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Spain, Frank H.
Frank H. Spain oral history interview
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Nancy Hewitt.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida,
1 sound file (89 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (36 p.)
USF 25th (1985) anniversary oral history project
Description based on CD version record.
Recorded July 17, 1985.
Spain, Frank H.
University of South Florida
University of South Florida
Hewitt, Nancy A.,
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
i CD version:
Spain, Frank H.
t [Frank H. Spain].
USF 25th (1985) anniversary oral history project.
y CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DIGITAL AUDIO AND TRANSCRIPT
C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0
DR FRANK SPAIN Hewitt : t I am interviewing today Dr Frank Spain, Director of Community College Relations, as part of the USF Silver Anniversary Oral History project Dr Spain, let me ask you first of all, what was your first contact with USF and why did you choose to come here? Spain : t In 1956, I think, maybe early '57, I learned that a new state university was going to be started in Tampa and that it would be the first such institution ever begun where the plans were known in advance, and there was no reason that anyone could consider blaming a predecessor for something that went wrong But it was a very appealing concept I find that my first official contact with the University was in a July 23rd, 1957 letter to Dr John Allen who had been appointed president of the University of South Florida But at that time he was serving in the same capacity at the University of Florida, and so I wrote expressing interest Maybe I should read to you one of my reasons of interest "As one who did his graduate work at the University of Florida, I have a deep respect for your State program and great admiration of your climate ." Now at that time I was in Owensboro, Kentucky, and we had a fairly rough winter The differences in climate didn't detract any from the attractiveness of USF But I think the main reason was that we had an opportunity to do something that had not been done before, and I was eager to be a contributing part of that Hewitt : t What were your first impressions of USF when you arrived here? Spain Well, my first impression was that it was very difficult to get to USF was down at 4 Plant Avenue, a residence, a large home formerly, that had been re-worked somewhat, but not a great deal It was not unlike "bees in a
beehive as additional staff members were added, offices created and support staff begun So we were in there from September until April of 0 My office, as it started expanding, additional files, etc ., was the second office as I recall to move to the current location of USF But we were simply It was a busy place Everyone was excited, enthusiastic and committed with a tremendous sense of cooperation and harmony The entire staff, in those days, took a common coffee break and met in the kitchen of what had been a former home Everyone pretty much knew his/her specific mission and a good bit about the mission of the other offices nearby After all we were practically physically rubbing elbows We were that close together Hewitt Now what was your first position at the University of South Florida? Spain I was the combined Charter Registrar and Admissions Director So our job was one of designing forms getting in touch with the students responding to inquiries really getting the name of the University and the identifica tion of it before our different publics Primarily so far as our students were concerned with the high school students but as we ll note later perhaps in this interview the transfer students from other institutions had a significant role to play even from the very beginning in USF s enrollment Hewitt Now as Registrar and Director of Admissions were you involved in formulat ing the USF mission as well as disseminating ? Spain The mission itself in three words Accent on learning was in place when I joined USF In fact the charter catalogue has this logo on it and you d be interested perhaps that the catalogue was really written by then Dean of
Basic Studies Dr Sidney French It was exceptionally well written very very clear and it did not have alot of excess verbiage in it I no sooner arrived when I started getting commendations and congratulations from across the nation on a readable college university catalogue! I did turn these right over to Dean French But the mission Accent on Learning I think was in place We knew that we were going to be about the business of teaching research and community service Those are the big three points in most educational institution missions But as we grew as we had work shops in advance of the September 0 opening classes the mission I suppose was fleshed out somewhat and that is the way it should be It s still being revised updated and that s entirely appropriate Hewitt Now in your original attempt to contact students to make the University of South Florida known to various publics how did you actually go about trying to identify USF as a new university and convincing people they should attend a new university as opposed to a more established one? Spain We started quite early with a high school visitation program called College Night This is still a viable program in which our Office of Admissions participates today In this session in those days the University repre sentative would be in a given high school with representatives from the other universities and colleges primarily from within the state of Florida but not limited to the state of Florida So we were given an opportunity in an opening session to describe the University we were representing In a way it was a bit of a challenge and in another way it was quite rewarding to be able to say here we are brand new and we would like you to consid er us It never occurred to any of us any of the employees of the Univer sity that we would do anything other than to succeed I think maybe some
4 of this rubbed off on our different publics like the guidance counselors from the high schools the students the parents that type of thing We were traveling through the high schools within three weeks of my arrival as the Admissions/Registrar officer This was a very comprehensive schedule that we were looking at It picked up on September with Dean Millikan of the College of Business Administration at that time who went over to Delland High School Two days later Dean French who was refer enced a moment ago went to Edgewater in Orlando and so forth This ran down through March 4 0 when Dean French again went to Merritt High School in Miami We pretty much covered the State A very critical point is that it wasn t just one person or two people doing these visits We had every dean and every director involved in it President Allen even went on some of these trips The community and communities were quite cooperative in holding coffee hours where one or more university rep could go and describe what we saw down the road so far as USF was concerned Hewitt Now did you try and make contact with community colleges at this point as well as the high schools or did you concentrate at first just on the high school level Spain Something that is sometimes overlooked is that in the charter class of almost 000 students students I believe I think 4 were transfers They had already gone to some other institution Sometimes more than one They were literally waiting for us When we were making our plans we hadn t quite foreseen this possibility and we were talking in terms of pure full time first time in college freshman The transfers were waiting and they came in with us This is by way of saying that when we saw this handwriting on the wall and President Allen with his vision we
