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Interview with Roy E. Harkin, September 17, 2002 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Title:
Interview with Roy E. Harkin, September 17, 2002
Date:
September 17, 2002
Description:
Roy Harkin discusses his career at UNCW and in higher education. Dr. Harkin came to UNCW in January 1976. He served as department chair. When the department of education became the School of Education in 1979, he became its first Dean. During his time as Dean, the School hired many new faculty members and began offering graduate degrees. At the time of this, Dr. Harkin was a participant in the phased retirement program.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Harkin, Roy E. Interviewer: Lack, Adina Date of Interview: 9/17/2002 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 48 minutes

Lack: Good afternoon, today is September 17th, 2002. My name is Adina Lack. I’m the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian here at Randall Library. We’re in the Conference Room and I am... have the pleasure of interviewing, today, Roy Harkin, the first Dean of the School of Education. And, it... we’ll be discussing, with him, his stories about the School of Education and UNCW as well as other stories related to his professional life and career. First um... Dr. Harkin, where were you born and where did you grow up?

Harkin: Indiana, in a small town in north-central Indiana called Logansport.

Lack: What was your education and...

Harkin: Well, I took Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and then moved to California, as many people from the Midwest did. Taught there for awhile and then went to Graduate School at Claremont Graduate Center... started at Claremont Complex of Colleges in Orange County and uh... took a PhD there.

Lack: What was the appeal of California?

Harkin: Well, at that time (laughs) at that time, most... it was quite appealing for a number of reasons. School teachers were in demand... very high demand and uh... the salaries were much better than they were in the Midwest. The climate was much better. A fellow who came back and interviewed at Ball State was wise (?), he brought pictures he had taken the weekend before with his children playing barefooted in the yard. It was January. And, talked about trimming his roses. And uh... the salaries were significantly better. I taught three years in Muncie. I was an English teacher and uh... was ready to make a move. At first didn’t think we wanted to go to California but then the more we thought about it the more appealing it became and it turned out to be a very good move. Taught there for six years before going to Graduate School.

Lack: I guess the hard part is that if most of your family is in the Midwest, and a lot of people you know, you have to go very far away...

Harkin: Well yeah, the Grandparents particularly. It’s hard... it was hard to take them away... I mean take our children away. We has just one child, at the time, but we sort of made a commitment to get back regularly and so we did. That was back in the days of old Highway 66 and we would run that at least once a year... from all the years we were in California. But, there were so many Midwesterners in California that uh... I worked in uh... I guess all together four different schools while I was there in San Bernadino and also in Los Angeles County and at each of those four schools there were at least two of my contemporaries from Ball State...

Lack: Really?

Harkin: ... teaching on the Staff...

Lack: That’s funny...

Harkin: Most people were from the Midwest, I mean it was hard to find a Californian.

Lack: That’s funny. Well that feels like home.

Harkin: Yeah.

Lack: Was your Specialty “Secondary Education”?

Harkin: Secondary...

Lack: ...in English?

Harkin: English.

Lack: ...and then you went on for a PhD?

Harkin: Yes.

Lack: ...in what field?

Harkin: Educational Administration, Organizational Theory, basically, Organizational Behavior.

Lack: Uh hmm. What happened after that?

Harkin: Well, I... when I set out to Graduate School I thought well, just... I had already entered Administration...

Lack: As Principle?

Harkin: As an Assistant Principle, it was easier than teaching. It paid more (laughs) didn’t have to know as much (laughs).

Lack: (laughs) Is that still the case?

Harkin: (laughs) And uh... so I thought, when I went to Graduate School, I’d probably just stay on that track but the people at Claremont were very persuasive in pushing people toward university work. So I left. We were fortunate enough to get a position at UNC-Chapel Hill, out of Claremont, and went there in 1968 and stayed there until 1976 in the School of Education.

Lack: Oh, ok, were you a Professor there?

Harkin: I was... yeah, I was a member of the Faculty, an Associate Dean of the School there.

Lack: Oh, ok. What brought you to Wilmington after that?

Harkin: Well...

Lack: Was it after Chapel Hill?

