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Interview with Dorothy Marshall, July 16, 2002 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Dorothy Marshall, July 16, 2002
July 16, 2002
Mrs. Dorothy P. Marshall discusses her association with UNC-Wilmington and Wilmington College over the years. Mrs. Marshall came to Wilmington College as secretary to the Dean and part -time instructor in business education. Over her 43-year career, she held various positions. For most of her career, Mrs. Marshall served as registrar, but she was also director of admissions at one point. By the time she retired in 1992, she held the record for the longest time of employement at UNCW. Mrs. Marshall currently serves on the UNCW Board of Visitors as well as on the Board of Advisors to the UNCW Watson School of Education. Additionally, she is a member and officer of the Order of the Society of Isaac Bear. Interview includes her reminiscences of Wilmington College and UNCW and her observations regarding the growth and change she has seen at UNCW for over 50 years.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Marshall, Dorothy Interviewer: Lack, Adina Date of Interview: 7/16/2002 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 40 minutes

Lack: Good morning. My name is Adina Lack and I’m the UNCW archivist. Today is July 16, 2002, Tuesday morning and I’m here to conduct an oral history interview.

Lack: Can you please state your name.

Marshall: I’m Dorothy Marshall.

Lack: And what was your position here all the years you worked at Wilmington College and UNCW?

Marshall: When I was hired, I was hired as secretary to the dean and part-time instructor. I later became registrar. At one time I served as Director of Admissions and registrar.

Lack: When did you retire?

Marshall: I retired in June of 1992 after 43 years of service which I believe is the record number of years by any university employee.

Lack: Here at UNCW. There was an article the newspaper, the Sunday Star News. It did mention that was at the time and I’m sure it still is because that’s a lot of years to work. Were you an alumni also?

Marshall: No. I did take one course way back in maybe 1950, a music appreciation course.

Lack: When you retired, were you the registrar?

Marshall: Yes.

Lack: When did you begin working at Wilmington College?

Marshall: In January of 1949, I was employed or hired by Mr. Thomas Hamilton who was then president of the college. He was also the principal at New Hanover High School. I had just graduated from East Carolina in 1948 after attending three years. They needed an additional person instructor in the Department of Business so I was available and apparently fit the profile of what was needed. So I was hired as secretary to the dean and part-time instructor in business education. Mark Sale was the other person in that department at the time.

Lack: Who was the dean?

Marshall: At that point, R. C. Beemon was dean.

Lack: Are you from Wilmington originally?

Marshall: I was born in an adjoining county; however, I have lived here since I was about 16 or 17.

Lack: One person who we have interviewed for this project is Mary Bellamy. It was a real pleasure to talk to her. She spoke about the Isaac Bear Society. Are you a member of that group as well?

Marshall: Yes, I have remained active in that since I have retired. In fact, I served four years on the executive board and four years as vice-president.

Lack: Still a very active group then?

Marshall: Yes, we are very active.

Lack: Can you tell us a little bit, just for anyone who’s watching that isn’t familiar with the group, what is the society?

Marshall: We call it the Order of Isaac Bear. It was formed in the late 80’s. Dr. William Wagoner was the one who was quite instrumental in getting us organized. We started out with I believe 13 members who were still actively working at the university, but had been employed at Wilmington College.

Lack: In the original building.

Marshall: Right.

Lack: What were those days like? Was it very busy when you first started because of the influx of the students?

Marshall: Well, we had a lot of returning veterans at that time. For the most part, my students were older. We had lots of…for many years there were more men attending than women. There were quite a number or it was predominantly from New Hanover County, maybe a few surrounding counties. But then as we progressed through the years, we included more counties and more states. But basically it was a community college for the people of New Hanover County.

Lack: What did you teach?

Marshall: I taught business education courses. I had shorthand, typing, business machines. I taught accounting at one time. In fact, in one of my accounting classes which was organized mainly for those employees in New Hanover County who were keeping books for the school, I taught my teacher from the fifth grade (laughter).

Lack: Really! Oh that’s neat. That must have been kind of a treat for her. Did she remember you?

Marshall: Oh yes, we had been close during those years.

Lack: What were some of the dates that stand out from that time? Were you, for example, at the first commencement, were you involved with planning any of those activities?

Marshall: Well yes. At that time or in the early years, the faculty had charge of the reception for the faculty and parents after graduation. It was always held at Dr. Hoggard’s house on Orange Street. So we would dress in our caps and gowns and as soon as the graduation exercises were over, we would take off our robes and hats and go over to Dr. Hoggard’s house and have a reception for the graduates and parents.

Lack: Well speaking of Dr. Hoggard, what were the presidents and the chancellors like over the years? You actually knew Mr. Hamilton.

