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Reilly, J. Timothy,
J. Tim Reilly
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Lucy Jones.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (47 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Interview conducted November 19, 2003.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Dr. Tim Reilly, faculty member at Stetson College of Law, was the first faculty member of USF St. Petersburg. He discusses his years of teaching and developing programs, some of which he had never studied himself.
Reilly, J. Timothy,
University of South Florida.
University of South Florida at St. Petersburg.
College of Law.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2008, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.
1 USF Florida Studies Center Oral History Program USF 50 th History Anniversary Project Narrator: Dr. J. Tim Reilly (R) Interviewer: Lucy Jones (J) Current Position: Faculty at Stetson Date of Interview: November 19, 2003 College of Law in St. Peter sburg Location of Interview: USF St. Petersburg Audit Editor: Danielle E. Riley Transcriber: University of Florida Date Audit Edit Completed: April 16, 2004 Final Editor: Jared G. Toney TRANSCRIPTION J: Today is Wednesday, November 19, 2003. M y name is Lucy Jones. I'm a graduate assistant for the Florida Studies Center. Today I'm continuing a series of interviews with USF faculty, students, staff, and alumni, commemorating fifty years of university history. Today I am interviewing Dr. Tim Re illy, who came to USF St. Petersburg in 1965 as a founding faculty member. Currently, Dr. Reilly is on the faculty of Stetson College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida. Today's interview takes place in his office on the Stetson campus. Good afternoon an d thank you for meeting with me today. R: Thank you for the opportunity. I enjoyed the university and I hope I will enjoy the recollections. J: Let's start. If you could tell me the story of how you came to be the first faculty member. R: I was teachi ng at St. Petersburg Junior College in 1964. [I] wanted to expand my horizons so I took a year from 1964 to 1965 to go to Georgetown in Washington D.C. and then decided to come back to Florida. I talked to the director of the American Studies department o ver on the Tampa campus. [His name was] Dr. Warner who had invented this course. The first portion had to do with the issues of the internal American scene. The second semester had to do with the issues concerning America and the world.
2 It was a very e clectic and interesting project and faculty. I saw him on the Tampa campus. He said, would I be interested in teaching in St. Petersburg? They were going to open a center in St. Petersburg. I had heard about this center in St. Petersburg earlier, becau se it was, at one time, used by the Florida Presbyterian College, now Eckerd College, as their founding campus before they moved to their new campus. It had also been used as an adult training center. I recall visiting there one time before I was on the faculty where one of the buildings which was later used for a classroom was a large area for upholstery. [It was used for] teaching persons to work with upholstery. This governmental building was available. The university was able to get if from the fede ral government for a dollar or some minor transfer. They had intended to bring on a group of students. They overcommitted themselves to the number of students that they were going to receive. So we ended up with about 120 surplus students that could not be accommodated on the Tampa campus. That's one reason that they were using the St. Petersburg campus as an overflow area. When I saw Dr. Warner he asked me would I be interested in teaching with the new project on the St. Petersburg campus. I was del ighted to do so. I said, sure, by all means, I would be glad to do it. I asked Dean Martin, who was then the dean of the College of Basic Studies. I asked him, to whom do I report? He said, well there's a telephone there. Call over if you need any hel p. J: So you were reporting to Dean Martin? R: Yes, but [I reported to him] by telephone. We had no direct supervision. There was myself, Bob Hall, [and] Professor Rose We were almost a floating faculty. I was the only resident of the St. Petersbu rg area and the informal manager of the program on the
3 St. Petersburg campus. These were freshmen students. They had a prepackaged series of courses out on the St. Petersburg campus. They lived in the dormitory above the building. The girls lived in th e concrete building. The boys lived in the old army barracks. There were two of those next door. It was a residential program. First of all, they thought they were somewhat de privileged because they were not stationed on the Tampa campus. When they w ent home at Christmas time and they found out that other people had a much more impersonal experience than they were having among the smaller group with the teachers who knew them and the students who knew one another. They realized what treasure they had And at the end of the first year they asked to stay there, but they had to be transferred back to the Tampa campus for the other courses. Then we got another group for the next semester. I was there for the first three semesters of the operation of th e St. Petersburg campus. [I was there] from September of 1965 to January of 1967. J: How did you come to be living in St. Petersburg? R: My parents had retired here. Earlier I was in the army as a draftee and I was out at Ft. Bliss, Texas. My parents h ad retired to St. Petersburg. They knew that the university was established in Tampa and that they were sooner or later going to have a branch in St. Petersburg. They alerted me to the fact that not only did they have a law school, but it also had the br anch of the university. J: USF had a law school at that time? R: No, Stetson had a law school. Stetson had moved here in 1954. My parents called my attention to the fact that there was a law school. I graduated from law school at Stetson