invited some of the community junior college people to this campus for workshops receptions etc before we ever opened Now in those days we were dealing primarily with Manatee Junior College now Manatee Community College in Bradenton and now with the campus in Venice also And because they had opened in 8 we were dealing with Manatee and we were dealing with St Pete which is about years older than we are at least years older Hillsborough was not in place until 8 so these were the two whom we dealt primarily with We invited the community college presidents council to meet here very early I believe in 0 for the first time So the handwriting on the wall was understood and that was that we would be working in an inter institutional mode in accommodating the transfer stu dents And of course the grand plan in the entire educational system for Florida was beginning to be put in place at that time The master plan for the community college was approved in one year after USF was chartered As we opened in 0 opened for classes there were maybe six community junior colleges that had opened in advance of USF Two or more opened in 0 with us During the 0s they expanded and in one year five junior community colleges were opened at one time from We knew that with this concept that was labeled the two plus two concept that by design many students could go for the first two years to a community junior college and then transfer to us We knew that our destiny was totally linked to the destiny of the community college system So we worked with them from the very beginning Hewitt You mentioned that you traveled around the entire state of Florida as did various deans and even President Allen at times to publicize the opening of USF and to recruit students Was there any sense of competition in that recruitment process with places like the University of Florida and Florida
State University or was USF seen as so distinct from those two in design that you would be actually recruiting different kinds of students? Spain No I did not sense that there was any competition at all Quite the contrary Florida State and Florida were very cooperative so far as my operations were concerned in assisting us and we of course did appeal to the sometimes termed place bound population and many of our students did commute from home I think we opened with only 4 beds in the University Center where the infirmary is now So that certainly wasn t very much by way of housing A freeze had delayed dormitory construction for one year and so we had our own clientele but at the same time we had an interesting syndrome developing People had started at Florida and Florida State from the Tampa Bay area and for whatever reason they opted to drop out there and to enroll with us And this is part of that transfer student population that I was mentioning a little earlier They were so cooperative that I before even arriving here was able to get statements from both the Regis trar who was also the Director of Admissions at the University of Florida and the same type statement from the Registrar at Florida State who held two titles the Director of Admissions and Registrar They would not only honor USF credits this brand new up start of a university but they would accept our credits at face value This is to say that the grades would transfer You just don t get any stronger endorsement than that You might be inter ested to know that there was a law on the books at that time indicating that any student who enrolled at Florida State on a transit basis say for the summer session and then went back to the home institution at Florida would have the grades transfer back at face value And it would work the opposite way if the student were a FSU student and took work at the Univer sity of Florida Upon learning about that law I attempted and successfully
piggybacked on it and got USF included in that We had such letters indi cating that we were included The law interestingly was repealed about four years after we opened Just as I was suggesting to my friend from Florida Atlantic University which was opening in 4 that he piggyback them to get this law for his purposes the law was quietly repealed and we did not know just why But by that time we were well established and had four Southern Association Accreditations that type thing The rationale for the law as I understood it was that a football player had gone from one institu tion to another from Florida to Florida State and had made an A in summer school and the home institution would not honor it So as we are prone to do in this state we did it by legislation and that is why the law was passed We got total cooperation I also want to say that we got total cooperation from Florida College here in Temple Terrace a two year institu tion When we had our dollars for dorms drive every employee at the Florida College made contributions to get these dorms started since we were already a year late because of the freeze That is the kind of support they gave us They hosted receptions in Temple Terrace for USF staff members to come over and meet people in that community also Hewitt When you went out to recruit students how did you characterize the early curriculum at USF? What did you tell them the benefit would be in coming here in terms of a particular curriculum or a particular educational model that USF had to offer? Spain Well one thing that we pushed was that it had a very sound general educa tion program The Basic Studies Program as it was known in those days had seven courses and from the seven the student was required to take six It was in different configurations after that Natural Sciences was split out
8 into Biological and into Physical Sciences and there was some other refine ments But we assured them that they would have a good solid liberal education foundation One of the selling points was that we didn t have any graduate students So they would be taught in their very first classes and from then on up by regular full time faculty members We I guess tried to learn from what some of the other institutions have run into as specific problems And in those days it was a problem and it was perceived as such Generally by the public the knowing public that frequently freshmen are taught only by graduate students And some graduate students are excellent instructors I don t mean to indicate that they re not but that was a point that we used here that it would be a full time faculty member We had other concepts also Team learning and team teaching was where more than one instructor would teach the student the same course or one instructor say in the sciences would do a cross walk and give lectures in freshmen English The Science people and the English people would cooperate in term paper topics that type of thing There was a tremendous cross utilization cross fertilization of ideas and kind of an interdisciplinary approach in that regard One question we always got was when are you going to have football? We made no bones about the fact that we didn t expect to ever have football that we were going to put the hard come by appropriate dollars into academic buildings into resources and into the library The librarian by the way was the very first person hired by President Allen which I think tells us quite a bit about the commitment there But anyway the point had to be made that we would be different and we would not ever be a school where every student attending could be housed We expected to serve the population surrounding us and that is of course one of the reasons we are located here
Hewitt What do you think were the forces that helped shape that early curriculum in such an innovative manner? Was it something that Dr Allen himself brought to the University or was it more a collaborative effort to try and be an interdisciplinary liberal arts non sports oriented university? Spain There is no question in my mind that President Allen Dean French and some of the others in the early days were certainly the fuse that would get this process going They were smart enough to invite experts in the year or so before we opened to get the best of their offering and the very best of their thinking Remember Dr Harris Dean only made the interview in later He was down as a consultant At that time he was still at Florida State University We were sitting around telling ourselves and others that our university was going to be different And I remember so clearly the little challenge that he posed to us in that workshop This was in He said you are going to build a different university Let me suggest to you that as you design this university you contemplate the difficulty in designing a brand new animal unlike any animal you ve ever seen but give it legs give it a tail give it a head give it a set of horns that type of thing And that is the kind of challenge that we were working with But I think the vision with the early leadership especially with President Allen He and French had known each other in other institutions He invited Dean French over from Rollins and he was here quite a while before I arrived They set the tone they set the pace or the flavor if you will they inter viewed accordingly and they staffed accordingly We had people who were very eager to join USF and they brought with them a wealth of expertise
