progress? Um, you know, I understand from some others that it just sort of took off at warp speed after Dr. McCall had a time to study, and um--there were lots of things to do obviously, and he depended on you all--you who had been building the foundation very much so. You had staff to, to put in place--the personnel system. Of course, you had worked on that earlier hadn't you?


LANE: The PeopleSoft business.

NEWBERRY: There had been um--

LANE: --and Ron Moore from U of L and that sort of thing. So much going 00:31:00on, so many um, you were--

NEWBERRY: All those infrastructure issues, you know.

LANE: And Jackie said one of your famous expressions was, "We're, we're flying this airplane at the same time we're putting wings on it." Something of that sort?


LANE: Is that accurate?


LANE: Which is true, you know, you had to.

NEWBERRY: Right. Right. During the period when Nelson Grote was--this is going back, but um, one of the things I did do, that phrase reminded me of that. Nelson and I made, kind of the grand tour of the state.

LANE: Um-hm.

NEWBERRY: And um, made presentations to faculty and staff groups on, uh, nearly every college campus and it was a, you know, "What is KCTCS? Why is this good for our colleges? Why is it good for the students?

LANE: Is that your famous PowerPoint--

NEWBERRY: Yes. The famous--

LANE: --that Nelson mentioned?

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. That's right.

LANE: He was most impressed.

NEWBERRY: Yes, yes, well we did, we did that together--(Lane laughs)-- and, uh, we didn't need notes after a while.

LANE: No, after a while.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, that's right.

LANE: Very good. Well I'm sure he--that was good, because those folks knew you and um, and it was just part of the transition period for them 00:32:00to get to know the other leaders.

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. Yes. Yes, I was, uh--one of the things I forgot to mention, you know, uh, during that intense period, um, when the, uh, sparks were beginning to, uh, ignite, uh, I was in Breckinridge Hall's conference room with a group of the, of the CK-, uh, community college staff, and we listened, uh, actually we watched television. We watched, uh, Governor Patton make the announcement about the special session and, uh, uh, there were--some of us in that room who were really, uh, inspired by it. I mean because he painted a vision of what community and technical colleges could be if we were independent of the university--if we were like the best systems in the country--uh, uh, comprehensive, uh, and autonomous units. So I very much saw my role during the latter period as, as helping folks like myself, who 00:33:00had grown up within the old system, see the, uh, the great value and potential of the new. And I continued to play that role, I think, uh, during the early years with Dr. McCall. But when Dr. McCall, uh, arrived, things were kind of reframed in a very positive organized structure. And, whereas before he arrived we just floundered around with issues like how to--what kind of personnel policies do we need, how are we going to get PeopleSoft going? Uh, suddenly, uh, uh, the clouds parted, and, and, the---(Lane laughs)--su-, I mean we, we just- -we were, we were charged with moving forward in a more straight forward way than had been possible in the past. And things did move to, move at warp speed.

LANE: Well, you didn't know who the ultimate president was going to be when you were doing all those things, so I'm sure you operated on your best information. But, but you really almost had to wait until, until 00:34:00the new leader came on board to, to finalize some things. I would think so.

NEWBERRY: Right, and then Dr. McCall came in January and Keith arrived in March. And of course, Keith Bird, uh, he's just a brilliant, uh, in so many different ways. And he brought a whole element, kind of, best practices, new ideas. Uh, you know, he helped Dr. McCall make real this vision to make the system the best, the best in the country.

LANE: So you would turn that as obviously Dr. McCall had the vision and the experience, and then Dr. Bird was the practical--well, I don't want to say Dr. McCall wasn't practical, but he actually put legs into, to the vision and, and the way you go about that, the steps that you take and that sort of thing.

NEWBERRY: Right. Yeah, the two of them together were an incredible combination. And one of Dr. McCall's great strengths, the other source of his, uh, uh, effectiveness and, and really his power as a leader, 00:35:00is that, uh, uh, his ability to work with the board. Uh, and you know, this is something, this is the one element that I see very similar to, to Charles Wethington, in the sense that, uh, great leaders of systems or universities, uh, have to um, have kind of an intuitive grasp of how to form just a powerful coalition with the boards. And, uh, that's something that has been a constant with, with Dr. McCall. I think the experience that he had in South Carolina with a state board that was inherently a political, uh, probably more political than Kentucky.