4 in 1958. And at that time there was a vacancy at what's now St. Petersburg College, previously St. Petersburg Junior College. My brother was attending the college at the time. He called my attention to the fact that there was a vacancy. I had previously taught, so when I graduated and I wasn't able to take the bar exam for another six months anyway, so I applied to the St. Petersburg College and got hired there. I served there from 1958 to 1964. Then [I lived from] 1964 to 1965 in Georgetown and then returned to th e area and the St. Petersburg campus in 1965. J: When you worked on the St. Pete campus first, where was your office? R: It was in one of the wings. That building was originally built to house a maritime base during the Second World War. It was shaped like the letter "E." Some of the extensions of the E were classrooms and some were offices. I had an office in one of the E sections. The classrooms were similarly located in the other sections of the E. J: At the time there were how many faculty teac hing there? R: There were only about four or five of us. J: Your offices were all in the same wing of the E? R: There really wasn't any other office. There was myself, a resident office, and the lady who was assigned to work with me was more or less t he registrar and the office and everything else. In other words, I was a full time resident faculty and she was a full time clerical help. The rest of the instructors rotated from Tampa. They came over from Tampa on a ride by basis. J: You had a hundred or so students? R: I think originally it was almost 200 students for the first year. And then about 125
5 [students] half the second year. J: What type of staff was available? Somebody had to be watching over these students. R: They had a Ms. Sugarman who was in essence the dean of students. [She] was a mother superior' for the girls and they watched all over the boys. One incident happened where she apparently had to discipline a student who was a little intoxicated. Apparently the encounter took place near the seawall. Somehow she was either pushed or fell into the sea. It created quite a little incident when Ms. Sugarman fell. It didn't create a tremendous disciplinary problem for it because I guess they understood that the kid was not intending an y harm. Ms. Sugarman in the water was one of the big incidents during that first year. J: Were these students who had never been away from home before? R: Yes. A couple of them ended up returning because they got homesick. They were basically eighteen, nineteen years old, first time out. [They] didn't know much about college. They caught on very quickly. They formed a group of their own for the next three or four years. When they did transfer to the Tampa campus they came as a group. They had almost a built in political party. They were able to take offices on the Tampa campus that even the Tampa students weren't prepared because they had a built in clientele, a built in group. J: They went on to become leaders? R: Yes, they went on to become leaders They also had experience in leadership of small groups on the St. Petersburg campus. They felt more comfortable in leadership roles as sophomores.
6 J: What classes were you teaching? R: I was teaching the American Idea, and a course in western civiliz ation. J: You have a law degree, but what other degrees do you have? R: The master's is in education, and my bachelor's is in journalism. J: Yet you're teaching western civilization? R: Yeah, that's not uncommon. In my career that spans fifty years I've t aught twenty five different courses, about twenty of which I had never before taken myself. I had to develop them for myself. J: That's a challenge. R: It was, [and] it is. J: It still is. R: It's fun. I like developing new programs. Not only did I h elp to develop the new program on the St. Petersburg campus, I helped develop the criminal justice program in the university and then import that back to the St. Petersburg campus later on. J: Could you tell me a little bit about that? I don't know much a bout the criminal justice program. R: When the campus first started there was a college called Basic Studies. which was intended to be the primary courses of general education. The students started with the College of Basic Studies and then went on to wha tever other business college or engineering or whatever they wished. The curriculum was pretty well packaged. The students were kept together, at least on the St. Petersburg campus, in the same groups. Consequently, we were able to work with them in such a way that they formed a college
7 within a college, kind of a separate group. J: Focusing on criminal justice... R: Later on, [in] about 1972, the early 1970s, the university was reorganized and the College of Basic Studies was dropped. The College of Lib eral Arts, I believe, took its place. They dropped the course in American Idea. Because I was a lawyer they thought I might be helpful in the criminal justice. They asked me, did I want to work with the criminal justice program that was then just beginn ing to get organized. I said sure. Then I was away on leave in Japan from September of 1972 to January of 1973. When I returned in January of 1973 I joined the criminal justice department and worked on the Tampa campus for three or four years before we were able to bring it back. By that time, the university had reestablished the St. Petersburg campus for a variety of other purposes. We were able to bring the program back from the Tampa campus to the St. Pete campus. Later I also helped them establish the one at the campus in Sarasota. J: When you helped to bring the program back to St. Pete, did you do that because you wanted to work there? R: I was a lobbyist, certainly. I thought, not only should the program be able to be available to the students on the St. Petersburg campus, which was no longer just freshmen. By 1972 there was a sufficient number of other students on other programs. Education had moved over and I think there were business courses being offered. There were students coming to the St. Petersburg campus who were not just freshmen. I was interested that they had the opportunity to take the criminal justice program. It had a big draw for police officers and probation officers and people like that. In addition to that, of course, it was
