Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Delmer Goode Oral History Interview, July 24, 1979

Oregon State University
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JL: I'd like to know when did you retire Mr. Goode?

DG: I retired by stages. When I was director of publications I had to retire sometime in the latter sixties. I'-m not sure the exact date. I could try to, well, it showed, I think, in the Who's Who statement which. I'll provide for you. I haven't been over to the book store yet. To get a...

JL: Yes, I'm going to get a copy of that.

DG: ...zerox. In my latter sixties which would mean in the 70's when I retired from full time and went on a part time basis and then that was a retirement from administration. I was no longer director of publications but I 00:01:00continued on a part time basis teaching in the Graduate School. A seminar and a workshop similar but separate offerings in college or university teaching and supervising and kind of, well, supervising with several other courses offered in the graduate school for a graduate minor in college teaching offered by different people you see but I was supervising that block that was called a graduate minor in college teaching.

JL: How has teaching changed since you were a teacher?

DG: Oh, I know it is always changing, of course, but not enough.


JL: Can you make some general statements about how it has evolved?

DG: Well, one great change has been the introduction of an audio visual aid...

JL: Ohhh.

DG: ... which didn't exist, of course, long ago in the kind that we mean. Of course, a blackboard is a visual aid and there's always been blackboards, I guess, and some other things and then I suppose there's always been some kinds of visual aids, oh, like charts displays and pictures and so forth.


JL: But that's the most...

DG: The audio visual is the most important thing I think. Yes. All right, then finally in 1973 my teaching ended, but I was still on part time, ¼ time editing the journal Improving. College and University Teaching, which I edited through 1978, just a year ago.

JL: And you've stopped that now?

DG: No, T haven't been completely retired until within just about a year July 1st a year ago was when I actually went completely off the payroll. I haven't had any more salary since then.

JL: That's remarkable!


DG: Yes. Yes.

JL: So you were 89 when you finally quit?

DG: Yes. Yes. Yes. I presume it was an embarrassment to the administration, President MacVicar and others because other people who were younger were retired period, and many of them didn't realize that I was only on part time and that it was something quite special. There wasn't anyone else available to be editor of that journal. As a matter of fact when they retired me professor emeritus not editor emeritus professor emeritus they sold the journal instead of getting someone to take my place. They just sold the journal so it perhaps wouldn't have been available if they hadn't kept me on to 00:05:00edit it or that's...

JL: How remarkable.

DG: ...my retirement extended from the latter it extended for quite a while. When I was 65, oh, no I'm wrong. It was in the 50's...

JL: [Unintelligible]

DG: ...in the 50's, yes that I was 65 so it was the latter 50's that I retired as director administratively and then it was part time until 1973.

JL: What did you...

DG: And then I was still [unintelligible] editing.


JL: What did you observe of the transition between Dr. Strand and Dr. Jensen?

DG: Well, the most notable thing was that Dr. Jensen was quoted as saying that he didn't he had never encountered an institution of the size of this, Of Oregon State that was so poorly supplied with administrative support. He meant for the president because President Strand had a dean of men and a dean of women and he had Dean Lemon, dean of administration and there were all of the other deans but they weren't part of the presidents, office excepting Dean Lemon. None 00:07:00of the others so they Lemon and President Strand practically had everything on their shoulders.

JL: Were they able to handle that?

DG: Not too well. That's what President Jensen indicated. He felt that things were that the administration was weak and he immediately enlisted some additional administrators, assistant to the president. That sort of thing and, of course, now President Mac Vicar has a whole floor full of assistants to the president and all that sort of thing. That's the main transition an enlargement of the administrative staff that was immediately assisting the 00:08:00president. President Jensen was a man I admired very much and he was interested in the journal and so when I interpret him it will be as a kind of a most favored person. (Chuckle) He before the faculty, once at a faculty meeting he spoke of the journal and referred to it as an international journal that has brought fame not only to its editor Delmar Goode...

JL: Ohhh.

DG: ...but to the university as well. He said that...

JL: How wonderful.

DG: ...and I cherish it. No one else has ever said that. By the way isn't it 00:09:00warm? We've got a fan. I thought of hooking up a fan. Would it make you more comfortable?

J: I'm fine.

DG: Are you?

JL: If you would like to go ahead.

