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Larry Griggs Oral History Interview, February 16, 2011

Oregon State University
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DM: Let's start with your early years. Where were you born and in what year were you born?

LG: I was born in 1944. I was born in Meridian, Mississippi. My father was a minister and my mother was a teacher she taught school. I'm going to go back a little. My grandmother was born in slavery and so she and her husband were committed to sending my mother to college with the idea of teaching other African Americans how to read. That was the biggest thing. So my mother became a teacher and she got married and started having started having a family later in life and after she started having a family she stopped teaching and raised her 00:01:00kids. In addition to that my grandparents were old so they became in and not any her siblings her home. So the two of them were home along and she moved us back. I had three brothers and she moved us back to take care of them. So that's when I got a chance to meet and spent time with my grandparents. Although they were elderly at the time. Late 80s when they passed away. But that's kind of how it started. But they passed then we moved my father and as a minister in the south you had a church for maybe two to three years and then you moved so we moved all over; not only Mississippi but also Alabama. A lot of different places. Until 00:02:00late 59' I had a cousin that my mother raised. He, he thought he saved his life, but anyways he was real sick and his mother, my mother's sister, my mother she used to teach but she was also a jazz pianist, so my mother brought them back to meridian and cared for them and finally he started to get better. So he was in the Korean conflict in the army air corps. He was discharged in Washington and 00:03:00he really wanted to move out to Washington. So my mother and two of us moved out to Washington. That's where I ended up fining up high school and started college. So that's kind of my background.

DM: Was that challenging at the young age moving to the different locations?

LG: No it wasn't. It was different. You know a lot of areas were not very good places to grow up. Meridian was probably one of the best places. It was a community of professionals. The city was divided by the black community. There were a lot of black professionals and black businesses. I worked when I was 00:04:00young. So there were people who owned the restaurant that I worked for on the weekend and taught me how to do things. Those people kind of adopted me in a way. They lived about three blocks away from me. Saturday mornings we would go have breakfast at their house. Then get a cab and go to their restaurant and stay there all day. I learned a lot by moving different places. Tuscaloosa Alabama, Duckport was one of the places. Of course Meridian was one of the places. I didn't move too much because of my grandparents. So I started school and stayed there until about seventh grade. Then moved to Bellingham.


DM: You mentioned that you lived with your grandparents when they were ill. Did you have the opportunity to get stories from them and to learn some of their experiences?

LG: Yes. I was the youngest brother, the youngest sibling And before I started going to school I would hang out with my grandfather. My grandmother and grandfather went to different churches but they were only about two blocks apart. So my grandmother was a Methodist and my grandfather was a Baptist so I went to church with my grandfather. It was a different church that I wanted to experience. Although he was getting old he did odd jobs so every once in a while I would tag along with him to do a job so I knew him quite a bit better. I 00:06:00learned a lot from him, not alot about his family but a lot about him. He didn't talk a lot about his family. My grandmother's family was close. She had a brother that lived across the back. A little ditch between our homes, he lived back there. We had cousins all over. There were a lot of children. It was great the community was great. I belonged to a community. I was a very good experience especially with my grandparents. I was a little too young to remember all of it. Some of it I do, some of it I don't. I had a great time. It was really very good.


DM: What were your favorite pastimes?

LG: We had chores to do. My brothers were close in age. I had a brother next to me and we had do chores. Saturday we would do our chores so we could run outside and play. We would play with the neighborhood children. We would play football and baseball; there wasn't basketball. Football and baseball we would play. We would go out for hours. We wouldn't go too far out of the neighborhood. There 00:08:00was a bus system we could catch to go to town but other than that...It was great.

DM: So it was you and three brothers?

LG: Yeah, three brothers. My mother and my brothers we lived together. My uncle had his children who were around with us. Two sons, Charles and Fred and so they were part of the kids. So I got to play with them. I could tell you some stories! [laughing]

DM: Oh I would love to hear them; I bet they were good times.