0 Hewitt Are there any other activities that occurred before USF officially opened that might help someone thinking back on the first twenty five years have a better sense of how the University developed? Spain In addition to the community outreach and the Outreach Program with the high schools and the community colleges everyone who joined in the early days attended his/her professional counterpart meeting if you will They went to state meetings they went to the regional meetings they went to the nation al and the international if appropriate So the thinking was that the better prepared the people are the better job they will do That certainly was going on all between Dr Allen s arrival and the September 0 opening I ve referenced earlier the fact that consultants were brought in The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools was invited to send a team here They were re invited each year in the early years until we were accredited in which was a milestone within itself because at that time not only did they issue an accreditation for the institution but they rolled it back to the day we opened which was an unheard of thing But they did it because of this tight linkage between USF and the Southern Association We were seeking guidance from them and we were seeking guidance from the professional associations within given disciplines that type of approach You I think would be very interested to know that before we opened in September 0 we gave two classes here over in the Chemistry building called New Trends in Teaching Reading The title wave of rapid reading comprehension and a better improved comprehension was coming and Dean Battle was aware of this The lady from California Evelyn Woods? Yes Had worked with a man at the Universi ty of Florida and so we had public school teachers to go through these two classes In the summer of sixty before we opened September 0
ment of Education Understandably so because it in some cases it meant improved pay So we had a transcript when you don t have the forms ready grade report ready and we put the official seal grade report and batched them and sent them into Certification in Tallahassee with a cover letter been completed the grades were good and it was I thought everyone wanted at least one transcript sent to the State Depart meant recertification and a challenge How do you do yet? But we did have the and the signature on each the Bureau of Teachers explaining the work had good solid work We hadn t opened yet and asked if they would please honor these grades They did We had no trouble at all Life was somewhat simpler then Hewitt When USF officially opened in September of 0 how did your responsibili ties and the work of your office change once there were actually students on campus and classes going on? Spain Well we were extremely busy I came here wondering what I would do for twelve months before the University opened We didn t have nearly enough time We were very very busy The first application arrived in October early October of They would have come earlier but we didn t have the forms completed by that time The point I want to make is that we were extremely vulnerable My staff and I were over in Administration Building 4 We totaled all of eleven at that time in admissions/registrar com bined There was a long counter fully opened to the public view and students would come in It didn t matter if someone were busy typing a clearance letter to send to some other student The people would almost reach over the counter and tap the person on the shoulder and say Hey I need help can you do this And there were times when there was no way to shield the employees from this type of inquiry this type of visitor with
particular inquiries And we were working overtime We were working night and on weekends and that type of thing So I m saying it took quite awhile after the September opening to catch up with what we had by way of lag Then we started the high school and junior college visitation programs again You see it was always running twelve months or so in advance of the prospective students arrival here So we had that cycle to start over By that time the permanent record forms the drop/adds the withdrawal the VA certification social security railroad retirement and on and on and on So we shifted We didn t shift we continued in high gear with the admis sions function but we started giving birth to the records/registrar func tion at that time But it was a single office and at times of registration the admissions clerks would be right in helping with registration They had to be And there were times when the records/registrar people would float back in and have to help with admissions But mostly it was a matter of coping with the growth We had another factor which played a significant role Many of the early students were first generation college going students They had nothing to relate to when we used ( ) with them They had no one at home who could explain or who had prior exposure And this was a bit more difficult than in dealing with the student who had had some familiarity with the educational scene But it was different from anything ever experienced at Gainesville or Tallahassee Even today I stake my reputation on this But we have so many drop ins who do not get appointments in advance and the same thing happens with the telephone the volume of telephone calls And I used to ask people How did you find us? This was before we opened Well I was over on the ramp the raised ramp at Bush Gardens walking across and I looked down and I saw something and I thought it looked interesting so I
came over But it was sometimes just to that extent that we had these visitors Hewitt I have heard that the actual first day of registration there was a hurri cane on campus Do you recall the first day of registration? Spain Yes We brought in the charter class We invited them in groups small groups 0 or 00 or so They were advised they went through the whole registration process and that type thing and we had a hurricane somewhere in there ; I m not real clear on just where it was We were having so many internal hurricanes by that time but there certainly was one Hewitt Do you remember much about what the campus looked like at that time? It sounds like you spent most of your time inside the office Spain Well it consisted of three buildings the Administration Building Chemis try and the University Center It looked promising it looked terribly raw and unattractive in some ways As this building the Student Services building was constructed they ran into all sorts of problems with soil stabilization They were hitting mud at 0 feet deep The theory was that the Hillsborough River meandered its way through here at one time But they finally I think put the building on an 8 foot blanket of steel reinforced concrete But the point I am making is that anytime my secretary came around for some reason between the administration building and this building and I guess they were remodeling the exit road her automobile would sink right down to the hub caps west of where we re seated at this moment So you ve heard I am sure about the sand spurs the blowing sand and that type thing None of what you see now by way of the shrubbery and the trees none of that was here The physical plant people did a
