The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Cliff Trow Oral History Interview

December 13, 2013 – 10:00a.m.

Video: “Supporting Education as a Historian and Public Servant” . December 13, 2013

Location: Trow residence, Corvallis, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Janice Dilg

1:23:53 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Janice Dilg: So, this is Janice Dilg, oral historian with the Oregon State University's Sesquicentennial Oral History Project, and I'm here this morning with Cliff Trow at his home in Corvallis, Oregon. Good morning, Cliff.

Cliff Trow: Good morning. Good morning. Glad you're here, Jan.

JD: Thanks for having me. We appreciate your participation. I usually like to start my interviews at the beginning, so why don't you just introduce yourself a little? Talk about your early life, where you came from, and perhaps about your education, and we'll go from there.

CT: Okay, okay. Well, I'm a product of Kansas, originally. I grew up in Salina, Kansas, and went through the public schools there. Not a large family, but had a younger sister, and an older brother, and an older sister. And went also to Kansas Wesleyan University, which is located in Salina, and got a bachelor's degree there, majoring in history and political science, and a good experience there. Began as a public school teacher, and did public school teaching in Kansas, both in Burlington, Kansas, and in Cortland, Kansas, and was there in the early 1950s doing teaching there.

I began going to work on a master's degree at the University of Colorado in the summers, and driving from Kansas to Boulder, Colorado, and starting that degree. And while I was there, I got a job teaching at Boulder High School, and so I moved there around 1956 and was a teacher at Boulder High while I was working on my degrees. And got the master's degree and then the doctoral degree while I was a high school teacher. And it was a good experience for me. It took a little longer, I think, than many people, to get through the graduate degree program, but I did it without incurring a lot of debt [laughs], and it was—it worked out fine.

JD: And what drew you to history?

CT: Well, I guess from an early age—I grew up [laughs] during the period of World War II, and although I was a youngster during that period, we were very interested in what was happening, worldwide, connected with the world war. And so, my dad and I always liked to listen to all the news, and sort of digest it and talk about it, and I did, too, so it was something that we sort of did together occasionally. And I came to like history very well, very much, and decided that that's what I wanted to major in.

JD: And was the high school teaching kind of a means to an end, or did you know that you wanted to be a teacher, as well, from an early age?

CT: I wasn't sure about that, but as I put all of my academic work at Kansas Wesleyan together, it pointed in that direction, and so by the time I was thinking, you know, this is my last year; I better plan for some sort of a way to make a living with what I was doing, I began to take education courses, and thought about teaching, and was fortunate. They weren't hiring a lot of teachers in those days, but I did manage to get credible positions.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: And I enjoyed it. I only stayed at Burlington one year, and then moved to Cortland, Kansas, which was closer to Salina, where my parents were, and taught there four years. And began the work on the doctorate—excuse me, the masters at that point, in the summers. And them moved from Cortland to Boulder High—

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: —and taught there for eight years, and liked that a lot.

JD: And any particular reason that you ended up in Boulder?

CT: Well, I had decided that that's where I wanted to go to summer school. It's better than going in Kansas. If you lived through a Kansas summer, you know they can be pretty hot and miserable, and not particularly a good place to pursue that sort of activity. So I wanted to go to Boulder. And I didn't know much about Colorado, but I wanted to learn about Colorado as a state, [0:05:01] and explore the mountains, and also get some degrees and learn some things.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: And so I picked Boulder, and I was very glad I did. It was a very good school for me.

JD: Mm-hm. So, after teaching for several years, high school—

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: —talk a bit about how you were recruited and came to OSU.

CT: Well, I was working on the master's degree, and decided that I would look for additional positions, thought I would have that, the master's degree, completed, which I would have had. And so, I just went to sort of a registry at the University of Colorado, and put credentials in shape and all of those things, and happily, Boulder was looking for new teachers, and they saw my file that was there, and then they gave me a call, and said, “Would you come in for an interview? We're interested in hiring you.” I drove from Cortland, Kansas, to Boulder, and had an interview, and drove home, and got the job. So, it was fun. Yeah, it was a good way to do it. And I certainly did enjoy teaching in Boulder. Boulder was a great place, was a good place to do my graduate work, and it was also a really nice community to live in, and an exciting place.

JD: And then, what spurred the decision to become an academic at the college level? And how did you connect with Oregon State University?

CT: Well, I think I always wanted to do that, as I began this process. I thought that I would like to teach at the university level, and so I sort of geared my teaching that way. At Boulder High, for instance, I did a lot of things that were—we taught some courses that normally would be taught at the university, at the high school, for our more advanced students. And I was involved in doing that, and enjoyed that. So, all of that pointed to finding a university position when I finished the doctorate. And I wasn't quite done when I got the position at Oregon State, but I was on the way. I thought I would be done, but it always takes a little longer to get a dissertation ready and approved, and all of that, than you think it might. So I was still working on it the first year that I taught here, and went back at Thanksgiving, I think, and stood for the oral exam on the dissertation, and that went well. And then got the degree the next graduation period.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: So I had that in hand, and came to Oregon State, and was teaching a variety of history. I came, basically, to fill the position of a professor who was on sabbatical, who taught Latin America. At the University of Colorado I'd had five areas of specialty, and one of them was in Latin America, mostly modern Latin America, not ancient Latin America. But my credentials were sufficient that I applied for the job and got the job, and enjoyed teaching Latin America. The professor came back. They decided to keep me, along with him. The university was growing in those days, and we had—another thing that I taught was Western Civilization, and we had huge classes in Western Civilization, and they needed to keep faculty members, so a number of us that they hired the year I came to the university were kept after that. I came in ‘64, '64-'65, and we were kept, and the faculty in history expanded. And so they liked me well enough that I got promoted, and eventually, was full professor, and worked in the department.