LG: I know that my brother next to me was kind of strange. He always for some reason wanted to not get in trouble but agitate, get attention. That was a real 00:09:00way about him. He must have had four or five kids. One was Catherine which was about our age. They were at the time in school, we were in school. So my brother Allan decided come on, lets throw dirt at Catherine. So we did but Catherine was tough. So she came out there and fired us up with big clots of dirt. I haven't seen her for some time. But she was tough. Growing up, it was fun. It was great. Often times, the situation when you were in a segregated society, and when you 00:10:00go to school and you have role models. In elementary school I had a cousin of mine that was the principal. So a lot of people were role models. What was established was a confidence that you could achieve anything you wanted to achieve regardless of the situation. That was something many African American students today in academics don't experience. To have a person that looks like you saying you can be successful. That is the biggest thing. Maybe you didn't have all the technology that we have today but there was a caring that was passed on at that time.

DM: Was the segregation that you experienced was that challenging? Or did it 00:11:00held develop community sense? What was the experience to have that segregation growing up and in school?

LG: You really didn't notice it as much. You didn't notice it, In many ways you were protected by the community. There were three maybe four African American communities. One on the south side, one on the east side, I live in a place called red miles in the city of the city. And so, you could go two blocks three blocks from my house and there were white communities. You could go to different 00:12:00parts and you would have maybe one house with African Americans but the rest of the homes in the area were white community. So it depends. Although it depends it was segregated in some ways it was so in others. It just wasn't. It wasn't as segregated as people thought, people were able to communicate.

DM: You said that you worked while you were growing up.

LG: I wanted to work, the first thing that I remember; I started off at maybe 7 00:13:00or 8. I told my mom that I wanted to earn some money. So told me what you do is go around the community and ask people if they wanted me to wash their windows. So I did that. I had this one house that this lady said "no,no I don't want you to wash my windows, I want you to paint my back porch." She said she had a bunch of steps. I told her lady I've never done that before but she said oh you can do it. (comical story; both Dani and Larry laughing) You can do it, Just make sure the area is covered. OK..... I did it and made sure it was covered. And she said, that is a great job! So, that's the confidence there. You can do that. Then working at the restaurant. My brother next to me worked there. We would go Saturday and Sunday. They would come pick us up and bring us back home. I worked the counter and he would go finish the kitchen area when it was shut off. The 00:14:00day ended at six. So they would teach us how to do things. They were brothers, 3 or 4 of them. The one that was the cook, he had been there the longest. And then there was the other brother that kind of ran the whole thing. They had a restaurant, hotel, nightclub. At the nightclub they also had a swimming pool. So we could go swimming. They also had slots machines. You could gamble. I didn't go there but my brothers would. He would come in at 8 when we were about to change shifts and he would do the receipts. He (owner) had a son and a wife and 00:15:00they would come pick me up and take me back. I also set pins at a bowling alley. I delivered milk. Those are the things I did up until maybe sixth grade.

DM: When you went on to high school you said you moved to go to high school.

LG: Actually I moved in 7th grade to Birmingham. I was there for a year then to Tuscaloosa for 8th and 9th grade and then moved to Washington.

DM: And finished up schooling there in Washington?


LG: Right.

DM: When you were in school in the early grade levels, what were you interested in? What did you like to study.

LG: I liked social science and math. Math is easier for me. But I was one of those guys that didn't like doing homework. Math was easier for me until I got in the 7th grade and had to take algebra. So in 7th grade algebra the homework and practice, I didn't want to do. So I enjoyed social science. Probably my biggest one was social science. I feel in love with social science. That was my best subject. Up until 7th grade it was math, just not algebra. When you got to 00:17:007th grade and you had to take algebra.

DM: When you finished school did you go into the military or straight into college? When you finished high school?

LG: When I moved to Tacoma I meet a guy by the name of Brad Anderson. He lived next door. So we became good friends. He was a grade or two ahead of me. And he said to me, I'm going to show you what to do. He happened to be the most popular guy in high school. He was one of those athletes. It was a huge high school. On 00:18:00the first day, he took me through the cafeteria line and they gave him as much food as he wanted. So I didn't really have a clue so I hung out with him and met some more friends. He and about three or four of his friends, his classmates, went to a community college. They were into football, they played football. So he said he wanted me to come to this college. After I graduated I worked maybe a year then I followed him to the junior college. At the time, I played basketball and did ok in basketball as well as academics. One of the friends of the coach 00:19:00said they didn't have an African American player on their team and wanted to see one. So I ended up going to play basketball and did my undergrad and later my master's degree.