Harkin: It was after Chapel Hill, it was in 1976 uh... uh... I’d been teaching “Educational Administration”, “Organization Theory” courses as part of my assignment up there and I thought it’d be fun to practice (laughs) administration, you know...

Lack: I see.

Harkin: ...rather than talk about it. And um... I got a... I got a call from Arnold King, who was Mr. Friday’s Assistant. He held a number of Administrative positions in Chapel Hill in General Administration over the years. He’s the man for whom the present Education Building is named, Arnold K. King. And he asked uh... if I’d be interested in... uh... I said, “Well, I might.” And we talked more and I realized what was going on down here was pretty exciting. They had a very small enterprise and they were... their intention was to establish Graduate Studies, to develop uh... the Teacher Education Program and to develop a regional presence... uh... and that all came to pass. We... uh... I think... we came in January ’76 and I believe in the Fall of ‘77... uh I may be mistaken about this... I think it was the Fall of ‘77... no, it must have been the Fall of ’78 we began our first Masters Degrees

Lack: Uh huh. Ok

Harkin: ... in Educational Administration and Elementary Ed. And then... we also, at the same time, were revising all the Undergraduate Programs and ex... pardon me, expanding the Faculty. The University was... the local Administration as well, the general Administration... were very generous in their support. And uh... so a good many of the people who are presently on Faculty came during that period of ’76 to ‘78, ‘79... along in there. Uh, we’d achieved... we revised all of our programs and ultimately also had a Special Ed Masters, Special Ed Undergraduate Degree, Middle Grades and the uh... Secondary Masters... over... over a period of probably about eight years. So, it was... that was appealing... the idea of being able to get involved in something that was new...

Lack: Uh hmm. Right.

Harkin: ...and uh... it turned out to be a good opportunity.

Lack: It sounds like when you came, you were... you knew soon after you’d come that... you came... that you would be bringing on more people. Were there a lot of searches and...

Harkin: Yeah, uh... I can’t remember now how many we added the first three or four years but it was a substantial number... There were only five tenure-track Faculty positions, I mean people, at the time...

Lack: When you arrived?

Harkin: ...when I arrived. Harold Hune (?), Betty Stike, who I think was the second Faculty member to be employed, Calvin Dawes (?), Osber Tolomey (?) and Sol Bagner (?). Eleanor Wright was full-time. She wasn’t, at that point, on tenure-track. And then there were some... there were a few other part-time non-tenured-track Faculty members. But I think, the first year, we uh... had like four or five people the first year and then we just kept going. Uh... wish I were better with numbers... I never have been... its not a matter of age (laughs).

Lack: No, that’s... you’re doing fine. That’s pretty good... good memory right there. So, uh... when you came on, who were some of the people who you brought on?

Harkin: Well, I think the first year... the new hire were Andrew Ahalfhayes (?), that was in the Fall of ‘76. A young man named Dean Spitzer, who was our first Instructional Technologist, came to us... from, he was a graduate of Southern Cal... came to us by way of SUNY-Albany, I think. Dean left after about three years. Let’s see, Marcy uh... Steele (?) joined us I think that year... that year or the next year. Jim Applefield came, I think, in January of ‘77, Grace Burton (?) came... probably in the Fall of ‘77. Oh, my... Noel Jones... Noel... Noel Jones came, I believe in the first group. No, no... he was the second year. ’77 probably. He came to us from Cornell. What... was a nice time for the entire institution to be in a growth mode because, generally, across the country that wasn’t true of higher education. The market was very good for us in hiring and recruiting. I think probably better than it is now. But, uh that benefited the entire institution... you know. The faculty here at UNCW have been recruited since that time and they’re strong.

Lack: Uh hmm. Yeah. That’s good... that’s great. So, when you came on, you were hired as the Dean.

Harkin: Hired as... at that time, we had one Dean, it was Daniel Plyer (?), who was Dean of the College and uh... nineteen Departments. And, Business and Education were Departments.

Lack: Ok, when you first came...

Harkin: ... and I was Department Chair until...

Lack: Ok.

Harkin: ...the structure officially changed, I think, in 1979?

Lack: Oh, I see.

Harkin: Norman Keeler (?) who’d been Chair of Business became Dean of Business. I became Dean of Education. It was understood, when I came, at least from my understanding (laughs)...

