BROWSE BY:     Title Number Subject Creator Digital Content

Interview with Calvin Doss, September 18, 2002 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

pdf icon Get PDF Version
Title:
Interview with Calvin Doss, September 18, 2002
Date:
September 18, 2002
Description:
Calvin Doss discusses his long association with UNCW and Wilmington College. Dr. Doss began teaching at Wilmington College part-time in 1956, and in 1957 he began teaching full-time. He taught math and other courses in the pre-engineering program. Prior to teaching at Wilmington College, Calvin Doss was a junior high industrial arts teacher. While working at Wilmington College, he earned a Ph.D. in Education at UNC-Chapel Hill. Then, he taught education and psychology and later served as Associate Dean of the School of Education. He served the university in many ways, including supervising maintenance and buildings from 1961-1966. Dr. Doss retired from UNCW in 1993. Inteview includes anecdotes and humorous stories that relay what life was like when the college was based in the Isaac Bear building and later just starting out on its own campus.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Doss, Calvin Interviewer: Lack, Adina Date of Interview: 9/18/2002 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 60 minutes

Lack: Good afternoon. Today is September 18, 2002. My name is Adina Lack. I’m the archivist and the special collections librarian here at Randall Library. We’re in the conference room and I have the pleasure of interviewing today Calvin Doss who is a retired faculty member in education.

Lack: Thank you and welcome.

Doss: Thank you.

Lack: I’m very glad that you’re here to share with us your memories and your stories about being a professor here in the School of Education. Can you start off by telling me where you were born and where you grew up.

Doss: I was born in Georgia and went to school at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. I got my undergraduate degree there in industrial arts, a B.S. in industrial arts. From there I went to the University of Georgia and got my master’s in education. Then when I finished Berry, I went to the eastern part of North Carolina and taught for two years in high school. Then a job became available in the public schools in Wilmington and I came here in ’51 and taught in junior high until 1956-57.

While I was there, I was enrolled in Wilmington College, which at that time was at 13th and Market. They had a pre-engineering program and they needed someone to teach there in the engineering graphics course. I taught a night class part-time in ’56 and then in ’57, I started full time. As it grew, I realized that I was going to have to get a Ph.D. so then I went to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. I worked on my Ph.D. and commuted most of the time on Saturday mornings. One semester I took a Wednesday night class, but that’s immaterial.

I finished that and started working in a four year school. At that time, it was the Department of Education.

Lack: Well that’s very impressive that you went and got a Ph.D. after having worked so long. Sometimes after you’ve worked a while, it’s hard to go back.

Doss: It is, but it was necessary if I was going to stay teaching in a four-year school. I felt if I wanted to better myself, I needed to do that.

Lack: So it sounds like your early background, you trained to be a teacher in technical subjects, industrial arts.

Doss: Of course I taught in junior high. Tolliston was the last place I really taught industrial arts full time. Then I started in engineering graphics at Wilmington College in the Bear Building, the Isaac Bear Building at 13th and Market.

Lack: What was your Ph.D. in?

Doss: It was a Ph.D. in education, higher education.

Lack: So it sounds like you did a bit of everything. What else did you teach over in the Bear Building?

Doss: Actually I taught algebra and trig. I taught one class in algebra and one class in trig as needed in addition to teaching the graphics. That was interesting. I guess it was in the same area so it made sense then. I had a limited background in math, but was able to handle the lower levels so there was no problem there. It was interesting times to see the faculty there. You knew everybody and everybody’s children and watch them grow over the years.

Lack: Oh I bet, interesting to say the least. One person that I interviewed is Tommy Lupton.

Doss: Yes, he came in 1958. We were still at Isaac Bear. He was in math.

Lack: And you came to Wilmington College in…

Doss: Well I started in 1956 as a part-time, finished that year as part-time, then started full-time in ’57.

Lack: And you realized that you would like to teach at the college level full-time.

Doss: That’s true and of course when we moved to this building with my industrial arts background, Dr. Randall who was the then president of Wilmington College, asked if I would supervise the maintenance of buildings so I did that part-time and taught part-time. Of course, then I realized that’s not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It was going to be a four-year school so I immediately went to Chapel Hill.

Lack: When did you complete your…

Doss:

Lack: And we became a four-year liberal arts degree in…

Doss: Well ’62 was the first class.

Lack: And we moved over here to this campus…

Doss: In ’61, summer of ’61.

Lack: You remember all that well.

Doss: Oh yes.