DM: While playing basketball?

LG: No, no didn't. I couldn't I had to be serious about school. The first year I had a child so I had to support my child. So I worked full time and went to school. While I attended college.

DM: You were a busy man!

LG: [laughing] It didn't seem that busy. I guess so.


DM: How did you decide what you wanted to study going into college and how did that transition for you?

LG: I started in business and then I had a friend who was in sociology and I loved sociology. I moved to sociology. Then Psychology and then back to sociology. You can change your major it's not a big deal. My philosophy is you start it doesn't matter where you start but you will figure it out as you go as 00:21:00long as you take the core courses.

DM: What about sociology catches you? that makes it so interesting for you?

LG: I think it is more a study of groups. Of behavioral groups. I think sociology is in my blood ,so to speak. Because of my parents and their behavior. My father being a minister and my mother being a teacher. I didn't realize it at the time but I see it now more. I see it in my kids. I think in a way I encourage them. I see them doing some of the same things that I did. So a lot of 00:22:00it, I think it is just there.

DM: It sounds like your parents both had very involved jobs interacting with people.

LG: My mother especially. I remember her whole life I never saw her get upset. She was always mellow, no matter what. She was very supportive. Very mellow. 00:23:00Never upset. And no matter what I did she was supportive. My father was, although I spent time with him not as much. He would move and we stayed.

DM: You said you were working, going to school and had your first daughter. Did you get married before that or did you have a significant other?

LG: We got married. The marriage was not a responsibility. But a child is a responsibility. I worked. Especially in summer. When I was in Jr college I 00:24:00worked for the railroads, there were a lot of those jobs in those days. Part of the time, was a conductor but not on the train. On weekends I would open up the station and wait for the first train to come. The other part of the time, I was a baggage handler. That was during the summer. I made enough tips that summer to live on. After I did that, the railroad had a lumber yard. And so this guy said he would show me how to put lumber on the train. So that was one summer, I 00:25:00worked for the railroad. And then one summer I worked for the post office. I collected the mail in the downtown area. Then on Christmas break I would work for the post office. It was kind of a central station in Tacoma that was Christmas break. This guy there looked at my arms and said "you've got long arms, I'm going to make you a sweeper." So then I had to work with these people that were sorting the mail, I had to go and reach in and get the mail from certain areas. I had to reach in, I was the sweeper. There were only two of us, and you had to constantly move. We were always moving. I didn't have a problem working.

Between junior college and Pacific Lutheran I was a sealer. Make sure seals 00:26:00where fuel would be were air tight. That was hard work. So I went back to school. Before I started school, there was a little hospital called western state. I worked there as an aid. For about three years. I stared on swing shift then night shift. That was probably the hardest job ever.

DM: What was challenging and what did you learn from the experience?


LG: The challenge was staying awake all night. [laughing] We didn't have to do much. We would engage patients in activities. Lots of cards and dominoes. We would take them to boxing matches. Strangely enough, I got along well. I had no problems, that was the swing shift. I would start around 3, I would work at night then go to school. At that time I was in grad school I had an assistantship. My first class was at 10, so I'd go home after work and try to 00:28:00get some rest and then I would teach sociology in the morning and take classes in the afternoon. Then work and do it all over again. I did that maybe a year and a half. Before coming to OSU. I came here in 72'. It was strange, I've told people I've been lucky my whole life. A lot of it has to do with skill and a lot of it has to do with luck. I was working, I met the football coach and there was a recruiter in the admissions office that also played football. We got to know 00:29:00each other and actually we did some recruiting together for the University of Washington who in those days was having problems with the football coach and African American players. I got to know the football coach extremely well. So when I applied to come here they had a doctorate in CSSA. I applied and I was going to complete my masters and the football coach came to me and said you will be going to Oregon State University for your doctorate. I later found out that the football coach was very close friends with the vice president of student 00:30:00affairs at OSU. Like very close. So I'm sure he got me into the program. And to get into the program you had to have an assistantship.