JD: Mm-hm. Well, if my understanding is correct, kind of the humanities and social sciences had been somewhat a recent addition to—

CT: It had. It had, indeed, right. The first year that I was there, we moved to the Home Economics Building [0:10:02], Milam Hall, and we had our offices all together. That's the first time the History Department had been officed all together, and the first time that we began to offer a major in history, so we could have that. A little later on, the department got involved in an interdisciplinary master's degree program, but we didn't have any graduate work there during that period, so we taught mostly undergraduates. We had large teaching assignments, and we were mostly a teaching faculty, but a very good, I think, teaching faculty at OSU.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: Students took our courses in large numbers.

JS: So, elaborate a little on what a large teaching load was.

CT: [Laughs] Well, usually we would teach each academic quarter; we were on the quarter system and have been, as you know. We would teach—usually they'd have two sections of Western Civ, and then one course that was in my specialty, the Latin America. I taught the Latin America survey the first year. Then when the professor came back that had those courses, he taught them until he retired, and then I taught them after that again. So I taught the Latin American History, taught Western Civilization. At some point, they had enough people to do Western Civilization, and I moved over to teach US History, and I taught mostly US History and Latin America.

One year we had a huge number of people in Western Civilization, and that was early when I was here, just after Jo Anne and I got married. And so, I had two what we called our overflow sections, large sections of Western Civ, and each of those had two hundred and fifty students. And so, they were mostly lecture and objective tests, not essay exams that you had to read, but I taught those. And so that was, I think, the most demanding actual teaching assignment I had in terms of numbers of people I was responsible for. It was a great experience. It worked well, although I don't recommend that kind of teaching, really. [Laughs] I like to interact more with the students.

JD: Sure. And what was the size of the faculty? I realize it was growing and changing, but—?

CT: Well, the History Department was fairly large. I don't know what the size of the total faculty at the university was. When I started, we were circling around 10,000 students at the university, and it grew, I think, oh, 17,000, or something like that, while I was there. And for a long time, a lot of the courses—other schools, other parts of the university, would require Western Civilization, and so we had a lot of students from the business school, for instance, who took it, and from other schools, that took Western Civ. So we had a lot of students, and we did a lot of teaching.

JD: And what was the reaction to these sort of newer academic disciplines in this agricultural, engineering, forestry-based college, that had existed for a number of years, by that point?

CT: Well, I think it was—generally, there was a good attitude spread out about the humanities and the social sciences, and the feeling that a land grant college needed to have people with a great deal of expertise in those areas, as well as the more specialized areas that you mentioned. But I think it had not been a heavy priority. And also, there had been an agreement, sort, of within the state system of higher education that the University of Oregon would be the school that would specialize in the humanities, and have the graduate programs in the humanities, and history, and social sciences, and so forth, and that Oregon State would be more specific, and have the courses that—like engineering, and science, and some of those things, so that there would be a difference between the two institutions. And they tried to keep it that way.

But increasingly, the student demand was for a fuller university, [0:15:00] with the humanities and social sciences treated well, and having an improvement. But over the years, it's been a slow improvement. I think that people in social science and humanities have felt that they were sort of an add-on, and that there were other parts of the university that just simply had more clout with the administration, and were more part of, maybe, what people visualized as being Oregon State, than humanities and social sciences.

When I first came, they called those of us who taught in these areas the “lower division,” and we were the lower division. Well, that had sort of a ring to it that wasn't as pleasant as one might like. And generally speaking, we got the cast-off buildings, or the older buildings. We had to get new facilities built specifically for the humanities and social sciences. But we were happy campers. We liked what we did; we liked our teaching. We liked our students, and we had—we were lucky, had a good group of both.

JD: So, this project is in relation to the Sesquicentennial, but in 1968 was OSU's Centennial.

CT: I remember that. Right.

JD: What was that celebration like?

CT: Well, it certainly seemed to be a good celebration, and it was—I'm not remembering it all that well, but I know that I was—it was before Jo Anne and I were married, and I was living at the Corvallis Plaza, which was an apartment house. And there was a woman that we knew well at the house who was doing a lot of the same kind of work you're doing, connected with that particular event. And she—and I'm blanking on her name, but she did a lot of those—a lot of that work, and helped put together the program for the Centennial. And so we were interested, sort of cheering her on, and knowing that what she was doing was important.

JD: Mm-hm. Do you recall what Corvallis was like at that time, or when you first came?

CT: Well, it was a little different. It has become, I think, more cosmopolitan over the years, and it was a little more sheltered, and the dominant group, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant sort of place to begin with, but certainly that change has occurred. There were a number of incidents. I was off and on on the faculty senate, and we had some interesting problems connected with the Vietnam War, and problems that related to student behavior, and especially minority students coming, black students coming. There was the problem with the football coach, Fred Milton's, beard, and his long hair.

JD: Extrapolate on that a little bit.

CT: Well, the coach had his own ideas about how people should be dressed, and what they should wear, and what they should look like, and he didn't particularly like beards, and didn't want his players to be bearded. And Fred Milton, I guess, insisted on having a beard, and created quite a stir on campus. A number of students left as a result of that, especially black students. And so, there was a time when we needed to do some healing in our relationships with minorities, and others. That's been done and done well, but it was an interesting period.

JD: And what was the resolution of that situation? Do you recall?

CT: Well, I think over time the coach eased his standards a bit, but, again, a number of people did leave, and I don't think Fred Milton ever came back, if that was his name. [0:20:00] I think that was it, if that's the name.

JD: The name I have.