8 my home. Therefore, I had started earlier in 1965. Consequently, I was glad to be able to sent off. Some faculty did not like the idea of being sent off from the main campus, but I was delighted to be sent off from the main campus to the St. Pete c ampus. [I was] permanently assigned there. J: Some faculty have told me about it being perceived as being farmed out. R: Yes. Not for me, it wasn't. For me it was being farmed in. J: [You got to be] back where you belong. R: Yes, definitely. Where I fe lt most allegiance. J: Can you tell me a little bit about why another program was begun on the Sarasota campus? R: The university that was down there, the New College, was having financial problems. USF basically was able to buy or take over New College They left New College operating as a separate college, but that gave them a chance to have an extension program. Basically, both the campus in St. Petersburg and the campus in Sarasota used to be called extension campuses that were farm clubs for the m ain campus. J: Sarasota was looking for new programs? R: Sarasota too; the community there was asking for [new programs] and the students were asking for [the new programs]. When they could send down representatives of these various courses to satisfy t he interest [and] to offer one or more courses in Sarasota, again, on an interim, visiting professor basis. They did, sooner or later, about 1975 or later, establish a permanent faculty in Sarasota. In the early 1970s, for a while at least, they sent dow n people from both Tampa and St. Petersburg. Then [they had] evening
9 courses. Both the St. Petersburg campus and the Sarasota campus were primarily evening courses until quite recently. J: Most of my courses were in the evening. You taught at the Sara sota campus. R: Yes, I went down once a week and taught for three hours. One time, I taught the same course on three different campuses of the university. I taught it in Tampa, I taught it at St. Petersburg, and I taught it in Sarasota, all during the sa me semester the same course. One time, my student asked, what county are we in, as if I didn't know because I'm teaching the same thing in a different county last night then a different county this night. They thought I was lost because I didn't seem to know what county I was in. I was just trying to anchor myself in where ever I happened to be teaching at the time. J: [You had to decide] which group of students it was. In developing these programs, was the administration supportive? R: The administra tion was quite supportive. Dean Martin was more than happy to help us if we needed any help. He was also quite willing to let us run our own show in St. Petersburg. They didn't exactly abandon the St. Petersburg campus after the freshmen moved back to th e main campus. For two or three years it was used as a center for continuing education. They were doing courses around the state and sending out books and materials. It wasn't being used by residents. It was being used more or less as an administrative somewhere for the university. Then the College of Education, as I recall, was one of the pioneers that said, we need to provide courses in education for the people who are teaching and working in Pinellas County. Consequently, the business college came over at the same time and then they began to attract students from the community,
10 primarily for evening courses. J: Over the years as they added more programs there had to be more faculty. R: Yes. Sooner or later they established, I think it was Dean Tu ttle, who was asked to take over the organization. I think originally the College of Education sent Bob Shannon to be their director of their local education program. Sooner or later, Dean Lester Tuttle was appointed as dean of the campus with the missio n to organize and develop it. J: In your opinion, was he successful? R: Oh yes. I think it was a major contribution to the university and to the school. There's a little bit of background here. In the early 1960s when the university was established, t here was some political pull to bring it to the area in north Pinellas County as distinct from where it was out in the old part farther to the north in Hillsborough County. Pinellas County was primarily republican at that time. Most of the rest of the st ate was democratic. They really didn't have a lot of political clout. The university was okay in the Hillsborough County, but there was always a feeling that Pinellas County had somehow gotten left out. There was also a pull to see what the university w ould do and could do about coming into Pinellas County to help balance the fact that we lost the opportunity to have it in the county in the first place. J: As they brought new faculty in, where did they usually find the appropriate people? R: There were s ome from Tampa who wanted to get away from Tampa for one reason or another. I don't recall many new hires coming to the St. Petersburg campus. It seems to me that most of them were transfers from the Tampa campus. J: Talking to other people, I've heard t hat one of the unique aspects of working on the St.