DM: So They sought you out to come here? To come to OSU?

LG: Well I applied. I made a decision that I was going to go here and I went to the library and got this book and it talked about the top five CSSA programs in the country for a PHD and OSU was in the top 5. In those days that program was mostly on the east coast. It was good, Penn state was number one. But we had an 00:31:00excellent program. I'm sure the football coach informed the vice president. He was in charge of the program (president), it was under student affairs. I picked that up later. It was luck.

DM: So when you got here, you started in 72?

LG: I started in grad school and you had to have an assistantship. They were for a year. So I did that for the first year. Mine was unusual. I was assistant night manager. I did that for a year. The second year I had an assistantship at 00:32:00the EOP. Things luck out my third year was 74 and I was hired by EOP and I was in charge of recruiting and I did that my four year.

DM: So the movement into the EOP, how did you decide to incorporate that into your PhD work here?

LG: I had read a lot about liberal learning centers. I thought that for EOP students, it would be a great opportunity for them. For them to live in the 00:33:00area, take classes in the area and have their counselors and advisors in that area. So I took a trip to Michigan State. They have some of the best liberal learning centers I think in the world. They did it partly because of the weather. They had at least four. One was science, one was social science. They had these dormitories. Students lived on the top floor. Or the top floor I should say. It was all students that majored in science. The second level they had an eating area, the third level is where they had classes and faculty. So they had to take one class outside the center but all the other classes had to 00:34:00be within the center. I thought it would work great for especially students of color. In those days students of color were a little hesitant to come to OSU. So I thought for that first year it would be good if they had a community. So that 00:35:00was basically my dissertation. That's what I did. When I saw Michigan State, I thought wow, this is great. I tried to replicate it, At the time it was so convenient. So I had a committee here at OSU, and I had a group of students. My control group was a group of students taking psych. Development. They were a class.

DM: How did the program once you got it off the ground and watched it evolve? How did that go?

LG: It went well. Look at the statistics. Not only did they do well, they got comfortable. One of the most frightening things about students of color is that many come from small rural communities. And they come to Corvallis and for them it is this huge city so to speak, OSU is a huge city. I talked to some students and they said they didn't want to leave the room to go eat. I didn't know where 00:36:00to go, so I just stayed in my room. That's really frightening.

DM: Absolutely.

LG: In addition to that we also started a retreat. The students get to know faculty and older students. We took them out, for the first few years we took them out, to a camp called Tadmore at the foot of the cascades. It is a beautiful area. But it is cold, it's September. They had individual cabins. They 00:37:00got to know each other and did well after we stared doing the retreats. In the first year a lot of them would be sick. I would ask them to give me just one quarter. If you want to go home after the first quarter I will help you to get home, but I want you to do all your homework, do all your tests do everything you need as a student. After that time, they wouldn't want to go home any longer.

DM: It was probably building a trust. A trust in you and the other faculty.

LG: You would be surprised at the small communities. I would visit the small communities they were very small. They had high school and home school 00:38:00consultants and they were the ones that would get the students to come to OSU. Then 4-H stated having a conference every year in Pendleton (OR) and they would invite us. This has been going on 14 years and we have been going every year. And what we've found is that there are many amazing students who haven't thought about college. So we'd go, we'd set up a booth. We took the opportunity to recruit. The first year I got a call saying we got this great student that wants 00:39:00to go to OSU. At the time I was on the scholarship committee and I said send me a transcript and after looking at it I said she would not have a problem getting the scholarship. They insisted on me meeting this student. I said, I don't need to meet the student, she has great grades. She just got her MBA by the way. Very 00:40:00bright. When I met her she, came to OSU, she was business. She came to school, but then her husband wanted to move. So they moved back to Pendleton. She was worried about her son. She wanted him to go to college. She was worried about him in high school too. She wanted him to go to Portland.

DM: Did you help to get scholarships for certain students to make their way here 00:41:00to OSU?