Lack: That it would be...

Harkin: ...that I was coming as a Dean and came into a twelve-month Appointment and had a lot of... I think I, you know... had a lot of the authority, that generally doesn’t go with a Chairmanship. I mean I had a little more budgetary control and that sort of thing... for a typical Chair.

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: The institution was extremely supportive of the development of Education. I’ve always appreciated that about UNCW. We’ve had, over the years, it’s been my experience... that we’ve had an usually cordial relationship between Education and Arts & Sciences. Which isn’t always the case.

Lack: Really, there tends to be in other institutions...

Harkin: Well... (laughs) you’re from Chapel Hill (laughs) I wouldn’t say that that’s the case at Chapel Hill. And... but yet here the effort to develop Graduate Studies in Education was a University-wide effort. You know the resources were put in place, in a very short time Graduate Programs were established, new Undergraduate programs were established... uh... old programs were revised, we achieved national Accreditation in 1982 which was... we were the first unit on campus...

Lack: Really?

Harkin: ... to gain any sort of... gain that type of Accreditation, subsequently. Of course, Business, Nursing, and Chemistry. Maybe Chemistry was before we were? I’m not sure. But there were several nationally accredited programs about now. Uh...

Lack: When... did it become the School of Education and later on, the “Watson School of Education”, do you remember that?

Harkin: Yeah, it became the School of Education in 1979. It became the “Watson School of Education” sometime in the early ‘90’s. I’m not sure when that was?

Lack: Oh, ok. Do you know who he... who Mr. Watson was?

Harkin: Mr. Watson was a local businessman.

Lack: Ok.

Harkin: I believe he was uh... you might want to edit this out, if I’m not right, but I think he was the owner-operator of Pepsi-cola Bottling enterprise... among other things, I suppose.

Lack: ...and he gave...

Harkin: ... and uh... he’s deceased...

Lack: Uh huh.

Harkin: ...and his family made the gift. I don’t know if... I don’t know if he was living at the time the gift was made or if it was after he died.

Lack: And, I’m not sure if... when the new building is constructed, will it still be “Watson School of Education”?

Harkin: I believe it will be “Watson School of Education” although the building may have another name (laughs). It won’t be the “King Hall”... (inaudible)

Lack: Uh huh. Right. And, that’s an interesting story because King, Mr. King really worked in education and administration... and obviously was a supporter. That’s an interesting story about how he was the one who contacted you.

Harkin: Yeah, he was, of course, not here...

Lack: Right.

Harkin: ... he never was on this Campus but he was, from what I understand, he was the person in General Administration who worked most closely with this Campus and bringing it into partnership with the University because it wasn’t at one time. It was Wilmington College. And, he was the person that helped move it to UNCW uh... and then he continued to take a particular interest. I was on the Faculty at Chapel Hill when “King Hall” was dedicated here... and, I remember how thrilled he was with that. He was a member of our Faculty in Education, Chapel Hill, although he didn’t teach in the School for any of the years I was there. He’d already gone on to Administrative roles, in General Administration. He was a lovely old gentleman and continue to serve until well into his eighties. I think he... I can’t remember when he retired but...

Lack: Well, that’s an interesting story how “King Hall” got it’s name because I’d heard some about him but I hadn’t heard quite that much, so... that’s really interesting. But, when you first came here what did you recognize as... you’ve mentioned some... about what the goals were... but did you recognize certain other things that needed to be done and...

Harkin: Well, you know the thing... you know, the mandate that the institution had set, the goal they’d it had set, was the establishment of Graduate Studies in that there was a good deal of pressure... pressure is not the right word but... on the part of the local School Administrators an expression of need... that there also needed to be uh... the institution had had a self... had a study by consultants done about the year before I came to work and they found that the Undergraduate program needed to be strengthened in certain ways... um... and I certainly agreed with that. The uh... in order to strengthen as well as expand... more Faculty members were needed, more Specialties represented. We needed people with skills that presently weren’t here. We had five people to begin with. We had a good foundation. But uh... we just needed to build on that. The other thing that we began... and I think its served us well over time, up to the present... as we moved, early on, to establish a Consortium among school systems in southeastern North Carolina. We included the eight counties within about a fifty mile radius of Wilmington.