11 Petersburg campus was, all of the faculty offices were just mixed together. You weren't necessarily working with just people in your field. R: There wasn't so much a focus on a deep departmental area a s a general faculty area. They eventually were able to use the second floor of that concrete building for all the faculty offices. They frequently had that two or three desks in the same large room, but at least you had space. J: Who were some of the p eople you remember working with at that time? R: Dean Winston Bridges was one of [the men I worked with], who later became, and may still be one of the deans of your campus. Bob Hall came over from Tampa. David Kenerson was teaching in the business depar tment. [I worked with] a man by the name of Chuck Pane who I think was teaching engineering or something having to do with math or engineering. Those were at least some of my recollections. J: Was it a close knit group? R: Relatively speaking [it was close knit]. We were mostly there in the late afternoon and evenings. There wasn't much of a lunch [group]. It wasn't a case of having lunch with your colleagues, or even supper with your colleagues. So although you were all equal as faculty, there was n't a lot of opportunity for socializing apart from passing in the hall and talking on the steps. J: How would you describe the faculty student interactions? R: [They were] quite comfortable. [They were] congenial, comfortable, not very formal. They, of course, called you mister or doctor or whatever title fit. They didn't use the term professor there at that time. The students were basically home folks. The faculty
12 was catering to the home folks. There seemed to be a close knit bond between the facu lty and the students. I think [that] has become the culture of the campus ever since. J: What were some of the events that you recall? You didn't really have a homecoming event then, but there must have been some sort of campus wide event that helped tie the group together. R: Not so much during that first year and a half because the students were primarily freshmen. They were still trying to get settled and get organized. Student elections were an event. I don't know if you would call it an event or n ot, but we had an interesting situation. We were using, on the St. Petersburg campus, in the old concrete building, the leftover library for the Florida Extension Service. It was intended to be a library from which any one of the other centers in the sta te could draw books and materials. Our students could draw in that library. In order to use the Tampa library, they had to go to Tampa and find the book and check it out and bring it back to St. Petersburg. It seemed to me that there would be a possibil ity of being able to have our library on the St. Petersburg campus, even though it wasn't under the direct control of the university library in Tampa. [I thought it was possible] to at least have that library in St. Petersburg be a place where they could r eturn the book. The librarian said, no, the Tampa library would not accept that particular arrangement. Two or three students came to me and said, do we have to drive all the way over to Tampa to return the books? It's bad enough to have to go after the m in the first place. I said, well, I'll see what I can do. I bundled them up and mailed them to the president of the university and asked him to turn them into the library because there was no other way to do it. Needless to say, there was an
13 arrangeme nt made very shortly that there would be an arrangement where by they would be able to turn their books in at the St. Petersburg campus. J: It was sort of a grass roots movement. R: Yes, that was President John Allen, the founding president of the univer sity. J: He had a lot to concern himself with in those days. R: Oh yes, but he was also very responsive. J: Have the succeeding presidents been as responsive? R: As the university got bigger and bigger, the president became more and more of an administra tor and less of a father figure, or less of a coach or less of a local person that you knew and felt that was more closely associated with the university. I think it was a natural progression of the bureaucracy. J: You were connected with the St. Pete c ampus for a number of years. What led you to the decision to come to Stetson? R: I had retired. I had put in my time, so to speak. I qualified for early retirement about 1993, along in there. There was an arrangement for half time retirement. I took t hat. Then I was wondering, what else do I do? What else would I like to do? Meanwhile, I was also teaching out here as an adjunct professor, coming home from the university, teaching a course and then going back to the university. Eventually, I was abl e to shift the balance from teaching mostly at the University of South Florida to teaching at the University of South Florida for only two courses a semester and a phase out retirement. The rest of my time and interest was focused on Stetson, where I had graduated in 1958. J: It was another home place for you.