LG: They system did that, I just happened to be on the committee. We had scholarships for entering freshmen and some for transferring sophomores and juniors. We didn't have enough scholarships, there were just 6. There was just not enough for the freshmen. Transfer students had no problem. It was a struggle. Tuition remission helped but then they took that away. We fought for it but they took it away. They used it as leverage to recruit out of state 00:42:00students. We had a plan we developed over 6 months and presented to the provost and provost knew the people that ran admissions. The school is still a business.

DM: How did you transition? You were doing your PhD here then you transitioned into the director of the EOP program. How did you transition from a student into a staff role and then to a director role where you were overseeing everything that was going on at that time?

LG: Timing.

DM: Back to the timing!


LG: Yeah that's right. I became a staff member, actually a faculty member, in '74. When I started I was in charge of financial aid and recruiting for the EOP. And in '73 people were laughing. They said, "We need you in EOP." In '83, no '82, the director for affirmative action decided to take a leave-she was going to do some type of an internship-and so there was an opening for that job. I applied for that, and I got it for a year. After my year, the president said, (I 00:44:00can impress you)? to go back to EOP. I was starting to make trouble. [laughter]

DM: Uh oh, you were a troublemaker? [laughter]

LG: Well, you see, there were some things that were wrong. There were a couple things that were wrong. These were big things. And it was a big university deal. There were some students from Korea. They came from a different culture, and they were accused of... they were in business, they were military there, so the military sent them, and so they were accused of plagiarizing. In that culture it was okay to do that, and I tried to explain that to the committee-they, the people in business-please just give them a chance to retake the exam, and it wouldn't be a big deal. No, they were going to kick them out of school, and they were going to do all this other stuff. And so they actually came to me, and I 00:45:00investigated it and found out that they did not plagiarize, and that was a big deal. The university said, "You can't," and they were going to kick them out. But they eventually, all business, graduated with Master's in Business.

So the president came over and said, "You've created some problems over here, so you need to go back and work for EOP." So I said, "Okay." I really didn't have a problem. The truth is that I had wanted to go back to EOP anyways. But when I went back I went back as director, because the current director had moved to a different position in administration. So actually, she went on leave, and I was the acting director, then she came back, and then she moved on to a different position in administration. The president appointed me to the job.

DM: What do you think being in that role and being in that position, what were 00:46:00the challenges that you faced during that time?

LG: Faculty. Faculty was the biggest challenge. There were four, actually five categories of students that we wanted to recruit and support. They started with the poor students of color, older than normal students, students, students from rural areas, students who struggled in high school, and single parents. Those were the five groups that we were wanting to support, but often times faculty didn't really understand their needs, and the needs of those students are the same as those of other students, but those needs have to be met in different ways. And I wanted to know faculty, and I recruited one of the best math 00:47:00teachers, and I kept increasing the math courses, because he was doing such a great job and the students would go to the regular math classes and take those tests and didn't understand it and couldn't do it, but they came to Derron's class and he'd explain it and they would really get it and they could move on. And not only did I see that in math, but I saw it in writing and some of the basic courses. We called them developmental courses. These were courses that students had not been exposed to, they didn't know anything about it, they had trouble reading, had trouble with English. We could only give them 12 credit hours of developmental classes, so we wanted to start them at a four credit developmental class, which is why we called them developmental courses, but 00:48:00there were always road blocks with the faculty. And let me give you a very good example.

I had an outstanding math instructor, Michael Wilco. Michael Wilco was really good. So he created two math courses 102 and 103. Well, let me go back a little. We would give all the students a placement exam, we wanted to know where they should be, because we didn't want to put someone in a class if they didn't need to be there. So we created a placement exam, and depending on their score, that's where we put them. So we created Math 101, 102, 103. So say they started at 102, then they would go to 103, then to 111. We refined those classes. And so, Wilco taught Derron Coles how to teach math. And Derron Coles refined what 00:49:00Wilko had done. You really did well. And so, I went to the curriculum council and I said, I'm going to submit these courses and I want students to get credit. On the class schedule, it would be "development." So the chair of the curriculum council was also a member of the math club and he didn't want this. I fought him for about two years. Eventually they changed the chair of the math department. So we [the chair of the math department and I] had lunch one day, and we were talking about it, how the chair of the curriculum council said we shouldn't give them college credit, and the chair of the math department, who had his PhD from Princeton, said, "Oh yeah, we can do that!" So he was the best faculty member we 00:50:00had. I would email him and say "we want to teach this math course," and he would say "no problem." And Derron had actually gotten his PhD in engineering, but in order to know engineering you have to know math, so he taught math. The math program worked out well to the point where the math department is now teaching these developmental courses. They wouldn't do it back then.

