The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Joe Hendricks Oral History Interview

August 4, 2014 – 11:00a.m.

Video: “The Formation and Growth of the University Honors College” . August 4, 2014

Location: Hendricks residence, Bend, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Janice Dilg

1:30:30 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Janice Dilg: So today is August 4th, 2014. I'm with Joe Hendricks at his home in Bend, Oregon. And I am Janice Dilg, and we are going to do an interview today for part of the Oregon State University Oral History Project. Good morning.

Joe Hendricks: Good morning, Janice.

JD: So why don't we begin at the beginning, and just talk a little about when you were born and where you were born, and a little bit about kind of your growing up and early influences.

JH: Okay. Well, I was actually born in northern Idaho, in Kellogg, Idaho, but have no memories of it. My family moved to Seattle before I was cognizant. And so I grew up there, and went to the University of Washington for undergraduate degrees. Grew up in a household that, though it was a broken home, as they say, was an intellectually curious home. And I can recall times when my father, brother and I would get on kicks of dirigibles, or gems, or something, and we'd read the kid-appropriate books, and he'd read his books, and then the dinner table conversation was to sit down and talk about whatever we'd gleaned from the topic of interest at the time. And though my father was not college educated, he was a very curious man, so this routine and pattern went on throughout my childhood.

And I arrived on the doorstep of adulthood, and certainly on the doorstep of college, used to those kinds of exchanges, with a brother and a father who would push. I had an older sister as well, and my mother was no longer on the scene. But I arrived on the doorstep experienced in those kinds of give and takes, and so on and so forth. And it served me well both as an undergraduate and then later through graduate school.

Following my undergraduate days I went off to graduate school; ultimately earned a PhD from Penn State. Never having been east before, I looked it up on a map and it was about an inch and a half from New York City, and I thought, "Well, I'll go there. That's the East Coast." How wrong I was! [Laughs] How wrong I was, indeed. It was rural Pennsylvania. Interstate 80 was just then being completed, and so the inch and a half to New York City was, in reality, four hours or so. But we would go into New York City during summer times, and find as inexpensive a hotel as we could find in SoHo-Washington Square area, and quite enjoyed it.

And it gave me an opportunity to experience a part of life that I hadn't experienced before. There wasn't a great deal of serious music or theater going on in the summer times, obviously, in New York City but the Broadway shows, and lighter kind of musical performance was there. And so we could take my little graduate stipend, and managed to stay in New York City for two weeks, and avail ourselves of the culture that a city like that has to offer, which is, as you know, without parallel any place in the country, and not many places in the world.

But upon completion of my PhD, I was offered a couple of positions, and opted to take the one at the University of Kentucky, which was my first academic post, where I taught both in the medical school and in the College of Arts and Sciences, Because I was professionally active, they gave me a reduction on my teaching responsibilities. So, I taught first year medical students and social science graduate students for most of the duration of my time at University of Kentucky.

I had gone through a divorce, and was getting ready to get remarried about seven years later, and my wife is a native Kentuckian. Her relatives are buried with Daniel Boone in Frankfort, Kentucky. And I said, "Do you want to stay or go?" I figured if we married and I was closing in on midway through my career, I might spend the rest of it in the same place. And she said, "Let's go for a while. I'd like to live someplace else." So ultimately we moved to Oregon State University, where I started as a department chair, and later was asked to apply for and was named, originally director, and then subsequently dean of the newly started University Honors College, and completed my career doing that. And it was a wonderful experience, perhaps one of the greatest challenges, and most rewarding opportunities I had as an academic.

JD: So let's go back just a bit. So you grew up in this intellectually stimulating household and environment, but what then made you say, "College is where I need to go"?

JH: Well, I think it was almost a given. [0:04:58] My father was pushing for medical school, and I was pushing back to do something else, and the something else is what I actually did. Went off to the University of Washington. I didn't know that it was a quality institution at that point in my life. It was the university down the road, the college down the road. I could get there on a city bus, so it seemed like a good thing, and as most institutions of that quality, stepped into an intellectual environment that was just beyond my wildest expectations!

Perhaps like every other entering college freshman, I thought it was going to be a continuation of high school without anybody taking roll. How wrong I was. And a couple of professors in different fields singled me out for recognition for one reason or another, and I thought I wanted to be just like them, and thought I would go off to graduate school in clinical psychology, which I actually did. And very shortly thereafter, decided I couldn't run my own life let alone anyone else's, so I would go into social psychology, more of an academic focus, which I did, and that led me to Penn State and an interest in gerontology.

But going to college for me, and then ultimately becoming a faculty member at a couple of different universities, allowed me to continue those interests and that sort of free ranging curiosity, and despite the disciplinary boundaries that we all run into as we specialize in our education, my experiences allowed me to move across disciplinary boundaries, and certainly my interest in gerontology is interdisciplinary to its core. So I found that my interest and proclivities, and the opportunities provided by the universities that I attended were perfect meshes, and I couldn't have been happier.

And as I interacted with faculty and got to know them slightly better, I thought, "I want to be just like them. I need to become a faculty member, a professor." And I was very glad to do so. One or two of those people who singled me out for attention, I remember going to coffee with one undergraduate professor who turned back a test and said something, "Hendricks, we should have coffee. At next class, meet me an hour before class." Well, I will go off to coffee with this gentleman and wolf down a hot coffee. I'd never had coffee with a faculty member in my life! You know, I didn't know whether to keep my hands under the table or under my chin, and I looked like I was paying rapt attention. But I had a few people like that who spurred me on, and as I got to be an upper division student, they said, "Hendricks, you need to go to graduate school." And that's what got me on the track that I was on.

JD: And was there something in particular about the program at Penn State that drew you there, or was it the inch and a half on the map from New York?

JH: If I were being completely honest, I'd say it was the inch and a half on the map from New York. But in addition, they offered me what at the time felt to be a very handsome scholarship, which not only included a stipend, it included a book allowance and a travel allowance. So as a graduate student I was able to either go to New York City in the summer time, and do what I could to further my education, or attend professional meetings. And my doctoral advisor was the founding director of what was originally called the Office on Aging, and it's now called the Administration on Aging. Don Kent was his name.

Professor Kent would take me to national meetings and introduce me to people, and I actually understood what they were saying. And would sit in business meetings or presentation meetings, and ask a question every now and then that seemed to treat as a serious question, and I thought this is all the impetus just that a young student needed to excel. And I was grateful for the opportunities.

JD: And was there some particular element about gerontology that really sparked with you?

JH: I believe it was two-fold. Obviously with my interest in psychology, and I was interested in human development, lifespan development, and those sorts of things by my training, but also the interdisciplinarity of social gerontology, and being able to work in psychological sciences, behavioral sciences, medical sciences, and discover how that all comes together to shape our experience of the aging process, was for me almost encouragement for my sort of free ranging sorts of interests. I wouldn't have to specialize. [0:10:00]

Of course, you do specialize as you work on your dissertation. But in gerontology by definition we're pretty much interdisciplinary. Certainly in those days, as I was finishing in the late sixties and early seventies, it was interdisciplinary by nature.