Lack: What was the purpose of the Consortium?

Harkin: The Consortium was to promote uh... teacher education, to provide... actually, I guess the main focus, initially, was to establish for us stable clinical sites so our first effort.

Lack: ...for Student Teaching?

Harkin: Well, yeah. To find... to establish, more or less, permanent relations with particular schools uh... so we could send groups of students in to do their Internship, each semester, and work with experienced cooperative teachers. This never... you know, has continued and now they’re called, talk about Partnership Schools. That’s what we were about and um... those schools were also going to be sites for any services that we might be able to deliver. And, we did some... we did some search, we did some staff development. The uh... that was a departure from the pattern before... I think I remember the first semester I was here, we had, I don’t know how many Student Teachers but virtually everyone of them was in a different school and they went all the way from Tabor City to Jacksonville. So I mean if your only had thirty, that was tremendous coverage...

Lack: Right.

Harkin: I think we had maybe something like forty-five or fifty...

Lack: Well, that’s a lot...

Harkin: But, scattered all overall over the map.

Lack: Right.

Harkin: So we moved to uh... this effort to concentrate a half dozen and uh... it worked pretty well.

It’s worked well.

Lack: Is that advantageous for Administration purposes when you’re working with the schools and also for the students?

Harkin: Well... I think so. We thought it was obviously... its more economical for the institution... not to travel to fifty-eight locations. I think that it also permits the establishment of stable, ongoing relationships with cooperating teachers and administration. It builds bridges... with the institution that otherwise wouldn’t be there. The... its served us well and since then we’ve established a little consortium back in those days we called “Southeastern Educational Consortium”, I think. Didn’t charge anybody any dues or anything. And then that... That developed later on to another consortium was a little more sophisticated, had an Executive Director, had dues, had a budget. Then was successful enough that the State went about trying to replicate it across the State. And then I guess... I don’t know where it stands now but I think some other fashion has come along now (laughs) its not operating. But, basically... the closeness of the School of Education here and the region it serves has been a unique feature for a number of years. It still is... I think, relatively speaking... across the State.

Lack: Oh... how long... you came in January ‘76?

Harkin: Um hmm.

Lack: And when did you retire?

Harkin: August 1st... Oh, when I retired? I’m in “Phase Retirement”

Lack: Oh, you’re in “Phase Retirement”...

Harkin: I’m a Faculty member. I retired. I entered “Phase Retirement” in uh... July 1, 1990. But, I... the last nine years I was not an Administrator. I stopped being an Administrator, August 1st, 1991.

Lack: Oh, so were you... had you been Dean up until then?

Harkin: (nods his head)

Lack: And then, so... they’ve had... are they on their second Dean then?

Harkin: Well, Tyndall (?) followed me.

Lack: Oh... ok.

Harkin: And he had been... he had been with the School of Education and then he moved on. I’m not sure when it was nineteen eighty... nineteen ninety... 1989? 1989, I think. And then that lady who is presently Dean...

Interviewr: Kathy Barlow (?).

Harkin: Uh hmm... came on in.

Lack: Oh... ok. That’s... this is one reason why that doing a history is kind of fun because its not very long... so... the people who were instrumental in its founding and its early days are still here, still around and they can call them and...

Harkin: Well, its interesting. This place, as a whole, isn’t very old. I think we’ve... what... the institution...

Lack:

Harkin: Fifty years, fifty-five years old. And uh... there are still... if you haven’t talked to Calvin Dawes (?) he’d be an interesting man to talk to.

Lack: We are. He’s scheduled for tomorrow.

Harkin: Calvin was one of the original Wilmington College Faculty members...

Lack: Oh, great.

Harkin: ... that was, I believe, a Junior High School teacher. And, you see, Wilmington College was started by the County Board of Education on a building downtown, a High School campus. Calvin was one of those first Faculty members.

Lack: Oh, that’s great. I am trying to talk to as many of those people as I can.

Harkin: He... he had a whole bunch of jobs (laughs) around here. He taught math... he... oh he’s... it’d be very interesting to talk to him. Another lady in the community who was one of the original is Dorothy Marshall.