DM: But now, it's so solid... It works so well.

LG: Right, it works well. There's an online place where you can go and Google any instructor, and they will show you how the students rank the professor. So I would do that with Derron-he was the best math teacher. He is still here in EOP. So that was the biggest challenge was math. The other biggest challenge was, 00:51:00well, English was okay. We had developmental courses, which they moved, so they don't do that any more. We also had a tutoring program where we would hire people to come in and tutor. Courses and scholarships were the biggest. We also had problems eventually with admissions, because we would advocate for students to be in, and we would show them everywhere, and these were students that had the potential for success, which was why we brought them here. We had a very good success rate with our students, not only getting in, but completing their degree. That was, often times, I don't know how to put it. Some of the faculty 00:52:00were like "I don't want you to be successful." They don't like that because, in my mind it tells them that these are groups of students you cannot serve or don't serve, that you can but you refuse to serve, then someone else can actually fulfill their needs and do it. And funding is also a big issue.

DM: How about on the other end of the spectrum? What were the most rewarding experiences and seeing the program through and sitting in the chair that you did, what was the most rewarding part of that for you personally?

LG: Seeing students graduate. Students coming back and saying, "Hey, I really appreciate what you've done-what the program has done." Seeing students come in and struggling initially and go on, and not only graduate but go on to graduate and professional programs. Now a lot of them are doctors, a lot of 00:53:00professionals, a lot of PhDs actually came through EOP. And we used to do (we still do I guess) a graduation and a banquet at the end where we invite all the graduates and their families. It would usually be the day before commencement. And that to me was the biggest thing. Students would contact me and say, "I'm doing great." I have a student who contacted me six months ago, and said, Larry, I've just been admitted to UCLA in the PhD program. I've got a full ride everyday for five years, and I appreciate you helping me getting here. I had to go lobby for her in the admissions office. She was living here in Corvallis, but 00:54:00was from India and she was young and didn't quite understand the culture here in the states. So she struggled, and she shouldn't have been, well she needed to get out of high school. But once she got here, she took off. And she wrote a letter to the president, and sent an email asking that OSU continue to support EOP. A lot of professionals have come through the program. Hopefully the program will continue. That's the only way to change things-to provide opportunities for other students.

DM: Do you have, like her, quite a few students who you've seen after what they've done after the EOP program, five years down the road or ten years down 00:55:00the road and does that feel rewarding to see where these people have gone with themselves?

LG: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. I did, they decided they wanted to do a retirement reception for me, it brought back some of the alumni, and they actually took a group picture, and I got a post card with every body on there, and there were these four or five medical doctors, they were two, twins, identical twins, I couldn't tell one apart from the other. They really wanted to go to med school, and they did well academically. And the University of Washington had a program, a summer program called MCAT. Not the MCAT. I can't 00:56:00remember what it was. But it was a summer program for kids interested in med school. The twins attended. That year we had three students from OSU go from EOP development. So at the end of the program, you take the MCATs. And so I saw them when they came back after the summer program, and asked them, "how was the summer program?" And they said, "Great, we did great. We enjoyed it." And I said, "How did you do on the MCATs?" "We didn't do well at all."

So I said, "what are you going to do?" They said, "we decided we are going to go to the health sciences university and we're going to work in a lab, and then we're going to reapply to med school." So they stayed there a year and took the MCATS again and reapplied to med school and they were admitted to two. So they 00:57:00went to the University of Washington med school, and they graduated and now one is in Boise, the other is in Seattle. So those are the moments. I had one student who actually had to go to Mexico because he couldn't get into any of the med schools here. He said in Mexico, what you have to do is, the way you learn the material is you have to become the teacher of a certain subject. Everyone has to do it. He learned so much, so when he came back after two years in Mexico, he was admitted Oregon Health Sciences University. He has thrived. He's a doctor now. So today, a lot of them stay in the area. Some of them just fight, fight, fight. But no one really gave them an opportunity. The biggest thing to 00:58:00me is opportunity and support. That's what you really need.