Lack: There was probably a lot to oversee if you were supervising.

Doss: There were only three buildings then you see. We only had the three buildings, Hoggard, Alderman and Hinton James, the original three buildings. Of course the yards had to be kept up too. The interesting thing is they planted those trees in the quadrangle and people were saying gosh, they’ll never amount to anything. There’s a big difference over the years.

Lack: From what I understand from other interviews, they started teaching right away that summer.

Doss: Oh yes, they started in summer school. Actually we moved in the summer before they even had air-conditioning in part of it. They were pushed to get in, they were anxious to get in so it worked out real well.

Lack: So, Dr. Doss after you got your Ph.D., did you start teaching primarily education courses?

Doss: Yes, full time. I actually taught psychology, general psych, as well. That was then, psychology and education were in the same department. They needed somebody to teach that class and I was there.

Lack: Sounds like there were opportunities to do all kinds of different things.

Doss: You had to be versatile at that time as small as we were. Anything that came up, somebody had to handle it.

Lack: What type of education courses did you teach? Was it secondary education?

Doss: I did basically the foundation courses to begin with and then taught _______ when they had that which was required at that point for elementary ages. Then I guess that was what I was teaching at that time, the foundation courses. But there were three of those required at that time. We were on the quarter system. There were three courses required.

Lack: Three foundation courses.

Doss: Yes, between that and my psych course, I had plenty to keep me busy.

Lack: And then I guess after we became a four-year school, is that when the Department of Education really grew?

Doss: It started, they hired Dr. Harold Hulon who is now deceased, but they hired him I think in ’62 to really start the school. He hired Betty Stike to help with _____ at that time. I came into the school I guess in ’65 or ’66. I was in there before I finished my Ph.D., but I think it was’65 when I started.

Lack: And it became its own school sometime later.

Doss: Yes, that was several years later. It was well into the 70’s, I don’t remember exactly when. Of course you interviewed Roy Harkin. He was here at chairman of the department and he came in ’75 and then it was later than that that we became a school. I don’t know if it was ’78 or somewhere in that area. I’m not sure exactly.

Lack: What were the advantages of becoming a school?

Doss: We were more self-contained. We then were answerable to Dean Harkin as opposed to the dean of the total school, which made it a little different. I don’t know, I guess we could survive either way, but it made it its own unit and therefore we had different goals, values and so forth than some of the others.

Lack: What was Dr. Hulon like?

Doss: He was an administrator. He was a school principal and his degree was in administration. They hired him to really start and begin the school and to plan courses and that type of thing so it worked out really well.

Lack: Were you the only faculty member who had been in the Isaac Bear Building for a while?

Doss: In the School of Education, yes.

Lack: Really, so people maybe came to you and asked you questions about…

Doss: Well I don’t think they much cared. Well, nothing existed until I came here anyway and that kind of thing so they weren’t too concerned about that.

Lack: I’ve spoken to some other people who are members of the Order of Isaac Bear. Are you in that?

Doss: Yes.

Lack: I’d like to talk to everybody in there, but we have talked to a few.

Doss: Well you should because it’s a good group. Did you get to talk to Dr. Randall before he died?

Lack: No.

Doss: Because he came in ’56 also. He was the son of William Randall.

Lack: I’ve spoken with a couple of other faculty members, Mary Bellamy.

Doss: Mary, I’m not sure, she was part time like I was. Tommy Brown, did you talk to him?

Lack: Not yet.

Doss: He came some time in that area, I’m not sure when.

Lack: That’s definitely a person to talk to. I forget his name, he had been head of HPER [Health, Physical Education and Recreation] and a student at Wilmington College and I think they let him become a member of the Order of Isaac Bear. He had played baseball for a junior college.

Doss: David Miller.

Lack: Yes, I interviewed him. So he had been a student over at the other place.

Doss: Right, he was a student and ball player. He is currently the president of the organization.

Lack: Oh okay, we have him.

Doss: He’s a nice person really.

Lack: It’s been really nice talking to everybody. So when you came and it was based in the Isaac Bear Building and then it moved over to the new campus, did it start changing right away?

Doss: It was sort of a gradual thing. Of course as we grew it obviously changed and we were a close-knit faculty there because it was so small that everybody knew everybody. It was enlarged and of course we separated then. One of the interesting things to me about Isaac Bear, were the faculty offices were a converted classroom with faculty desks scattered around one room and those were our offices. Of course we had a home base, as we called it, the bullpen, but we enjoyed the company too.