JD: I know you continued, very actively, your scholarship along with your teaching, and then when you became dean of the University Honors College. How did you manage that, and what drove that need or interest in making sure that you really kept moving forward in that area for yourself?

JH: I thought I needed to be a role model, not only for my colleagues, but for my students. So both as a department chair and then later as an administrator, as a dean, I wanted to set the standard and not use the excuse that I wrote twelve memos during the course of the day today; I was productive, and therefore not able to do anything else. So at the end of the work day, which often times wasn't till six or seven pm, I would go home, spend time with my wife and my family, eat dinner, and then settle into my study, which is not too dissimilar to where we are today, and work until the wee small hours. I would refer to gerontology as my "hobby job," and my OSU administrative responsibilities as my day job. It was important for me, I believe, not to surrender my scholarly aspirations.

And I had some successes along the way. I was asked to fill some roles along the way which seemed to bring more—additional opportunities my direction. So it wasn't a difficult meshing of my two sets of interest, and in fact my hobby job often times helped me maintain what semblance of sanity that I was able to maintain. As I implied by my little attempt at humor, going home at the end of the day and saying, "I wrote twelve memos. Wasn't I productive today?" didn't strike me as a real justification for the time and the effort that I put into my education, that I was expecting others to put into theirs and to their scholarship.

So I found the two to be a good melding, and I was able to sustain my scholarly interests all that time because I had a wonderful staff who would shield me at times when I seemed to be otherwise preoccupied, and a wonderful spouse who similarly didn't object to me disappearing into my little work room after dinner, after watching Jeopardy or something, and sitting there till midnight or one or two AM. Fortunately, throughout most of my adult life I was one of those people who could survive on five hours sleep a night. It's no longer the case in my dotage, but in those days it was, so I could pull off what it took to stay active. Thank you for asking.

JD: [Laughs] Well, I know we could talk a very long time just about your work in that field, and your interests. And you published multiple books, and articles, and book chapters, but there was one piece that just sparked an interest, and I was hoping you might talk about your introduction of chaos theory to social gerontology, if I have that correct.

JH: Right, you have it exactly correct. It was a very fruitful avenue of investigation for me. And when you get down to the nitty-gritty, chaos theory is about not looking for central tendencies. So many of the methodologies that are prominent in the behavioral sciences are looking for central tendencies. So if you have a scattergram with a bunch of dots, your methodology helps you find the line that has the least distance between all the dots. Well of course, you lose a great deal of valuable information.

In chaos theory, the methodology allows you to look for branching points, and I thought would provide a better explanatory vehicle for explaining why some people make one turn, and other people make another turn, and some people continue on the path that they were on, regardless of the influences that impinge on them as they grow old. So I developed this chaos idea; presented it for the first time at a Canadian Association of Gerontology meeting, which they happened to have in Vancouver. And it was a success, and I was asked to publish it in a journal, and then subsequently got recognition as the best article in English published in Gerontology in the prior three years.

And it attracted a lot of attention—more than I deserve, actually, because I was importing the methodology and methodological ideas from an area of science that had actually done the development. [0:15:01] And I was importing them and applying them to an area where they hadn't previously been applied. And others who were more methodologically skilled than me were able to apply it to empirical data, and say, "You know, he might be on to something." And there were people in Europe and in Canada in particular, and some in the US, who took my initial little foray, my baby step into chaos theory, and fractals, and so on, and continued them so much further than I was able to do, or that I was competent to do.

And that particular paper on chaos theory has taken on a life of its own. As sometimes happens in all scientific disciplines, papers that the author didn't regard as any great shakes take on a life of their own, and come back for years thereafter. People will come up to me at professional meetings and say, "Hendricks, in your paper on chaos theory, you asserted—". Often times I would like to say, "I did?" [Laughs] And instead I will say, "Well yes, of course."

JD: [Laughs] So if we could turn a little to kind of what brought you—what was it about Oregon State University that made you apply for the position that was open there?

JH: My initial position was as department head of the Sociology Department. I was fortunate enough to receive an interview, and interacted the man who was then provost, and of course the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Bill Wilkins, and found both of them to be very forward-thinking individuals. And I got to meet John Byrne, who was one of the warmest presidents that I'd ever come across, and certainly one of the most supportive. So when Oregon State offered me the job, I turned to my then-fiancée and said, "Would like to live on the West Coast for a while?" My other opportunity was on the East Coast. She said, "Let's go west. I've never lived in the west. I'd like to see what that was like."

One of the real appealing parts of the Oregon State University mindset at the time was that it was what academics frequently refer to as a "low wall institution," meaning one can move across disciplinary lines and across college lines without any negative repercussion. If it wasn't encouraged, it was certainly tolerated, and more important, it was recognized as a form of scholarly interest, and breeding cooperation and joint research projects across college lines. From my brief interview experiences—I was out twice—I thought, "Well, Oregon State's very much a low wall institution," and the one I was coming from was not so much that. You were in your niche, and you either flourished or floundered in your niche, but you didn't do a great deal of cross-college collaboration. I was fortunate in having a joint appointment in the medical school, so I was able to do some following my scholarly interest in gerontology.

Oregon State also seemed to be poised for, on the verge of an incremental step forward. It had been a quiet institution with scholarly activity, a heavy teaching emphasis certainly in the College of Liberal Arts, but it seemed poised to me to become a different kind of institution. And my hunches have proved correct over the years. As I arrived in the fall of 1988, I can recall having a lunch with the other social and behavioral science chairs, and they said, "Well, give up any pretense of scholarship here. The administrative responsibilities will eat you alive." And I set out to disprove that notion. And as I watched that provost, who was then Graham Spanier, move on, and Roy Arnold assume the position, Roy proved to be a wonderfully supportive kind of provost. So both as a department head, and then later, after I became dean of the University Honors College, an approach to Roy that had merit often times received a favorable hearing, and sometimes a favorable response. He was able to promote the well-being of different disciplines without negating the well-being of other disciplines, and I found that a very attractive trait.

The same is true with John Byrne. He was president during my department chair days, and I hadn't interacted with college presidents much throughout my professional career. And then suddenly there's John, seemingly accessible to almost anyone who wanted time with him, and certainly is always serious in his conversations, and pushing you to think better about whatever your issues were than you had previously thought. [0:20:02] So the two of them were very appealing to me, both the original provost with whom I interacted during the interviews, and then subsequently Roy Arnold and John Byrne were very appealing individuals. And I thought, "Those are the sorts of the people that I not only want to work with, but that I can definitely learn from." And learn from them I did.

JD: And what were your first impressions of the campus? What did Oregon State University look like then and kind of what was the feel?

JH: Lovely traditional, stereotypic rural college campus, wonderful greenery, wonderful grounds. The building boom that characterizes Oregon State today had not yet started. There were a couple of newer engineering buildings, but that was pretty much it. The Crop and Soil Science Building was being completed at that point, but the rest of the buildings had come from an earlier era, and though they were maintained as well as budgets allowed them to be maintained, it was a very pastoral kind of place. And the expansive greenery, and quads, and rhododendrons, was just so attractive to me! I'd grown up in the northwest, obviously, in Seattle, so the opportunity to return to the northwest and to enjoy the environment that Oregon State was offering to me—I just couldn't turn it down.