4 magnificent job of moving I think with war surplus drag lines and such quite a few of these beautiful oak trees that you see here now From the north side of the campus over at the undeveloped side and over here they gradually filled it in and with the coming of the grass and that type of thing it has become a very beautiful campus But it was not that way when we opened Hewitt You mentioned when things got very busy at the registrar/admissions desk that everyone sort of helped out when someone came along to ask questions and also the fact the campus was relatively small and it was apparently difficult to navigate one s way around it without getting caught in sand or muck or something How do you think that affected the relations between faculty staff students and administrators? Was there a sense that you were all pulling together or did people try and develop the sense of hierarchy to give the students a sense of tradition? Spain No Definitely a feeling and it was visibly projected we were all pulling together I think the key word is pioneers We were all pioneers together We had set out to do a great thing We had the All University Book which students would be reading career service all employees reading and then if possible we had the author down for a coffee reception and a general discussion I remember Dean Milliken went on to become president at Florida Tech It is called the University of Central Florida now Dean Milliken was chairman of the traffic committee and can you believe we had parking problems with 4 acres of land? But we had traffic problems from the very beginning One of the offenders had been brought up before the traffic committee and he had on a neckbrace And so he had parked in the wrong space or something like that and his plea was that he had do get close to
the building because he was in such pain from the neck injury So one of the other members asked if he would please excuse himself When the student left this man who was the physical plant director said you know I was playing volley ball just yesterday and this man gave me fits the student because he was out on the line and he was spiking the ball He didn t look to be in pain then So he was called back in and he lost his keys had to park up at Fowler for something like a week and then walk in which is a fairly long walk as you know The point I want to make is that students were involved with the faculty and staff in classroom endeavors like the All University Book the free hour and that type of thing And in quite a few cases in sheer fun just sports such as volley ball Hewitt I d like to ask you a couple more questions about the quality of life at USF in those early years especially since you were involved in student recruit ment Was there an effort initially to recruit minority students to recruit students over traditional age to recruit a mix of students given that you were in some ways limited as a commuter campus to the immediate area? Spain I think taking the second population first that the non traditional age student the older student found us Of course we responded But they found us These were people who had gone to college sometimes years prior and had dropped out Two good examples are Mrs King and Mrs O Neill These were the first two first students to qualify for full fledged graduation from USF They had been to at least one and in one case two institutions before coming here They established the presitgious King O Neill Award which is given as you know to the graduating senior or seniors in case of a tie with the highest GPA on all work ever attempted
in any place So they found us They found us during the summer preceding the opening of classes in fact during that entire year and we responded We tried to make it attractive We were committed from the beginning to serving the part time student to serving the commuter and to serving the evening students In the area of outreach for minority students the commitment was there It was not as expressed or articulated as often as it is today The commitment was definitely there In fact I m very proud of the fact that Ernest Boger enrolled here and finished here At the time that he joined us he was the only black student in any of the state univer sities except Florida A & M And we re proud of that We were very very concerned that we not do any students a disservice of issuing admissions when the likelihood of success did not seem to be strong And so we were kind of walking that tight rope but efforts were extended early on to serve all of the populations Hewitt In attempting either to recruit minority students or students over tradi tional age or to respond when they arrived on campus was there involvement with community groups that might not necessarily be parents of traditional age students but community groups churches or other organizations that might help to get out word about USF? Spain Yes very definitely We were eager to do that We had I guess kind of an informal speakers bureau but the word was released that it was almost have speech will travel will be delighted to go to a coffee club meeting women s club meeting civic club meeting chamber of commerce and on and on We were very active in that endeavor
Hewitt Were people in the Tampa community and the immediate area eager to care about the University of South Florida? Was there outreach for both sides? Spain Yes yes They were hungry to hear more about us and to learn more about us The geographical distance distance isn t the word but the development around the campus now wasn t here at that time and so we were in a sense logistically more separated from much of what we see in Temple Terrace and Tampa but the commitment was there In fact you probably know that there was a great deal of competition on the part of St Petersburg Sarasota and maybe one or two other towns and cities to land USF The other communities having lost the institution labeled us Suds U and Bottle Cap U referencing the proximity to the brewery and that type thing But the healing process set in very early and it was explained for example to the people in Pinellas County that the location here resulted in a much larger radius of service area then it would be if it had been located in St Petersburg Furthermore Dr Allen explained to that legislative delegation that we weren t going to stand still once we got established in Tampa We were going to reach out and reach out we did Starting quite soon junior and senior level classes graduate classes were at St Petersburg at the old maritime base where incidentally Eckerd started as a college Then we eventually moved to the beautiful campus that we have there now But we have as you know that operation there Then we were operating in Sarasota and in Ft Myers but there was competition for the location of the Univer sity There is no doubt in my mind that the choice of this site was a wise one
8 Hewitt Once USF was opened and students were here for a couple of years what do you think were the biggest changes that occurred in those early years in terms of developing both curriculum and academic programs and in trying to develop outreach programs in community relations? Spain I think the biggest change in the curriculum area was that we had not anticipated starting any graduate programs until about a decade underway And we had not anticipated getting a full fledged engineering program nearly as early as we had it And other programs where putting them in place was an accelerated process compared to what we had planned for The whole idea being just as there were almost there were 4 0 transfers in the entering class something that we hadn t expected but the people were literally knocking on the door and pushing it open saying Hey I need a masters in education and I want to take a full fledged program here in engineering We started you know with a program with Florida where the student could do years of engineering pre engineering here and transfer there Well I don t think very many ever went that route because we put the engineering college in place I think in 4 But it was years in advance of what had been the planned date So I think the expansion of the curriculum the educational opportunities and the options would be the keynote to what settled in after we got under way We did make some other adjustments I think that if we had had the resources and we were growing so rapidly there wasn t a question in the 0 s of whether we would grow The question was at what percentage rate would we grow I remember years in particular when we grew % over the preceding year and in other case % So far as growth goes educational growth and enrollment growth I look at the 0 s as the golden decade for growth We had problems in the 0 s and maybe one problem was that this institution didn t have adequate