Lack: Sure, a place to exchange ideas.

Doss: I think there were one or two men sitting in the back, both math teachers, they asked for their desks to be in the front of the room and a lady came in and asked for a faculty member, an English faculty member and of course she wasn’t there at 8:30 in the morning. There was no need for her to be there. She didn't have a class until later. Of course she asked if we knew where she was and we said she hadn’t come in.

She started, “Well I have to be at my job” and so on and so on and her son had done so and so and she laid into me for about five minutes. She left and walked out and I looked around and of course we all just laughed because I had taken a cussing out for somebody else. So there were disadvantages and advantages too. It was funny.

Lack: She was complaining about someone else’s grade.

Doss: He wasn’t doing well in class or something. I thought it was just real funny that I had nothing to do with it, but I listened to her.

Lack: She needed to tell somebody.

Doss: She was happy, she had told someone off.

Lack: When you first came to the new building, where was your office? I mean on the new campus, where was your office?

Doss: I first was in Hoggard Hall up on the second floor in the center. There were offices in that suite then. Then of course I was teaching in the rooms on the north end of Hoggard Hall.

Lack: Did you move around after that?

Doss: Oh yes, of course I had offices in Kenan for a while and I guess that was the only other place I had an office until I moved to King Hall. I had offices there for a period of years.

Lack: What were the students like when you first started teaching and as time went on, how did they change?

Doss: Well we had a different type of student then than now. We had more mature students then because it was just after the war and a lot of veterans came back and this type of thing. I think one of the, I guess all of the 43 years I taught, there was one class that stands out. It was an interesting one. It was a math class, an algebra class. I was teaching it in the Navy Reserve building down on Front Street. We taught it there because we had people from the Navy reserves, had people from Army, Air Force.

It was taught really so they could get credit through their service, ______ was the title they used at that time. We taught it there because it was more convenient for them. It was real funny; there was one man in there the first night…we met one night a week for three hours. He said that I was going so fast in the algebra that they couldn’t keep up. I said, “Well I have to cover some territory, but we’ll do the best we can.”

Of course the second night I just made up my mind, boy he is so far behind, he’ll just never make it up. So about the third or fourth meeting, of course he came in one night. Someone asked a question before I could answer and he said if they’d look on page 35, there’s so and so and so. Sure enough, there was the answer. A few minutes later, somebody else asked a question and he said that’s on page 42.

So at the break, I told him I believed he’d been putting in a little time. He said yes, that the captain has been gone and they had spent about 40 hours on it. I didn't worry about him anymore. That was attitude; they were there to learn. That same class, there’s two stories that I enjoy telling, one of them, we had an ice storm. Rare around here, but we did have an ice storm.

The college closed, the high school closed. Everything just shut down and that class met that night. So about 10 minutes before the class met, the phone rang, this same young man. He said, “Mr. Doss, are you coming to class tonight?” I said they announced on television that everything was closed, was anybody there. He said, “Everybody’s here but you.”

Lack: My goodness.

Doss: I told him to give me 15 minutes and I’d be there. So I just took off. But they didn't want to miss a class.

Lack: You drove carefully there.

Doss: That’s right, that’s right.

Lack: When was this, in the 1950’s?

Doss: Yes, late 50’s.

Lack: And that class really stands out.

Doss: That’s right, of all the years, but it was attitude. You asked about the students. This was the type; we had a lot of those of that kind then. Even when we became a four year school, we got an influx of mature students going into teaching because they had gone to school maybe two years somewhere or maybe even here and then were married and could not go and finish their degree, so they would be getting back. So we had a lot of good, mature students during that period of time.

Doss: My sons were out here and we had a friend who was a mature young lady, was married, had children. Well she hated to go back because she’d be so old out there. My son said, “Tell her to go over to the School of Education and look at those people over there.” So there were some good students back in that time. Over the years of course, we drew from a larger group.

In later years, we got a lot of people who had gone two years in community colleges in the area. Many of them were retired from service and we had a school in Jacksonville, they fed us quite a few teachers, future teachers. We had again a different clientele from those sometimes than we did the college freshman, 18 year old, who comes and lives in the dorm. It makes a difference.

Lack: And there still is a group of nontraditional students, which is what they call them now. It’s not everybody.

Doss: Sure, there’s quite a few and it’s so nice. You probably heard this, we were a two-year, originally a two year county supported school and a two year state supported school. Then we became a two-year community college. I think that was in ’58. There were only four in the state at that time. But the point of the story, the goal was to have two years of college within reach of every student in North Carolina. They have almost accomplished that. I would say they have accomplished that.