JD: And it was more rural then perhaps even than it is today, and with most universities there's a town associated with it, and it's Corvallis in this instance. What was your similar impression of Corvallis, and the relationship between the university and the town, and vice versa?

JH: I quickly became involved in a couple of different activities within the town, ultimately becoming the chair of the Minority Affairs Commission, and I found that there were some city fathers, as we always say—and there were probably mothers there too, but the terminology didn't include them. I found that there were some responsible individuals in Corvallis who not only were supportive of the presence of a mega influence like Oregon State University. HP was the only other significant employer in town, and though CH2M Hill was present, it didn't employ a great number of people. But there were people within the town, the town structure, and the mayor's office—Charlie Vars was an academic himself from the College of Liberal Arts or Agriculture—I forget now—but agriconomist. And he was the mayor of Corvallis, and though it was a city management kind of governance structure, Charlie Vars was present for things, and would say, "You know, I think we can apply this in our attempt to resolve one problem or another." And I was quite taken with that.

In the previous towns where I had lived, not so much State College, Pennsylvania, and as a graduate student I don't know that I had a firm hand on the town-gown interaction, but certainly in Lexington, Kentucky, the town was large enough and the university was large enough that the interaction occurred grudgingly, you might say. Certainly the medical complex, as it wanted to expand and become a world-class hospital research institution, the town was not always as supportive as one might hope for. And I found the interaction in Corvallis to be very supportive of the interest of both parties.

JD: You mentioned a Minority Affairs Commission. What was your involvement with that, and what was the commission's purpose?

JH: It was actually a two-fold involvement. The Minority Affairs Commission was a university-level operation—I misspoke previously—in which the president had a board of minority advisors, and they proposed this commission, and they proposed some white guy chair the commission, so that any recommendations that came out of it would be more likely to be greeted with support, and warmly. So I was asked to become co-chair of the Minority Affairs Commission along with Karyle Butcher, who at that point was the director of the library. And the two of us sat and wondered: what on earth are we taking on here?

We had a commission of about ten people, who invited all minority faculty and staff on campus to come before us and speak of any grievances, or hardships, or issues that were of concern to them. We were there to listen. And we would meet in different minority cultural centers, and not in the sixth floor of the Patterson—of the office tower. [0:25:00] Kerr, I guess we call it now. Patterson Office Tower was the University of Kentucky. We would meet and listen, and hear these stories, and sometimes they were heart-rendering stories.

And as we were well into this effort, which was a yearlong effort, I was asked to join a city group as well, which as I said before, I eventually became chair of. And it wasn't too dissimilar; it was individuals who were involved in one aspect or another of Corvallis operations—some government officials, some private business people, but all of whom were interested in finding out how minority members of our community experienced Corvallis, and what could we do, either as businesses, or governmental entities, or other sorts of activities—how could we improve the reception they received when they came to Corvallis?

In both cases, both on campus and within the community itself, I found that there were issues that, as a mainstream white male, I had been oblivious to, and it was a real eye-opening experience for me. There were issues that minority faculty and staff were dealing with on campus, and I absolutely had no idea about that. And I found not only to be eye-opening for me, but I went to the provost and the president and said, "These people are giving of their heart and soul, and when we come out with a set of recommendations," which we ultimately did, "If we simply put it on the shelf, we will be doing a disservice not only to their heart-felt intent, but to what we said the university was about." And I received assurances from both the provost and the president that that was not going to happen with this report.

Well, unfortunately, campuses and universities have a kind of inertia of their own, and despite everybody's best intentions, that report ended on the shelves and was disseminated fairly widely, not only to the board of advisors to the president, but elsewhere around campus and within the community, and as a matter of fact, across media outlets in Oregon. And though Oregon State received some nice publicity for our good intentions, our follow-through took years to develop, and I don't think it's any individual or parties responsibility. There's certainly no culpability in the fact that it took years to be implemented, but I think it was an indication of the depth of the issues, and the profound separation between what minority faculty and staff were being asked to do, what they were being recognized and rewarded for doing, and their own scholarly and teaching activities.

I don't usually separate scholarship from teaching, but their own activities in the classroom and on their research efforts were being imperiled by what the campus was asking them to do, but not recognizing them for doing. So I think all parties concerned had their eyes opened, and I was grateful for the opportunity. And Karyle Butcher and I at the time thought that we put our heart and soul into it, and we continued to talk about it over the years. And for a short period of time the university used to post each cancellation logo that said, "Honoring diversity." And we thought we'd accomplished something by having that done.

JD: And so in the particular Sociology Department, what did that department look like as far as number of faculty, and what the degree was at that time, and how that evolved during your tenure as chair?

JH: The Sociology Department had been saddled with serious teaching responsibilities, teaching three and four courses a quarter, a term, throughout the year, so scholarship was something that not a great number of sociologists were able to maintain. A few did, but mostly the others were involved in teaching and advising, and keeping their head above water as best they could.

I recall on my first faculty meeting, I had the then-provost come to the faculty meeting and explain what his expectations were. And he said, "There are no hard and fast expectations for scholarship, but it's one a year." And the faculty, "One a year?" And he said, "One article, one chapter, one scholarly effort," as a way to move them into a more current position. The faculty—bless their hearts—attempted to respond to that mandate, to that request, and a great number of them did. [0:30:00] Others opted to retire, and were replaced by younger faculty that we recruited, some of whom have now acceded to administrative positions in officialdom within the universities, and others who have acceded to professional positions, recognized for their scholarship.

So I was here during a transitional period in the Sociology Department, where faculty who had been brought in under a previous aegis were being asked to assume new responsibilities, and incoming faculty, who were quite proficient in the new responsibilities, were being asked to become good teachers, and learn from the older faculty. So it was very much a transitional period, and I quite enjoyed it. I was department chair for six years, and then dean of the College of Liberal Arts—offered me all the encouragement and all the resources that I could possibly ask for to help that department move to a newer kind of operation. No one was derelict. No one was shirking their responsibilities that they were overburdened by a college of liberal arts which had been known as lower division for a great number of years, and continued to live under the cloud of that apparition for a long time.

I don't believe it's any longer the case, but when I arrived in the late eighties, and through to the mid-nineties, there were still people who thought of themselves as faculty in a lower division college, and asking them to do something else grated on them, to some extent. As I said, no one neglected their responsibilities and no one derelict, but we were asking them to do something different than they had been doing from a fair number of years previously. They tolerated me. I was very warmed by their reception to me, and by the requests and the demands that I was making, and by their responses. And as I say, a number upgraded their professional skills, and I was quite pleased with that.

When I moved on to other responsibilities, the successing chair of the department was able to complete that transition—hire new faculty and help older faculty find a new way to approach their positions, and it was a wonderful transition.

JD: And so you did make a transition, then, in I believe it was 1995. Talk a little about what was the origins of who approached who, and how did the idea of in some ways reviving an honors college come into being?

JH: It was a campus-wide effort. There had been an honors program previously that basically ran on a wing and a prayer. It was a three quarter time position; I believe it was for a director, some secretarial assistance, and then all the coursework was provided on a volunteer basis, not only by university faculty, but by experts in the community—people from Corvallis Clinic, and the hospital, and so on and so forth—who received no remuneration for their efforts. So those people who were directors in the old honors program—and it ran from the mid-sixties through Ballot Measure 5 in the late eighties—had to struggle to have an effective program.