resources perhaps to do community outreach work to the extent that our primary mission dictated that we do institutional and prospective student and parent outreach Hindsight is always 0/ 0 and no doubt there could have been more work in that area But no we did not We maintained the old ties that we had with the Chamber of Commerce the civic groups and that type thing And I guess in my mind s eye I would see it as a situation where our doors were always open We were always receptive but maybe we were not as proactive as would have been desirable and would have been the case if the resources had permitted Hewitt I believe it was the second year that USF had the first residential students and the first dorm opened? Spain I believe that s right think Hewitt How did that change the atmosphere on campus and did it have an affect on your office in terms of the kinds of things that were required to be done for residential students that might not have to be done for commuter stu dents? Spain Well the per capita of enrolled students really made my operations easier because there is no easier and no more cost effective population then a population living on campus taking full loads Think about it for a moment It takes five students on a part time basis doing three hours per term and there are alot of them that do that and my hat is off to them It takes five to equal one student whose circumstances permit taking a hour load right off I did a presentation to the Board of Regents in the late 0s The presentation was entitled Urban U is Unique I had one man stand and he was a part time student He had five class schedules because he was taking
0 one three hour course for five terms We had another student standing and he was the traditional student as we call him today living in the dorms and he didn t need five class schedules he had one He didn t need five catalogues he had one We made the point that you had to set up five folders You have to have five times the filing cabinets five times the space five times the postage almost five times the parking spaces because rarely you know can space be rotated and turned over Sometimes it can be and that s good But the easiest population that my office dealt with was the full time residence hall student because you did it once and you know the FTE yard stick you had a full time equivalent with one head count This plea to the Regents with Urban U is Unique was that we change the funding to total head count THC rather then FTE and at that time FIU had not opened but its president was here The University of Central Florida was just under way and the University of North Florida (FIU) was not opened but they opened in Anyway these three presidents asked for copy of that script because they wanted to go home and start the same campaign there Hewitt Let me ask you about one other incident from the very early years at USF and that is the visit of the Johns Committee to the campus Were you involved at all in that investigation or do you have any particular memories of that year? Spain I certainly have memories although not directly involved I was indirectly involved You know the senator had gone over to Dale Mabry and rented a motel room and conference room and was pulling students and faculty over to give testimony for awhile I m not sure how long not very long I don t think before President Allen learned of this Upon learning of it he
insisted that the committee come right over to the administration building and use the board room or the President s Conference Room as it was known at that time and he would afford secretarial help and recorders and all of that anything that they needed And they took him up on it and came over But that was a good way to handle that situation It had the institution in a terrible state Some we were talking about hurricanes and some referred to it as hurricane Charlie It hurt the institution but who knows maybe in the long run we were made stronger I know that the president towards the end made an address to a joint meeting of the House and of the Senate in Tallahasse and stated the case very well and received an extended stand ing ovation in handling that situation On the light side Dean Battle at that time Dean of Education suggested that we rename the restrooms instead of naming them the john we would have to call them the Charles from that time on And someone suggested that it was ok and then we would name the ladies restroom Charlene So that idea never got off the ground of course and it shouldn t have But the point is that even in that type of adversity we had to keep our sense of humor and President Allen was the one who referred to it as hurricane Charlie I really wonder sometimes how he stood up under it because it was pretty pretty horrible the way they went about their job and the accusations unfounded accusations and that kind of thing Hewitt Now one of the things that a couple of people have mentioned about the Johns Committee is the effect it had on the community at large You mentioned earlier that many of the students you were dealing with were first generation college students and that their parents did not have experience with something like a university before Do you think that it was more
difficult to recruit students at that time because of the investigation and the publicity that they got? Spain I don t recall that it was You think that it would be one would think so but I don t recall It slowed down the growth of the institution not nearly certainly not nearly to the extent that it gummed up the internal workings and took alot of time alot of valuable time that could have been put to a worthy use I was doing the high school visits at that time along with other people Questions were raised but I don t think it got the play externally that it got here right in this immediate area My recollection is and I would want to check the enrollment chart which is available and it gives the opening fall enrollment for each year and that would be an interesting thing to check to see if there was any dip at that time None that I know of More confusion I think than negativism as it worked out Hewitt Since you did have so many first generation college students coming did you have particular kinds of orientation materials or orientation activities that would have helped students who had arrived for the very first time adjust to college life and to the usual kinds of forms and procedures that college students might be aware of if there parents had gone before them? Spain We did We had a series of orientation sessions that went on in the summer of 0 before we opened in September And we had some of those continued but the group of faculty that came in the summer of 0 for this purpose were paid full time they were working full time on it and the orientation was a matter of them coming on board by way of university employment two months or so early But we did a good bit and the office of student affairs also did a great job in that regard in attempting to get them orientated to what the academic life was about what the expectations were
that type thing The public had no concept of what the University was about I remember at Plant Avenue we worked each Saturday We were there from 8 till and we did a thriving business But I still recall getting a telephone call about two o clock on Saturday afternoon from Lakeland and the young man asked what time we closed and I was rather proud We didn t close till four I guess and I told him that He said I can t make it today (Now remember this is Saturday) What are your hours tomorrow? And it reminds me of a student who wandered in after the opening congrega tional on September and keep in mind that when that ceremony ended the brand new students were off to classes They applied they had been admit ted they had gone through orientation they were registered and they were going to classes I let go with a tremendous sigh of relief and found my way back to the office and I sensed this young man was following me and I asked what can I do for you He said I want to enter USF and I said Ok we ll give you an application and the next term starts late January or early February This was the old semester system when we took a Christmas break And he explained that it wasn t that term that he wanted to enter he wanted to enter in the fall of 0 And he followed up on that clarifi cation saying I didn t want to put everything off till the last moment so I came on over this morning That was part of the lack of familiarity with the dead lines and the fact that you had to take step one before you could take step two and that type of thing Hewitt When did USF actually open? Were most of the people who had worked on the planning at the Plant Ave office were they still on board as members of the administration and the staff at the actual opening?