So we were in that category until we became a four-year college and then became a branch of the university. So it’s taken an interesting progression.

Lack: Yes, a four-year college supported by the state.

Doss: Oh yes, a four year college from ’63 or ’62 whichever one you want to say until I believe ’69, then we became a branch of the university. At that point, we were one of six. And later there were 16.

Lack: It sounds like you worked under a good number of presidents.

Doss: Well, actually there were not that many because Dr. Randall was the one when I came and he stayed and then Wagoner and then Leutze. So that’s only three.

Lack: We had so many, Dr. Hamilton.

Doss: Well that’s right, he was before I was. Hamilton was principal of the high school and assumed the role there when they first started this at the beginning. That was “Before Calvin.”

Lack: BC right?

Doss: Right, “Before Calvin,” that’s what I used to say.

Lack: Well did you get to know Dr. Randall?

Doss: Oh yes, real well. We had an interesting relationship with the faculty as I said. In the Isaac Bear Building down in the basement, we had a coffee shop, snack bar put in down there. At about 10:00 every morning, Dr. Randall came and everybody gathered around for their morning cup of coffee and had a good session.

Lack: Oh that’s nice.

Doss: Of course when we moved to this campus in Alderman, there was a room down on the first floor that was the faculty lounge coffee room. Of course there are interesting stories, which you may not want to hear. We had a maid, Hattie, who of course took care of that building. She was at Isaac Bear Building and retired here after working most of her life. She and her husband, they both worked and we would spend time talking about their relationship.

We had a committee from the state that came when Dr. Wagoner was here. They interviewed all the staff – what is your role, what position do you hold. Of course they asked what is the most important role that you have in this institution. Hattie said keeping that coffee pot hot for Dr. Wagoner (laughter). We got a good kick out of that. But she always made the coffee, had it ready.

Again see there was another session there. You asked about the relationships. Of course we’d go to ball games, basketball games and we would sit in a group.

Lack: College basketball?

Doss: Yes, so it was just real interesting. I’m going to say this and I probably shouldn’t since it’s being recorded, but when my second son was born, when he was just a little fellow, two years old, I’d take him to the ballgame and he’d have a ball and he took up with Dr. Randall and Dr. Randall took up with him. I’d bring him in Dr. Randall’s office and Dr. Randall would always have something to give him. If he came out to the campus with me, he had to go and see Dr. Randall.

Lack: They bonded, oh that’s nice.

Doss: Of course Dr. Randall one time, having been in the service, he had in his desk drawer some pins, I think colonel, I’m not sure, but I think it was for a colonel and he gave them to him. They bonded there.

Lack: What a great story. Does your son remember him?

Doss: I’m sure he does. Of course, he’s grown and gone now.

Lack: And you mentioned both of your sons went here?

Doss: Yes, both sons and I have a granddaughter here. She’s a sophomore this year.

Lack: That’s wonderful and both your sons went here and graduated from here?

Doss: That’s correct, both in math, computer science. The older one went to North Carolina State, the second one went to the University of South Carolina and got his master’s and both ended up working at IBM and are still working there.

Lack: What about your granddaughter, what is she interested in?

Doss: She says right now she’s going into social work. She’s doing real well and enjoying herself.

Lack: Great. Do your sons live in the area still?

Doss: They both live in Raleigh.

Lack: And she chose to come here?

Doss: She did, it was her choice. She didn't come because I was here. She came because this is the school she wanted. I think the beach being here was a point too and she did not want to go back to Raleigh this summer. She wanted to stay here at the beach.

Lack: It certainly is a lure.

Doss: Yes it is.

Lack: You mentioned some of the people you got to know over the years. Did you get to know Dr. Wagoner as well?

Doss: Oh yes. There’s always interesting stories I guess. Dr. Wagoner was superintendent in the county that my wife and I first taught in, _______ County after we left. Then he came here and his oldest son was in the fourth grade in my wife’s classroom. Well of course, he was then superintendent of the public schools so we got to know him then in that sense.

He was just one of the finest persons you could have asked for. He and his wife were just a fine couple. His wife was very active…she was a music major and she went out and played for classes, volunteer type thing. It made it real nice. My wife and his wife got along real well. In fact, she taught two of his children, two out of three. Dr. Wagoner jokingly one day said “And that was what was wrong with the other one, she didn't have her in the fourth grade” (laughter).