The university didn't recognize at that point in time what these students were being exposed to, and they didn't track membership in the honors program in those days. The only records of who they were were based on theses that were stored in university archives, and records of those theses, and my secretary/administrative assistant and I went out to Adair Village and plowed through old records to reconstruct who had completed the program in honors. Ultimately, the registrar and the foundation gave us rights to access all students who had graduated with honors—not through the honors program but with honors, academic honors—magna, summa, etc. And we considered those members of the old honors program.

The campus realized the loss when the old honors program went away under the egress of Ballot Measure 5. The last director, Gary Tiedeman, had remained on campus. His predecessor, Margaret Meehan, remained in the community. In fact, her late husband was a member of the History faculty at that point. But the Meehans themselves had given graciously of their time—I'm jumping ahead of myself. But the campus recognized that there was a loss in the absence of the honors program, and there was a loss that was felt not only among the students and the faculty, but in our recruiting efforts. [0:35:01]

So a university Faculty Senate committee was asked to re-envision what an honors offering at OSU might look like. Under the direction of the provost and the president, they asked Bruce Shepard, who at that point was the assistant vice provost for academic affairs, I believe was his title. He's now the president of Western Washington University. But they asked Bruce Shepard to work with this Faculty Senate committee, which was chaired by Kenneth Krane, who was chair of the Physics Department at that point in his career, to work together to identify what might be an appropriate model for an honors offering at Oregon State University.

At the same time, they began to search for the leadership position in what was to be known as the University Honors College, which I'll return to in just a moment. And along with some other campus candidates, I was invited to apply, and it was very interesting. There was a student member of the committee, a woman from the College of Engineering who was herself a Fulbright scholar, but a young undergraduate student, and she was the only person on the committee who asked questions that I hadn't anticipated. And what became apparent to the committee was that it was this caliber of student that we wanted to attract to Oregon State University.

Ultimately, I was offered the position, and accepted the position, and finished the development process working with the Faculty Senate committee and with Ken Krane from Physics, who was succeeded by Jim Krueger from Chemistry. And the three of us worked together to implement a University Honors College, which came into existence as only the eleventh degree granting honors college in the country. The model was we would have students who carried dual citizenship between their academic major, or majors, as was often the case, and the University Honors College, that Honors College requirements would be counted within the general education requirement of the university in general, and hopefully within the departs in general. But we would become Oregon's representative in the national honors college effort. We did so.

The University of Oregon had had what they termed Clark Honors College for 33 years when we came into existence, but it is not, and to this day, a degree granting college. It's principally a liberal arts college. By the nature of Oregon State University, that didn't seem like a strategy that we wanted to adopt. We wanted to be university-wide, open to all majors, and have all majors interacting with one another, hence we called it the University Honors College to distinguish it from a liberal arts honors college. We were able to work with Housing and Dining with what was then known as a Sinking Fund, operated out of the chancellor's office in Eugene, and with Housing and Dining designated one of the dormitories, one of the residence halls, as an honors operation, open to other students but principally designed for the honors college. And we had classroom and computer space down there.

JD: And is that McNary?

JH: That was McNary. Originally it was closed for some renovations due to some leakage. The housing and dining was in the process of rehabilitating that building, and we used our three million dollars from the Sinking Fund to develop the academic space within McNary Hall. And we worked hand in glove to design a residence hall opportunity where high end students, whether or not they were in honors, could work and live together, and hopefully leverage one another's interest. And it was a wonderfully successful opportunity. The director of Housing and Dining and the assistant director of Housing and Dining were available to help in every way one could humanly ask for.

When we started Honors the departments themselves weren't always able to see that offering course work was to their best advantage, that it would give their students a chance to interact with other high caliber students, and then students themselves could carry what they learned back into non-honors classes, and hopefully the rising tide would lift all boats. And that's exactly what turned out to be the case. One of the more rewarding experiences that I had just two or three years into the honors operation was two of the more verbal, vocal naysayers in the Faculty Senate stepped forward to say they were wrong, that it wasn't an elitist opportunity, that their objections were unfounded [0:40:00], and they were very pleased to see the impact that honors was having on the campus.

We ultimately had a minority representation in honors that was twice the rate of the university in underrepresented minority, largely from the Portland area, students who previously looked out of state for an opportunity that was in keeping with their academic interests and competencies. We discovered they were beginning to look down the valley. And as I say, our rate of minority representation in Honors was twice the rate of the university in general. Working with enrollment services, we would go to Portland and have breakfast with the college counselors in heavily minority schools, have a cocktail hour on the east side. We weren't allowed to buy alcohol with state funds, but we called it a cocktail hour nonetheless, with faculty and counselors from these schools. And then we were invited into the schools to give a presentation on what honors was all about.

And often times, certainly in the early days, we'd be met with, "Isn't that just additional work for a degree?" And we'd say, "Yes, but you'll earn an honors baccalaureate," which quickly became OSU's most prestigious undergraduate degree in arts and sciences, and in fine arts. And those students influenced the campus, and it was the success of those students that very shortly had academic departments saying, "We want some honors offerings. What do we have to do to have an honors course in this, that, or the other thing, not only for our majors, but for other students who we might like to attract as majors, or simply share our information?"

The faculty across the campus quickly found that having graduate students to assist in your research and your scholarship is wonderful. Having bright undergraduate students is also wonderful, and they challenge you to excel. I remember one faculty member from the Department of Psychology stepped forward and said, "There are no spectators when you teach an honors class, and that includes the faculty member." So we had some early successes, some successes of our students, and some opportunities on campus to demonstrate that having all sorts of students amongst us challenged us all, and rewarded us all.

JD: I know it was a fairly organic process, about students could propose courses. You mentioned faculty members who said, "Well, we'd like to develop a course." But you also talked about the faculty members who said, "We were wrong." So maybe if you could expand a little on not only how you brought students into the program, but how you brought faculty in, and kind of the campus into the program. Where were you having cocktail hours with them, or what were your strategies?

JH: Our strategy was let the students impress the faculty member. As I said, there was a psychologist who stepped up and said, "There are no spectators when you teach an honors class." And the first few years we spent all our time and effort soliciting course work, finding sympathetic and interested faculty members. But it wasn't long before faculty began approaching us, saying, "My colleagues taught an honors class and said it was the best experience of his or her career. I'd like to teach one too. What do I have to do?"

Sometimes departments were intent on offloading some of their more troublesome or demanding faculty, and so they would say, "Well, let's have so-and-so teach an honors class." And there were only one or two occasions, but I would call the department chair and say, "Are you trying to sell me a bill of goods?" Or, "That was not an individual that was a good match for the interests of honor students." They want to discuss. They come to class prepared. You don't have to ask them if they've done the reading. They've done the reading and likely as not they've read the next chapter as well, so there's no coasting. As I said very quickly—there's a deer right out there.