4 Spain Yes they were We lost very few people in the beginning years We had a giant of a person here Louis B Mayhew who didn t stay very long and we regretted losing him He went on to Stanford He is there today and he is a very very prolific publisher We were sorry to lose him He and I were given the assignment of drawing up the first class schedule and I had never shared or participated in such a committee I had been an observer at another institution as the schedule committee worked So he and I had a meeting to build the master class schedule for the fall semester 0 and in my mind s eye I was relying on him to guide me I felt real good about that knowing how great he was But he came in to my office and threw his folder down on the desk and said I never worked on one of these damn things have you? And so we proceeded from there He was with us for I think one year after the move or a half year something like that But most of them stayed yes Hewitt Now many people have mentioned it comes through in the Cooper Fisher book on the history of the University of South Florida that there was a rather drastic change in the curriculum in the sense of just what the mission meant Perhaps not actually changing the wording of the mission but what would be emphasized in that mission that there were fairly drastic changes by either the late 0s or early 0s Did those changes affect your office or did you feel this because you had been there from the very beginning? Did you feel these were drastic changes in the late 0s or did it seem like a sort of inevitable development with the growth of the University? Spain I think the latter We have a number of things that we had to jettison out of sheer necessity The All University Book was one Over the years different things have happened with the university free hour which was
. designed to permit clubs and organizations and other groups committees to meet There have been changes in that pattern One concept that we had which (basically you know by now that I am fairly conservative ) one concept bothered me This is one of the things we can thank Lou Mayhew for and this is not where Lou was real great in this particular endeavor but to force space utilization and to force the retention of students on campus throughout the day We experimented with this floating class schedule which meant in a sense if you were taking Freshmen English you would meet at 8 o clock on Monday and you might meet at 0 on Wednesday and you might meet at on Friday It was hard to tell in using it who really missed more classes the instructors because of the confusion or the students But we stayed with that a very short while and I think in retrospect the concept was good but again it was good if you had the full time residence hall population who didn t have to leave and pick up a child from school and get back home and get back to work and that type of thing I think the trend that I sensed then as we moved from the mid 0s to the late 0s was we were becoming much more unstructured in our general education package then called basic studies We started with various substitutions and that type of thing I think we were more or less following what was going on in that other parts of the country more than we were playing a leadership role at that point We relaxed we got into different kinds of substitutions and other options We I think are seeing the pendulum swing back now in other parts of the country and here too I don t suppose there has been a year gone by since we have been open during which we did not have a committee working on the basic studies core or the general ed core now we call it general distribution and we now have a committee headed by Dean Ray whom you certainly need to interview if you have not He was the first faculty
appointment He is chairing that and is doing a good job but like so many institutions we are constantly revising that basic studies general educa tion core of courses My office as the advocate even then for the transfer student had to insure that if the general education requirements had been met by the sending institution then we (per state rule and law) could not require any other courses in the name of general education that we might require in a programmatic category and a good example of that is the years the Math Department had required a foreign language of the mathematics major for graduation not as part of the general distribution So we were caught up in that and as indicated earlier it was a time of rapid growth it was a time of tremendous expansion in the community college system and we started getting transfers from all over Pasco Hernando Community College was the last one to open and that was in Hillsborough was in place in 8 and they were feeding us as early as where students had transferred in there and had finished early a repeat of the 0 syndrome at USF But I think the big change would have been the tremendous growth the offering of more options and maybe a general loosening up which we re seeing now to be addressed in a different fashion and I think this happens periodically in the field of education It swings one way and then it swings another Hewitt In the late 0s at least on northern campuses one of the things that affected the development of curriculum in the administration of the college were various forms of campus activism by students either civil rights or anti war or feminism Do you recall whether USF had much in the way of student activism in the late 0s and if they did did it have an impact and was it significant enough to have an impact on the structure of the Univer sity or of the curriculum?