Lack: Your wife taught two of their children.

Doss: He was a different kind. He was a caring person. When someone was sick or someone died or something, he was always very attentive, very helpful and always there. It’s interesting to see the differences in personalities there. He was just easygoing.

Lack: Were you teaching full time when Dr. Leutze came on board?

Doss: Oh yes, yes. I was here two years. I lasted two years with him (laughter). I had 44 points, six years so it was time to quit, not here, but in the state.

Lack: Yes, because you said you taught for 43 years. When did you retire?

Doss: In ’93.

Lack: Did you do the phased retirement?

Doss: No, they didn't have phase retirement then and I don’t think I would have done it had it been. My philosophy at that time was either I’m going to work or I’m going to retire, one or the other. I didn't want one to interfere with the other I guess.

Lack: Did you get involved in administrative roles while you were here?

Doss: I was associate dean of the School of Education for the last ___ years. I got blamed for all the problems as far as students were concerned.

Lack: And the dean got all the glory.

Doss: There you go. Certification was my big thing at the time, a big responsibility I should say.

Lack: And the school got certification.

Doss: I’m thinking of student certification to become teachers and I did, of course, obviously work with certification as far as _____. Everybody did that. That was a given, but it was my responsibility to see that the students met requirements for certification to teach in the state.

That was an interesting bit too because I got calls in a short period of time. I got a call from the state of Virginia, from the state of Florida and somewhere in Missouri. It was real interesting to see how people, you know, I’d been here forever and one of our students would go, “Someone told me to call you, that you could tell me what to do to get certified in the state of North Carolina.” It was just real interesting within a week’s time, I got a call from three different states. I thought that was real interesting, it just hit me at that time. I didn't do that every week.

Lack: Yeah, word of mouth, and people saying you need to talk to him to make sure you’re …

Doss: I think again, having been here a long time, one of the funniest things happened. I got a call from the State Department and it was a certification officer they’re saying that they had one of our graduates here that is applying for certification. She gave me the name and of course, I remembered them. I said that that had been a long time ago. She said yes and she couldn’t tell from the names of the courses if they met their requirements or not and she was going to need some help.

I said okay. She said they required student teaching, but she didn't see anything that said student teaching. I said if she would look at the end of the record, it would tell her that it said theory and practice that was our block of student teaching. She said one more question. She said they needed a course in reading. I said the number was either 450 or 470, we have two courses. She said it was there right there.

I said wait a minute, that was in 1960, she had really tested my memory as much as I thought she could (laughter) and I hope you don’t ask me any more because I’d have to look it up. She said I had said enough and she was going to certify the lady. That was the point, that I had done it so long that I knew the answers. It was just right funny and she was real nice about it.

Lack: That is funny that you didn't have to go looking it up and cross-referencing. It was in your head.

Doss: Because of course you’ve been here, you remember those courses.

Lack: You designed a curriculum to meet certification standards.

Doss: One of the funny things we did when we started out on the program, the State Department at that time in my opinion was very rigid in the requirements of this course meeting their standards, much more so than when I exited. When the school started, started the Department of Education, we had courses, School I, School II, School III, because their requirements said you must have x number of hours in teaching the school. We titled exactly as they wanted. So we did that to avoid questions. They had funny names.

Lack: You kept the names.

Doss: Yes, as a sideline. When I got my master’s at the University of Georgia, North Carolina would not accept it because I didn't have a course titled they way they wanted. So I went to North Carolina State and talked with Dr. _____ who was an old time person and he said that that course was not available anywhere except in Menomonee, Wisconsin.

That was the only place he knew that offered that course was Stout University. So he did a special program for two that finished in Missouri and myself from Georgia and we were in the same boat and he offered special courses for us so we had the title just like the state wanted. That resulted in our looking at their program and redesigning it. It was the match that lit the fire.

Lack: Because if it were to meet standards in North Carolina, you would think it would be offered. So they obviously needed to change some things. This was the Department of Public Instruction.

Doss: Right, that’s why I say, at that time it was really very rigid. It had to be exactly as they wanted and that dictated some of the things and started naming courses. If you look back in the early catalog in 1962, you’ll see the School 301, Education 301, The School. We had to meet their requirements.

Lack: Right, I suppose you probably worked a lot with Dorothy Marshall?

Doss: Oh yes. She was here when I came. Have you talked with her?

Lack: Yes sir.