JD: There's two. [Laughs]

JH: Oh, okay. Very quickly we had faculty coming to us. So I would approach the provost and say, "I'm getting more interest in honors classes than my budget can support." And when I find objections, I'd find that the rates of replacement are different in different colleges, and the lowest rate is of no interest to some of the more costly colleges. Paying someone in the English Department who unfortunately doesn't make very much money, and replacing them with a graduate student or an adjunct faculty cannot buy the same services in the College of Engineering or in the College of Science. [0:45:00] The provosts were very supportive, and quickly raised the budget, doubled the budget, doubled it again, told us to expand enrollment, which we did, without compromising our academic standards.

And it wasn't long before there was a synergy between the caliber of the students who were coming to Oregon State, the interests of the faculty and the department in participating in the honors opportunities, and the quality of the discussion and the interaction in non-honors classes. The teaching techniques that the faculty developed to teach an honors class were then returned into the regular classroom. They found that it doesn't have to be strictly a lecture presentation, that there can be exchanges. There can be faculty discussion and student discussion leaders. They found that by having honors students, they were better scholars and they were better teachers. And that, for my money, is the most successful thing about honors, is having that buy-in across the campus, and that sense of reward.

I can recall one time early on when an honors student came to me and said, "That faculty member doesn't expect enough of us." Isn't that a wonderful form of criticism? And I shared that anecdote with that faculty member, and he said, "We'll see about that the next time I teach an honors class." And he was so successful! He continued, and I think ultimately was named one of the professors of the year that the honors students themselves select each year.

JD: You talked a little about the residents of McNary, which allowed the students to kind of all be in the mix together outside of the classroom, but talk a little about the physical location of your office, and the Honors College, and where the courses were taught.

JH: We were situated in the south end of Strand Hall, which at that point had not been remodeled since the Pleistocene. We received space which at that point was commensurate with our student population, and funds to remodel that space to bring it up to current standards. We worked with designers and architects, and we were able to remodel that end of the building, and then remodel it again a few years later, as we expanded to have classrooms there on the premises as well as in the departmental offerings. The university as a whole controls classroom space, but the seminar rooms and study rooms that were made available to us in Strand Hall, we controlled.

So we used those for our classes because we were limited to 24 students at the lower division and twelve at the upper division. We later modified those slightly because of student demand. We didn't need a great deal of space. On the other hand, faculty who preferred to teach in their own seminar room within their own departments, so they didn't have to hike across campus, we would that as well. And then when we weren't using the space, we made it available to other departments, not only those who were contiguous with us in Strand Ag, but elsewhere on campus, because it was technologically advanced for the way the campus was in those days, and updated and remodeled.

We were also very central at campus. Strand Hall is adjacent to the library, and the director, Karyle Butcher, and I were oftentimes saying that, "We work hand in glove. We're both responsible as the intellectual bastions of our particular operations, and we should continue to work hand in glove." And as a matter of fact the Honors College Thesis Fair, which is held each spring, very quickly moved to the library through Karyle's good offices, and has continued after her retirement as a place where the students can put their posters up to represent their thesis, and the campus is invited to walk through; students and faculty and staff alike are invited to walk through.

McNary Hall was just down across Fourteenth Street from the main part of campus, and as I say, it was a building that was undergoing remodeling, and when we began negotiations with Housing and Dining through Tom Sherman, we said, "Let's have classroom space in a residence hall, so those students who want to come down from their rooms and go to class in their pajamas, if they weren't embarrassed, then they didn't have to get dressed to go across campus to attend a class." And other students, it was close enough that they could walk in. And there were snack bar and cafeteria facilities, and they could bring what they gathered from those into the classrooms. And it became very successful. [0:50:00]

And then we realized that we were only using it in the daylight and early evening hours, so if we put some computer capacity into that classroom, the students could use it after hours. Ultimately it became very much after hours. Initially it was just through the period in which we could staff it, which was midnight or one AM, but later on it was open for longer hours. And the students themselves would descend from their rooms and congregate in those spaces. We had the main lobby refurbished, and carried out a color theme that was in the academic space up in Strand Ag as well, so that the students never forgot that they were part of this unified operation.

We held seminars down in the lobby area, and had guest speakers come in from off campus, and had open opportunities, workshops for honor students and any other student who was interested, to come to that space. We would furnish what we referred to as "edible inducements," snacks and soft drinks, for people who wanted to come listed to an expert present on this topic or another. From time to time we would have topics such as "So You Think You Want To Go To Medical School?" and have a young physician talking about the application and the successful progression through medical schools. And we were flooded with interest, not just from the honor students, but from all students who were interested in heading to medical school, or engineering, or any of a variety of fields.

College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences was very helpful in coming to those and presenting, you know, this is what an oceanographer does. A lot of the students thought they might be interested in marine biology, but they didn't know what else an oceanographer did, and Oceanography quickly developed scholarship opportunities and research opportunities for those students to draw them into oceanography, because they didn't have a highly developed undergraduate program.

So I regard not only the college space in Strand Ag, but the residence hall space in McNary, as integral to the success of the Honors College. And I believe the students did, too. They would often times joke that if a normal dormitory quiets down at two AM on a Saturday night, the honors dormitory quieted down at midnight, so people could either sleep or study. So they weren't a bunch of goody-two-shoes who were down there with a nose buried in a book, but they would come onto the floor lounges, or the main lounge, or the computer classroom space below it, and they would congregate, and talk through issues, and try to solve problems that had arisen from their class.

And that led them to occasionally inviting faculty members. "Could you come to McNary at ten PM a week from today, and explain to us who are enrolled in your lower division class on something or another, what you're talking about?" And the faculty were excited by being offered that opportunity! So the physical space itself—remodeling Strand Ag, which bless its pea-picking heart, was last remodeled in the Pleistocene—it's actually closed now for remodeling. But we had Roy Strand, the son of President Strand for whom the building was named, come out and look at it, and began to support Honors, saying, "I didn't know this old gal could look this good!" It was quite rewarding.

JD: [Laughs] That's great. And was SLUG one of the lounges?

JH: SLUG was one of the lounges in Strand Hall and Slug is an acronym standing for Students Learning Under Ground, SLUG, as it was in the basement of Strand Ag, what had been a meat cutting laboratory, and had a big slate bench along one side. And we were given possession of the space, demolition of the slate bench was prohibited, so we simply turned it into a computer shelf, and students would sit there at that slate bench, and there lounge furniture and computer furniture. We had it so it could double as a small computer classroom, as well as just an area for students to congregate. And they held their own club meetings in that space, and we would staff it and the students would staff it, and we would keep it open. And we remodeled the basement of Strand Ag, so that people coming to the SLUG didn't have to walk through a dungeon to get there.

When another program closed, we were given possession of that space, too, and it became a quiet lounge, and it was SLUG 2. And then there was the main lounge, the SLUG. And the students had come up with that name. They decided it was—we called it the computer lab, and they called it Students Learning Under Ground, aka SLUG. When the student—I don't remember his name—when the student who came up with that name for the SLUG graduated [0:55:02], we gave him a brass slug with a little engraving on the bottom. And the last time I saw that young man, he said, "You know, I have that on my desk at my professional job now, and occasionally people pick it up and ultimately turn it over, and see that Adam Bean—the same one they're talking to—named The SLUG in the University Honors College at Oregon State University."