Lack: We did talk to her. I talked to her. She’s a really nice lady.

Harkin: She is and uh... She was a foreign language teacher. I believe she was also on the High School faculty and then she retired as Registrar.

Lack: Um hmm.

Harkin: She held a number of Administrative positions here.

Lack: People did... you’re right about how a lot of those early (?) people did everything and it was interesting, I talked to some of them about what it was like to move to the new Campus and all of that. So... um... so when you came though it was certainly in a phase of high growth.

Harkin: It was beginning. It was just really on the cusp. I think that first semester uh... I had to pull stuff together so I got these figures together uh... for some kind of proposal... we had somewhere around 2300 students, I think, the Spring of 1976.

Lack: In the whole University?

Harkin: Yeah. Virtually no... well, one figure sticks out in my mind... 68% of those students were from the three home counties: New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick County. Virtually no students from out-of-State. No international students. There’s been a lot of... there’s a lot of talk, you know, since I’ve been here... eighties, nineties, or seventies, eighties, nineties... about the uh... nontraditional student. Well, this place has become less... I mean more traditional in terms of age profiles and that sort of thing. Uh... when... in 1976 most of the students were quite a bit older...

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: A lot of them were married. Virtually all of them were commuters. I think we had one dormitory. Uh, in very short order that turned around. And, it was before the seventies were over, I believe, at least it wasn’t very far into the eighties, we’d reached the max... the limits for Freshman out-of-state Admissions.

Inerviewer: Really?

Harkin: We went from practically zero to... I think the limit is 15% of the Freshman class...

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: ...being from out-of-state. And uh... you know in 1976 most of the people in the classroom would be from one of these three Counties or maybe Jacksonville is far away as they’d go.

Lack: Onslow...

Harkin: Now, you know, they’re from everywhere.

Lack: Yes.

Harkin: So that... they’ve become younger, more traditional, a lot more on-campus housing. Of course virtually everything... well, this part of this Library wasn’t here in ‘76. Everything from abut the middle of the Library east is new.

Lack: That’s interest... yeah, that’s interesting. I remember learning that when I came here for my first day and got the tour and yeah... it was... the current back of the Library was the front of the Library.

Harkin: Yeah.

Lack: Yeah. That’s quite a... many changes... so... And, I suppose the location of the College, I think, helps draw a lot of students.

Harkin: Oh, I’m sure it does. It had it’s... it’s certainly an advantage because... I’ll joke with the kids at the beginning of the term... the “tell us” routine, “why are you here and don’t say its because of the beach”... And, that takes the answer away from about most of them (laughs).

Lack: They have to think...

Harkin: But, uh... it’s also a disadvantage. I remember, early on, when we were talking about... in developing programs, enrollment groups and that sort of thing, that Arnold King said that one of our problems was that half of our attendance district was in the ocean. And uh... so you take a place like UNC-Charlotte, for example, you draw a fifty mile radius around Charlotte and there’s a helluva big population...

Lack: Right.

Harkin: (laughs) But we have... I think at one time I figured that there were more teachers, and that’s the population we were targeting as Graduate Level, there were more school teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenberg School System than there were in the entire southeastern portion of North Carolina. And uh... so in that respect it was...

Lack: Much more rural.

Harkin: It’s a... it was a bit of a disadvantage but on the whole I think it was... the location is more of an advantage,

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: And then the prominence of the Marine Biology program is drawing a lot of people here. Many who (?) Don’t wind up in Marine Biology (laughs) but they wind up doing something else.

Lack: Right.

Harkin: That’s been a dramatic change over the years.

Lack: The enrollment?

Harkin: The enrollment and the diversity... The diversity of the population in geographically and in every other regard.

Lack: As far as developing Graduate Education do you market to teachers and are there school districts that encourage teachers to get Graduate Degrees?

Harkin: Well, one of the things you have to, at least the procedure I was familiar with called for... was to document a need. And, the way you document a need is go to the school systems and say, “Ok, how many people do you think would be interested in this type of program?” And... so there was the expressed need of eight or nine school systems in this region that then supported our efforts to get the program started. For the most part our programs do serve... are directly targeted at teachers but we have some more recently established programs such as Instructional Technology that can serve people in a variety of fields and I understand it is drawing from other places as well teachers.