14 R: I started off teaching much the same subject. I started teaching in the area of criminal justice and criminal law and criminal procedure here. J: So you've seen a lot of students come through both universities? R: Yes, some of the best students that I've ever had have been students at both, the St. Petersburg campus and here. One of my prior students was a standing student on the St. Petersburg campus. Of course, she finished there and then c ame here. Now she's one of the partners of a major law firm in downtown Tampa. I would say I probably had about ten students who I taught both at the University of South Florida and the law school. J: Do you maintain any connection with the university to day? R: No, just one of filia devotion. Happy memories. J: They don't really have a term, I guess you're emeritus? R: Yes, emeritus. I think that's just a nice way of saying passed on, retired. J: Do you remember the buildings being built replacing the original buildings on the St. Petersburg campus and having the new buildings come on board? You were there at that time? R: Yes. There was a bit of an interest; it wasn't a competition, but there was a bit of an interest as to who would get what offices. We were sort of asked to bid or suggest, but they still wanted to have departments. They wanted to have the education department in one portion of the new building and the business department in another portion of the new building and the social science in another portion of the building. We didn't have the same mixture that we had in the old building. J: It was a competition to see who would get the view of the bay?
15 R: Well, there wasn't much of a view of the bay. When the architect came to show us th e plans, we noticed right away, even before the building was built, that there was no basic view of the bay except over the bookcases. I think the windows are about five or six feet high. In order to look out of your office you either had to stand up or stand on a chair just to look out at the bay. We thought [that] was a loss of opportunity on the part of the architect to have made the offices a little bit more attractive. J: I guess you were supposed to be so engrossed in you work that you... R: There was plenty of daylight coming into the high window that they didn't feel the need to expose us. They may have been also concerned about the sun coming in. This may have been a way of sheltering it from the sun. We mentioned it to the architect in the pr esentation, but by that time it was too late. Even if he had wanted to change, I think it was too late to change the building plans. That was quite an improvement, to move from the old building into the new one. The old building, of course, wasn't run d own, but it was obsolete in many ways. J: It had been built as a temporary or military building. R: The building had been concrete, so it wasn't too temporary. It was intended to be a maritime training merchant marines to work in the Navy during the Sec ond World War. I think it was built around 1942 J: It served well. R: It has served its purpose very, very well. It served its purpose as a location for Florida Presbyterian to get its start. It served as a location for USF St. Petersburg to get its sta rt. It also served the community in several other ways in between those areas of programs.
16 J: Shifting focus a little bit, what types of student organizations were on campus, both on the first three semesters and then later when you were working on the... [interrupted]. R: There wasn't any, as I recall, student organization as such. Ms. Sugarman had some way of helping organize student social gatherings of one sort or another during the first and second semester. I don't recall any student organization. [There was] a little bit of the student politicking for president of the class, but that was only about a week or ten days. J: The St. Petersburg elected a president of their class on that campus? R: Right. J: What type of role, I assume ceremonial, did th at person get to fulfill? R: It was primarily a recognition of student leadership. One of the persons who was elected for that first group later went on to join the Army and worked in a single core and was appointed to work in the White House. After he w as finished with the Army they kept him out in the White House as one of the clerks in the office of the executive clerk. He later provided me with a tour of the White House in tribute to what I had encouraged him to learn back in the St. Petersburg campu s. J: You stayed in touch with some of those first students? R: Yes, I stayed in touch with some of them. J: You probably got to know them very well. R: Yes, because I was one of their few instructors and I was with them every day. I think I had almost all if not most of the students in one or more of my classes. I also had one of the students who finished on the St. Petersburg campus's son in class here at Stetson. J: He remembered you?