It was very much a cooperative effort, but we didn't have a great deal of budget when we received the space, so the students, the staff, and I would go down there and paint it in the evenings and on the weekends, and do the asbestos mediation. We didn't do it, of course; we didn't have the skills, but had it done. And then the students would say, "Well, when can we get back in there and start painting? We've got half the pipes left to do." It was a great thing. It was a great thing.

JD: Which I think makes me think of, during the research that I was doing, it seemed like there was either a service learning component, or projects associated with the college as well?

JH: Yes, indeed.

JD: Could you expand on how that worked, and what that was about?

JH: My own naiveté—when we started the Honors College, I would often give a presentation to the students that they had a responsibility to give back to the university, providing the opportunity for their communities, and so on and so forth. I quickly discovered that that was not a presentation or a lecture that I needed to give; that was their mindset to start with, and so they would be acting not only in Corvallis and in the campus community, but often times in their own community.

Some would focus their research projects on solving a need within their own communities. How do you attract more physicians to rural areas in eastern Oregon? How do you provide social opportunities for poverty stricken rural families? We realized that the students were doing this without a great deal of recognition. If they could turn it into a thesis, that was wonderful, but sometimes they didn't want to because they were in a basic science field or in a humanities field, where their interests and the obligations that they shouldered by majoring in the areas they were majoring in didn't always jive, so there was no academic credit that was automatically given.

So we quickly, in consultation with the students, probably three years, four years in, began to recognize that if we could provide credit for this service learning, it would be done with not only academic supervision, but if it was off campus with a community member supervising, whether that was a physician in a rural Oregon town, or a police chief in a rural Oregon town, or in inner-city Portland. If we could provide rewards through credit given toward the 180 that they were required to earn at that point for undergraduate graduation, perhaps the quality of these projects would improve, and the students would receive recognition and credit.

We also developed that into a transcript-visible notation, when the students had done these sorts of projects. We talked to some young alumni, who said, "Some of the stuff that I did at Oregon State that was so abidingly interesting is invisible now that I've graduated. If I tell my employers they say, 'Oh sure, right.'" So we worked with the registrar, and with other people in enrollment services, to make some of these opportunities transcript-visible. Then some chances came our way for students to go on Habitat for Humanity trips, both domestically and internationally. They, too, were transcript-visible, and they had a chance to come back and share those opportunities with other students.

So it became a self-perpetuating conduit for students who had competencies and perspectives to provide something back to their own communities, and to other communities that those communities needed but couldn't necessarily afford. I think if given an opportunity, young people, and certainly young college students and honors students, have a great deal to offer and a great deal to give, and if they have a structure by which they can give those things back, they will work tirelessly to improve the project, and the services, and the recommendations that they report to those that open the opportunities for them. [1:00:00]

I recall once we had a field biologist who was interested in Superfund sites, and he took a couple of loads of students up to the Kellogg, Idaho, and the Panhandle of Idaho, and then later to Port of Portland along the lower reaches of the Willamette, and the students would hear from people who were involved in the industry and the expenses involved in ameliorating Superfund sites. And then they would talk to environmental activists, what they preferred, and bring the two groups together. And that helped us propel our student learning opportunities, our student service opportunities, to a whole new level.

And there were folks not only in Environmental Biology, but I recall one from the College of Forestry, who the faculty member would take a small load of students to the dry side of the mountains and talk to people in the timber industry, to the wet side of the mountains and talk to people in the timber industry, and at the same time talk to environmental activists, the tree huggers, as they would say, and bring the two groups together. Another person, another faculty member, took them to some Native American reservations in the state, both on the coast and here in central and eastern Oregon, to have the students try to suggest a resolution of a conflict issue that was bogging down progress. And the students were brilliant in their insights, and their ability to cut through dross that were keeping the two sides at odds.

So the service learning opportunities, both on an individual basis and through organized classes, and bringing people back together to see that a resolution was possible with the students. And you found that opposing sides would listen to the presentation of these students, and suddenly say, "Well, of course we can make that work. Why didn't we see that?" Or they would say, "I hadn't thought of that previously. That's not the solution, but maybe this will work."

And so the service learning opportunities that the honor students themselves requested, and propelled, and we put in place, quickly became a model that was adopted around the campus. And I don't want to claim credit for the Honors College, the University Honors College, in making that happen, but we were certainly party to it, and the campus as a whole has come to recognize that it's an invaluable learning opportunity, and has a kind of scholarship involved with it that brings together the book learning and the service opportunities, and the students themselves have made it work.

JD: So maybe try and put a little quantitative, some numbers, on sort of where you started with how many students, and then where the University Honors College was when you decided to retire? What was that scope?

JH: We had funding available to support what we believed to be four hundred students when we opened the doors in 1995, in the fall of 1995. I was named to the position on April 1, 1995—perhaps a propitious date. I don't know; maybe the joke was on me. But that first entering class was fewer than 200. We also had an opportunity for existing students to join honors, and we had a whole series of presentations by faculty we had identified for on campus students who could come and join an upper division track as honors associates—the full four-year track was honors scholars—for those students to come to hear presentations, brief presentations. I can recall one by a person in the College of Agriculture who came in—he was a hydrologist—and he said, "Which way does water flow?" And all the students gave the expected answer, and he said, "Wrong. It flows toward money." And that class filled to capacity that afternoon.

So we started with approximately 165 students, moved our way to 400 students as the budget became available, and as faculty interest in teaching and honors increased, and as more students started to apply. We had a three pronged admission process where grades, essays, and test scores were involved in the process, plus staff who were involved in admission review could go to bat for any individual that they thought should be considered, and might not be considered on the basis of the other measures. The provost quickly added to our budget, so that we could support more courses across the campus. [1:05:01]

And so by the time I was moving toward retirement, we were being asked to admit a class that would bring honors enrollment to about 600 students. I had long held that no one ought to be dean for more than a decade, and as I passed that mark and realized the startup phase of the Honors College was complete and we were into the next phase now, I decided it was time for me to step down. I wasn't yet ready to retire, and took a leave of absence; came back and served in another capacity till I got old enough to retire, and then retired. I have had a conversation with the current dean, Toni Doolen, within just the past two weeks. When she has occasion to come to central Oregon, we oftentimes get together either at my home or out in a restaurant, and have a late afternoon snack and talk about things that are going on in Honors. And if she has need she'll ask my advice on something, but basically she has a handle on it all.

We found that the class size, the entering class size, could be increased without any compromise in quality, because we had more applicants than we could accommodate by the second or the third year. We had students not only from our state, but from adjacent states where advisors were beginning to say, "Yes, it's wonderful to be able to go to a private school or to an Ivy League school, but if you must go to a state school, go to one with an honors college, an honors operation of some sort." So we had some national attention that came our way, and thereby that came to the attention of high school pre-college counselors up and down the West Coast. We would make trips to California, and Washington, and so on and so forth.