LANE: I would think so.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. Uh, it was a great source of his strength.

LANE: And that was a new board? Some of those folks have said, "We were new. We were flying by the seat of our pants." So they depended on you and Nelson to, to help them with best practices as far as boards are concerned. And they had to be involved in operations at that point, where ultimately I heard Richard Bean say last month, "We are policy 00:36:00and then we leave the operation to, you know, to our president and our staff." But I would think they would have had to have been in those early days--involved in operation.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. In the early days those lines between policy and operations were, were fuzzier for sure.

LANE: Yes, of necessity I would think. Um, any other vivid memories of the highlights, maybe low-lights, of that time, um, while you were still here--the early days of Dr. McCall's presidency, through July of '02?

NEWBERRY: No. Um, I will say that with regard to the presidents in the system, when Dr. McCall arrived that, uh, transition, that sorting out that I described earlier--

LANE: Yes. Yes.

NEWBERRY: --continued to unfold.

LANE: Did it?


LANE: Some of them waited to see who was going to come on board, do you think?

NEWBERRY: Yeah. That's right. Yeah.

LANE: Naturally so.

NEWBERRY: And, and so there were--one, uh, I mean if you look at the 00:37:00roster of presidents and directors who were here in January of 1999, and then you go out the next thirty-six months, you'll see, uh, a couple of things going on. First of all, uh, a number of individuals, uh, retire, uh, uh, moved to other positions. Um, some cases, early retirements and uh, then at the same time the consolidation process was, was taking place.

LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: It was the April 1999, uh, board meeting, where, uh, the board--this was at Hazard--uh, developed the concept of consolidation, and it was, uh, a bit of a dilemma. How do we go about merging these institutions when that is not the clear mandate of House Bill 1? One could argue in House Bill 1 that you're supposed to have this permanent division between community and technical colleges, but that was clearly not the way you're going to build a world class system.


LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: And so the board, uh, was really, uh, almost serendipitous. I mean, generally speaking, the way Dr. McCall works with the board is that there is just an enormous amount of staff work and research. And you go to the board with, uh, fairly full-dressed concepts but this was the signal exception. It was almost a magical moment I thought, uh, because the board came to the conclusion, we've got to find a way, a rationale, for moving forward with these consolidations--for making these merges. But how do we do it? How do we frame it? And, uh, uh, Dr. McCall, uh, actually charged a group--uh, a small writing group, and Bryan Armstrong was part of that group to develop some language. And, and, um, my memory is that um, the language was developed and brought back and discussed with the board almost within a thirty minute time-frame.

LANE: Is that right?

NEWBERRY: And, uh, and this is where the board adopted the approach 00:39:00of, uh, of, uh, community- driven, uh, initiatives, leaning toward consolidation. I mean the language is--

LANE: Versus mandating those consolidations?

NEWBERRY: Versus mandating. Right. I mean they framed it in such a way that a consolidation efforts would be considered, uh, if the community brought forward the idea.

LANE: Right. Right.

NEWBERRY: And it was really kind of a brilliant stroke, because really, from that point forward Dr. McCall's approach is, uh, I've often describe him as a master of the, uh, you know, the, the iron hand and the velvet glove.

LANE: Yes.

NEWBERRY: I mean the iron hand was always there, saying, "We've got to move forward now with these consolidations." The velvet glove part was that you'd never do it in absence, in the absence of strong grassroots support.

LANE: Right.

NEWBERRY: And so the role of the presidents, uh, was to really work hard on trying to bring together the various elements. And, uh, so--

LANE: Always remembering the community part of the community colleges.

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. Yes.


LANE: And as I understand from some other discussions, Governor Patton had in-, had some input into that--


LANE: --as far as, as really not wishing that to be mandated even though they all knew it had to happen.


LANE: But as you say the velvet glove approach and inclusion. Including those communities in allowing those--them to make those initial recommendations I suppose or have input into that.


LANE: So that was in April of '99 at the board meeting.

NEWBERRY: Yeah, and a less, uh, adept, um, um, leadership--I mean things could have broken down, and we could have found ourselves today in a system that was still bifurcated.