17 R: I think so. J: What do you think your greatest accomplishme nts at USF were? R: Just participating in the development and the growth of the initial nucleus of the faculty and the initial program established as a college center and being part of the development as it became more and more of a service to the communit y [were all my greatest accomplishments]. J: You think you were able to help create that feeling? R: Yes. I think that we all were doing a good job, particularly with the local emphasis. We were what I call a multi service. We were encouraging students. We were trying to find ways in which we could have them get places. Most of them already had jobs. Most of the students on the St. Petersburg campus that I ever worked with were employed. You were always trying to help them either do better on their j ob or learn more about their job or help them to get a better job. They weren't just kids. The first year and a half, with the freshmen, of course, the average age was probably about nineteen. Later on, when we went back under the second phases and deve lopment of the St. Petersburg campus, those students, for the most part, were already employed. I would say the average age was closer to twenty two, twenty three, [or] twenty four. [That was] the average age, which meant that we also had persons who were only nineteen, but we also had persons who were thirty five or forty five or fifty five as well. It was more of a community. [It was] much similar to the program of the community services of the St. Petersburg Junior College. You were dealing with the a dult students who knew what they wanted. There was not a lot of tom foolery. There wasn't any disciplinary problems. They were serious
18 about what they wanted and they knew what they wanted and they wanted to be well taught and well cared about. J: Was that one of the defining characteristics of the campus? R: Yes, definitely. J: How did you see the relationship between the city of St. Petersburg, the community, and the campus, [you] being both, a member of the campus and St. Petersburg community. R: I think that the university just emerged with the city appreciating the emergence, but without a good deal of fuss and feathers on either side. I think they grew up together. It anchored the downtown, as well as further development. I don't think either this community or the campus was overly impressed by one another. They were more or less colleagues. They were more or less together in doing what needed to be done at the time without a great deal of self attention. J: Did that change over the years? R: No, I think the university is, if not a well kept secret, at least not as well known as it might be. Later on, they had a public relations officer to help them make it well known. It's tucked away in a corner downtown that's not easily viewed or toured by a lot of people. Those who go there I, get the feeling they're very well satisfied with what St. Petersburg campus has to offer. It's not a target audience. It's not a target tourist destination or anything like that. It's not something you show off to the visiting fireman. It's taken for granted. I think that's a very comfortable relationship between the city and the university. J: What's the relationship, if any, between the St. Petersburg campus of USF and of
19 Stetson? R: Stetson is in much the s ame order. Stetson, too, is in a backwater area of Gulfport. Most people, except for passing by on Pasadena Avenue and Gulfport Boulevard don't even know of the campus's history of being a boom time hotel. I think both schools are under appreciated. Th ey're under recognized, perhaps. They're unappreciated. The people who are on both campuses are very, very happy and satisfied with what they're getting. I think neither one is a high profile. J: Stetson, right now, is in the process of developing a bra nch campus of its own. R: [They're developing it] back in Tampa. We're kind of reversing the process. We found the need for a part time and evening program. That would be primarily people who are working. The center of population for the workers, as di stinct from our full time students was more or less the downtown area. People who were working in both communities would be able to go for evening classes. They were able to buy a site from the city of Tampa where the old police station was and develop i t into the new campus. We're using the same style of Seville to mark both campuses. So when you pass on I 75 and you look off in the distance near Tampa Street you'll see the same replica of our gold Tower of Seville J: It's very noticeable. R: It's due to open in January, 2004, which is our fiftieth anniversary of coming over from Deland. Stetson moved over from Deland in 1954 when the returning veterans crowded the campus. By that time they had finished college and wanted law school. The facilities on the Deland campus were not enough. The Gulfport and city and county people
20 pointed out that they had this campus area with an old hotel and it would be an adaptable campus. That's how they happened to come here. J: It seems to be a pattern of universi ty development in this area. R: Yes, [they] re energize old locations. J: You have a historical perspective on it. R: I've been monitoring the St. Petersburg campus since approximately 1954 when I first came to St. Petersburg. I've been at least aware of its location and of its facilities, or lack thereof for about the last fifty years. [I've been monitoring the] same with here. I was at least aware. I wasn't in the service in 1954, [I was] out and teaching in Texas. Nonetheless, I was at least aware that Stetson was coming here in 1954. It wasn't until 1965 that the St. Petersburg campus became the St. Petersburg campus. This school, Stetson, was open here in 1954. I had time to finish and graduate and teach at the junior college and then transfer to the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. J: Before I came to talk to you, I suppose you thought about it a little bit. Were there any stories that you remembered thinking back on your experiences? [Did you remember any] people [or] events? R: Yes. There was a British ship that visited the port of St. Petersburg in the winter of, I think it was 1965 or 1966. They docked right outside our classroom. I could look right through the classroom windows and see the ship right only fifty feet out side the classroom door. They were there as a guest of the port of St. Petersburg. They were also interested in having some sort of activity with our students. They put on a street dance. Our students were not only able to visit the ship but they were also able to socialize with
21 the visiting sailors. The ship stayed for the whole holiday. It was early December, I believe, because they eventually sailed away and our students went home for Christmas. J: Back in the 1960s, were the students politically a ctive? R: Not on the St. Petersburg campus. The St. Petersburg campus was much more practical. [It was] much more down to earth. The older students were more conscious of the fact that they needed certain courses. There wasn't a good deal of political a ctivity or concern. Later it showed up in the Tampa campus. I don't recall any particular activity, political or protesting, on the St. Petersburg campus. J: Do you think that they were more aware of their community or active in community service? R: No, I think they were primarily preoccupied with not only a full time job, but also trying to keep up and add to their education at the same time, which makes it a job and a half. Some of these students are taking two or three courses a week, which meant the y were preempted on Monday, Tuesday, and on Wednesday, or Thursday night. We usually taught in three hour blocks, with a break in between. They could take one course on Monday, a different course on Tuesday, and a different course on Wednesday. The sche dule was planned for that. J: That's a busy day. Did the faculty have to do a similar thing? Did you have to come in at eight o'clock in the morning and be there all day and then teach? R: No, you were pretty much on your own as far as meeting your class schedule and your preparation. It wasn't uncommon to have hours from two or three o'clock in the afternoon to eight or nine o'clock in the [evening].