We quickly asked a high school counselor from Portland to become part of our advisory board, called the Board of Regents, to give us insights to what we needed to be doing to meet the needs of high school students who were looking at honors operations. Her name was Kathy Kralj. She was from LaSalle High School in the east side of Portland. She joined our board and ultimately became chair of our board, and then when it came time for her to retire from her pre-college counseling position at LaSalle High School, she said, "I think it's time for me to step down from the board, and invite another high school counselor from the Portland area to join the board, who will continue to help organize breakfast meetings or evening meetings with pre-college counselors."

We were blessed by having more students than we could possibly accommodate, and higher caliber students than we could possibly have imagined when we started. They came out of high school with 3.97 GPAs, and came to OSU and managed to accumulate GPAs in the 3.67 range and above, from the get go. They would talk back to their younger colleagues at the high schools they came from, or their younger siblings, and in a number or instances we had sets of siblings, sometime twins but older and younger siblings, who came to honors because the first one reported back to the others that it was a very rewarding experience.

The limiting factor in the beginnings was not the supply of students and the interest in the University Honors College on the part of students. The limiting factor was our ability to generate course work to meet the needs of those students. The easiest thing would have been to enlarge the class sizes and lessen the requirements of faculty. We did not accept graduate student or part-time faculty applications to teach for us. You had to be a regular faculty member, a tenure track faculty member, not necessarily assistant, associate or full professor. It could be an instructor, if they were in a tenure track position as an instructor. But we didn't really welcome the highway flyers who drove up and down I-5, and taught courses here and there. There were certainly nothing wrong with those individuals. Often times they were wonderful human beings, and I used them in my department course assignments. But in the Honors College, we wanted the faculty to be around for the long-term of the students' careers at OSU.

So the limiting factor was not the availability of students, but it was the availability of course work, and that problem is resolved not only as our budgets increased, but as word spread among the faculty that, hey, teaching honors is really something. It's like a mini-vacation, and you have students helping you with ideas. I remember the chair of Philosophy coming to teach a class and she said to me, "You know, I seriously underestimated what these students were capable of. [1:10:02] I'd like to change the experience, and have them write a student manual for one of my text books." And they did that, and they all posed for a photograph that was going to appear on the cover of the text book. They couldn't find a white dove of knowledge to fly off, so they got a white chicken, and that's the photograph that's on the cover of Kathy Moore's instruction manual, or student manual, to accompany one of her text books.

And as course work became more readily available to us, where we could support the students and not compromise the size of the classes, we made seats available to non-honors students who met the criteria of an honors student, but didn't care to apply. But we tried to limit it so that the students were of comparable levels of development and scholarship, so that they could lift one another, and it was a very successful process.

So by the time I was ready to step down, we were edging toward 600 students in residence, more than probably 60, 70 percent of the entering class lived in McNary Hall. They had other opportunities. They lived off-campus as well—off Monroe, when that building was rehabilitated and brought back as an option. They were about to move into Sackett Hall when some additional remodeling goes in down there, and the university classroom is completed, and Honors will move into that space, which will be a wonderful chance for the students. They'll have to rename the SLUG something else, wherever the space is. But so now that they're in temporary space they, Dean Doolen told me the other day they've come up with some sort of cute name for where the lounge/computer room is going to be for the fifteen months that they're temporary residents in Whittaker Hall.

JD: You mentioned kind of in passing about the three elements of the application process. I know there's a lot of emphasis on test scores and testing these days, and in a couple of places you talked about students' ability to write their way into the admissions—into the Honors College. What did you mean by that?

JH: Two things. Many students are fortunate enough to live in school districts where IB and AP classes are available to them, and of course, they take them. They excel. They do well, and they come to college prepared, well prepared. Not all students have that kind of opportunity, however. Some are in school districts where those don't exist, or for one reason or another they don't do as well in classes as their competencies might have suggested they could do. Some people don't test well. So we had a three-legged stool that we used as part of our application process, and then we had a ten percent opportunity to admit students who might not qualify under any of those grounds. So we had three components: test scores, high school grades, and essay responses.

And we had multiple essay questions that were read by a panel of judges right across campus, who received no remuneration for their efforts. They just did it for the fun of it. And each year, or every other year, we would revise those questions so that the students weren't doing something from rote, or they didn't have banks of questions and essays that were going to be expected from Oregon State University's Honors College. That was a three-legged stool, compiled together and added to 100 points and we admitted on a pretty much 90 percent, 80 percent, 70 percent basis until we met our capacity.

But we also saved ten percent of the spots to admit students who were outliers for one reason or another. A classical violinist from Outback, Oregon, who was a performance-quality artist, who played with the community symphony, who might not have had the chance to excel in her academic interest and his academic interest. So we admitted those students, at first identified only in a fashion that my administrative assistant and I could identify—that the other staff and the faculty certainly were not able to identify. We found that those students, given the opportunity to excel, usually did so. [1:15:02] So we had this three-legged stool plus ten percent, and we thought, well, if we over admit, attrition will take care of itself. If we under admit, ongoing students who apply can help us fill whatever deficit there might be, and they'll come join us on the upper division track.

In the early days of the upper division track, if the students didn't apply, we'd scan first year GPAs, and then send letters of invitation to those students: would you care to apply? Would you care to come in and have a conversation with us about what's involved in being a university Honors College student? We recognized that there are many variables that go into a student's performance. Sometimes those variables are within their control, and often times they are not. Each of us has had less than desirable outcomes in our lives, that we prefer to forget, and we certainly don't want to be bound to years later. We don't want to channel our very existence from that point on.

And we thought, why should undergraduate admissions be any different than what the rest of us ask for? And that there should be a chance. We thought that those opportunities might be dominated by students with particular characteristics, and we found that was not the case at all. We would find that, "My parents broke up in my senior year, and I just didn't give a rip about school anymore, and that's what my grades don't reflect what my interests are." We thought, why not take a chance and see? And we were hugely rewarded—hugely rewarded. We found—it's interesting to me in retrospect—we found the students who came in and pitched their own cases, if we had not admitted them, usually either reapplied after they received college grades for their first term, or shortly thereafter reapplied, or we admitted them on the basis of that ten percent option.

And as I took the position, I said, "I wasn't to hold ten percent of the spots for admitting people that I just think deserve a chance, and I don't want to have to justify it. If they're admissible to OSU, then let me select from among those who might benefit from the Honors opportunity or more importantly, Honors might benefit from their presence." We found over the course of the decade, the thirteen years that I was involved being the helmsperson for the Honors College, that by paying close attention to the admission process, by paying close attention to those students who sought opportunities with us, that it was hard to go wrong, that they were there making their case for a reason, and if we would listen we'd hear that reason, and if we would comply they usually met our expectations. And it was very rewarding.

JD: And after you retired as the dean of the Honors College, there was a nice scholarship fund developed in your name.

JH: Yes, very, very flattering to me. Often times those scholarships named for favorite professors on the verge of retirement are 20 or 30 thousand dollars—not really enough to do a great deal of good for helping those students meet their expenses. By the time I actually stepped away from campus, this was at $100,000. So it provides an opportunity for students who have financial need to attend the Honors College, meet the additional expenses that are naturally associated with that, and to meet tuition—help with tuition expenses. The fact that it rose to that level as quickly as it did left me virtually speechless—dumbfounded!