DG: Well, I think I'll cool down... I'm a little warm but I won't mind that but we'll see if it'll cool off. That's about all I have to say about Mr. Jensen. When he resigned and was in the process of leaving (this isn't contact with him but it is with Mrs. Jensen who was a very cooperative friendly lady) and we were having a conference, a state conference, on the campus on college teaching to which representatives of many of the colleges and universities of this state came and during the registration period we had, I think, coffee was being served 00:10:00and at a kind of informal way so that any of them that on arrival if they wanted to go over to a table two or more of them and have a conversation drinking coffee they could do it and Mrs. Jensen took the responsibility of kind of hostessing that and while she was doing that, this was after his plan to leave had been announced, she asked me quite sort of bluntly, she said, "What do you think of President Jensen." And I said, "I count him a friend."

JL: Hmmm.

DG: That's the only comment I have that was very sincere. He was a friend.

JL: Well, during the time that at the end of President Strand's administration 00:11:00wasn't this made a university?

DG: Wasn't what?

JL: Wasn't the college made a university? Liberal arts was included as part of as a four year program, undergraduate study and we were renamed Oregon State University?

DG: Yes that happened, well, I'm not sure of the date when we got some kind of majors in the liberal arts field. It probably was under President Strand first and I know the, I believe, the change of name came while he was president. Yes. But, these majors were only partial. I believe the first ones were kind of area major's not departmental majors but we later got some departmental 00:12:00majors and now have much larger departmental majors. But not advanced degrees yet.

JL: Hmmm.

DG: And if we're to have a real full-fledged university type of College of Liberal Arts we need a graduate program. You can have, what we've got is the kind of program that you have in some four year colleges that either don't offer a master's degree at all or only an occasional one. That is their faculty offers some graduate work, but a University College of Liberal Arts should have if it's to be worthy Of its, name it needs to have a graduate program because 00:13:00the people that the kind of faculty you can attract scholarly type and so on will not come to an institution or stay in it that doesn't have graduate work in their field because that's what helps to keep them growing in a scholarly sense. So, we've got quite a way to go yet.

JL: That's true. In what way does this generation of students differ from the previous from your generation of students?

DG: Well, I think, I don't have any data, but, I think, that the level of student effort and achievement is higher and has raised has risen in the last 20 00:14:00years. That may be only a fond hope I can't support it. But, I really think that the general level of the student body used to be C average and I believe although there's been criticism that there are too many A's and B's being given I believe that a larger proportion of A's and B's to some extent are warranted because I think there is more achievement. The students are more dedicated to study than they used to be.

JL: What do you attribute that to?


DG: Oh, various criticisms of work as not being all that it might be. I can't discuss that very well without being kind of egotistical because I really think that I have been involved in a number of things mostly centered in Phi Kappa Phi but partly centered in college and university teaching that have in their way helped to raise scholastic standards but for me to say that I should say this off the record because for me to say it will seem presumptuous and maybe wrong and it may be seriously doubted by many and it may be that it's just a fond 00:16:00hope but, as I say, but I really think that the standard of studentship has improved and I don't take all the credit for myself but I think that I have helped in certain definite ways along with many other people, of course, and not merely locally but nationally there have been efforts to raise the standards of studentship.

JL: You don't think professors are getting too easy with the grades, huh?

DG: Well, that's been criticized now days. I used to in my teaching give lots of A's but I had a very select type of graduate student and I felt they earned A's. I wouldn't have been happy with them if they weren't earning A's so although I could have been drastically criticized as an easy grader and all that 00:17:00I didn't worry about it. I gave people the grades I felt they had earned.

JL: Are things generally getting better at O.S.U. or worse do you think?

DG: I hope better.

JL: But, are they?

DG: I think, that is, I think that I hope that faculty are expecting more of students as they understand students better. But, you see, I have been for 25 years editing this journal Improving College and University Teaching and for 30 years nearly 40 years I was teaching this seminar and conducting this workshop 00:18:00in college and university teaching and that could color my thinking in bringing me into contact with the most dedicated teachers of both the faculty and graduate students, interested in improving teaching and so on. That could give me a distorted and exaggerated impression of faculty interest in teaching. Probably has.

JL: Hmmm.

DG: Pleasant to have it. I'm glad I have it anyway. (Chuckle) Well, that's optimism.

JL: Well, what makes life worthwhile for you today as you're a retired person?

DG: Well, you know, that I am have finished writing a fraternity quarter century 00:19:00history and that has taken a great deal of my time for about a little more than three years and it has been demanding but also inspiring to write that because I am quite a fraternity person.

JL: How did you get involved in doing the history of Acacia?