Lack: Uh hmm. Oh, yeah, that’s a growing, valuable field, kind of like Library Science. When you were... did you continue to teach after you stepped down as Dean?

Harkin: Yeah. Uh hmm.

Lack: So... until when were you teaching or are you still teaching?

Harkin: Well, I will teach this coming Spring [2003]. That will be my last term.

Lack: Oh, ok.

Harkin: I’ve taught... I taught in... let’s see... the Spring of ’91 and the Spring of... I mean the Spring of ‘01, ‘02, and ‘03. Those are my three years of “Phase Retirement”.

Lack: Ok.

Harkin: It’s worked. I’m pretty well phased-out (laughs).

Lack: (laughs) You’re ready to...

Harkin: Yeah...

Lack: Take a break. What do you teach?

Harkin: I’ve taught the undergraduate course in “Instructional Design”. “Instructional Design and Evaluation” its called. And uh... its a required course for all the Specialties. Its taken early on in the program. I enjoy that population (inaudible) very much.

Lack: Oh, good. Have the students changed? ...’cause you’ve probably taught that course for awhile.

Harkin: Well, I didn’t teach that course very often. I taught it a couple of times before I left Administration...

Lack: Oh, I see.

Harkin: Before... when I was in Administration, when I taught, it was mostly teaching in “Administration” Graduate courses, but uh... I decided I liked working with the Undergraduates better. They... I think our students have become, over the years I’ve been here, they’re... on paper their credentials are stronger and the average SAT, high school standing and so on... Admission is much more competitive here now... than it was thirty years ago.

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: I’ve been very pleased, over time, with our Undergraduate population. They’re committed, and hard-working, and very pleasant to work with. Since, you know, I’d say ... in the last ten to fifteen years, more and more they’re coming from out-of-state or out-of-region so its not... that’s a slightly different change to it... I mean they bring different backgrounds to it than you might have expected twenty years ago. But all together, been very pleasant to work with over the years.

Lack: Uh hmm. Do you... why do you think people go into teaching now? There are many more options for some people. Is it... do you find that many students have family who are teachers? It depends?

Harkin: I think that that’s not uncommon. It works both ways. Some people who are really committed to becoming teachers are children of teachers and some who wouldn’t get close to it are children of teachers. It just depends on the parent’s experience I suppose. But, uh... I don’t know, women have a lot more opportunities now than they had just 25 years ago. And at one point and maybe it still is... it is a factor in the teacher shortage... bright able women who may not have had that many options, a generation ago would have gone into teaching, go some place else. I think there is a genuine feeling of commitment on the part of the majority of students we work with...

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: I don’t know how long... once they’re confronted with the day-to-day grind how it’ll hold up but I think its genuine at that point. If its... you know, if its a fit its an excellent job and if it isn’t it could be misery.

Lack: Oh yeah, you’re right, and if it is a fit and a lifestyle...

Harkin: Oh, one of the other part of your question... A lot of our students are very able students and very committed students still are married, place-bound ladies usually. And, that limits... their choices are limited. They feel that, I suppose, there are opportunities for a good career are better in education than they would be someplace else where they might have to be more mobile. So we have a lot of... well, this goes back to what I said earlier about being more traditional population now than it was twenty-five or thirty years ago... We still have a lot of ladies coming back to school after the children are old enough and then going on and getting their degrees.

Lack: Right. Oh yeah, the nontraditional population is still around and they’re great students for the most part.

Harkin: Yeah.

Lack: So... that’s real nice working with them as a Librarian. So, as Dean, did you serve on Councils, like Dean’s Councils or something like that? Or, Dean’s... I don’t know...

Harkin: Well, I’m not sure I can remember... It seemed like there were a lot of meetings...

Lack: Yeah.

Harkin: ... and the Provost at the time that I was an Administrator, person that actually recruited me was Charles Cahill (?). Have you spoken to him?

Lack: Not yet. I need to.