CT: If that's the name you have, yeah. And Jo Anne, you know, was in administration and probably knows a bit about it from the vantage point of the administration. You might talk to her about that as well. I know we had a number of faculty senate meetings about it, and faculty senate was fairly critical, I think, of what was happening, and felt there should be less rigidity in the standards, and that somehow, black students should be made to feel welcome, even if they were different, and tried to do that.

JD: Mm-hm. Well, you mentioned the Vietnam War, and certainly, the sixties and seventies were pretty big times of social and cultural upheaval and changes.

CT: They certainly were.

JD: Talk a little bit more about how those changes played out on the OSU campus, and the student body, and with the faculty.

CT: Well, they certainly were, and of course, there was a substantial student upset with the Vietnam War, and unrest on every campus. And we had some of that on our campus. And there had been acts of confrontation with some of the deans, occupation of, I think, the Dean of Liberal Arts. Dean Gilkey, I think's, office was occupied for a while, and there was always a fear that there might be some violence connected with it. There was more threat of violence than real violence on this campus.

And I remember one time, one weekend, a whole lot of us—as there were to be demonstrations around against the war, a lot of the faculty—I was one of them, Dean Bill Wilkins and some other people from the faculty—just, the faculty went and stood around to see to it that things would not happen. And the demonstration went on, but the violence did not occur, and that was in part because faculty took an interest, and wanted to help avoid the violence, but to allow there to be demonstration as well.

JD: Mm-hm. Well certainly, there would not have been a uniform anti-war sentiment?

CT: No. No.

JD: But there was; there always has been a strong ROTC program—

CT: Absolutely. Mm-hm.

JD: —on the campus. Now, how did those different camps work?

CT: Well, one of the demonstrations was around the ROTC Building, where the ROTC was located and was erected. And I think generally the student body was pretty unified in objecting to the war, so that was maybe the dominant view within the students. I think we avoided a lot of clashes between the two, and direct violence. I think there wasn't any, as I recall, or very much.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: Yeah.

JD: Well, and certainly, the feminist movement was a big part back in that era as well?

CT: Mm-hm. Right.

JD: And I would be interested in sort of how that played out on campus as well.

CT: Mm-hm. Well, I would recommend that you talk to Jo Anne about that, because I think that she knows, and was involved, I think, in doing some important things in that area. And I was very supportive of her in that. One of the things we saw, for instance, in the history profession, was that it had been very difficult for women to get through a graduate program in history, and so very few women were trained to teach history at universities, if you needed the doctorate degree, which you usually needed to begin with. Well, that began to change and it changed very dramatically, quickly, so that a lot of women were trained and they were then hired, and they came and joined us.

When I first came, we had a few women in the History Department but they were people with master's, did not have a doctorate, and taught the overflow Western Civ classes, or things like that. [0:25:01] And they were very fine people, but they were not considered full members of the faculty. That all changed much for the better, and we began to hire women Ph.D.s who came, and became important parts of our faculty. Lisa Sarasohn was one of the early ones, and did a fine job. And so many of them have made a big mark. And so the department, I think, is nicely divided these days between men and women, and it's a high-level department with really good people. I don't know all of them, but I know a lot of them, and I'm very impressed with the men and the women, both.

JD: And how would you characterize ways that, maybe, those societal changes affected how you taught history, or perhaps, how the department approached history?

CT: Mm-hm. Well, that's a good thing that you ask, because what you found, and what we needed to do, was to teach the history about people that we generally sort of ignored, or did not give full status, as we thought about what the subject matter of history should be. So, there was what we call the “under side,” at first, of history, the people that were not talked about: the blacks, the women, various other groups, Native Americans, and so forth, that didn't have much of the history ever taught in the standard history.

So those of us who had been trained earlier and didn't maybe have training in those areas, found that we had some work to do, to learn some things about these things as we taught the surveys, because the surveys changed. They were no longer just political tracts, and we began to talk about culture, and all kinds of problems that affected America as it grew up, and so forth, and that was good. It was a wider, broader and more all-inclusive history, and before, it had been exclusive, and to the detriment of the profession, because we were leaving out a lot of important things that needed to be talked about.

JD: Well, in 1968, Oregon State University recruited a rather well-known historian, William Appleman Williams.

CT: Right. Right.

JD: And talk a little about his addition to the faculty, and changes that perhaps ensued from his inclusion.

CT: Mm-hm. We were very delighted to have him come. He certainly brought stature to the department, affected what I had been teaching, because I had been teaching the US diplomatic history, and he, of course, came with huge credentials and a lot of publication, and a leader in one way of looking at history. And although his view of history, and his discussion of the causes, would be not, maybe, the same view that I had completely, because we were trained differently with a different perspective, but certainly we appreciated what he brought to the discourse.

The fact that there were very important, different points of view, and as you looked at those points of view, you realized there were people that were neglected, and things that you hadn't thought about needed to be incorporated into your thinking and your teaching. And so, it had a very positive effect, generally. Bill sometimes could be pretty—how could I put it? A decisive kind of thinker about things, and he sometimes challenged you, and he didn't particularly like to be challenged himself. But anyway, it was an interesting relationship, and we like him a lot. He did a good job.

JD: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. And I mean, I think about sort of Oregon versus Wisconsin, where he came from.

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: And just, Oregon was in some ways kind of far away from even the Midwest at that point in time.

CT: [0:29:59] That's true.

JD: It wasn't on the map like it is now.

CT: Yeah.

JD: How did he come across to you?