Marshall: Well I worked I believe for about four administrations when Mr. Hamilton was president and Mr. Beaman was dean. Then Dr. Hoggard became president when Dr. Randall was dean. Then of course we had Dr. Wagoner and then Dr. Leutze.

Lack: So you saw quite a number of changes. I guess in the early years when the college was very much affiliated with the high school because was Mr. Hamilton at the time also principal of New Hanover High School?

Marshall: Yes he was, but the everyday duties and so forth pertaining to the college were mainly performed by the dean. I’m sure there was some contact or some counseling or whatever with the president, but it was mainly the dean who ran the everyday activities.

Lack: What was Dean Beaman like as a person?

Marshall: He was the type of person that we needed at the time he was here. In fact I think we’ve been very lucky to have good leadership all along. He believed in doing everything just right. I knew him about two years or worked with him for about two years. I came on in January of ’49 and I believe he left in about 1951 or ’52. Then he was followed by Dr. William Randall.

Lack: Was Dr. Crews dean or perhaps he had another position.

Marshall: That came along a little later. Dr. Hoggard retired as president. Dr. Randall became president. Dr. Crews was registrar so he was promoted to dean and I became registrar.

Lack: Well what was involved in your activities when you first began as registrar?

Marshall: Well registration of course, grading. Sometimes people wonder, well what did you do between the time that you registered students and then the grading period. Well believe me there was plenty to do. Registration through the years evolved into what it is now, which is certainly quite different from what it was in the beginning.

I remember my first day, we had tables set up in the lobby at Isaac Bear. The faculty registered the students. The student would come to each table and the faculty member would fill out a form with name, address, classes and whatever information was needed for the student.

Later we had students filling out cards that were processed by hand. We kept records by hand for many years. Then of course things…we tried to stay in tune with the registration process that was evolving through the years. Being at the college and university really never seemed like that length of time because things were so different each…maybe every five or 10 years, each year you had different students. You had different faculty. We just kept moving along and improving or we like to think we were improving the process each time.

The card situation, I think, started out, we had about three cards. We had a card for the student for the registrar’s office and for the dean’s office so that they would know the schedule. Then we had maybe, I don’t know which office, but we had other offices you know, each would have to have a schedule. So we finally ended up with this big card that had perforations on it. We tore them off.

Then, of course, the computer came along and we had the card system there whereby the student would go to the gym, go to the department, and pick up a class card for the classes and sections he or she wanted to enroll in. Then, of course, we went onto online registration and on to registration by telephone as they do now.

Lack: Over the Web as well.

Marshall: Oh yes. Now I’m pretty sure you can register without even coming to the campus. You probably can sign up, I don’t know how they do it in admissions now. I don’t know if that’s done electronically or if you still have to appear in person for direct admit for admission into the university.

Lack: It certainly is changing. I think people still end up going over to the financial aid office a lot. It just seems like a lot of that still needs to be ironed out in person when students have questions because they can’t register because of their financial aid. We get those questions in the library. We always say just go over there, wait in line, the old fashioned way. When you first started then, there were really no computers. When did you start getting computers? In the 60’s maybe.

Marshall: Well the card system is when we had decks of cards that they ran through the computer that would indicate or collate the students’ schedules – was the beginning. Then we went onto purchase computers and CRT’s and other equipment to access students’ records in the office and to do other work.

Lack: In the early days, did you know most of the students?

Marshall: Oh yes. In fact, I could probably quote the full name of the students.

Lack: And by the time you retired, not quite.

Marshall: By the time I retired, I saw very few students because my staff of course took care of most of the problems that they could take care of. Then the ones that I took care of were the ones who thought they had a real problem.

Lack: It wasn’t quite as close that’s for sure.

Marshall: Oh no, no. It was quite different; the relationship with students was quite different.

Lack: Can you talk some about the move over to its own campus? That had been a goal for a long time I suppose. In your department, was there a real need for more space?

Marshall: Well it was a matter of packing records and packing everything and moving it out. As best I remember, it went rather smoothly. There was one major catastrophe. From the very beginning, we had this scrapbook that we kept of activities and other things that had happened at the college. Somehow that was lost during the move. I don’t know that anyone ever started a scrapbook again, but things were recorded in different ways.

Lack: Oh, that’s a shame.

Marshall: It is because I think that would have been a nice little piece of history.

Lack: Was there a lot of excitement in general about moving, perhaps not the actual move, but the idea of its own campus?

Marshall: Well when we first moved down here, it was during summer school and we continued to have…apparently the main part of the move was between graduation and the beginning of summer school. We did have summer school classes. Most of them had to be completed, in the beginning, had to be completed before dark because we had no electricity at first. But that was just something that was temporary. It wasn’t something we had to put up with for too long a period. It was just a matter of getting settled in the new quarters and continuing to work on what we needed to take care of.