Doss: Good, of course she was teaching business originally and then became the registrar here until she retired. So we had a very close relationship because my problems with certification, I had to deal with records and we were back and forth. If she needed anything or her office needed anything related to us, she yelled at me and I yelled at her, not really (laughter).

Lack: Right, but worked together to get things done.

Doss: That was true I thought of the whole faculty even the Isaac Bear bunch. Everybody worked with everybody else to help out.

Lack: Who else from that group do you recommend we talk to?

Doss: Most any of them. Have you talked to Marshall Crews?

Lack: Yes sir.

Doss: Of course he’s there, who else is in there, I’ve got to stop to think. Joanne Corbett.

Lack: Yes, she’s on the list.

Doss: She came in ’58. It’s always funny, you remember when they came. Jerry Rosselot?

Lack: Not yet.

Doss: Okay, he came somewhere in that neighborhood, late 50’s anyway, maybe ’60.

Lack: And Carol Ellis.

Doss: Carol Ellis, she’s here still part-time. She was a student and came through. Isabel Foushee is in the same category, she was a student. Another woman came and got a master’s, I can’t remember, Elizabeth Pearsall.

Lack: Oh those are good names. I haven’t talked to them.

Doss: She took a year off and got a master’s. I would almost have to look at the roster to remember the others in there. You’re going to talk to Tommy Brown, right?

Lack: Yes.

Doss: Dave Warner is in there. He was not Isaac Bear. Of course, Plyler also.

Lack: Some of those people are on the list so we have to track them down.

Doss: Bill Brooks.

Lack: We did talk to him. I wouldn’t mind talking to him again.

Doss: You should. He was the athletic program originally. Of course, he built Brooks Field out there with nothing. He would beg, borrow and steal and of course he got donations for the building and the field house there. He worked out there himself most of the time, getting it squared away. He’s really an institution as far as that is concerned. There are a lot of interesting stories I could tell about him.

Lack: You were friends?

Doss: Oh yes, I was the chair of one of the athletic committee for years and years. They started a summer league for a while. I was on that committee with him. Get him to talk about the summer league that they started which was real interesting.

Lack: Which sport?

Doss: Baseball. I don’t think it’s in existence anymore. I know it isn’t.

Lack: They interviewed him before I started, but I should look at his transcripts again. I’m sure that will be very informative. When you started in the School of Education, well in the Department of Education, were you one of the only faculty members?

Doss: Well see Harold Hulon was the first one. Then Betty was hired in there and I was the third.

Lack: This was after the department was formed as a separate department?

Doss: Well, it was a department within Wilmington College at that time and then it became the School of Education later.

Lack: So Hulon preceeded you over on this campus?

Doss: On this campus.

Lack: Then there were a couple of other faculty members who had been there a while. I guess Betty Stike came on and then Paz Bartolome.

Doss: Bartolome, she came in ’75.

Lack: Okay, not until later. And Eleanor Wright came.

Doss: Eleanor Wright was part time and full time, part psychology and part the rest of it. She was around quite a while. I don’t remember when she started.

Lack: When it was a small group like that, was it very busy?

Doss: Yes, we did everything that needed to be done and it was really hectic in some ways, but fun too.

Lack: I understand you had one secretary for a while and we’re going to be interviewing her next week.

Doss: Miss Eakins, okay good. She was, gosh, I’m trying to think, I don’t know when she came. She drove daily from Atkinson, was never late and one morning near the end of her career, she didn't show up. I called her cousin or someone in Atkinson and I said I was a little concerned. By that time, she had lost her husband. I said that she had not made it here and Neal was always so prompt. Of course she said she would go and check and see and she would get back to me.

So anyway she called me back. Exactly one hour after her usual time, she walks in. What’s wrong? She said, “What do you mean, I’m right on time.” Her clock was wrong, but she caused quite a stir. It was real interesting because she was always so prompt. She was very considerate of me because her desk was right out side my office. At 5:00 when she was supposed to leave, if I had a young lady in my office, she would not leave until that lady left which I appreciated.

Lack: So if you had to meet with a student or something, she would wait until…oh I see, she was very aware of proprieties.

Doss: That’s right.

Lack: It sounds like she was a real institution, held the department together.

Doss: She wanted to do what was right. She was always proper I guess is the word.

Lack: I can’t wait to meet her. Eleanor Wright is going to accompany me. We’re actually going to meet her where she’s staying. I can’t remember the name of it, an assisted living, independent living kind of place.

Doss: I can’t think of the name of it either, I know where it is.