DG: Acacia? Well, in the first place I was I belonged to a local fraternity at Moorehead. Moorehead State University. A local fraternity that's older than Acacia, still operating. It's called the Owls.

JL: Yes.

DG: Up in my study have various owls. An owl wastebasket and...

JL: (Chuckle)

DG: ...bookrack and some macramé owl and...


JL: Oh, my.

DG: ...things of that sort. Well, I became a member of that fraternity at the age of 17 and enjoyed it very much and when it celebrated its 70th anniversary in 1971 I went back to Moorehead and participated and then when it celebrated its 75tn anniversary in 1976 I went back again and participated and enjoyed it very much and made some friends. Much younger than I, of course, but they are a couple of fellows three real...

DG: ...and all and I never had a brother although I always wished that I had a brother. And when I went to University of Minnesota there were the Owls, of 00:21:00course, weren't there although there were a number of Owls in Minneapolis and St. Paul some of them attending University of Minnesota and others in various kinds of professional life in the twin cities. But, no Owls and I my father influenced me to join the Masons. After I had become over 21. You still have to be 21 to join the Masons and he paid my fees of three degrees. A fee for each and he paid my fees and when I got to Minnesota or got back there when I 00:22:00was first at Minnesota I wasn't old enough I was a sophomore and I; wasn't old enough to be a Mason but when I got back for my summer term work and then got there as a senior I had been a Mason for some years and I had learned about Acacia. Acacia is a fraternity that was established in 1904 whereas the Owls were established in 1901.

Acacia established in 1904 by a group of Masons at The University of Michigan who were interested in a fraternity, a Masonic Lodge is a fraternity, of course, of a kind. Not a residential fraternity but it is a brotherhood and the 00:23:00fraternities were not in very good repute, at that time, They were - there was excess of drinking among fraternity people and I guess in chapter houses and other forms of licentiousness so although these Michigan men all of whom were in their 20's, you see., they had to be to be Masons, they wanted a fraternity but they didn't want anything like that. Like the fraternities they were observing. They weren't all corrupt and drunken but there was too much of it and they made up their mind they would like to form. Finally thought about it and talked it 00:24:00a great deal and they decided they'd like to establish a fraternity that would be worthy of members who were Masons. Masons were, well, in England in a Masonic Lodge headquarters they may have a dinner proceeding it and serve wine or cocktails but in this country they, for instance, the Masonic Temple here ousted a restaurant that used to be operated in the location where Melhaf's Clothing Store now is, the lower floor of the Masonic Temple and they got a beer license and the Masons recognizing that they were against drinking made the 00:25:00restaurant either give up its license or move and they gave up their license to serve beer.

JL: Hmmm.

DG: But, that's an example. I don't particularly approve that. I think the Elks out here have a lovely Temple and they have a bar in it. Well, I don't know whether I'd like to see a bar in a Masonic Temple but I don't know that's I'd oppose it either. But, I wouldn't like to see drunkenness, and that sort of thing.

JL: Yes.

DG: Well, they wanted a fraternity that would be sober and a credit and worthy of membership who were Masons, and so they organized the Acacia Fraternity. They got the name Acacia from Masonic ritual. The word Acacia is an important 00:26:00thing in the ritual, secret Masonic ritual. Not a Greek letter one. They didn't particularly care to be mixed up or identified with the Greek letter fraternities because at that particular stage they were drunken and corrupt.

JL: Hmmm.

DG: But, of course, they have improved a great deal. The fraternities are in pretty good repute now, but, at that time they were in bad repute. For instance, actually, while I was at Minnesota sophomore I remember hearing about a fraternity house, not far from where the Acacia house was. I don't remember the name of it but they got into serious trouble because they had brought a prostitute into their house. Imagine!

JL: Ooops.

DG: That's an example of the things that had been going on way back in the 00:27:001904's when Acacia was established. That and Acacia started out with prohibition. Against anything like that and no drinking in the house. You could drink and be an Acacia but you couldn't drink in the house. You couldn't have alcohol in the house. That has been greatly modified now but for a long time and until fairly recently that was the rule. Well, they formed a fraternity with a great deal of modeling on Masonic tradition and even ritual. Not anything identical with it's a Greek - the Acacia ritual is a Greek ritual and it is a Greek fraternity even though it's not a Greek letter fraternity. It doesn't use Greek letters. It started out using Hebrew 00:28:00letters and then people got the impression that they were a Jewish fraternity and they dropped the Hebrew letters and adopted, since then, for the most part the name of the institution where the chapter is located. For instance, the chapter here is the Oregon State University Chapter and the one up at, well, at Washington which is in-operative, at present, but it was called The Washington Chapter, that sort of thing,

JL: Hmmm.