DM: How did you make the decision to retire from the position? How did you know that the timing was right?

LG: The timing was right but there were some other things that were involved. My family is spread out, my kids are spread out. Remember I told you I had one my first year of college? Well I have two other ones. One was born in 83' and the other was born in 86'. We were really, really close. At the time they were in college. They would come home from college and we would spend the holidays together. Christmas. And then they would leave and I'd say I'm not sure I want to go back. It was getting harder and harder. I knew it was time. The thing that 00:59:00really did it was a budget cut. There were 3 of us that were at the time to retire. I said it would be best. I told them I thought this would be best but I asked them what they thought we should do. And so I decided I would retire and I talked to the other two staff members about retiring and I told them that there are young staff members and if we don't retire these other people will not have jobs and that is wrong. And so we decided to retire and it was great timing. For me it was good timing! [Larry laughs]but it was good, it was good. Retirement is great.

DM: Do you consider yourself retired?


LG: I do.

DM: It sounds like you are still very involved.

LG: I am involved but I can choose. I still have a routine. I am involved with a couple things. I am involved with youth in Oregon. With the Oregon youth authority, which is involved with youth that are in trouble. So I do that, and especially for the African American youth. We were told five years ago that the African American Youth didn't think African American adults cared about them. And most of them are out of the court. Most of them have a leadership group this is at McLaren which is in Newport. They have a leadership group that would meet most of them there. There were four of us from OSU that decided we would start 01:01:00meeting with them. So, we've been doing this for five years. We told them if we commit ourselves to come here and meet with you than you will have to change your behavior; and they said they would. That is the biggest reward I think. Also we encouraged some of them to go to school. There were two that were released and came here to OSU. To me it is a big deal because some of them that are in there are so bright. And that is why they are in there because they are so bright. They are not challenged in high school or with the community. In many ways they are just sad. And I hate to see them go back to Portland because that is how they get into trouble. So I do that.

They have three facilities. Woodburn, McLaren, and Hillcrest. And then there is Oakcreek which is here in Albany. Especially Woodburn and Hillcrest, that is 01:02:00where I go to work with them, the youth. Terrell, the president for the board for minority affairs, he appointed me to that board and it only meets every three months. We've got a meeting coming up next Tuesday in Portland but that is a special one. They probably don't want me to come [Larry laughs] but I need to talk to them. So that is what I do. My kids are not grown up. My youngest is still at home with me. We do a lot; we see each other a lot. We spend a lot of 01:03:00time together. I enjoy that, it is a lot of fun.

DM: Where are your other children? Are they in Corvallis?

LG: I have one in Corvallis. My youngest is in Corvallis, my middle one is in Seattle. She works for the University of Washington. My oldest daughter, she is the assistant district attorney in Albany New York. Her job is really strange. Not strange. She is in charge of public integrity. That is her job. She investigates and prosecutes Politians and police. So that is her job. But she enjoys it. To me, it would frighten me [laughs]. But for her it doesn't bother her, it doesn't frighten her. She is just as comfortable as she can be.

DM: She must be a strong woman.


LG: She also was in the class of '88 at the air force academy. They changed requirements to get in, the physical requirements to get in, just after she got in. Before she was admitted you had to do chin ups and pushups. You had to do so many or you couldn't get in. and so I started going to Dixon with her and we would lift weights.

DM: You did, that is great!

LG: I got really big [laughs], but anyway her final and exam was at U of O so we would take her down there. The first time she didn't make it. Actually her first two times she didn't make it. The last time she finally made it but it was so 01:05:00late to start the academy so they sent her to prep school. She was going to be at the prep school and then to the academy. So she graduated. To me they were doing some really dangerous stuff. They would do this game that she was the enemy and they would have to go through this jack's valley. They would be out there two or three days surviving without any food.