Lack: Yes, we’re going to go out and see her. That will be good because she’ll think of some questions and things specifically for her. Well you mentioned you served on the athletic committee as chair.

Doss: For a while, several years.

Lack: Were there other committees that you were involved with?

Doss: Just about any that came along over the period of years. We served on what is now the Senate, but before the Senate they had a council. I served on it. It worked out real well. I can’t think of all the names of the committees I did serve on. If they needed somebody, they usually drafted whoever they could.

Lack: When you were associate dean, did you have a teaching role as well?

Doss: I did. They had this rule that you weren’t, administrators teach one class and I did more than that. I tried to arrange it so it didn't interfere. It was pretty busy, pretty hectic there with phone calls coming in, certification.

Lack: I guess people have problems with their grades or something.

Doss: Well the grades I didn't handle as much as scheduling problems or things of that nature.

Lack: Oh I see. If students needed both classes or something.

Doss: I think one of the funniest things that happened that I laughed about; the faculty changed the basic study requirements. Well in doing this, this hurt our relationship with community colleges that sent their future teachers to us and I saw that right away. So I wrote a letter to each of the community college deans explaining what happened.

Lack: In our area?

Doss: In our area, the ones that we normally deal with. So I would get phone calls and said that there was really nothing I could do about it. I’m just a little peon. So they wanted to know who could do something. At that time Cahill was there, the vice-chancellor, so I’d refer them to him. Of course the funny thing was I walked into Dr. Harkin who was the dean and I said that I would tell him what I’d done and he could tell me to go home or whatever and they would be calling. He said fine, you did exactly what you should have done.

So anyway the next dean’s meeting, he came, Dr. Harkin came to me and said I should explain to him again what the problem was so I did. Of course something happened, they wanted to think about it, didn't resolve it. The next meeting, he was sick and I went for him. The other deans were not as aware of it as I was because I was on the firing line and I saw this course is not going to do what it’s supposed to be doing.

The community colleges were willing to change, but they had students already there that were in classes then that were going to come here. So at the next dean’s meeting when Dr. Harkin was back and of course he called me and said tell me again. So he asked what did I want. I said I’d like it in writing that they would make exceptions for the students who were currently enrolled and had met the old requirements, but not the new.

Not to make any exceptions, it’s just a matter of this course was a two hour course there, it’s going to be a required three hour course here and not hold them to that until they can get theirs changed. So he said okay. He said they wouldn’t put it in writing, but they will honor anything you request for an exception. So it worked out. We didn't want to penalize the students who were already there.

Lack: That’s nice, that’s something concrete.

Doss: That’s right, as I say, there were always problems coming up in dealing with students there and that’s one that I have laughed about over the years. Of course after I got my 30 years, it’s always easy to say you can fire me tomorrow, it’s alright, I’ve got my retirement (laughter).

Lack: It’s interesting that they went ahead and made the changes without awareness…

Doss: See that was the faculty senate which was the overall body and you take the School of Education is only one small part of the total university and the ones on the senate, probably even the ones in the School of Education did not see the applications from their students because they didn't deal with them like I did.

Lack: It’s also good looking back when you’re not in the midst of it; it’s more humorous than it was at the time.

Doss: It is and of course we were laughing about it then particularly they weren’t going to put it in writing, but they would honor it.

Lack: I wonder why.

Doss: The faculty would have risen up in arms because our faculty had agreed to this and that’s what we were going to do.

Lack: It’s just been good to hear your stories and recollections.

Doss: Well there’s lots of them. Of course when we moved there, as I said I was over the buildings and grounds and that was a whole different stories. Of course, Hattie and Buck were man and wife, there were others too, but they were the two that were the institutions so to speak as far as our janitorial staff and maintenance staff were concerned. There were always funny stories that we could tell there.

Incidentally Hattie’s, I’m going to say grand niece and I may have it wrong, is currently a principal in this county who came to school here. I thought Hattie would be real proud. Of course Hattie died before she came to school here. I knew her when she was in school and followed her through here and on through graduate school. I may see her tomorrow night at a PDK meeting that I’ll be going to here on campus. She’s a member of it.

Lack: What is that--PDK?

Doss: Phi Delta Kappa. And I’m still active with it. It was real interesting the stories, the funny ones we always laughed about and the coffee was one that I mentioned a few minutes ago. When we first moved here, Alderman was the library, the backside of the north end, that north wing. It was the library.