DG: And they organized the fraternity and, well, when I knew about it being a Mason and I used to pass The Acacia House and wish I could be a member and I had in mind that if I could be a member I could make a contribution because in the 00:29:00Owls by that time, no I hadn't yet, but I was already working as an alumna, an alumnus Owl in the direction of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Owls. I was quite active and I was editing a quarterly journal that we used to send out to them and actually that quarterly journal that I edited helped me was a factor in my being brought to Oregon State because E.T. Reed, who offered me the job out here, was a member of this Owl Fraternity and he used to get this quarterly that I edited and knew that I was interested and more or less talented editorially as well as in writing. So, I really wanted to be an Acacian. Well, 00:30:00the way they used the way Acacia at Minnesota used to rush was to have Masonic smokers because in those years you had to be a Mason to become an Acacian so they'd have Masonic smokers, they called them, and invite all of the Masons on the campus that weren't already members of a fraternity to kind of come to this smoker. They'd have several during the year. That was a form of rushing.

JL: Why was it called smoker?

DG: A smoker? Well, they'd smoke.

JL: Hmmm.

DG: They'd smoke.

JL: Not marijuana?

DG: What?

JL: Not marijuana? (Chuckle)

DG: No. Oh, no. Nothing like that.

JL: (Chuckle)

DG: But they'd have they used to pass out matchbooks, you know, with Acacia on them, that sort of. They don't do that anymore. I could show you two 00:31:00ashtrays that have the Masonic coat of arms on them that were given to me when I was attending national meetings. They don't give those anymore. They're soft pedaling smoking now but they didn't because they didn't realize that they shouldn't be encouraging smoking. Well, I didn't smoke but I went to these smokers and I remember before I knew about this rule against alcohol in the house, one of these smokers that I went to when it came refreshments time they kind of marched us all into the dining room of the Acacia House, the dining room was eight sided, an octagonal dining room and it had a big oval table that almost filled the room, you know, seating a lot and the table was bare of dark 00:32:00wood and then there was a glass, a tall glass of something, I didn't know whether it was beer or what. I feared it was beer and in those years I didn't touch anything. I didn't touch beer even. I've touched beer since then. I still don't like beer, but I what I believe that I had taken out an insurance policy which I later dropped on a basis of being an abstainer. I didn't drink because I got a lower premium rate on my insurance. So, I felt I shouldn't drink this if it was alcoholic and yet, oh, I wanted to be invited into Acacia and I didn't want to become conspicuous, so I but I had a kind of a brain-storm, but I guess I must have tasted it and I found it was cider.


JL: Aaaahhh. (Chuckle)

DG: Apple cider.

JL: (Chuckle)

DG: A tall glass of nice cold apple cider. Well, anyway in due time I was invited to join Acacia and I told them I believe I told them, "Let me think about it a little more. I'll tell you tomorrow." I could have said right away but I felt it was more dignified to take it under advisement.

JL: Yes.

DG: Let them know, that they weren't getting someone that were just snapping at anything. But, when the Owls asked me when T was seventeen I didn't do anything like that. I said, "Yes."

JL: (Chuckle)

DG: But I that was a gesture of dignity. "I'll let you know tomorrow." Well, I was duly initiated and all that.

JL: (Chuckle)

DG: Now you asked how I got what? I like fraternity associations and so 00:34:00forth... Not everything about fraternities. They're I don't think that fraternities are generally any more snobbish than other groups of people are although I have heard of snobbery among fraternities. A roommate of mine, a graduate of University of Minnesota, met a number of graduates once on the train. Graduates of Minnesota and they had common friends and they were having quite a good time but at some stage they asked him, what house were you in and he had told them, I didn't belong to a fraternity and he felt that they cooled off...

JL: Hmmm.

DG: ...in their attitude. Now that may have been that he was oversensitive I don't know but if so that meant they were snobs. They were friendly to him 00:35:00assuming that he was a fraternity member and not so friendly afterwards. But, I don't believe that is true. It's certainly not true on this campus because people are much more democratic here than on many campuses.

JL: Well, what are your goals for the future Mr. Goode?

DG: What?

JL: What are your goals for the future?