Harkin: He was very significant in shaping this place and very dedicated to it, worked very hard. And, I think he came in the early ‘70’s. I think he’d come about 1972 or ’73. And, of course, we met regularly, there was Dean of Business, Education, Nursing Graduate School. We all met with him regularly. He’d have me trotting up the road to Chapel Hill occasionally at some meeting up there and a good many State meetings. Can’t remember... hard pressed to think of the different labels things were given.

Lack: All right, well, its changed but... Yeah there were a lot of things going on. It sounds like you must have liked Wilmington all right, you’re still here.

Harkin: Yeah.

Lack: How did your family like the move... Coming here from...

Harkin: It turned out to be a good move. My wife established the Office of Career Planning and Placement here...

Lack: Really?

Harkin: So she worked here from the Fall of 1976 until... March, I think it was, of ’75 [’95?] When she retired. She came from Chapel Hill. She was a Sociology graduate and a Graduate Student in Sociology, Chapel Hill, and she had the opportunity to come here that worked well for her.

Lack: Oh, that’s good.

Harkin: Our daughter apparently was born to live in a marine environment. She’s a... she flourished here and everything... anything that has to do with water she’s devoted to. She’s now a licensed ship captain.

Lack: Really?

Harkin: And uh... travels a good deal.

Lack: Is she based near here? Or...

Harkin: Well, at this point, she’s in school in Fort Lauderdale working on upgrading the license. But, uh... she’s worked out of Florida, she’s worked out of New Orleans, and out of South Carolina. And the next job, I don’t know where it’ll take her?

Lack: Um hmm.

Harkin: And so, you know, for her it was quite right. Our son was graduating from Chapel Hill High School when we came here. So he remained in Chapel Hill, finished up there. So that was a good place for him (laughs). Altogether, it worked out pretty well. We came... we liked Chapel Hill... we came for the job. And I don’t think... probably my wife was a little more reluctant than I was. And I wasn’t all that sure. But after we’d been here a while we decided we preferred this part of the country. We lived in a number of different places but its... this is very nice.

Lack: Uh hmm. And, you decided to stay?

Harkin: Yeah.

Lack: And so she, your wife established the “Office of Career Planning and Placement” and she worked from... when she first came in ‘76?

Harkin: Seventy... August of ’76 to March of ‘95.

Lack: I’d like to talk to her later on. What is her name?

Harkin: Sandra.

Lack: Sandra Harkin. That name rings a bell. I think we have stuff in Archives with her name on it. Ok, that’s great. Yeah, that Office is certainly thriving still...

Harkin: Yeah.

Lack: ... and active.

Harkin: Um hmm. It started in Alderman Building in a room I’d say total space less than half of this Board Room. Sandra and a lovely lady, the first name of “Carol”.

Lack: Um hmm.

Harkin: And they worked in that little cubby hole for two or three years, before the Union was built.

Lack: Wow, yeah and now its over in the Union which will be getting remodeled, I think.

Harkin: Is it?

Lack: Yeah. So... Ok, so you’ve been here for a while. Overall, did you... how would you rate the life of a Dean? Is it...

Harkin: Well...

Lack: Is it as hard as it seems?

Harkin: I’d much prefer the life of teacher... It’s what I came into the business to do and I wondered away from that for a significant period of time but I was very happy to get back to it and spend the last ten years doing it.

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: Administration was uh... fine for a while but I don’t think it was really my cup of tea (laughs).

Lack: It has its advantages and disadvantages... I can only imagine. You know, you’re overseeing a lot of people and...

Harkin: Well, you were taking about meetings and one of the things I can think of with such pleasure is that in the last ten years, or since 1991, I’ve not been to Chapel Hill. Not once. And I think I’ve been past Raleigh, twice.

Lack: Wow.

Harkin: And, you know, those were almost monthly runs to all day meetings.

Lack: Oh, especially before I-40 was built! That must have been a big pain.

Harkin: Yeah, it was. Long trip. And then, you know, you can... I liked the people I worked with but I don’t like being responsible for people. No, I don’t mean it to sound that way... I just don’t like being in charge of people, I can say that.

Lack: Yeah, well you have to always think about their duties not just your duties...

Harkin: Yeah well, teaching, altogether, is just... I don’t know... its... for me its a lot more enjoyable.

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: I enjoyed part of the time I was an Administrator, but I can’t say that I enjoyed it entire time.