Spain I think we anticipated far more activism than actually was the case as it turned out There were some marches on the administration building that kind of thing Some protests of course But as someone put it it s kind of hard to generate alot of interest and the solid core of support when your students are coming and going as commuters You see even today not counting the St Petersburg campus Ft Myers and Sarasota I guess we have 4 000 enrolled here at USF We have 4 000 beds and so the vast majority of our students are still commuting Many of them come to us from St Petersburg Junior College or from HCC They are changing institutions but staying with the same employer Many of them have family responsibilities Maybe to us it looked turbulent in those days compared to what was happening in other parts of the nation We had it good Hewitt Several people have mentioned that the tone of the University changed from one presidential administration to another and although people obviously put different interpretations on whether those changes were beneficial or not how did the change from President Allen to President Mackey to Presi dent Brown and I realize there were some interim presidents as well affect your work in terms of either admissions or community relations? Spain We had combined with admissions and the registrar s work the articulation function as I alluded to earlier and I was by 8 personally involved in attending community college state wide council meetings the Council of Student Affairs Instructional Affairs and the President s Council and other community college events I don t know how much you know about the registrar s/admissions work but you know that it is shot through with dead lines and dates that must be met commencement being one getting final
8 grades in another and the first day of registration and drop/add that kind of thing Those functions started colliding with my external responsibili ties to USF or vice versa but we would frequently have Community College Presidents Council meetings in Tallahasee and we would have a critical function to begin here or to end at this institution So around 0 we clipped the cord between articulation which was subsequently named communi ty college relations and admissions/registrar work This is by way of saying that I really served only under President Allen and part of the time under interim President Harris Dean as responsible for all three admis sions registration and articulation By the time President Mackey arrived the two offices the registrar and the articulation had been separated and I no longer had any of those responsibilities So I cannot really react to that because what President Allen had in place and the commitment to the support in such Dr Dean more or less simply extended that There were almost no changes in my operation during that passing of the baton I do want to say that this office or this function in which I am engaged and to reduce it to its simplest form is the advocate for the sending institution for the student and the transfer student coming from that institution and for USF I interpret USF its policies its mission add such to the sending institutions I interpret the changes that I perceive at those council meetings and such and campus visitations to the community colleges in particular to the h SF administration so that we are synchronized as much as possible so that students don t come in with what I call either a gap or overlap They don t come in missing some work that would be vital to success in another course in a sequence and that they not repeat something that they ve already had Now the state wide articulation agreement has helped immensely in that regard and so has the common course numbering
system which is not always appreciated at the same level by all people who work with it but it has helped immensely I was going to say that I am very very fortunate that Dr Allen had the vision that he had in seeing how this institution would evolve and how it would work in concert with other institutions in receiving their students Dr Dean had it Dr Mackey had it and Dr Brown in his first week in office sent a letter to the community college presidents the 8 of them reaffirming his commitment to the + partnership theme that the preceding presidents had set in place and had nurtured over the years Also in his first week in office he met with the Community College Presidents Council in a meeting down at the airport and reaffirmed verbally what he had written then So this office has been very very fortunate in having presidential understanding and appreciation of what the function is about and our dependence upon transfers Transfers comprise % of our juniors and seniors This is not realized in many areas in the University but they are our enrollment life blood So we want to work with them We are committed to it from the very beginning Irrespective of that commitment when one ponders the dependence that USF has upon transfer students you can see how the head of the institution in particular would appreciate the significance and the importance of a good working relation ship on an interinstitutional basis Hewitt Are there experimental programs or innovative programs that you have tried over the years that have helped community college transfer students inte grate themselves easily into the general USF population that either have been successful and have continued on or are there programs that were experimental but for some reason weren t continued on?
0 Spain That s a very good question In the very early 0s and the late 0s this institution was sending representatives to the community college campuses on what I call a solo basis In other words USF would be the only one repre sented Around or my counterparts and I and by that time six or seven of the state universities with two opening only in North Florida and Florida International but the others pretty much had a counterpart office counterpart to this one and I had a professional counterpart We got together and decided that we should try a combined visitation program whereby instead of bothering St Petersburg Junior College six or seven times asking for an appointment for this university or that university let s go together By the end we had nine and so someone did a little logo U ted We Travel or something like that and I have never (the program is very alive today in fact we have received the copy for the 8 8 academic year) gone to a community college campus (and there are 0 in the state and we try and get to each one every year) I have never gone with the state university system group as a team and not had more inquiries and more student interest and more community college staff interest in that mode than when I went solo You d think it would be the other way around We are set up in a very visible place usually in a cafeteria or a student center There is one constant and that is that we are always where the music is the loudest This is for the student interaction Then we have a meeting with the staff members there and when the program is really going well I have some people from the USF colleges go if they want to promote a certain program or be there as a resource person The best and most effec tive plan of all with adequate lead time is when I can contact someone at a given community college and say Hey we have a really terrific person here Would you like to have this person give a lecture on April st for
the second year students in physics or philosophy or whatever? We ve been taken up on those offers and I ve never had a USF person indicate that it was a disappointment In fact Willis Truitt over in Philosophy said he got a big kick out of it He received sustained applause when he finished a lecture at St Petersburg Junior College That is something that we want to work out carefully We don t just arrive on the scene asking if it car be done It just takes some timing The combined SUS team visitation has been a proven example of success We ve had in place since or the late 0s a community college advising manual which has the academic program and the requirements for every program we offer from Accounting through Zoology These are provided to the community college advisors and counselors If a student wishes to go into business it s indicated there in a kind of capsule from the seven courses that are necessary the required GPA and that type of thing This one we happened to put all seven for the College of Business on one page because this part is common to all of them Then you pick up the accounting specialty economics and so forth So this is published annually It s in concert with in this case the 8 /8 cata logue Is some cases it s more current because we re able to insert changes that might have been approved after the catalogue has gone to press But this is what I call an academic program road map and it is generally one page one side unless you have more than one program on there The student can almost take this and find his or her way through This is another proven example of what has worked there We have had some things that haven t worked We ve tried night visits but we don t get any business because the students are coming from work to take a class or they are going to work That hasn t proven to be very successful My counterparts and I have given presentations to groups such as the Florida Junior College