Lack: Where were you housed?

Marshall: I was in Alderman Hall. In fact, my office in the beginning was where Dr. Cavanaugh was located. It was in the end office. Then I moved to the other end of the building and then I moved to an office, which was at one time the library. They renovated the library and of course the library moved over here. So the library in that area was renovated for office space. Then from there, I moved to James Hall.

Lack: So you were in Alderman quite a while and then finished in James. Meanwhile you saw buildings spring up around you.

Marshall: Oh yes, we had quite a number of groundbreakings here.

Lack: Quite a change from the original three buildings when you first came. Did you think that the growth would be as much as it was?

Marshall: I don’t think anyone had any idea that we could reach the growth and the status that we have reached. I’m very proud of the university as it is now. In fact, I am on the Board of Visitors. I was appointed to that I believe in 2000, and am enjoying the work and will continue to participate in activities from the university.

Lack: That’s wonderful. I suppose the Board of Visitors has people from all over the country and are asked to keep up with certain issues. That’s really good. What were the trends you noticed in registration while you were here, the popular departments, etc.? When you started, there were very different classes and enrollment was focused on the technical subjects I suppose.

Marshall: Yes, we had a vocational department in the very beginning, which was phased out. We had basic areas like history, modern language, business education, sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, English, the basic areas. They have branched out into departments with very long names (laughter).

Lack: Names have gotten longer. For example health, physical education and recreation.

Marshall: The department offers have increased many, many, many times.

Lack: It seems, this is just from casual observation, that the business school enrolls a lot of undergraduates. Is that something you noticed by the time you left?

Marshall: The School of Business, School of Education and of course we added the School of Nursing even though we had classes for nurses many years ago, but they were registered through James Walker Memorial Hospital and just took certain classes on campus. Then with the School of Nursing, of course, they’re trained here.

Lack: That’s one thing as I’ve been organizing our photograph collection in archives, I’ve come across photos and negatives from James Walker nursing students. I questioned, do I file that under alumni or something else, I suppose alumni. It’s sometimes it’s a little hard to know.

Marshall: Yes, I’m sure. It’s even difficult for some of us who were here at the time to figure some of these things out.

Lack: Making classification decisions, sure. Well did you get to know any of the chancellors or presidents better than others? I know your work was often with the dean more so than the chancellor or president.

Marshall: Well not necessarily. I suppose I knew Dr. Wagoner longer and better of all the presidents. I was very much--I liked Dr. Randall very much. He was quite an intellectual and established I think some very good things for the university while he was here.

Lack: What kinds of things did he do?

Marshall: One thing was he designed the seal. It has been updated since then, but he did design our…well Mr. Beaman designed our first seal and then Dr. Randall brought it up to date for the period that he was here. Then of course it was changed again when we reached university status, not too much, but just enough to make it applicable to the situation.

Lack: You reached university status in ’69?

Marshall: Yes, when Dr. Wagoner was here.

Lack: What were some of the important things that Dr. Wagoner did? Do you recall off the top of your head?

Marshall: Well so many changes went on during that time. Dr. Cahill, Charles Cahill, was vice-chancellor of academic affairs and of course had charge of the faculty programs, academic programs. So there were many that were established during that time.

Lack: Many programs.

Marshall: It was also when the different schools were established.

Lack: Can you talk some about that? The division.

Marshall: The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Nursing and the School of Business, then the Cameron School of Business.

Lack: That occurred during the Wagoner era and it was probably tied with becoming a university.

Marshall: Yes and that was when we started our master’s programs. It was just a time of change.

Lack: Well it must have been interesting for you to be able to keep up with it now.

Marshall: Yes, it is.

Lack: What are some of the changes that are going on now that you’ve been involved with or advised?

Marshall: Well I am on the Advisory Board for the School of Education. I’m involved right now of course with the new building and some of the things that they’re trying to do to establish the Hall of Fame for teachers and so forth. So that keeps me, in fact I have a meeting next Tuesday down at Landfall.

Lack: Is it to do with the new building?

Marshall: Yes with the new building and the different aspects and whatever problems or things that can be resolved.

Lack: That will be great when that’s completed.

Marshall: Yes, it’s going to be three stories, it’s something I think the school has needed for a long time because they have outgrown King Hall many, many times. So they’re deserving of a building that will meet their needs.

Lack: When is it projected to be finished, do you know?

Marshall: I don’t know. I know we had the groundbreaking, but I haven’t been by it since that to see how much progress is being made. I don’t know if it’s 2002 or 2003, it must be 2003 or 2004.