CT: Well you know, he had been here at the University of Oregon at one point, and I don't know exactly where he did all of his training as he got his degrees, and so forth. But he had been at the University of Oregon, and then he had gone to Wisconsin, and he had gotten tired of just teaching graduate students. He wanted to teach undergraduate students. He thought that was more exciting teaching, and he wanted to do it, and he wanted to do it here. And also, because he had lived here before, and his wife, I think, his first wife had been from here, and they had property on the coast. And I know George Barr Carson, Jr., who knew Bill Williams. And when Bill would come in the summer time to the coast, George went over one time to see him, and talk to him. And Bill said, “I'm interested in teaching at Oregon. I'd like to come back to Oregon and teach.”

And so, George Carson decided that he would accommodate him if he could, and began to talk to the administration. Some reluctance on the part of the administration to bring him, at first. You can look into that if you want, but there's no question about it that he was imminently qualified, and would be—I'm thinking we were in the MacVicar period, I think. MacVicar was President, and some of the folks felt that they didn't like his point of view, as more a Marxist approach to explaining what was happening in diplomatic history, and so that was controversial. He was a little controversial. But the university happily could stand controversy, looked at it, decided to hire him, made a good decision. And he came and taught, and taught well.

JD: Okay.

CT: It's sort of sad. At sort of the end of his period, his physical—physically he was not well, and so he had—I think it was not—a very unpleasant end of his life, because of physical problems he had.

JD: Mm-hm. So, certainly it wasn't all work?

CT: No.

JD: You met who would become your wife, Jo Anne, during this time period?

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: Talk a little about how you met.

CT: Mm-hm. Well, we met early on, when we both came. We both came the same year, so it was '64-'65. Actually, it was '65. And one of my friends in the History Department, Norborne Berkeley, who had been teaching there for a long time, he and the dean of women had developed a friendship, and they sometimes would give us—a single man—and they would sometimes go places together. And Jo Anne was hired to come to be the assistant to the dean of women, and she was going to be the dean of women when the dean retired, which was scheduled for the next year. And so, Norborne knew the dean of women, and he knew that the dean had a new assistant, and that was Jo Anne. And he got us together, and we went to his place, I think, for dinner one time, and then we went to a few university events together the first year. But we both had other interests, and so at that point it was a friendly relationship, but it was not anything that was targeted toward marriage. Then, a couple of years later, suddenly we began to go with each other, and decided that yes, indeed, we were interested and would like to make a life together. And so we did that. We got married in '69. We both came in '65.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: And that's been a wonderful decision for both of us, and liked it very much.

JD: [0:35:02] Definitely some longevity there.

CT: Yeah, right, and you know, over the years, as we've each had the little different view and different role at the university, we've been able to learn more about each of the roles, and to be helpful when we can. I know Jo Anne had some intense periods in her job, and it was nice for me to be helpful. We had a student murdered on campus; you probably know about that. And, oh, that was a difficult period for everybody. Lots of fear that there was somebody who was dangerous on campus and so forth. And eventually all that got resolved, but it was an interesting period. And when I made the move to go into politics, why, Jo Anne was very supportive and helpful, although she never did what a number of families would do, or wives would do, would be to go and work at the legislature alongside the person who was the legislator, she was wonderfully, wonderfully helpful in other ways. So, it was great.

JD: Mm-hm. So, why don't we talk a little about your move to the legislature?

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: It certainly was not a full-time job, so you kept your teaching position?

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: What spurred your interest in politics?

CT: Well, I'd always been interested in doing it. I must admit that I thought that I'd like to hold an elective office at some point, and being in the legislature especially, and in the senate was the area that I was most interested in. So when I came here, I thought, well, I would get involved with the politics. And I'm a Democrat, so I got to know some of the Democrats, and helped out in some of the campaigns earlier. That was before Jo Anne and I were married. The first campaign was the Straub campaign, and then I worked in the US Senator Wayne Morse campaign and helped with that, and enjoyed doing that.

So it happened that the Democrats needed candidates, and somebody thought, well, I might make a good candidate to run for the legislature, and they asked me. And one of the state legislators, state senators, wrote a letter to me and encouraged me to run. And we had an existing state senator who lived in Corvallis, who most people thought couldn't be beaten. And so they said, “Run. We need a candidate. You won't win, but run, because he's probably not beatable.” I ran. I didn't win, but I did much better than most people thought I would do, and so I was viable four years later when he didn't run. And also during that period, Mr. Nixon cooperated with Watergate, and changed the political climate rather substantially. So, it was easy to get elected. [Laughs]

JD: Uh-huh.

CT: And I got elected, and then I was able to win six times after that, so.

JD: So, did you have a specific slogan or message that you used that first time, even when you didn't win, that caught people's attention?

CT: [Laughs] Well, the first time, when I didn't win, I kind of can't remember what slogans we used. I know at one point, I think—and I did win, I think, when I used that slogan, was the second time and I think it was just “Go With Trow,” which worked. What we used, I think, most often, was “Caring and Doing,” which I think I felt comfortable with. “Go With Trow” has a nice ring to it, but also is subject to making a lot of fun of , and some of the bumper strips that I had made would end up in restrooms [0:40:01], so “Go With Trow” didn't go too well in that context. [Laughs]

JD: So you get elected, and what were your passions? What did you want accomplished as an elected official?

CT: Well, I got elected from a district that was clearly an education district. When I first ran and lost to Dick Hoit, it was the entirety of two counties, Benton and Polk Counties, and the district was changed in that period. They reorganized and changed the district. After each ten-year period, you know, we redistrict, and so it was—the district was cut down; it wasn't the entirety of both counties. And happily, what they took out were areas where there had been a lot more Republicans than Democrats, so it made it an easier district for a Democrat to win. North Albany was gone, and West Salem was gone, which had been pretty strongly Republican areas of the previous district, so that helped with making it winnable. And let's see, what was the question, exactly?

JD: Well, I was just asking what were your big motivations? What were some of the goals you'd hoped to accomplish?