LANE: Yes.

NEWBERRY: And, um, but instead what we have are the eleven communities where a community and technical colleges existed close by one another. All those mergers have taken place and, uh, there's still work to be done in communities, like you know, Louisville for example, and 00:41:00truly getting the faculties, uh, of the former institutions to buy-in into a, a unified view. I mean that, that work goes on, but now it's incremental. I mean we've made the big leap and, uh, that could have become kind of a permanent situation politically, if, uh, if Dr. McCall hadn't been, uh, and the board hadn't been so committed to working it out.

LANE: Define, define that concept for me. As I understand it, the communities would come to the board when they were ready or the schools heading, heading that team. Is that, is that how it worked?

NEWBERRY: Right. It was the responsibility of the college, uh, the president of the college working with the community to come to the board and request, uh, consolidation. And, uh, there was a um, kind of a four-phase process that, uh, each college would have to work through. The first phase, the first presentation, um, there would be a presentation of the board, where you basically demonstrated that there 00:42:00is community support. Um, you typically, you know, you would have not only letters from companies and political leaders, but, uh, you would have um, um, testimony at a, at a board meeting. Then another phase was a community forum. You know, the board would, uh--members of the board would actually go to a community, and there would be a facilitated discussion. And, um, it's interesting--two of the earliest colleges to respond, uh, were, uh, Paducah, uh, Community College at that time and, uh, Jefferson. And both of those cases, um, the, um, effort ran into resistance and, um, the process was slowed down. In Paducah there was a, uh, a forum that I remember, where um, um, the antis, uh, folks who were against consolidation basically packed, uh, the room. And there were, you know, a number of very, uh, defensive and angry denunciations 00:43:00of consolidation. And in, and in Louisville there was a really kind of different dynamic, uh, where, uh, where the college got out ahead of kind of community support. But um, um, after that though, you know, the colleges kind of learned the lesson of those two-false starts. And um, you know, and everything went very, very smoothly from that point.

LANE: Today unfortunately, we don't have a lot of time. I don't want to hold you from your next meeting. But, uh, describe if you will, the difference that you see from your days, um, as a community college president, when those colleges were with the University of Kentucky, and today. What are the major differences in your mind?


LANE: Your experiences?

NEWBERRY: --the difference is, is dramatic in so many different ways. The colleges now are dynamic. Uh, they are really charged with responsibility for aggressively meeting the needs of the community. And, uh, and I'll just cite a couple of examples. In work-force 00:44:00development--I went back and looked, uh, this most recent year-- Jefferson Community and Technical College served, uh, more than five hundred different companies with, with work-force training.

LANE: --that's impressive--

NEWBERRY: Going back to 1998, we had eighteen relationships with companies.

LANE: Wow.

NEWBERRY: And um, um, now those good, legitimate relationships that served the company as well, but that's just one indicator. If you look at uh, the numbers of certificates, diplomas and degrees, uh, our college has had a five-fold increase over the six-year period, uh, aggressive enrollment growth. I mean the community colleges under University of Kentucky had a similar mission. Our mission was access to higher education. Our mission was to, uh, develop, uh, work-force oriented programs. I mean you could do a point-to-point comparison between the, uh, purpose of those colleges with these colleges. The, 00:45:00the huge difference is the actualization of that mission, and um, um-- along with, you know, the aspiration, uh, which is very energizing to be the best community and technical college system in the country.

LANE: Be a part of that.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. It's, it's a night and day difference. Uh--

LANE: I've heard the words efficiency and responsiveness. The responsiveness to a community need--someone in the work-force. We have to have some respiratory therapists. The difference is how quickly you can get that done now, versus what might have happened before.


LANE: Maybe a bureaucracy.

NEWBERRY: That's right. Yeah, it would take a good--if things went perfectly well with the University of Kentucky structure. And it wasn't just the University of Kentucky, because you had this overlay of the Council on Higher Education.

LANE: Certainly.

NEWBERRY: Uh, you could get a new program launched in two and a half years. Um, now we can actually start new programs, uh, within just a matter of days if it's a certificate program. Now, to become a degree 00:46:00program, there's a little bit more approval, but it's at the board level. Uh, it doesn't have to go to the state. So, that's, uh, that's a dramatic difference.