Lack: Right.

Harkin: But, I have enjoyed the entire period of time I’ve been teaching.

Lack: Well, that’s a good statement to leave...

Harkin: One of the things about Administration that I never learned to be comfortable with...

cameras, interviews... They always have frightened me.

Lack: Really? Well, you’re doing well. So, as an Administrator you mean you had to be more like the public face and be...

Harkin: I think that’s what (laughs) you were supposed to do... I‘m not sure but...

Lack: Right. Right. Well you’re doing great. So your son didn’t stay in Chapel Hill?

Harkin: No, he went to the University of Chicago and got his degree in Anthropology. And now he’s on the Faculty at the University of Wyoming.

Lack: Oh, wow (laughs). That’s really far...

RH: Some distance away.

Lack: So you have to get on a few planes to see him. And can’t just drive to Chapel... That might not seem so bad now, driving to Chapel?

Harkin: No. No... if they were in the eastern half of the United States it wouldn’t seem bad. Um... The uh... its a long way to Laramie, Wyoming.

Lack: I can imagine. Yeah, totally different story (laughs). Mountainous and everything. So... I think I’ve gotten a lot of history and information. I’ve taken some notes and its good because I will be talking to some more people in the weeks ahead. I’ll be talking to Calvin Dawes (?) tomorrow. Did... oh, did Neal Eakins (?) work for you?

Harkin: Oh, yes.

Lack: Yeah, we’re going to try to set up...

Harkin: Eakins [“akens”] is the way she pronounces it.

Lack: Ok, Eakins [”akens”].

Harkin: I’ve haven’t heard from her in a long time.

Lack: She’s still ok... Yeah, she’s ok. I talked to her last week and we’re going to try to see her perhaps next week. I wanted to bring Eleanor and some people who knew her really well because I thought they might be able to bring out some more stories and more information about Dr. Hughmar (?) and things like that. But, yeah, I think she’s going to be up for it. She’s living in an assisted care, assisted living center.

Harkin: Where?

Lack: Can’t remember which one it is...

Harkin: Is it here in town?

Lack: Uh hmm.

Harkin: I didn’t know that.

Lack: Yeah. I can um... I don’t think I have her number on me... I have her number, if you’d like it? But, yeah, she seems up for it so... Did she work for you as well?

Harkin: Yes, she was the only Secretary, the Departmental Secretary, I think it was the first couple years and then we added a second person, but she carried the load by herself for two or three years.

Lack: Wow...

Harkin: I can’t remember when the second person came aboard but uh... she’s a lovely lady.

Lack: Well, good...

Harkin: And, I’m glad to hear she’s well.

Lack: Yeah, she’s doing fine. Eleanor says she still sees her every now and then.

Harkin: Oh, does she.

Lack: Yeah. So, that’s why I’m looking forward to going with her. We can talk to her and...

Harkin: Well, Eleanor’s the one who knows it all. I hope you’re... have you interviewed her?

Lack: I want to... she’s... I have to pin her down.

Harkin: She’s been her longer. I don’t know how much longer than I? She was here when I came. She’d been here two or three years I think when I came so...

Lack: Right. Yeah, it’s good that she’s heading up the Project... And, my predecessor interviewed Sol Bagner (?) and Betty Stike (?).

Harkin: Ah, that’s good...

Lack: Yeah, so we have that and the transcripts from that. But, yeah...

Harkin: Those all in the Stacks?

Lack: There up in Archives, there’s a video cassette in Archives, which is on second floor.

Harkin: I’d like... to see them.

Lack: Oh, yeah.

Harkin: Sometime...

Lack: Sure... sure. In fact your tape will also be transcribed and it will kept with the cassette up in Archives and it’ll be catalogued for anyone to do a search and find it, “Oh I’d like to see that”, so... yeah... If you want I can send you the transcripts from those early interviews.

Harkin: No. I’ll find them if I...

Lack: Yeah, your welcome to come back and we’ll find them for you. So... well, its been a pleasure talking to you.

Harkin: Nice meeting you again.

Lack: Its been really fun and I hope you’ve enjoyed talking about some things that you, perhaps haven’t thought about, everyday. So, thank you.

Harkin: Thank you.

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