CT: Yeah. Well, the district was an education district, and I clearly wanted to do as much as I could for education, because I believe that the universities were not adequately funded. We were just in the process of building community colleges; they needed to be funded. And public schools—I had been a public school teacher, and I had great feelings for the public schools and the importance of them, and so I wanted to make sure that we could do well by them. So, education was going to be the area that I would spend much of my time in, and human services as well. Both of those areas were of great interest to me.

And so I served on committees, seven times on the Education Committee, and I think chaired it five times; and was on the Human Resources Committee, the Ways and Means Committee and on subcommittees dealing with those subjects. So, it was a way to try to do some good for some important programs that needed support. And being in the legislature was exciting. A lot of things happen there. It's a learning experience. It's an interesting people experience. You're dealing with a lot of interesting people; some of them you like a lot, and some of them you don't care so much for, but it's interesting.

JD: And talk a little about what—you were there for a number of years?

CT: Yeah. Twenty-eight.

JD: Twenty-eight. So, talk a little about what the legislature was like when you first started, and what it was like when you retired from it.

CT: Yeah. Well, that's a good question, because it did change, it seemed to me, and changed dramatically. And it seemed that in the senate, when I first came, I came at a period when Democrats had won big. And so we had huge margins of Democrats, vis à vis Republicans, and that's in part because of Watergate and what happened after Watergate. But I liked my colleagues, and I found that the relationship was more like a club.

We divided over issues. We sometimes fought on the floor, seriously, about things. When it was over, it was over, and people were friendly. We went to the lounge, and we all got together and talked. We sometimes entertained each other, and went places together, and we could agree on a lot of things. We were not nearly as conservative as the legislature became. And over time—over time it became much more ideological, and I think that was true of the country, as well; we represented what was happening in the country. But it became ideologically much more split, much less likely to intermingle with each other, because of political and economic differences. And so that was part of the change, clearly.

JD: [0:45:03] Mm-hm. And would you consider that to be a factor in not only sort of the social interactions, but how the legislative process worked, also?

CT: Yes. Yes, it certainly did affect the legislative process, and increasingly, for instance, there were groups formed. Oh, I'm blanking on the group, but that brought outside influences in to the legislature, legislation that was prepared elsewhere, and brought in and introduced, and so you had some of that. You had, oh, just more division and rigidity in the system than you had before.

JD: Mm-hm. In addition to kind of all the legislative work, you were also involved in a variety of other commissions, and activities?

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: How did you get appointed? Well, it was probably a variety of ways, but you were appointed to them.

CT: Yeah.

JD: But how did you choose these other activities that you did, as far as putting your time and energy into them, and you know, what the result would be?

CT: Mm-hm. Well, I continued to be a faculty member for a good long time. As part of the legislature, I would teach every other year, full-time at the university, and so there was, you know, activities connected with the campus, clearly, and so you're involved in those. And then the legislature would put me in touch with people that were interested in having me on various boards and commissions, and so I served on some of those. Governor's appointments—I served on the Children's Commission or the Commission on Youth, I think. I forget the names of some of these.

JD: Mm-hm. That's one that I have here.

CT: And the Women's Commission, and some of the others. And you get appointed on the Hunger Relief Task Force, or some things. Later on, after I was in the legislature, I was on the Center for Public Policy and some things like that. And all of them are things I'm interested in. Usually I wouldn't go, unless it was an area that I was interested in doing something in, or functioning in, in a way. So that helps explain some of them. [Laughs] If you have specific ones that you wanted to mention, maybe I can—

JD: Well, I think—I don't know that there's any that are more important that the others, but I think it just—sort of the breadth of it, and that you kind of kept at it?

CT: Yeah.

JD: You know, clearly you had a sense of public service on several levels.

CT: Mm-hm. Sure.

JD: And I guess I'm interested in what motivated you to do that, and why you think, you know, public service is important?

CT: Well, it certainly is very important, and the motivation is trying to help people cope with problems that they find in the society, making life better for people, enhancing education, keeping people healthy, and things like that. Also, often it's a learning experience, and selfishly, you profit a lot by doing it. And I got—because I was on the Ways and Means Committee and had been, I think, on one of the subcommittees that dealt with corrections issues, I got involved with—I guess the senate appointed me to go and be on Sentencing Guidelines Committee for punishments that are meted out by our corrections division in one way or another [0:50:04], and that was a very enlightening experience, to do that.

I don't know whether I made a great contribution there or not, but I was there, and I worked, and helped them mold a system that became a new way of using the corrections system, and sentencing in such a way that they weren't put there forever and forgotten, and not dealt with as human beings. I'm sorry to say that a lot of that was upended by the initiative process and people that came with—with get hard on people in prisons and so forth. So some of that got changed, but it was a good idea to do it.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: One of the men I worked with who was the warden at the state prison was eventually killed during that period. I don't know if you remember that or not, but that was—I worked with him, and was sorry about that. It was a tragedy.

JD: Absolutely.

CT: One of the things that I enjoyed about my legislative experience was that it was a way, also, that I could incorporate young people into the process, and get them involved with it, and have them learn about it, and also benefit from their abilities and talents. And so I always had a young staff, and often they were people from OSU. The first person who was my secretary was an OSU history major. And Doug Parker, and Tricia Frolander was really a fine legislative assistant for me for a number of years, and just a number of others.

Some of them have gone on. Ron Clemm is in the legislature currently, and he worked in my office for a while. Todd Foster was an OSU student who was really excellent as one of my assistants. And so having the young people, and being able to use them and people from our universities, both from Monmouth—Monmouth was in my district, as well as the Oregon College of Education, or OCE, or Oregon College, or whatever they call it these days.