22 J: Did you have office hours in the afternoons? R: Yes, usually you were available before class. Especi ally from five to six you usually were available. J: If you were teaching Tuesday, Wednesday, [and] Thursday, did you go Monday evening and Friday evening as well? R: No, you wouldn't need to. I might go down to another campus on a different evening, bu t it wasn't the case of having to stand by. J: I was just curious because sometimes when people work they can't get off of work to go to campus. I think I had heard there was an issue with people having to go over to Tampa. R: Sometimes they need a cour se. One of the goals of the St. Petersburg campus was to provide a whole program [with] all the required courses needed for criminal justice, all the required courses needed for business. As the built up the faculty they tended to try to make that partic ular program self standing so they could serve the students from the first entry to the last graduation. Occasionally, students wanted either electives that were not offered on St. Petersburg, or they were out of sequence. The course that they wanted to graduate or they needed for a particular purpose was not available in St. Petersburg. They could take it in Tampa or they could take it in Sarasota. The traffic pattern across the bridges were not that bad until about ten years ago. J: It was a little ea sier drive [back then]. R: You could basically go by interstate from the St. Petersburg campus to the Tampa campus in about forty five minutes.
23 J: It's do able. R: It's do able, not so much anymore. J: It's not so fun. Where do you think the St. Peters burg campus is going to be headed in the next decade or so? R: I think it's headed for independence, much like the one in Ft. Myers. It's, of course, a slow political problem and a slow economic problem. I think it's inevitable. I see an alliance, and t here will always be an alliance between the Tampa and St. Petersburg campus[es]. I think that we'll come pretty close to full autonomy sometime within the next ten years. J: Do you think that will benefit or be neutral or harm the campus? R: I don't think it will harm Tampa at all. I think Tampa has a full plate with its mission. Its mission is my research. The mission of the St. Petersburg campus is really more of a teaching mission and will probably remain a teaching mission for the next ten or twent y years until it somehow attracts extra support or endowments or independent funding of one sort or another. For the time being I see the St. Petersburg campus as continuing very steady development and very steady growth as it adds to its facilities and a dds to its programs and adds to its students. Now developing a graduate program, I'm not saying that the teaching function shouldn't include a graduate program, but I don't think we'll ever include the highly technical research of one sort or another. J: The marine science college... R: The marine science college, that's really a separate college. That's part of the St. Petersburg campus as far as physical location is concerned. I think the location has more
24 to do with the harbor than it does with the sc hool. That could probably be a free standing college as well. Although, I think it's a crown jewel for the St. Petersburg campus to have it associated. It has somewhat separate facilities and somewhat separate budgeting from the normal St. Petersburg ca mpus and ordinary education program. J: Do you have any thoughts that you would like to leave for posterity and your fellow... R: [I would like to leave] just appreciation of the opportunity to have been part of the development of the higher educational sy stem in this area of the state. You don't get that opportunity to participate in junior college and a lot of freshmen education, undergraduate education, graduate education, and professional education. A person's really got an opportunity to participate in all of those in the same community which was my good fortune. J: Thank you for talking with me today. R: I'll be glad to follow up on anything, too, later on. In case of anything that I think I left out I'll be glad to communicate by email or otherwi se. And the same, you're welcome to telephone if you want. If you come across anything you want additional commentary on. J: Well thanks. End of Interview