Lack: I guess there was some holdup with the budget situation. Maybe that’ll be back on track soon.

Marshall: One of the honors that I received from the Alumni Association in 1998, I was honored as citizen of the year for service to the university on the 50th anniversary of the college. I was very honored to receive that and I certainly treasure it very much.

Lack: That’s excellent. That shows that you’ve continually been thinking about the university while you were working here and since. I see here that there was a change in the ratio of female to male students.

Marshall: Yes, I think it has finally evolved to be more females than males. I think that’s been true for a number of years now. I’m sure all 100 counties are represented now and of course we have out of state students and international students.

Lack: When you first started, as you said, it was mostly male students, mostly older. Did you teach off and on as you were working here?

Marshall: Yes, I taught in the very beginning business education classes in the afternoon and evening. Then after becoming registrar, I continued to teach in the business department until the two-year program was phased out and then I was full time registrar.

Lack: There were still some two-year programs for quite a while.

Marshall: I believe they were phased out in the early 70’s.

Lack: When it became a liberal arts college. Like I said, we have managed to talk to a number of people for the oral histories. Like we were discussing before the tape started, these are so valuable if and when a historian does want to come and produce a book that documents the history of the university. I’ll tell you some of the people we’ve talked to so far – Marshall Crews, Jerry Shinn, Bill Brooks, Betty Stike, most of that happened before I started here. I’ve only been working here for about a year and a half.

I’ve interviewed Norman Kaylor, Thad Dankel, Dr. Dodson, yourself, Mary Bellamy.

Marshall: How about Doug Swink.

Lack: I called him a while ago and he was real busy, but he would be a good person.

Marshall: And Tommy Brown.

Lack: What department was he in?

Marshall: He was in the math department. He was also Dean of Students for a period of time.

Lack: And Doug Swink was in drama. Are they both in the Order of Isaac Bear?

Marshall: Yes.

Lack: Anybody else from that organization?

Marshall: How about Joanne Corbett?

Lack: She is on my list. I hope to get to talk to her this summer because I have talked to others from her department.

Marshall: Have you talked to Dan Plyler?

Lack: No.

Marshall: He was Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences a couple of times I believe.

Lack: Dr. Cahill, I haven’t talked to him yet. I think he spends some of the time in the mountains.

Marshall: That’s Dr. Plyler.

Lack: Yes, he’s the one that said wait until the fall when he’s back. I have scheduled a bunch of people recently. It’s great to talk to people that have had administrative roles as well as teaching roles. You learn very different things. People who have spent most of their time in the classroom talk about that and the students and then of course some people like Dr. Dodson, he had observations galore because he had been an administrator and in the classroom setting. I’ve also talked to one librarian so far, Betty Sue Westbrook.

Marshall: Have you talked to Gene Huguelet?

Lack: No, he’d be good. Well can you recommend anyone that would be good to write a history?

Marshall: No, I don’t have anyone in mind.

Lack: It’s something to think about.

Marshall: Well it is. I think it would need to be someone whose interested in doing it and maybe has some experience in publication writing.

Lack: Ty would be a good person. I’m sure you’ve known Ty for a good many years.

Marshall: Oh yes. He’s a good one to fix anything that’s broken. He’s always a good one to call and say what about this and why is this happening like this.

Lack: Even now?

Marshall: Even now.

Lack: He’s a great resource. He’s been a lot of assistance to me as I’ve tried to get to know people in the area.

Marshall: He’s a very valuable university source.

Lack: Who else has been a good wealth of information I might need to interview down the road? A viewer of this tape might want to know some good people that have been around for a while.

Marshall: Ty really is my main contact now with the university. Pat Leonard, I see her on occasion. We still maintain our friendship by having lunch or dinner.

Lack: Do you get over to the university for concerts and things like that?

Marshall: Oh yes. I come to some of those, yes. One thing that I haven’t mentioned is that I do sponsor a scholarship in the School of Education.

Lack: Is that undergraduate?

Marshall: Undergraduate.

Lack: That’s wonderful. I know that students appreciate that. That keeps you quite involved. Was your field when you went to East Carolina, was it business education? This must have had a different field when you started here from East Carolina because even then, East Carolina was bigger than Wilmington College.

Marshall: We started from scratch in ’47.

Lack: I appreciate your coming in to talk to me. Is there anything else that I may have left out?

Marshall: Well it seems that we’ve covered just about everything from the beginning to retirement and beyond.

Lack: I’m sure there are many more stories to be had, but I’ve gotten some good information about people and the places and how things evolved when you were a registrar and instructor and worked in admissions. Thank you very much for your time and I’ll be in touch.

Marshall: Thank you.

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