JD: Western Oregon.

CT: Western Oregon. Yeah, there you go, Western Oregon. A good place, lots of nice people, and it was nice to have in the district. And I had two community colleges in the district, and lots of public schools.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: I liked to support education. Enjoyed that very much.

JD: Well, and you mentioned the initiative and referendum system.

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: Which in 1990 there was a measure that passed, that directly affected the education in the state.

CT: Mm. Measure Five, yes.

JD: Talk a little about that period of time, and your experience with Measure Five.

CT: Well, Measure Five was certainly a disaster. It was one that we could see in the making, and in part I wish that we had done a better job of opposing it so that it had not have passed. And I think it might have, if for some reason we had a change of governors during that period, and Governor Goldschmidt decided not to run again, suddenly. And if he had led, as Governor Straub did, led earlier opposition to changes like Measure Five, I think it could have been defeated. And it would have been very good for it to have been defeated, but we were not able to do that. It did pass, and it rearranged the way we finance public education, and took money out of the general fund that was much needed for programs that were public education programs that had been funded by property taxes, rather than general fund. And so, that made it a constant problem of not enough general fund.

And I know Tony Van Vliet and I served together, and we often talked about some of the issues that we were facing. And he chaired the Ways and Means. [0:55:02] He was a co-chair of Ways and Means right after that passed, and I was co-chair and then a chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee the next session. And so we dealt with budget problems that were serious budget problems, because we didn't have enough money to go around, or the entirety of the general fund budget, because it had to go to the public schools. And never were we able to give enough.

One of the things we did with the kicker was we—I think we did both of those periods, because I was on Ways and Means when Tony was the co-chair, and he was on when I was involved with it as well, that we didn't have the kicker kick. It could have kicked, but we just had—because it was statutory at that point, we could simply pass a resolution saying, notwithstanding—or as so-and-so, we would spend this amount of money. And we did that with our budgets. And happily, also, the economy got better and the revenue forecasts grew, and we had more money than we thought we would have, and so that allowed us to make up some of the cuts that we otherwise would have had to make.

A good experience, but, let's see. Certainly being in the legislature was a very interesting experience, and one that you learn a lot, and also you relate, again, to the university a lot in those things. I know when we were on Ways and Means Committee, there were a lot of capital construction that did occur at the universities, and we were able to help that, especially the library project on the OSU campus, and on the other campuses as well. So, tried to be helpful there.

JD: I had a few more questions about OSU.

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: But I want to give you a chance, if there were any additional thoughts about your political work, before we move away from it.

CT: Well, one always had elections to be involved with, and the university was very supportive in—you know, it couldn't be too supportive, because, obviously, there had to be distance between us in some ways. But during the period when I would be challenged, for instance, in an election, sometimes I could teach that entire period, and sometimes not, and it would depend on—if I was seriously challenged, they really didn't want me to be teaching. They wanted me, not because they were interested in who won, but simply because they knew it would be controversial, that if I was teaching while still running for office. So we had to manage those things, and we did, and did it well. And the university was always fair, too, in the way it treated me, and I appreciated that.

JD: Am I remembering that at some point there was a prohibition on teachers being able to run for the legislature?

CT: Well, if there was, it was never while I was here.

JD: Okay. And it may—I remember Ben Roberts.

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: And I will check that, because maybe it was just high school, like public school teachers not—

CT: Universities. It seemed to me like there had been an initiative that passed that allowed them to do that, and so there had been a period when you were not allowed to before the initiative passed, then you were. Frank Roberts, from Portland State, was in the legislature, and had been before I got there, and Tony got there, and so forth. So yes, I think you're right. There had been a time when that was not allowed, and some states probably don't allow it. I don't know, but certainly it was allowed here.

JD: Mm-hm. So, you mentioned that you had served on the faculty senate for a while, in addition to your teaching responsibilities.

CT: [1:00:01] Mm-hm, mm-hm.

JD: You were also involved in other committees and programs at OSU that were part of the educational experience for students.

CT: Sure.

JD: Such as the Oregon Great Decisions Council.

CT: Yeah, right! Hey, okay. I enjoyed that. That was a good—

JD: Good. Well, talk about that! What that was about, and your involvement with it.

CT: Well, I got involved in part because, I guess, second year I lived here we had a great decisions group in the apartment house where I lived. And we had all of these people, many of whom were connected with the university, who were in the discussion group. And so I got involved, and then sort of stayed involved with that issue, and was on the board. And one of the things—I met former President Strand one time; he was no longer president here. He had been County Commissioner as well, though, so he had some little bit of background, and was elected as a Democrat, although I don't think he ever was a rabid Democrat. But he helped get Oregon State involved in the Great Decisions Program, and it was spread over the state widely through extension, the OSU Extension.

So it was something that I enjoyed doing, and enjoyed the discussions of—they fit with my background in US Diplomatic History. And I got to know Austin Walter. I don't know if you know of him, but he was a political science professor, and he had been very much involved in having Great Decisions classes taught on campus, as part of the political science program. He was Chair of the Political Science Department for a while, and he had huge numbers of students who would take Great Decisions as a course. So I enjoyed doing that. The first time I ran for a political office, I ran against Dick Hoyt, who was the senator here then, and he had been involved in Great Decisions, so we had that in common as a thing that we could talk about occasionally, although we were not particularly close during that period. I got to know him a little better afterwards.

JD: Explain a little what Great Decisions Program was about.

CT: Well, it still exists, and the Foreign Policy Association sponsors it, and it's a program that involves citizens in a discussion of foreign policy issue. And there's a mechanism involved with it so that you can vote on some policy decisions that you'd like to make, or have the country make with regard to those issues. Usually there's two months' worth of weekly programs, so it's about ten, maybe eight to ten programs. And you have a booklet that has a discussion of the issue, and questions that you have under discussion that you can have following, and then a voting on what you think the position should be of the United States on these things.