DG: My goals. All right, we'll forget about fraternities.

JL: (Chuckle)

DG: I finish this history. My immediate goal is fraternity, I guess, because I'm going a week from Thursday, I'm going to Boulder, Colorado in connection with this history that I've, finished to attend a meeting of the national council of Acacia. I'll be gone just three nights and our son is going to be staying with Mrs. Goode excepting for one night. We're in process of getting 00:36:00someone to stay with her that one night when our son (he's taking a short course down at Eugene right now and after that's over, a week from next Thursday night there's an outing up the Mackenzie or something like that related to their course but not required and he doesn't have to go but it's obvious he'd like to) he can't be here that one night and so we're in the process now of getting someone to stay with Mrs. Goode that night.

JL: Hmmm.

DG: But, I'm going to that. That's my immediate goal because that will be have part of the agenda will of that meeting will be to kind of what they call finalize the plans for printing the history.


JL: That's exciting.

DG: Now another goal is writing my autobiography. I've told you that I've started that. I've written the first paragraph and I have in my mind a number of paragraphs that will follow but I haven't quite determined just how I'm going to handle, for instance, this rather tedious thing of telling about my grandparents on both sides and my parents and my immediate family which you've got to get in somewhere but it can be kind of tedious in a first chapter of an auto-biography and so I'm not sure just how I'm going to handle that.

JL: Oh, I'd like to see it when you're done.

DG: Yes. You'll see what I've done?

JL: I'd like to see it.

DG: Oh, when it's done. Yes. Well, I'll be doing that but I've been kind of 00:38:00delayed. I mustn't delay it too long or I'll die before I finish it.

JL: Oh (said with shock)

DG: But, I'd like to finish my autobiography because I really feel, its part of my philosophy, every individual human being lives, his own life and it's different from anybody else's. Of course, some individual human beings live at such a low level that it would be kind of depressing for people to think of a life being lived at this level and that's, the way some people live. Partly the way they are and partly the way that life has used them. But, most people or I'd like to think that most people have redeeming features and special 00:39:00features in their living that are different from the experience of anybody else and consequently it ought to be of interest to other people to know how somebody else has lived. So, an autobiography ought to be a (Phone rings) a (Receiver set back down?)...

JL: In retrospect are there some things that you if you could go back in time you would have done differently if you had a chance?

DG: Well, my answer to that is that there are a number of things where I've made mistakes and done some things that I shouldn't have done. I've done my portion of things that I ought not. That I ought not to have done and I have left 00:40:00undone things that I ought to have done. (Said humorously)

JL: (Chuckle)

DG: Some of those things I would wish to change. But, in general I wouldn't care to live my life over because my fear would be I might not do as well as I have.

JL: Hmmm.

DG: That doesn't mean that I'm so smug about what I've done but I just soberly realize that where I've made some mistakes I could have made more and then where I've had some good fortune I might not have it and so forth and so I'm willing to accept my life as it has been rather than any wish to live it over.

JL: That's remarkable! You're a remarkable person.

DG: (Chuckle)

Mrs. Goode: (who had joined them earlier speaks up at this point and says,) "Yes, he is."

(Mr. Goode Chuckles again)

JL: Is there anything else that you'd like to say that I have missed?


DG: (Pause.) Well, I think a point I don't know how- I got that way but I although I've had my moments and hours and times of gloom and I've had some disappointments in life not merely selfish disappointments where I didn't get my own way or something of that sort but things that disappointed me people who disappointed me but in general I think that the characteristic that has been a great asset for me is that somehow I have an optimistic nature and I 00:42:00tend to dwell on the positive and the pleasant and not on the unpleasant or the hard (pause). It's illustrated in a little poem that Phyllis McGinley wrote. Very short. "The rose bug on the rose is ugly / So are those who see the rose bug, not the rose." And I...

JL: Hmmm.

DG: ...I think it's I'm more likely to see the rose and ignore or push aside the 00:43:00rose bug and so on and I think it's a great asset because it's better for your health to fill your mind with pleasant things and all. Instead of kind of hindering your metabolism, your digestion, even your mental processes to have distressful things in your mind. If you have pleasant things, constructive things and so on you're in gear then and I think I've been able to keep myself in gear a lot better than I would if I didn't have the temperament that I have which is an optimistic temperament and I'm glad that I have that and I'm able to help Mrs. Goode to keep in gear too. And you could take her now and if you want to ask me something else.

JL: I...

DG: O.K.