LANE: So, uh, just some comments from you on the, on the 10th anniversary and the progress we've seen, which, which I'm assuming you, you agree with, in the last ten years, uh, for the, for the record.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. Well you know, it's been one of the great miracles, uh, of higher education, I think, in Kentucky. I think um, in fact I heard Dr. Clark make, uh, say as, as much.

LANE: I'd like to hear that, because I couldn't--go ahead--I'll ask you this question in a minute.


LANE: You heard him speak to, about the post-secondary education reform?

NEWBERRY: Yeah. He, uh, he referenced that this was one of the great, uh, changes. Uh, and I had the good fortune to spend some time with Al Smith, uh, at, uh, you know, after one of the "Comment on Kentucky" 00:47:00in recent weeks. And um, um, and he, he was saying as much as well. That um, you know, that the creation of a community and technical college system is really the centerpiece of, uh, of the post-secondary education reform. And um, really has made a huge difference. I think we still struggle though for a general recognition of that.

LANE: Yes.

NEWBERRY: I mean, we still um, we still, uh, have, have a feeling that, uh, we're not completely understood, that, uh, we're somewhat undervalued in the total scheme of things. But, we have a base on which to, uh, make our case now that was almost totally absent with University of Kentucky. Uh, I mean, even with Dr. Wethington who came out of our system--

LANE: Surely.

NEWBERRY: --and was our great, great advocate when he became president of the University of Kentucky. He was president of the University of Kentucky. And ironically, was actually in a, uh, less, uh, advantageous position to help us than he had been previously.

LANE: Certainly. Certainly.

NEWBERRY: He couldn't show favoritism.


NEWBERRY: And, uh--


LANE: But his heart, his heart was always with the community colleges, I sense--


LANE: --'cause of the passion of the fight, if you will.

NEWBERRY: Yes. Absolutely, but with Dr. McCall, uh, and the current leadership structure completely unrestrained by those, I mean Dr. McCall in recent days has been involved in discussions with Council on Postsecondary Education staff, and with the Council itself. And um, he's, you know, he's able to speak as the largest, the ninth entity of higher education, as, as the one um, um, player in the scheme of things, that has responsibility for broadening access and uh, providing work-force development. And that's um, that's, uh, a dramatic change.

LANE: It is a dramatic change, and I believe the numbers--ninety-two thousand students enrolled in the community and technical college system. I sa-, I read that on the CPE's October newsletter and some news in the last few days about budgeting and that sort of thing, which would be interesting to watch.

NEWBERRY: Um-hm. In fact I think the final official numbers are--


LANE: Is it more than that?

NEWBERRY: --I think it's near ninety-five thousand.

LANE: Ah, isn't that amazing?

NEWBERRY: Yeah it is. It truly is amazing.

LANE: Just the grow--well the lives that have been changed. You know, I don't want to be sappy about it, but I believe that as an educator. That each of those lives has been changed.

NEWBERRY: Yes, yeah in 1998, uh, at that, you know, in January, when the community colleges came over, the total enrollment was about forty-four thousand not counting LCC and counting the technical colleges. So it's been a--

LANE: That's a dramatic change.

NEWBERRY: --huge difference.

LANE: Certainly. And the number of programs, uh, or the degree programs--so we're gonna detail a lot of that in our 10th anniversary publication and have an actual exhibit here in, in the lobby for folks who visit who can hit the touch screen, and see Jefferson and pull up your history. Your folks are gathering that together for us.

NEWBERRY: Right. In fact we talked about that, uh, yesterday. I'm not sure if we're going to make your November 15th deadline, but--

LANE: Well, they're, they're a little panicked, and I certainly understand it's a huge task, but we'll get there.



LANE: And we'll work with them. Jackie's going to be the contact person and work back and forth--and but that will be a full 50 percent of the publication that we're doing--


LANE: --for next July. So, it's very important that we treat everyone fairly.

NEWBERRY: Yeah. That is fantastic.

LANE: Thank you so much.

NEWBERRY: Well, thank you.

LANE: I learned so many things I didn't know, on the record. (laughs)

NEWBERRY: Well, we're very lucky to have you leading the--

[End of interview.]