So one of the things that I did was to try to make Oregon involved, too, so I would write additional questions that we would have for our groups that met, that would relate to Oregon a little bit, because usually Oregon was involved at least peripherally in some of these things, some of the issues. So, that was one of the things. And I worked closely with Mary Abbott, who was an OSU Extension agent. And so, I was president of the council for a while, and went back to a Foreign Policy Association meeting in New York City, and got to meet Hubert Humphrey and some other important dignitaries. That was interesting.

JD: And you were one of the founders, I believe, of the OSU Academy for Lifelong Learning?

CT: Yes, I was involved in that.

JD: Explain what that is, and how that came about.

CT: Still involved with it. I'm on the curriculum committee, still, of that. [1:04:59] It's a group that evolved along with the OSURA group, which is the retirement association, OSU Retirement Association, and there was clearly a need. And other universities have programs for lifelong learning connected with them, and we needed something that would be comparable to that. And so, Mrs. Risser, the wife of the president, helped the—I think it originated out of OSURA—the OSURA group, and called together a group of people to get started with the program. I know both Jo Anne and I were interviewed by a person working for Mrs. Risser, and Jo Anne became very active in OSURA, and I became very active in the Academy. And so, we divided our—but I'm a member of OSURA and she's a member of the Academy, so we both do both of them, but our emphasis is a little different.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: And the Academy has allowed me to do some teaching, to do some hosting of presenters, and planning of a lot of the presentations, so that's been good. We have about three hundred members. It's grown over the years, but we have better than three hundred, I think, members now. And meets at the Congregational Church in Corvallis, and usually there are about—each academic quarter there are fifty presentations, right around fifty, and sometimes a few more and sometimes a few less, but right at fifty. There are five different strands in the Academy. I've been on the humanities strand and helped with those programs. There's a strand for science, there's a strand for the arts, and there's a strand for—we identify a culture and a country, or a series of countries that have the same culture, and do ten programs each academic quarter in that area. So we've just done Australia, and I think they're doing West Africa now as the group of lectures. Generally, we find people who make good presentations, and it's not—you don't get any credit for it; you don't have to take any tests connected to it. You go, and you're involved, and they try to have some discussion as well as the presentation. A lot of people really like them. It has done well.

JD: Mm-hm. And OSU Press began just shortly before you came to OSU?

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: And for some period of time you were the consulting history editor.

CT: Yes, yes. Right.

JD: Talk about what that involved.

CT: They were nice enough to say that they would publish my dissertation if I would work on it some more, but I didn't do that for them. I should have. If I hadn't gone to the legislature, I surely would have, but eventually you don't have enough time to do things.

JD: Sure.

CT: But, just aside to the dissertation before I talk about that assignment.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: I wrote some articles based on the dissertation. I never had it published, but one of the articles did win a prize, and I'm proud of that because that's an academic achievement. It was the Bigley-Stevenson Award of the Association of Oregon Historians, and the Journal of Oregon—not Oregon, the Journal of American History published an article that won the prize, and I was pleased with that.

JD: And what was the topic of the article?

CT: The topic was President Woodrow Wilson and an interventionist movement into Mexico, and was related to a lot of research I did. [Laughs]

JD: Mm-hm. That's a wonderful accomplishment.

CT: Yeah, it was. I just wanted to mention that, anyway.

JD: Sure.

CT: That's one of the things I feel good about. But the Academy I feel very good about, too. I think it's been a very fine addition and I think it will continue. It runs on its own momentum. It's a low cost budget outfit. [1:10:02] Each of us pay one hundred dollars a year to be involved in it, and out of that we have a hundred and fifty opportunities to go to a presentation. So that's very good, and the presentations have been high quality and quite good. They're two-hour presentations, so people like them, and a great variety.

JD: Well, and the fact that there was a kind of a rotating topic each year [unclear]?

CT: Yeah. Mm-hm. Yeah, they change. And also you involve some of the professors at OSU, and they're very willing and very good to do that. I know especially the History Department's been very fine, and I get to know the younger professors by inviting them to come and talk, and that's an added bonus.

JD: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, speaking of current faculty, and perhaps, even current OSU students—

CT: Mm-hm.

JD: —what advice would you have for them, or what do you see, kind of the status of things at OSU these days?

CT: Well you know, for a while there was a great deal of confusion with the changes that were occurring, but I think there's been an adjustment and a sort of a buy-in to the new changes, at least in the humanities and the social sciences. So that, I think you see a new burst of energy as we especially have a new dynamic group of faculty members coming in with a slightly different thrust. They're maybe a little more practical, and want to be involved more in the practical application of things than the theoretical. And I think you need the right mixture of both, so I'm not wanting to denigrate the one for the other, but I think what you have now is a new enthusiasm. And you see it all the way through with the administration, and priorities being given to the humanities, and the social sciences, and so forthm that hadn't been given before, and more enthusiasm. I think that's good. Yeah, it's very good. Pleased with that.

I think the Academy for Lifelong Learning may be a sort of part of that, on the periphery of it, and some of the other things. The university is growing. I think town and gown conflict might grow, in part because there are a lot of livability issues connected with a sprawling campus and growing, and huge numbers of students suddenly arriving into the community. So that's a problem, but I think there needs to be some growth, and there needs to be a dynamic attitude and atmosphere around the campus, and I think it's there. So, I think that's good. Who knows what changes are going to come into the future, as we have so much digitalization of everything, and different kinds of arrangements of the way things are taught? But we'll see.