It wasn't much of a drive for me to be dumbfounded, but it surprised me and others in the foundation that the students, the young alumni who were not yet near the peak of their earnings curve, were contributing what they could. Alumni who had graduated from the old honors program contributed. Faculty members contributed; members of the community and other donors contributed. And as I say, it reached $100,000 by the time I stepped away from campus. So it's there to help the students who would love to attend OSU, who would benefit from being part of Honors, and who in turn will enrich Honors. It's there to help them find their way toward their futures, as well as to enrich the rest of us. I was really gratified that it did that. [1:20:01] I don't know that I deserve the credit. Perhaps it was the description of the opportunity to help students with financial need meet their expenses, but it was quite gratifying. Yes, thank you for bringing that up.

JD: Well, and I did enjoy the—it seemed that the affectionate title is The Joe Fund?

JH: Yeah, The Joe Dough Fund. [Laughs] A colloquial name, but yes, the students called it that then. They'd send it in, and have a note as The Joe Dough Fund. I continue to hear from some of those students to this day. They'll send me a Christmas card, or they'll send me a note, saying, "I made my annual contribution to The Joe Dough Fund. I just want you to know that although these many years later, you continue to have an impact on my life, and that OSU's Honors College has an impact on my life. I want to help other students receive those same benefits and privileges."

JD: A lovely comment from your career. And so then you did move into retirement. What's life like now?

JH: You would think as a gerontologist that I would have known more about retirement than has turned out to be the case. I moved into retirement with a full plate of scholarly obligations, which I've gradually jettisoned, passing them to others to take advantage of their competencies and insights to propel the field forward. I moved away from Corvallis to Bend, so that I could spend time skiing. I was devoted to skiing throughout my youth, and intermittently in between. And my wife said, "Well, do you want to stay in Corvallis, or go?" And I said, "Well, there's a great deal to be said for staying here, but to be honest I'd like to move to Bend, so that in the early years of my retirement I can ski with the Over The Hill Gang on Mount Bachelor." And that's indeed what I have done, skiing more than 100 days each season since I moved into retirement.

I've continued to be active in scholarly terms in my field of gerontology, serving on recognition committees of one type or another, where they ask éminence grise-types guys like me to serve as judges, so that we're not jealous of some younger person receiving an award. And I've continued my scholarly efforts at a much slower pace, an article or so a year, rather than five or six or so a year is more my pace now.

And I found that my interests have shifted some. I have done some volunteer work here in this community. We support a scholarship at the local community college, as well as contribute to The Joe Dough Fund at OSU, and avail ourselves of musical and other opportunities here in the Bend community. We have tickets for the chamber series, the jazz series, the Central Oregon Symphony. We drive to Portland for the short opera series up there, and find that life in retirement has a great many blessings to it, when you have the time and the latitude to concentrate your attention, that it certainly isn't a precipitous downhill side. What ultimately happens will happen, but it isn't a precipitous downhill slide. You don't suddenly fall off the cliff and find yourself an invalid. That's not the case at all.

More importantly, for me as an individual, I found that those folks with whom I've associated here, both as part of my avocation as a skier and other folks that we've come into contact with through the different music series or lectures that we attend, are themselves stimulating individuals, and I hate to sound like, you know, old deceased folk heroes but I haven't met many people that I can't learn from. Will Rogers was right, that if you just keep an open ear and an open mind, there's a great deal to be had from just our daily interactions.

In a couple of my volunteer activities—I started to volunteer at the library, and found that mostly I would be restocking shelves, and I was looking for something more than that. There's nothing wrong with that; it's a needed activity. So my wife said, "Well, I want to be on the library arts committee, so why don't I replace you, and I'll make my interests known?" And indeed that's happened. So I have volunteered in other capacities, oftentimes in helping the students. On occasion I've met with the OSU Cascades folks to share whatever insights—at their invitation, to share whatever insights that I might have. [1:25:00]

But I'm finding that the life of a retired person has given me an opportunity to read more widely, to engage in literature, simply fictional reading, that I didn't avail myself of previously in my life because I was always on some scholarly mission or other, and my reading was confined to working in that direction. I've authored and edited enough books, as you can see behind me here, that I don't need to do that anymore to find a sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. And what I enjoy doing now is my casual reading, my little bits of scholarship, and helping others when I have the opportunity.

JD: So I would like to give you an opportunity, either anything that you've wanted to talk about that I haven't specifically asked you about, if you have anything that's come up as we've been going through this interview.

JH: The thing that occurs most prominently to my mind is that Oregon State University reached beyond the accepted model, encouraging and engaging undergraduates to try something new, and found that that something new, in turn, enriched the rest of the campus—that there would be a leveraging or synergy process going on. President Byrne, Provost Arnold, who had to sign off with the assistant vice provost for academic affairs, Bill Shepard, took a bet, took a risk, took a chance that OSU could offer something that wasn't available elsewhere in the state that would attract students to OSU, that those students in turn would enrich the rest of OSU. So those administrators had the foresight to recognize that there is something that needed to be added to the mix for OSU to fulfill its mission, to fulfill its obligation to educate the citizenry, the sons and daughters of the workers of the state, and beyond the state.

In my days as being at the helm of the Honors College, we had a number of states and foreign countries represented in University Honors College students. We had a number of students from the Portland area who previously couldn't identify Corvallis on the map. We had students from the elite private schools in the Portland area, and elsewhere from around the state, who hadn't thought of OSU as an option. If it couldn't be one of the Ivies or one of the prestigious privates, then Oregon wasn't in the mix. And they began to look down the valley and discover Corvallis, and discover OSU, and they've encouraged younger generations of students to come.

So the foresight, the campus, the efforts of the administration, the Faculty Senate committee that was responsible for identifying the Honors College that I subsequently got credit for directing—they did a lot of the leg work behind the scenes in advance. Ken Krane, Jim Krueger, put their reputations and their energies not only on the line, but into improving what Oregon State was able to offer. And it has just been wonderful, what the outcome is. My successor, and now his successor, furthered that mission, and the current dean, Toni Doolen from the College of Engineering, just has wonderfully clear ideas of how to take the next step.

Now, as Honors closes in on its 20th year in 2015, we looked back to what it was like in those early days. Toni and I compare notes to what it was like then and what it's like now, and how it's hard to turn away faculty who say, "I want to teach Honors students!" And we go, "Well, maybe next term, maybe next year." And in the early years we were over knocking on doors saying, "Would you consider teaching an Honors class, because we have a dozen eager students who are asking for a course in X, Y or Z?" We would solicit the course work. We would get proposals from faculty themselves who were reviewed by a panel, and we would solicit suggestions from the students.

I mentioned off camera earlier, they came to me in the early years and said, "It's a shame OSU doesn't offer Latin anymore. Could you find somebody to teach Latin, or scientific Latin at the very least, to us, because we want to learn it?" [1:30:00] And look as we might, we couldn't find a volunteer. And that request was not only a given cohort of students, but subsequent cohorts of students who just wanted the challenge, and they asked for it, and OSU was able to deliver it, and I'm very pleased with that.

JD: Well, this seems like perhaps the perfect closing for our interview. Thanks for your thoughtful recollections.

JH: Thank you so much for coming and interviewing me. I appreciate it.

JD: You bet. [1:30:26]


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