Student Government Association at their state wide meetings or the Florida Association of Community Colleges I think the main thing is that we have projected the idea that the nine of us my counterparts and I are not in competition You see I list not only USF but I list the other eight there I think I have had a very successful day if someone wishes a program that we don t have but I know that it is located over at UCF in Orlando and I can refer them to Ralph Boston Now in the back the nine university articulation officers have booked an academic program matrix for all nine of the state universities You can tell this first one accounting for exam ple is offered at all nine Rut when you get down to some of these others it s restricted in some cases to only one Did you know you could get a degree in Church Music out of Florida? I didn t know that until we put this together I kid my counterpart a great deal when they are having bad days in football I tell them that they should start a major in church prayer The point is we are in a cooperative noncompetitive pattern and we work with each other Hewitt With the growth of the University and certainly the division of certain kinds of offices such as the one you worked in into separate offices has there been a change in the sense of camaraderie or the pioneer spirit that was originally here in terms of just your familiarity with everyone else on campus? I assume you no longer know everyone by name? Spain Of course not no In my particular function and responsibility it s ironic but I know far more people in the community college network than I know now here at USF On a working basis with all of the members of the three councils that we talked about we receive problems in here and attempt to troubleshoot and that type of thing No some of us kid each other We
talk about getting together and visiting and that type of thing We don t do that very often There is a group called NSF Pioneers Did you know about that? June Miller in Financial Aids That extension is You might want to talk to her about that group It meets annually It is comprised of some of the early employees who are currently here and some of the retirees who live in this area Also George Miller did a history of USF and I think I have a copy of that if you have trouble locating it It pinpoints some of the milestones in the early years Hewitt What do you think is left after years of that pioneer spirit of those of you who were here early on and had a conception of the early mission? Spain I think one main thread that is still left is that we envisioned that USF would be a college or university for the people who if we were not here would not have access to higher education I think a great example of that is the extension of the program at the St Petersburg campus to the entire southwest coast You know the Ft Myers area is quite remote not so much so travel wise now with I think that commitment to access if you will is still very very strong and that s great I totally subscribe to it I don t know when you consider the almost geometric growth in the 0s in particular how one could have expected to keep the closeness that we had? The staff now would outnumber the charter class As vacancies occur and new people come in I suppose the hope for that to be maintained perhaps is by discipline within a department within a college and that type thing I don t ever see it being restored to an all university ap proach I see some of my pioneer colleagues from time to time and not only do we vow to get together and visit but we kid each other are we still on the quarter system are we still on the trimester system or something like
4 that It is entirely too long from my standpoint that we go without seeing each other You may get a different reading from someone such as Don Harkness Henry Robertson or Mary Lou Harkness who has been here for a long time Their responsibilities do not take them external to USF nearly as much as mine do As I said I see the deans the provost and the presi dents of the community colleges sometimes more often than I see the USF counterparts That sounds strange but you must realize that half of my time is spent in travel to different campuses to different conventions associa tions council meetings and committee meetings This really picks up in the third week in September and it s pretty rugged till the first or second week of April Hewitt It sounds as though in some ways that the USF mission which originally was envisioned as something that each individual would carry out has now become something in which various personnel in the University carry out various aspects of it It seems to me that certainly in terms of community rela tions not just community college relations but community relations that you and your office carry out that part of the mission to a much greater extent than perhaps many of us on campus where as many of us who spend more of our time on campus may focus more on internal relations but we don t get off campus very much I suppose at one point it may have been ideal when everyone could do a little bit of everything? Spain Yes yes but those days are gone because you have so much now by way of specialization and increased volume that we didn t have then Hewitt Are there any other aspects of your career at USF that you would like to comment on as part of this oral history project that I haven t touched on in questions today?
Spain Well I guess an observation and I haven t quite thought of it this way but with this group of students for whom college and the university is such a new thing I am noticing what I call the second generation syndrome We talked to an awful lot of students here and off campus at other places and upon learning a students commitment to USF we frequently ask how they learned about USF I m talking now as much about out of state students as I am in state We get alot of telephone inquiries alot of correspondence and it s so rewarding The answer at one time was that they had a friend or a relative who came here and had a good experience That s how they learn about the University and that s why they want to come But more and more the answer now is I had one or both parents who went there and had a good experience That s not bad for a year old institution is it? It s good So I think that it is just about the best endorsement that you can get on any institution I d like to mention how the newness of it all can maybe be reflected in a little incident We would never close at lunch or anything of that sort We would work right through One of our first employees one which I hired was quite young and the terminology and all of that was new to her But she did a very good job We had given standing instructions First of all don t take any abuse because you re not paid enough for that Give it to me or someone else And the other was don t get in over your head If you don t know something admit that you don t know but tell the person you ll find out Or if in this case if I m in refer the call to me One day during the lunch hour this young woman who was nineteen was having a terrible time with a telephone call I was waiting for the buzz and it came She turned the caller over to me and she was totally bewildered She said Dr Spain I either have a drunk or nut
OPRIPCS or both on the line I said What s the problem Jeannie? And she said He wants to know if we want a horse in a bottle? And I said Let me talk with him Well I think in dealing with a population not familiar with the general scene the higher educational scene that one frequently must ask as you have done in this interview more than one question to find out what the real question is What is it the person wants to know? Well it turned out that in this case the man had a mare who had miscarried He had pre served the fetus in formaldehyde and he wanted to give it to the Biology Department It was a perfectly sensible question once you ve found out what the question was But I guess if I had one word to describe it it would be something along this line When I learned from Dr Allen in that I would be coming here his letter arrived saying the Regents had approved the appointment The letter arrived on the very day that my wife and I closed a housing purchase in Owensboro Kentucky We went to the bank and it was closed We went home and the letter was in the mail saying that we had been approved Before that I had written no no in response to that I wrote I ll be there September st and that I find it extremely exciting and challenging In fact I wrote that I found it frightening and challeng ing but more challenging than frightening I think today that I would add to that that is was more rewarding than anything else I ve been very very fortunate Hewitt I am afraid that is all the time we have left for today Thank you very much for a most interesting interview