JD: As you look back, what would you say were perhaps some of either your greatest accomplishments, or things you're most proud of in relation to your time on the faculty at OSU, or in relation to any of the activities that you did at OSU?

CT: Mm-hm. Well, it's been a very good experience for me at OSU, and I'm appreciative of it, and just the high quality of the colleagues that you have, and people that you deal with at the university. I've been pleased. I've been here through a number of presidents of the university, and they've been easy to work with and pretty fine people. At first I was—I thought I could never relate to President MacVicar, but suddenly I was able to, and I got to like him, you know, despite the fact that he's a little different from most presidents. [1:15:02] But he was a good man. So, I liked the teaching and I liked the students.

It's exciting to see students get excited about things, and that's one of the things that I liked about the legislative experience because I always made room for students in what we were doing, and had them—they would cover committees for me. They would make reports. They were a very valuable addition, and give advice on things and so forth, so that was good.

And the nice thing about the legislative experience is you get to know the state a lot better than you ever would. You know, I was an outlander. I came here, and then within five or six years after coming here I was in the legislature, and I had a lot to learn, just a lot about the process, the legislative process, a lot about my colleagues in the legislature, but also just a lot about Oregon that you needed to know. And so you get to help make a lot of important decisions that—generally they're good. Not always, but they were good.

JD: Mm-hm. Well, and you certainly—you might be retired from teaching and the legislature, but you're still quite active.

CT: We stay active, yeah, yeah.

JD: Any particular current activities that are important, and contributing to the community here, that you would like to address?

CT: Well you know, I've stayed on the Hunger Relief Task Force. That was one of the organizations that we helped to get established in the Ways and Means Committee. We felt that we had a lot of hunger in Oregon, and we needed to do something about that. We established this kind of coalition of agencies, and legislators, and people from the executive department, and so forth, to see if we couldn't have an agenda to fight hunger and to do something about that.

And so, I've been involved in that for a good long time, helped establish the agency to begin with, and have been a legislative member while I was in the legislature, and then as a citizen member afterwards. And so I continue to be on that, and the hunger issue remains. We'd like to get rid of it, but it stays around, and that's too bad it does. But we've got a lot of hungry people, and we know we'll have a better citizenry if we can handle that problem and get food to people. So that's one thing that I'll continue to do.

I was on the Center for Public Policy for a long time, and I really like that group, and we try to put a little bit of money into the group to help it keep going. I haven't been on the board for a while, but I was chair for about five, six years of that board. The center has staff and has research people, and they look at various tax and spending issues, and make recommendations. And a very valuable group, a group that tries to make decisions that benefit the whole of the people of Oregon, not the special interests, but the overall general interest of the people of Oregon. And so, that's been a good group.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: And I'm no longer on the group, but I still help the group.

JD: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. And do I understand that you kind of keep your historical interests alive by being involved with the Benton County Historical Society?

CT: Oh, and one of the things we didn't talk about was when I was helping with the publications and the history papers.

JD: Sure.

CT: I did do that for a number of years, and benefitted from reading a number of very fine manuscripts that were accepted and published, and so that was a good experience. I usually read the manuscript and suggest if I felt it needed to be worked on a little bit more, or improved upon. Seldom did we turn things down completely, but occasionally we did, because we want a high—we want them to be quality pieces [1:20:00], but generally learned a lot from doing that, and was glad to help that way.

JD: You've also received a variety of awards, from Civil Liberties to Senator of the Year, President's Award from the ARC of Benton County, Distinguished Service Award. What's the role of awards?

CT: [Laughs] I don't know.

JD: Why are they important to have? And do you have any ones that you want to particularly highlight?

CT: Well you know, you can get awards. There are lots of people that give awards for various things that legislators do, so you can get awards all over the place. I sort of like the awards I get from groups that somehow or other aren't the great lobbying groups, or aren't the great groups involved politically in things, but just represent issues that are important to the people, like the libraries, for instance. I like libraries. I've always liked libraries. I think libraries are very important, and so, getting the Legislator of the Year from the Library Association means something to me, and some of the others that I've gotten as well.

Helping—oh, it's hard to remember all of them, but the League of Oregon Cities, for instance, gave me the Hatfield Award. I'm very proud of that because I think what cities do as part of government is very important, and helping universities and colleges, public schools—all important. So those are the kinds of awards I like because I think they fit that slogan I have for “Caring and Doing,” trying to help, be helpful, take advantage of where you are and the position you're in to do good for the general public.

JD: Mm-hm.

CT: And so that's sort of my motivation.

JD: And in 2002 it was actually Cliff Trow Day in Corvallis.

CT: Yeah.

JD: What did you do on that day?

CT: [Laughs] I can't remember! I don't know.

JD: [Laughs]

CT: The city council is nice to give you a day, though, but they don't tell you to plan it out once they give it to you. [Laughs] But it was nice, and it was right as I was coming to the end of my service on the legislature, so it was kind of a nice feeling: well, you've been trying to help and be helpful and to do things that benefit people, caring and doing, and that's recognized a little bit. So, that's nice.

JD: Mm-hm. Absolutely. Well, do you have any final thoughts, any issues that have some up as we've been talking that you want to make sure we get on the record?

CT: I can't think of anything additionally. No. I think we did a good job of touring the area. I'm sorry I wasn't a little more articulate, and my memory is not as good. And there are lots of wonderful things that happen to you over the years that I'm leaving out, I'm sure. [Laughs]

JD: Well, it's hard to fit everything into one interview.

CT: It is, indeed.

JD: But I very much appreciate you taking the time to add to this project.

CT: Glad to do it. Glad to do it.

JD: Thank you.

CT: Thank you. [1:23:56]


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