DM: Wow, by yourself?

LG: Well there was others but no food and no water. And there were people trying to capture you! [laughing] So she said "I made it through it." [laughing]her area was security, that is what she wanted to do. So she would come home and she would bring her gun and she would tell the airliner "I have a gun in my bag." But she was okay. She was tough. Things don't frighten her like they frighten 01:06:00other people. She prosecuted police and politicians and anything. Now she is Albany, the capital of New York. So the legislator is there, the governor is also there. So she has to investigate anything with criminal intent. So Dixon, he used to be the governor of New York. The saying is that he used state funds so she investigated it. She called me on a Friday and said "look, I investigated, he didn't violate anything. On Monday they, the FBI indicted him. They investigated him for six weeks, nothing. Nothing there. Then she had to go 01:07:00investigate Peterson. He resigned as the governor. He did some bad stuff. But his was not that bad. He got some tickets to the World Series and the Yankees and he also testified in an abuse case for his driver. They thought he purged the stuff. So her boss said look, I'm not doing this. So then the attorney general said I'm not touching this either. So they got a special prosecutor from the New York appeals court who investigated it. She usually calls me on Sunday. So she called on Sunday and said I just got a call from a special investigator 01:08:00said she had to go to New York. She wasn't going to stress about it but she didn't know what it was. That is what it turned out to be.

DM: That would be hard work.

LG: She enjoys it. It is challenging for her.

DM: I can't even imagine.

LG: The biggest thing for her was this guy was making calls to his neighbor. And to others, only African Americans. Threating calls. They tried to get him, tried to get him but they couldn't. But they just couldn't. What happened is they thought they had him but they didn't. It was a call girl who identified him. So they got him. They found out that he was a police officer in New York City and 01:09:00then he moved to Albany and worked for the state as a lawyer [laughing].

DM: What a mess.

LG: It gets worse but I won't tell you about that. So she had to investigate that. There is always something going on in Albany, always something. Washington and New york have a prosecutor agreement that after some years she can move out 01:10:00to Washington without taking the bar again. But they moved out there about 3 years ago and she loves it. Her husband wants to move but she doesn't.

DM: She doesn't want to move?

LG: No, I knew she wouldn't. She enjoys what she is doing. I knew she would. It's good.

DM: Do you have any grandbabies?

LG: No, no grandbabies [laughs] not at all. My youngest two aren't married. Not yet. I told them they can't even move out until they turn 35 because that is when your brain in fully developed. I said that but they moved out anyway.

DM: It sounds like you get to spend more time with your family and are to see what your kids are doing.


LG: I have to go to Seattle otherwise my daughter would use all of her vacation time coming here. So I go up there to see her for some time. We have a great time. She has everything planned out.

DM: Yeah? She has a schedule for you two? That is great.

LG: I'm low maintenance. I don't need it. That is the thing about me, I don't mind being alone. A lot of people say I can't be alone. But I don't mind it. It's okay. Do you have any other questions? We kind of got off tract there.

DM: It is all good information. Are you married right now?

LG: I'm a widower.

DM: When did your wife pass away?

LG: Actually she passed away last June 14th.


DM: Oh, I'm sorry.

LG: No, no it's okay. She had been ill for a long time so it was something that was expected. She was diagnosed with MS about 28 years ago and then 10 years ago she had a stroke.

DM: Wow, that is a challenging disease to work through. That must have been hard to go through. I'm sorry you had to go through that. It is hard I'm sure. I guess that last question I have; we are doing this interview so we have this information as a permanent record of you and your life and history here and in the community. If there was some legacy that you leave here with OSU, what do 01:13:00you think that is? EOP contributions?

LG: I don't know.

DM: I know that is a really hard question.

LG: I guess for me it is the commitment to understand. A lot of students are neglected in school so you really can't expect them to come with the skills. So what I really tried to do was provide them with the skills and the confidence to be successful in life. I knew they would get their degree and I knew they would get their career but I wanted them to be successful in life as well as to give back to others. And that is what it is all about it. That is the only way we can 01:14:00really change things in the world.