We had a librarian’s desk, something like this, and there was a counter there with some artificial flowers. Hattie watered those artificial flowers for months (laughter). We laughed about that over the years. She was taking care of them, didn't want them to wilt (laughter). There’s so many funny stories that have nothing to do with education, but in a sense it was connected.

Lack: How long did you oversee buildings and maintenance?

Doss: ’61 to ’66, about five years.

Lack: Did they find someone else to step in?

Doss: Yes, yes. At first there were three buildings and they thought I could do that part time and teach part time. Then of course it got to be that they needed to hire somebody full time. It was interesting. Funds were always a problem, probably still are. We always had a limited staff and worked as hard as we could to keep everything up. Never seemed to have enough to go around. We made do.

Lack: Well yes, back then, it just seems like people were chipping in as needed.

Doss: Of course Bill Brooks built the athletic field out there with practically no dollars for help. Donations of labor etc., I enjoyed that he got the prison labor to help him, which was interesting. I don’t know how he arranged it, I didn't ask. You need really to talk to Bill Brooks.

Lack: Sounds like a good idea. Well have you been following the building of the new school of education?

Doss: I really have not. Dr. Tyndall asked me to serve on the committee, to go around and look at buildings in the planning stages, which I did. I enjoyed doing that and of course I went to the groundbreaking and that kind of thing, but have not been by lately, let’s put it that way.

Lack: It’s hard to see much from the road.

Doss: At this stage, it’s hard to tell much about it too. We’ve come a long way.

Lack: I guess we’re expected to continue being a big school, a big center for teacher education and all that. From what I understand, it’s changing in other schools. Chapel Hill, they don’t have teacher education at the bachelor’s level anymore, is that correct?

Doss: I don’t know. I’ve lost touch with that. That’s a possibility. At one point, they were hoping to do that. It must have been 30 years ago they were talking in terms of that, having it at the upper level. You know the community colleges are serving a purpose to, doing the same thing at the lower level. I don’t know what the statistics are now. It’s always interesting to look at the enrollment. Freshmen used to come in, there would be less the sophomore year and then it would jump the junior year because of transfers.

Lack: From the different community colleges. I think it’s still a popular track.

Doss: Right, it was interesting how they did that too which was one of the things, we had extension courses at the community colleges when they were technical institutions before they became community colleges. We had courses there that were accepted; well actually they were our courses on their campus.

Lack: There’s some of that going on now.

Doss: They are junior colleges, the first two years.

Lack: Right, this allows students not to have to come in for all their classes. Well how have you been spending your retirement?

Doss: I’ve been busier than I was when I was working. I do a lot of crafts. I just finished for my granddaughter a dining table for her apartment. My older granddaughter who’s a graduate student at Chapel Hill, she had to have a coffee table so I fixed that for her. I do sweatshirts, Santa Clause’s, wooden Santa Clause’s, pumpkins whatever, I just finished three ghosts.

Lack: For Halloween. So your industrial arts background serves you well.

Doss: That’s the reason that Dr. Randall wanted me to do maintenance because I had that “background” in the area. That background has saved me a lot of money over the years.

Lack: I bet, furniture certainly has a huge markup. It takes a long time though to make it.

Doss: Well, I make it very simple actually. She ordered it at the beginning of school; this is about a month in, so it was pretty quick.

Lack: That’s good.

Doss: She got her new apartment and had to have a table to eat on. The one they had given them was an outdoor table and she wanted it to look nice. Now they have to have everything perfect. Of course, back then I had a cardboard box and that was all I needed then (laughter).

Lack: People want things nice now and they wait longer to get married and stuff so they think why should they wait to have everything, I want it now (laughter). I don’t have to wait and then by the time they get married, they have everything. It was a real pleasure talking to you today and if you think of more stories, just give me a holler.

Doss: As we talk, I think of other stories and I thought well maybe I shouldn’t tell this one or that one. We have quite a few.

(second tape starts here) ______ He was here when he were moving. He loaded the stuff on the pickup trucks from the other building and moved them out there.

Lack: That was his job, loading the truck (laughter)?

Doss: Well it wasn’t, he just assumed it. He was tight with the money I think.

Lack: I see, so he did it.

Doss: That’s right, he was in charge of the funding, so… Of course I had to deal with him to get supplies and everything I needed to work with so that got to be interesting.

Lack: And then he ended up helping move.

Repository:
UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database
Found in:
Randall Library | UNCW Archives and Special Collections | Online Database | Contact Us | Admin Login
Powered by Archon Version 3.21 rev-1
Copyright ©2012 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign