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Tom Kirch Oral History Interview, May 31, 2019

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CHRIS PETERSEN: Okay, today is May 31, 2019 and we are in the Valley Library with Tom Kirch who is retired now former director of Recreational Sports at OSU and presided over major expansions of Dixon Recreation Center. I will be very interested to talk to him about all of that but we will also endeavor to collect a more thorough review of his entire life story, so we'll begin at the beginning and I'll ask you where were you born?

TOM KIRCH: I was born in Seattle, Washington. I was the fourth of five children. My father was a builder, tradesman. My mother was a homemaker. Lived throughout the Seattle area most of my life until I came here to Corvallis.

CP: And your memories of community life growing up in the big city?

TK: Well, at the time Seattle was a bunch of neighborhoods, and so the 00:01:00neighborhoods were really like a small town. In the neighborhood I grew up in we knew everybody in the business area. There wasn't much I could get away with because everybody knew who my parents were [laughs]. So, it was around sport, school and sport, so we had playgrounds that were nearby. From an early age I participated in just about any kind of sport, any kind of activity that was going on. A lot of children in the neighborhoods. The block I lived on probably had 25 kids. Maybe good Catholic families I don't know, but there was a... you know, I enjoyed the interaction. I had family in the area as well, in the neighborhood, aunts and uncles and that kind of thing, cousins. A little bit as I came to Corvallis there were similarities to that. I sort of called Corvallis 00:02:00Mayberry West when I moved here and it was sort of that way where I grew up.

CP: Which particular neighborhood?

TK: I grew up on Queen Ann, which is just north of the Seattle center. It's where the three towers are. It's a very different community today, not a lot of children. Schools have closed because it's an expensive place to be, but when I lived there... I could actually go back now I could buy condos in my elementary school and my high school. But it was a different time. You could leave and come back whenever you needed to. It was safe and you felt comfortable.

CP: Sports were an interest from an early age, it sounds like?

TK: Yeah, it was. As a youth whatever the sport was, I participated. I wasn't 00:03:00outstanding in any particular sport, other than maybe running, but it was just the chance to play and compete. I enjoyed that.

CP: Would you say that was your primary interest as a boy?

TK: Yeah, I think so, until I started thinking about my future which was not sport. I think so.

CP: Tell me about school growing up.

TK: School was, you know I guess my school was also my friends and people I competed with and sports and all that. I did fine in school. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed history. I enjoyed writing. You know, I guess I think about elementary 00:04:00school. When I got into middle school we actually had a high school that had the middle school in it, or the junior high school. I was in this big building with 3,500 other students as a seventh grader. That was intimidating for a while until you get to move up, get to be a little older in school. It was interesting. I was ready to leave school. Sometimes kids don't want to leave high school because of their experiences. I was ready to move on and do other things. it was a little, somewhat sophomoric at times. Kids were who they are and not judgmental in a sense but I just found some things were just not as important to me as it was for some others.

CP: Was college something you always had in your sights?


TK: Yeah, I did, although it wasn't a history or a tradition in my family for people. I believe I might have been the second person in my family, extended family, to actually get a master's degree for example. None of my siblings went to college. A lot of people were in business, which didn't require college at the time or they were in the trades. There wasn't a history, so I was a first-generation college student. I don't know maybe when I was in junior high school I decided I wanted to be an architect. I worked towards that and actually went to the University of Washington as an architectural student out of high school.

CP: But that was for a short period of time, is that correct?

TK: Yeah, it was. I was called in by my advisor and had this conversation which 00:06:00isn't a very good one to hear this: "I've never had this conversation with a student before" [laughs], "and although you're doing well academically, we don't think you're made to be an architect." I don't think I had the artistic abilities. So, as we talked about it, well, maybe civil engineering, I could build bridges and do those kind of things. I ended up moving over into civil engineering and did that for couple of years and got a job in an engineering firm part-time and was working on freeways and that kind of thing. There must have been 30 engineers and I noticed that only 3 had tans, which meant that everyone else just sat in that office and did whatever work they needed to do. I was just too active of a person. It just wasn't something I thought I wanted to do. I began to look at some other things. At the same time, this is during 00:07:00Vietnam and I was drafted, so I ended up going into the military, enlisted and served for about 3 years during the Vietnam War. I didn't go overseas, so at that point I had a chance to think about what about the future and so I had some ideas.

CP: Is that an experience you'd like to talk more about?

TK: Well, it was interesting. I was at Ft. Hood, which is a staging area for Vietnam so a lot of people leave, and a lot of people would come back. When they came back they would have maybe a few months left in their duty and they'd hold them there. It just wasn't a very... you know these guys had gone through something terrible and then having to be there was not a good condition. I ended 00:08:00up going to Washington, D.C., I worked in a military college for most of my tour and that was a very different experience but also one that was impacted by the war and demonstrations and all that was going on. I was stationed right downtown in a small fort and you know. So I watched and saw all that take place.

CP: So, you were a student at Washington and you got drafted out of being a student?

TK: Well, I got behind in my credits. Once that happened, you're right in it. I got my draft notice. I was in school. Finished the term. Didn't get a draft notice again, so I continued to next term. I did that for about 3 terms until they threatened to just to pull me right out of school, so that's what I ended up being enlisting. I actually was going to go into the Army security agency and 00:09:00do language. That didn't work either, so you know it was a good experience at the time in my life from the sense, the point of getting away and learning about myself and maturing all that. So, I wouldn't trade that for anything, but it changed me for the good.

CP: Yeah. So you're a couple years in to your civil engineering curriculum at that point. You leave the academic environment. You're in the military and you're recalibrating during this time period.

TK: Yeah.

CP: How do you arrive at what happened next?

TK: Well, in the summers I worked on the playgrounds in Seattle, or in the community centers. When I look back at what I was doing I found that to be really rewarding, working with people, working in sport, a lot of other things that would go on with that. But I enjoyed that.


I enjoyed working with kids. So I begin to look around at what kind of an academic program I could find. At the time, there were a lot of programs that were really based on leadership experiences. I was looking for something more than that because I already experienced that. I was looking for more administrative, and also parks was of interest to me. I found the University of Oregon had a degree in recreation and park planning, so I enrolled there. They had a landscape architectural program as well as the regular architectural program. I enrolled in that. Being a little older at that point, and maybe a little more focused, I was able to design a little bit of my curriculum. That was beneficial to me in the sense I could gain some things around architecture and park planning that was of interest to me. I thought about then my career 00:11:00being in municipal recreation, you know park systems and things like that. That's how I ended up...

CP: So, the landscape architecture was a component of the recreation management curriculum? Or you were able to kind of combine the two?

TK: Yeah, I was able to take courses in that curriculum where there were some options. I did actually focus there a little more than maybe some other students did. That was attractive to me, because I knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.

CP: Tell me more about the U of O.

TK: Well, it was in the '70s, so they consider themselves Berkeley North and it wasn't as much California students as it is today but it was still a pretty liberal school, a big school from my standpoint although University of Washington was a huge school. Coming out of the military it wasn't necessarily 00:12:00something you wanted to tell people about. Our veterans weren't treated very well when they came out of the Vietnam War. So you tended to not be open about it. I had friends that were veterans. You sort of come together that way, but it was a pretty liberal campus so there wasn't as much of the angst I think that some veterans had when they came out and went other places, it might have been a little more conservative and not as welcoming. It was a pretty welcoming campus. Nevertheless, it wasn't something that you're out and about. Although the veterans' services were a huge piece of the student services there at the time because so many students were coming out on the GI Bill attending college.


CP: Were there any people or perhaps classes that emerge as being especially influential as you move through your program at U of O?

TK: Yeah. There were a number of them. Obviously, the park planning curriculum or the courses I took were very interesting. We actually had projects where we'd go into a community in Oregon and design parks for the small communities that were planning. So, we were actually going to some real live activity and then work with the communities and their input with their citizens about what people are looking for. We were sort of the consultants and we had a number of those experiences which really served me well in the sense of how to work with the public and what that was like. I never had those experiences before. That served me very well over time. I took a course about play, which I really enjoyed, 00:14:00about the value of play, what play is, why it's important. I think it's Jefferson that said something about I can work with somebody for a long time but let me play with them for an hour and I'll know all I need to know. In some ways, I think that's true. I found that to be really interesting piece of curriculum. You know, the recreation pieces were of interest in the sense of the administration of programs, and of course that... although they didn't have anything about campus recreation or collegiate recreation in the curriculum. They had 6 or 7 areas of emphasis but not anything about that, which is fairly new. I played in intramurals and did something things like that, but they didn't have a curriculum around the kind of experiences I've had at Oregon State.


CP: So, you mentioned intramurals. Were there other extracurriculars at this time period that were important to you? Maybe outdoor recreation?

TK: Yeah, it was. Outdoor recreation programming. They were primarily trips and that kind of thing. You get a chance to get out and see the area. One thing I enjoyed about that was that they were often international students or people from other areas of the country on these trips because they didn't necessarily have the where-for-all on their own to go out and do things. I found that really interesting meeting people from different places and I've always been curious about that. That served me well. That took me, I took that into my career, that idea that we're welcoming people, we want to make this an opportunity for you to 00:16:00feel comfortable and to learn. As I think back some of the best experiences were about that.

CP: This was also a period where running was really taking off across the country, and Eugene was certainly no exception.

TK: Right. Actually I was a runner, distance running, and ran in high school. Didn't really run in college at Washington. It wasn't in the cards for me. But when I went in the military there was a great deal of this kind of activity: recreation, leisure, build morale kind of thing. I did a lot of running and actually excelled even, distance runners tend to develop later. So I was in conversation when I decided to go to U of O with the track program there and got a chance to walk on. So, I was just having, I guess, maybe my first day, second 00:17:00day, I was just out running sprints around in the field and next thing I know Prefontaine comes out and he's running with 3, 4, or 5 guys and I'm running sprints and he's warming up and he's just passing me like I'm standing still and we ran the track a few times and then off he went with the guys. But I do like to say that I ran with Prefontaine [laughs]. It was a pretty exciting time when I was there. You know, but yeah and I was not at that level of a runner. In fact, had an injury that sort of just took me right out of it. So that was the end of that.

CP: Were you able to gain any sense of Prefontaine as a person or was it just a passing acquaintance?

TK: You know the thing I notice was there was some intensity. They were just 00:18:00warming up and you can see there's some intensity around him and a focus. I'd like to say I could run with him about 7 or 8 strides and that was about it, but it was, you noticed that. I've heard other people say that too. Boy, just really intensely focused.

CP: Did you work during this time at U of O?

TK: You know I did officiating things like that but I didn't... I went to school in the summers as well, took large credit hours so I didn't have a lot of time to do that. I wanted to get in and out, I was at an age where I wanted to get in and out and move on with my career, so I was taking 18, 21 credits a term. That pretty much took my time.

CP: Did you have a pretty clear vision by the time you had finished up at U of O? You went back to Seattle. Was that always the intention?


TK: Yes. Yeah, but my intention was to work in municipal recreation, so I got married a week after I graduated and then I started applying for jobs. There were two jobs: one was with the city and then I had a friend called me who I worked on the playgrounds with, said I got a job here at the University of Washington. Would you be interested in applying? So I applied at both places. The processes just are very long, bureaucratic. It was like 3 months or longer and finally got a call from the city offering me a job. I said, I'll call you back in the morning. I have to talk to my wife. Fortunately I said that because the next morning I got a call from the University of Washington and offered me the job.

So, I took that job but I'm not quite sure why: less mobility, less opportunity 00:20:00in some ways, less money. I had to explain that to my father-in-law. But it made all the difference. I think what I saw was an energy and an excitement about a campus recreation in a different way than I'd ever seen before where I knew exactly what the city position would look like. There you get to work from 2-year-olds to 100-year-olds. On campus it's a more finite group and that somehow attracted me, so I made that decision. That whole setting was new to me. I didn't, Washington had one of the very first campus recreation buildings in the west, big building and big activity. So that was all new to me. It was exciting, so I thought okay that's what I want to do.


CP: This first job was coordinator of sports clubs?

TK: Yeah, which I didn't know what that was. I was probably there about a month, month and a half and I went to the director and asked him why he hired me. And he said, well you know I ask you this question what's Taekwondo and your answer was, well, it's either a table game or it's a martial arts. He said that answer told me enough about you that's who I wanted. So, I learned about Taekwondo. It is a martial art. But that was fun. Sports clubs students; manage their activity and you help guide them. That was very interesting for me. I enjoyed that.

CP: This was a short-term job, though.

TK: Yeah. It just so happened, it's something about being at the right time and at the right place at the same time you're building a... what they call a 00:22:00waterfront activity center. What's interesting about this is that the boathouse at the University of Washington was where this operation used to occur in which there was boat rentals and that kind of thing. The book The Boys In the Boat is about that boathouse. I came in, we opened a new facility and then we had to manage the old building and clean it up after all these years. Fascinating to see some of the relics that were in there. So it just so happened that that opened up within a year of my starting my first job. About 50' from the shoreline my office is a whole wall of windows. Just a beautiful setting. But we 00:23:00started an intramural row crew program because heritage there, Pocock was around the bend. We could get some boats and stuff from them. We started an intramural crew program. We had sailing club, competitive club plus boaters. I think at one point there might have been 250 boats. It was a big operation, canoes and all the rest. That was a great position. We got a chance to have the intramurals be an opening race of the crew program that starts opening day which is the first of May. The first races were intramural races the first time. There's a cut; Montlake Cut comes like this and goes in and the first boat, the first race was faculty/staff went straight into the barrier and sunk [laughs]. If you've ever 00:24:00been there it's like 100,000 people. It's a fascinating thing to see. It's loud. The coxswain said, Gee I just got so exciting looking around I forgot to steer it. That was the last race we ever got a chance to run, too, but it was right behind Husky Stadium. It sits right there. It was great fun at the time.

CP: In 1978 you received a promotion?

TK: Yeah. So, then again, a person that was in a sort of assistant associate director position left and I applied and I had to think twice about leaving the Waterfront Activity Center. So, I moved into that role.

CP: It seems to have been preparation for all that came next. It seems like a big moment for you, this job?

TK: It was. It sort of morphed into the second in charge, maybe there's several 00:25:00associate directors. But because it was an operation sort of the hub of the wheel of everything you got engaged with everybody and got involved with some projects, expansions, development that kind of thing. I was in that position maybe 8 or 9 years.

CP: You went to school during this time as well.

TK: Yeah, I did. GI Bill, you know. So we were able to attend the University of Puget Sound. They had a campus in downtown Seattle. Got a degree in public administration. I thought that was the best supplement to my academic experience.

CP: Was there somebody who prompted you in this direction or was it your own decision?

TK: Well, I had a colleague, a friend of mine who was the one that called about the first job and we both attended at the same time. It was, it got a little 00:26:00intense because four nights a week, four hours a night. But it was a good experience. I did have our first child when I was in school so that was another factor, but good to get through that and have that degree.

CP: So, you have an interest in administration from early on, it sounds like, but this was a formal way of acquiring that toolkit?

TK: Yeah I think so. Thinking that as I moved up in levels of responsibility some of the work was going to be a little more broader or outside of the responsibility in terms of the program, interaction with others. You know one of the courses we took were public planning. Had you ever been in public planning that is a really interesting process. That really was helpful for me to 00:27:00understand that role and the interaction, how you manage those different emphasis of somebody's idea or complex or whatever, what strategies you might need. That was very helpful.

CP: At what point did you start looking for a different job?

TK: I got to a point, it was interesting. I thought that we were missing an opportunity. I managed maybe 60, 70 students in the operation of the building. I went to the director I says you know John I think we could utilize these students in a different way. I think we have a responsibility to them that we're missing. I'd like to do these things. He says, no, they check ID, they check out towels and equipment, they officiate games that's all they do. That's all we can 00:28:00ask them to do. So, I realized that I thought that there was more that we could do that the development of the student was what was missing, which to me would be fundamental to the work we do. If we're in higher education and people are growing and developing and this is a time of life which can be pretty impactful, we're missing something. I started looking because I realized that wasn't going to change and fortunately the position at Oregon State came open and I applied and knowing that maybe I didn't have all the experience they needed but I wanted the experience of going through that process, so I did. I was hired. George Stevens who was a long-time Memorial Union director hired me at the time that 00:29:00position reported to the Union. Coming to Oregon State one of the things I noticed on campus was I thought there was a care of students that I didn't see someplace else. Maybe it's a small-enough environment that you could see it or it could happen, but that stood out for me and that was one of the things that attracted me to the campus.

CP: What else do you recall about your initial impressions of the university and the town?

TK: Well, it was smaller than the experiences I had. So, I was at Washington for about 10 years. That's a very corporate environment. The campus felt like a small town to me. I met a couple deans. I did this. That would've never have happened at the University of Washington in an interview process. I got... a very positive. It was a smaller campus, of course. Nice community. The downtown 00:30:00was nice. In having two children, it just looked like it was a place that we could raise our children. That was reinforced as I went through that interview process and talked to people about that kind of thing. People were very positive about it.

CP: Let's get a sense of the Rec Sports department at the time of your arrival. It was much smaller than it is now.

TK: Yeah. Well it was interesting. Dixon, the original Dixon, was the second building in the west for collegiate recreation, dedicated. So, coming from the first one to the second was pretty interesting. Very small. But I was told what it was was a place for students to drop in and play, that we were really not programmers. We weren't going to do a lot of things but let them come in and just do whatever they wanted. So, it was an interesting building. You walk into 00:31:00a common hallway so you can look into all the activity spaces. Pretty modest building, considering. But for the size of campus it probably worked okay. And then I had colleagues throughout, so the grouping of the Memorial Union had a variety of various reporting so that became my set of colleagues and support system and the help for me that I needed as I came on campus. So, very welcoming.

CP: You're settling in and I'm interested in knowing kind of the landscape that you're facing, so the challenges the department is facing and your thoughts on what this department might become. You had clear ideas at Washington, now you're in charge somewhere else.

TK: So, small department, one other professional staff person, a support person, 00:32:00six or eight graduate students and then a bunch of students. The graduate students were sort of supporting what we might call some program areas: outdoor and sport clubs, there's a little bit of fitness, some operations. What I realized right away was well if these programs are growing and developing or we begin to look at risk and safety a little differently, then graduate students probably aren't the right ones to be leading. Very appropriate to support but thinking about outdoor programming and a student that's here part time may have some experience, may not. It was obvious to me that some point we're going to have to move and change in that direction. So, I looked at that and sort of 00:33:00planned out or laid out what I thought should happen over time, even sequencing when it should happen, not really worrying about the money but still looking what this might look like rather than sort of tick off, pull off one at a time and not realize where we're headed. So, strategically I wanted to be sure that we knew what we were doing. That's where we started and probably within a couple of years we hired our first outdoor person which allowed us to expand some programming opportunities because now we had some expertise.

CP: Who were some people that were important early on in getting you settled in and helping you to advance your vision?

TK: Well, Don Sanderson was the student activities director. Those titles changed over time but he was the one that actually was the contact person for me. My predecessor actually was very important to Don before I came on campus 00:34:00and so he was very well-versed with what was happening both for the campus, he had been here a long time, and within my organization. So, he was very helpful to me in guiding me along. George Stevens of course was as well. He had been on campus since the '60s so he certainly could help navigate where I could go. The person I replaced, Will Holsberry, remained on campus and was actually the executive director of our professional organization called the Intramural Recreational Sports Association. So he was on campus and was able to guide me as well. Finally, Charlie Fisher, who was the director of intramurals, which was housed in I guess it was College of Physical Education, they changed their name but at the time. He was a friend of mine that I knew from our professional organization. He helped as well. I had a variety of people around me that helped 00:35:00me and guided me and let me know where I needed to go or where I needed to be, how things were done. I think that accelerated the opportunities for developing that department because I had that help.

CP: Administratively it was initially housed in the Memorial Union. That is not now.

TK: No. George retired and then a couple of years after that because of the portfolio of that position, as a new person came in and replaced George. The portfolios tended to get, it was growing and got to be a little bigger than maybe needed to be or could be managed. At that point, Jo Anne Trow, who was the Vice Provost for student affairs moved my reporting to her. So that you know 00:36:00that changed in some ways what I saw and also a little bit of my job because her office was not very large and so directors were part of that leadership team for student affairs so there was work I had to do in that area as well.

CP: An iconic figure, Jo Anne Trow.

TK: Yes. Yes.

CP: Tell me about working with her.

TK: Well she, you know, she had a pretty clear view and if you were to ask her and she would tell you which was very helpful for me, but she wasn't one to come and tell you unless you were open to hearing it, which I appreciated as well. Of course she again could navigate through the system. She helped in a variety of ways as we began to look at building construction, whatever, she put me in touch 00:37:00with the right people and that certainly was helpful. Very supportive. She really believed in collegiate creation and what that meant to the campus and the value. She told me the story of before when Dixon opened up the instances on Monroe Street were cut in half. She understood the value.

CP: Let's talk about Dixon. I want to spend some time on renovation, but first can you describe the original facility that you inherited because it's very different now?

TK: Yeah. Well, when I first saw it, it looked like a stockade. It was just all brick. There weren't very many windows and there was concrete. Of course I'm coming from a campus that has a building that's 220,000 square feet and this is 35 or 40, so just the differences. One of the things I saw right away though was 00:38:00we had a weight room you could look from the hallway, which was a common area and you look down. You had to go downstairs to check in and go downstairs. You can look down into the weight room and just all the muscle stuff. It was before cardio and all that. I was talking to somebody and I said, I don't see any women. Oh, you wouldn't see any women down there. It was just not very open. Didn't seem very open. The gyms were packed with guys playing basketball or volleyball. There just weren't. Unless there was a fitness class or something, you didn't see a lot of women. So that struck me. But I think this was a time when women were wanting and in some ways not just appreciating but expecting opportunity and probably my first or second board meeting was a conversation 00:39:00about that. So that struck me. The floor was a synthetic floor, a poor synthetic floor, so it was multipurpose. Which was, you know, I understood why that would be done, but there's just a lot of limitations but a lot of space. The other thing I saw was there was a lot of room around this building. When I came there was one project already in the works, which was the aquatic center, which we would call phase 2. That was already set to go. It was actually architects were hired and we're moving forward when I came on board. So, the project included Steven's Natatorium, locker rooms, small meeting space. That' was that phase that didn't get done until about '91. So I came in '86.

CP: So five years of overseeing that project that was already set in motion 00:40:00before you got there.

TK: Right.

CP: Tell me about that.

TK: Well, so I'm new. What I know today is I would've probably stepped up and spoke louder about that project because I don't think that was the right priority. It turned out great. It's a wonderful facility. People use it. That's all that is. But I don't know if it was the highest priority. It was just the start of the fitness. I could see what was happening with fitness. We had two Tunturi bikes sitting next to a window down the hall and that was all we had with fitness equipment and I knew that's where we needed to head. But it was just too far along. It was approved by the higher education system. Nobody wanted to go back and undo something that was hard to get to begin with. So we moved forward with it. It was an interesting project. There was a deep well and 00:41:00one day the one wall caved in as it was being dug. So you do it. That was always a concern about well what's going to happen in the future. But it was well received, well-used. The swim team swam there. Some meets were held there as well for over the years. Not that it was the wrong thing, it was maybe just not the right priority. But learned a lot about the process that helped me then plan for the future.

CP: Why is it the Stevens Natatorium?

TK: Well, George Stevens was a very strong supporter of collegiate recreation. In fact, it was under his watch that Dixon was built and so as we began to look at his legacy, what we could do, he was not a collegiate swimmer or anything like that, but I thought it was a board decision, our advisory board made that 00:42:00decision. There's a plaque there but I always suspect unless people see the plaque they don't know what that name means at this point.

CP: The question I originally had was to ask about the earliest conversations about renovations, but clearly conversations had already been occurring before you got there. Were there parallel conversations about what eventually became phase 3 or how does that start to bubble up and manifest?

TK: Well, we did a lot of evaluation and assessment of what we were doing-used numbers, feedback. We looked at what was happening nation-wide in our field and it was clear that we were falling behind in the sense of how we were serving our students. We wanted to be sure that we had a good foundation to that 00:43:00conversation and good analysis of where we were because it was going to be a story that we had to tell and somebody else was going to make those decisions. The funding for projects like that were through what's called comingled student building fee, which all state schools paid into and then the chancellor's office divided out to different campuses, different projects. So we knew that we were going to be in a queue, and wait. Not only that, but we had our own projects on our campus that were competing for the same dollars. We had to work with colleagues. I had to build allies with my colleagues who were also seeking those dollars so we could maybe align ourselves somehow. I didn't want to be in conflict. That took a while. Over time we did small projects with indexing with our own resources to fill in a floor so we could have two floors and did some 00:44:00things like that as much as we could to increase the utility of the space. Then at some point we get on the list and that's somebody on our campus submitting a list and then we move up the list and then it's our turn. At that point, the money that we thought we needed back then of course is not, so now we need this amount of money. And in teams. This is interesting how it becomes competitive within campuses, particularly with the U of O campus and so the U of O got somebody to expand their building and so all of a sudden, oh, I guess we should do ours too. And so once we got to that point, then the conversations got much more serious about exactly what this would look like. The money that we needed to be more.

At some point somebody was able to identify additional dollars. I think around 00:45:00that time the fee itself was increased, so get more capacity, and the big schools supplemented the small schools. The small schools could never generate enough of these building fees to do projects, so we don't 100% back, we get a percentage of that so other schools can do things. Then we were able to start looking at this. Now the field of collegiate recreation is changing, so now we have all this other information that we can bring to the table as we begin to look at this. Touring other campuses. I was involved with our professional organization, so I would go to campuses for conferences or whatever and so I would see all the things that were happening and was very attuned to that evolution of the field. Then we sort of have our wish list and we have our money 00:46:00and we try to put the two together and I think we were pretty successful.

CP: Tell me about the priorities from that wish list. You've isolated some specifics, some areas of need, you've been around a bunch of other places and you have a sense of what could be done.

TK: Well, certainly fitness. Certainly first looking at what population we had and how we could serve the entire population. Fitness is certainly one, both for having cardio equipment or weight equipment that all users can access and use in a friendly way. Spaces for activity: multipurpose rooms and classes and things like that. We need more gymnasium space which then could expand into other activities in which more students would participate. Just getting volleyball, badminton other sports like that would be important. We wanted to open the 00:47:00building up in a way that was more friendly. We made a west entry atrium, that kind of thing. We had administrative spaces we needed to address. At the same time we had developed what we called the health-fitness connection which was a collaborative effort, an integrated effort with student health and at some point with counseling and so we needed to build space for that. So we brought in physical therapy. We had athletic training. We had sports medicine. We had nutritionists. And then we had fitness staff. Those people were all housed in pretty much the same area. The idea that this was, it wasn't just being a tent, it was about integrating the services so a student can come in and say I want to run a marathon, I think I may have a problem my leg, who do I need to see. Well, you probably need to see a nutritionist, you might want to see an athletic 00:48:00trainer, maybe sports medicine. But it was an idea triaging and then having the services brought. It was a unique program. It was a unique service. It was what I see as a best practice and in fact at the time a very real practice of integrating a lot of people housed together but they're not integrated. Same thing with counseling and exercise and therapy, you know exercise is science and is medicine. All of that was coming together at the same time. We built into the building the capacity to offer that as well and to actually expand it.

CP: Were there pieces of the wish list or the vision that did not get implemented?

TK: Yeah, we didn't really do too much with our locker rooms. They were small, tied right into the center of the building. We did add climbing and outdoor but 00:49:00in that effort we really didn't do all that we wanted to do. The outdoor requires space, storage, equipment, all the rest. So there were things we couldn't do in that area. We wanted to do a multipurpose court, which is you know rounded corners, play indoor soccer, a variety of things like that. That didn't work either. We didn't get as many multipurpose rooms. We had to actually take one of the rooms we designed to put all the cardio equipment in so we lost some of that. The weight room wasn't large enough from the get-go, which is typical to these buildings. When you open it it's all of a sudden not a big enough. All of a sudden people are there no question that if you build it they'll come.

We saw that right away and so we continued to collect data, evaluate, assess, 00:50:00and begin to think about the next phase, whatever it might be and what it is that we might need. The building needs to be built in such a way that spaces can be repurposed as interests, needs change which we were able to do to some degree, but the old part of the building was all bearing walls. You had racquetball courts and every wall was a bearing wall so trying to renovate would be difficult but for the new part, that's how we built it. And very open. In fact, one of the things we did is it's a passive solar energy system in which we pull air in from outside at night and can come through the building out the gym room up on the second floor and so we don't air condition the building other than the very defined multipurpose rooms. It's a very good environment and so 00:51:00one of the things we wanted was this health and well-being was a tag line. How do we address this health and wellbeing? Well, the building itself needs to be that way and so over time I've heard people say it's like the healthiest building on campus. I mean, not only do you do the things that you would do in a healthy building but the building itself was very well-designed and very pleased with how that all worked out.

CP: What are your memories of the period of actual construction?

TK: Well, one vision comes to mind. So, it's raining out and of course we have torn down part of the second phase hallways and that kind of thing. We had a container, big containers. We had two of them put together. There was a hallway to get from the building we were using to the equipment issue and locker rooms. 00:52:00One day I come up to the equipment issue room and the person's holding an umbrella as the water's coming down from up above which is they're working on the roof, or the second floor, and there's the umbrella. It was pretty hectic. We had to move around the building jack hammering on the ceiling above you. That kind of thing. The outcome of that is that some of the offices had to be in big spaces and they just divided them up and so people had to come together. They built their relationships that were better. They collaborated better. It was interesting. I thought, oh, maybe we could just leave it that way but it was not something we thought about. We just had to keep changing and adjusting to get around all the construction. It was very accommodating. Everyone, users, 00:53:00recognize. They'd come to one wall, one front of the building, and they got to go to the side to enter the building and then go to the back. That sort of happened from week to week sometimes. I had been in construction projects, so I recognize that. But it was also a renovation of a building that brought its own challenges. But we managed it. The architects, the planners on campus, the construction company they all had to come together to make it work.

CP: What do you remember about the unveiling of the building? Its dedication and its early use? It's such a dramatic transformation.

TK: Yeah. Well, we did it upstairs in the gym and I was just surprised that so many people wanted in, interested in seeing it. The dedication was a little bit 00:54:00after our opening but I was surprised to see the variety of people: faculty, some deans, administration. And somehow the people were just curious about this and that I interpreted it as well they saw the value. They see what is happening here they wanted to be sure that they could share that information to people, students, whatever. But I was very pleased with how that came out. Some of the people that were gone off-campus and came back were there: Jo Anne Trow and others who had left campus and so that was great to see. I think they really appreciated the fact they could see that, and it was clear in my comments was that this started long ago. It was generated by, you know, here these people ten, fifteen years ago. It was a, those are always nice events.


CP: These days recreational sports facilities are part of the recruitment package for students. There's an emphasis placed on them to try to attract more students to your campus. Was that part of the conversation back then or did that emerge later on?

TK: I think that was in the conversation. I think our professional organization had done research around that, both in recruitment and retention, that that is a factor in students making decisions. That plays out financially, of course, as you recruit students, but certainly retaining them rather than having to go find new students. Part of that also is the experience. For me, we know we're on a 00:56:00tour. There's three buildings on campus and nobody's going to miss we're one of them. And then seeing this in the summers with the orientation, not orientation but recruitment groups that come on campus and then in the fall with orientation and the families that come together and what you see and hear and talk about it. It certainly is a very important factor. But I think the thing that along with that that I think is so important is the health and wellbeing. It's one thing to recruit but it's another to influence and develop. I think that as I mentioned coming to Oregon State, was something that I had always been thinking about. It wasn't necessarily part of the conversation of our professional organization at the time or with my colleagues across the country but it is now and it is now 00:57:00fundamental piece of what collegiate recreation is all about---is health and wellbeing and you can think about that in all kinds of different ways. That's why the building that's so important to us, the sustainability in the building, how it was designed, there was nothing left for chance from that design or from that conversation. We spent a lot of time with architects about this and then they began to see what we were talking about. So, although there is great buildings across the campus, across the country, done better only because every building gets to use the benefit of the previous one to build. I see designs of our building in buildings across the country and people see... that's a 00:58:00conversation I've had with a lot of colleagues. What went well? What didn't work? You get to share that and that gets better and better and better. That advances the field.

CP: Were Langton Hall and the Women's Building part of your portfolio?

TK: We used the facilities but we didn't manage them. When I came the structure of Recreational Sports and intramurals was a separate function of the college. It was part of the budget but, and we worked very closely together. The advantage was that the director of intramurals also managed all the facilities. So he was able to keep the priority there in the sense of intramurals having space for basketball or whatever events that they were putting on. That worked very well until Dixon was built and when Dixon was built that unit moved over into our building and became the whole department. It was important because 00:59:00without it we couldn't have done the programming we do.

CP: I want to ask you about a few other facilities projects that you directed, the first being the tennis center enclosure.

TK: Well, the tennis center was built as just a covered space prior to my coming here but what we noticed was any time it rained at least one court wasn't available. The rain would be coming from the west. So, we just began to look at what can we do to enclose this and finally we just, we did a little bit of work at one point and then we finally found enough resources to enclose it. Didn't do much more than that. We didn't heat it. But it turned out to be, the utility of that space became better. They're just four indoor courts, the outdoor courts were old courts built by the WPA back in the '30s, so they weren't in very good 01:00:00shape. But the tennis pavilion was.

CP: So, it was a roof with no walls?

TK: Yeah it was and a chain-link fence. Behind there were just boards, boards for a backdrop to hit the ball on.

CP: The outdoor challenge course?

TK: Well, we... through our outdoor program we were doing a variety of things. One was sort of a challenge program, low-ropes kind of thing on the ground, facilitated group activity. We thought that there was an opportunity to do high ropes which was developed out by the wave tank and had now been expanded a couple times. So it was a very important piece of what we call the Adventure Leadership Institute, which we were training students to be outdoor leaders. Part of that program was in the academic side of the college and then we also do 01:01:00our practical skill development as well. That was a very nice addition to and adding or expanding that outdoor adventure opportunities.

CP: I'm very interested to hear about the renovation of McAlexander Fieldhouse, a very old building which was not built for the purposes that it's being used for now.

TK: Actually that building became the first student recreation building in 1972 when students in I think athletics and maybe the college put money into repair the roof and put a concrete floor down. Prior to that it was dirt and I think they had horses in there. Athletics used it for some activity, for track. When I came it was just, that's all they did. The windows were boarded up. There was a pole vault pit in there. There was 2 batting cages at the end, just wire mesh. 01:02:00Then concrete floor. Basketball courts that went. The basketball courts were under 2' long [laughs]. So, it's where the baskets came down I guess, I don't know. We did a referendum and students passed a referendum to do two things. One was renovate McAlexander Fieldhouse and then to build what's now called Student Legacy Park. The whole idea of the fieldhouse was we wanted to restore it historically and I think that might've given us a few extra dollars. We were able to go back to the original drawings, the windows, the doors all that are original. The inside, though, is designed for multipurpose activities, one being a major climbing facility. We have some turf in there, netted, so you can play 01:03:00soccer or whatever and then a couple basketball courts. We have a classroom, restrooms, a variety of other things in there. I just thought it turned out great. I mean we had to work with the city because of historic conditions of it and it turned out to be very helpful in the programming and meeting of need, particularly when we closed Dixon to do renovation and/or maintenance we could keep that open. That climbing wall was designed for instruction, that more so than the one that's in Dixon, and the backside is all bouldering, which can be done without supervision. It's designed so you can't get too high. We got cameras on them, but that turned out really well. The design of climbing walls are interesting because you got climbers and everybody has these ideas but the 01:04:00company out of Central Oregon did it, Entre-Prises. Turned out nice. So now we have two facilities that really gave us all kinds of utility to the program.

CP: And you mentioned Student Legacy Park, a tremendous success.

TK: Yeah. We had a footprint, of course we have the curbs all the way around, and we brought, when the architects came in we said, well, we have a tennis pavilion that's all we got here. We are going to keep that. So, they did a great job of maximizing the usage of that. We wanted to have multispaces. We wanted to light it. We wanted to have some central location, restrooms and sort of the program area, plaza. We also wanted it to be softened.

We wanted landscaping. People were concerned when we began the project was it 01:05:00going to be piece of grass out there, or turf, it looked green. It's all synthetic because it gives us the utility of seven... you know, throughout the day, the year. You don't really like grass fields in the northwest because you can't maintain them, because you just plant them too long. This just gave us all kinds of opportunities and at night, I mean it is the focus of campus. The lights are out the students are... I looked out there one day there must have been 8 or 9 sports teams play, just pick up here and there. Just what we wanted. Running track around it. The feedback we got was just very, very positive and my feeling is that it's another sense of health and wellbeing in that. There's care 01:06:00that's given. Each and every piece of that was important to us to build. So, we called it Student Legacy Park because first of all students pay for it. Second of all, a student presented this to me, we wanted to make sure it's going to be ours forever, and it'd be pretty tough to come in and say well we're going to take away your park to build something on it when it says Student Legacy Park. In fact, I saw the president, he was at an even in our building, and I came up to him and he was looking and said it's great. I said well you know students are trying to figure out names. He says, what do you think? I said, well Student Legacy Park. He looked at me and said, yeah. I said, well there's a process you got to go through. And he said, [waves hand dismissively]. I don't know if it ever went through any process because it just came out and said it's Student Legacy Park. It's a great testament and legacy of students of what they can do 01:07:00and we had the three students that led that referendum were evolved all the way through and of course they were there at the dedication. It was special, very special.

CP: Well, we've talked a lot about facilities. I'm interested in learning more about programming and the things that you brought about or came about under your watch that you're particularly proud of.

TK: The first thing, and this was early on, is this idea of student development and it evolved for me because there wasn't really conversation with colleagues around the country about this. I remember early on in my career and once I was at Oregon State and in our professional organization presenting at a conference about this, that I didn't think we were recreational sports professionals, I thought we were educators and that we just had a different platform than 01:08:00everybody else, which in some ways is more compelling. I was met by stares. People were just, what are you talking about? Through that we developed these opportunities for students. Anytime that we were going to develop a program we needed to see what that would look like for students who might be delivering it or how would we support them. The idea that they deliver is part of their development. It's an economic question, but I think it's this idea that give people this compelling opportunity, this learning environment that would be important for their development regardless of what they do in life. There's so many transformative skills I think that happen that we always looked at that. First of all, it was just this hiring students to do the work that they do but 01:09:00put a different lens on it. It means that we raised the level of responsibility and accountability. There's a risk that comes with that but I always felt that we were in a safe environment and risk was okay. Risk was encouraged in the sense of you don't get too far if you don't take a risk and so we were able to do that. Thankfully, Jo Anne Trow, Larry Roper, others were in that place that allowed us to do that. So that was important. In some of the programs that we developed, first I'd say that Adventure Leadership Institute, very unique development of a program of opportunities, a very compelling learning environment.

It's not only a best practice but it's a rare practice in that now schools 01:10:00across the country are emulating that program. We were very fortunate to be able to work academically so students could get credit for some of this activity as well as having expertise within our department or bringing in part-time people or whatever to do some of the skill development. We used national certification programs like Whitewater Rescue and Swiftwater Rescue kinds of programs that our staff are trained to deliver. We were in a great environment for that, just exactly the place we need to be for this kind of program. That has recruited students to the university and it has retained them and they'll tell you. I hear that all the time. That is a very important cornerstone to our program. We 01:11:00developed a safety program. We hired we think the first safety professional in our profession at Oregon State to do a number of things. One was that we had a high level of requirements for training for all of our employees and we found that we couldn't get it delivered in the community so we had to do it in-house so we brought somebody in and that person then hired students and trained them and got certified to then do the training for everybody else. We became the trainers for the campus. So we trained student health for whatever requirements they had. That person also, we started an audit program for our employees so we could audit their skill set to make sure they were ready. We also, that person was the third-party investigator for all injuries. So, we could evaluate 01:12:00injuries and determine is there's something in the condition, the environment is causing something so we could address it quickly. That position was very important to us, in a sense, again, in the health and safety of people but you know there was the opportunity to train students to be the trainers. They did a wonderful job of that. Our fitness program built and grew just as all across the country, the variety of programs that were offered and as we had more space and we could do more of that. We always would find that we are at capacity. So trying to add more we might have to take away something, and those are always hard decisions. The program, the intramurals and sports clubs have grown just 01:13:00naturally by the interests that students had. Sometimes they wane depending on what interests the students have. So, the sports clubs can be pretty competitive and might not be as competitive because of the nature of the students that are there but they get the chance to make decisions about how that moves along. That program has 800 participants, something like that. We probably offer more events and activities and athletics in the sense that most of these are competitive sports, so there's that level of management that we have but good experiences for students, for sure.

CP: I gather that diversity and sustainability were points of emphasis as well for a lot of what was happening during this time?

TK: Yeah. We would continue to evaluate what we were delivering, where the gaps 01:14:00were. You know sometimes we think that everybody should participate but they don't, nor want to nor need to. We might not be the only outlet for them to get that experience and so we spent a lot of time working with the community to ensure that we knew what was out there available so that we could be a resource for students who are looking for something. Boxing's a good example. We frankly had nothing to do with boxing but we had students and martial...I remember marital arts and the variety of martial arts and the competitiveness and stuff you see now on TV and all that and students wanted to form those groups. We just didn't think we had the expertise to do that. But we helped them find the places in the community that was doing that. That worked out well.

CP: You managed a large staff and I came across an article that referenced your 01:15:00philosophy of appreciative leadership. Can you tell me about that?

TK: Well, it's a nuance, I think. It's an approach to the work. So, it's simply changing the lens a little bit. What I learned over time was initially I'd be looking at what was wrong and fix what was wrong. But in appreciative leadership when you're dealing with somebody you really look at what is right, what are they doing well, what is their passion, what can we build off of and enhance and support than worry about what is here. It's such a negative approach. It doesn't take much to change that to be asking and inquiring, asking something in this 01:16:00positive way rather than in this negative way. So, the depths of somebody's passion is going to influence the level of their vision and what they might think of for the future. That's a different approach. I think it brings out the talents of people, certainly if there are some deficiencies you can address those but they don't need to be the focus. If I've evaluating somebody I'm going to talk about 10 things that are good and I'm going to talk about a couple things that we might want to work on to improve. But this is where the important conversation is. As a leader, that's what you want. You want people to be taking those ideas. I can't influence somebody's passion. I guess I could influence it 01:17:00in a negative way if I approached it that way, but I think I'm a facilitator and all the things that we talked about came about from a collective, from ideas that came together. I had no one vision or idea necessarily. Everything evolved and moved along as people were negated in it. The results are of course much greater than one person or two people. That built a very positive, effective department. We were seen nationally as a model, not only because we had some unique programming opportunities and all that but because we had this staff 01:18:00right down to students that were fully engaged. Maybe that's the proudest thing that we've done, is that we attracted people. We were doing searches and people are coming to us because of what they know about us. Our field is pretty small so that network is close. We have graduate students looking for jobs and I'd tell them okay you know look at our full time staff, I bet there's a connection somewhere to some school, any school, that you might be interested in. There's something. There's some way that it comes together. So, having our professionals who were also engaged in our professional organization certainly helped that. Because you're out in front of it.


CP: Do I understand that you have a connection with Benny and Bernice Beaver?

TK: Yeah, so when I came to the university this was not something that was shared with me in my interviewing but I showed up and maybe the second day I'm told that I'm also the advisor to the cheerleaders and Benny Beaver. So, I don't know Benny Beaver nor do I know cheerleading. But I'm the advisor. Then I find out that somebody has given money to build or have new costumes for Benny. Now Benny at the time had a little helmet, sort of a mask I guess, and then just wore clothes, logging clothes I think it was. And the head was like a matted shag carpet. It got all wet. I mean it was just awful.

So, I went to Athletics and said, well, I got this money do you want to... nah 01:20:00we're not very interested in doing that. I was able to gather some people together and we went out to these companies that build these costumes you see them today and we designed Benny Beaver. We had to design him so we ended up with the happy Benny Beaver. You may or may not remember that. So, the happy Benny Beaver, of course we only spent half the money so we invented Bernice. So we had Benny and Bernice Beaver. The idea was well we weren't very completive in football but at least the kids would have fun at the games. So that's how it happened. So we got the costumes and as it turned out I was the first person to wear the Benny Beaver costume and that was because we did not have yet somebody selected. We ended up opening day a rental truck and we brought it down the ramp 01:21:00and Benny and Bernice came out of the stadium and availed themselves. So that was fun. It was, I don't know how long that lasted but I guess until maybe 10 years ago when the angry beaver came about. I think that story's lost in history. I don't think people know exactly what happened there or why we had Bernice. We almost had a little beaver, but we didn't quite have enough money for that. Then we thought well we'd have to get kids and that's a whole other issue. Yes, maybe that's my legacy here at Oregon State is Benny Beaver.

CP: Well, and then Bernice did go away at some point.

TK: Yeah, she did.

CP: Do you know why?

TK: No, I don't. I don't know. I was asked to... my first year here we went to 01:22:00the community parade, Christmas parade, and both Benny and Santa Clause were there. Bernice wasn't for some reason. Of course, we don't see that anymore. But, Bernice I think just when they went to the new costumes I assume they just got rid of one. It was a secret. People didn't know who was Benny and Bernice. They were always selected in a very protective way and they didn't talk so you didn't know really who they were.

CP: I have to imagine that was a surreal experience for you to be the director of Rec Sports and also be parading around as Benny Beaver the first football game.

TK: I only did it once but yeah, it was... although I had the, we had the 01:23:00costume. I remember putting the costume on at home and greeting my daughter's date for prom [laughs].

CP: Well, I'm glad we did that.

TK: Yeah.

CP: On a completely different note, so you had the association with the College of Education and I know that you were pretty closely involved with the college student service administration program. Can you tell me more about that?

TK: Well, when I came it was part of the role that I would teach in that program. At the time there were some areas of emphasis, one was recreational sports. There was housing and a variety of things. So I would obviously teach in the recreational sports. I also as we developed the curriculum I taught budget and finance. I taught in the college for facility development. I did that. You 01:24:00know, collegiate recreation administration. I did that. A variety of those courses were required courses, some were electives. So I did that pretty much until just before I left. I enjoyed teaching, keeping that contact. I was involved in the program as well, in admissions, graduate research that kind of thing. I enjoyed the academic side of it. It was not a huge part of my job but kept me connected that way.

CP: Had you done any teaching before that?

TK: Not formal teaching. In recreation you're always teaching stuff, so I understood teaching fundamentals but not in the academic side.

CP: So it came pretty quickly and naturally?

TK: Yeah, it did. I wasn't a researcher so I didn't do that. I enjoyed the 01:25:00cohorts, you know, having a group of students that moved through in 2 years and you get to know them because you're teaching them, not too many times but you're engaged in other kind of activity. So, I enjoyed that.

CP: A couple questions about service. You've mentioned the National Intramural Sports Association multiple times in this interview. That's an organization that was very important to you.

TK: Yeah. It was. It certainly was a... it functions a couple ways. One is a network, so you build colleagues and friendships and all of that throughout the country. That interaction is critical in development of programs and the evolution of our field. It is also an area for information, so if we do research and those kind of things that are important to us. We share knowledge in a 01:26:00variety of ways, in a formal way in conferences and presentations and things like that and then I was also engaged in the administration or the leadership of the association in a variety of roles. When I retired, what I didn't do was leave that professional organization because it was still a very important conduit for me, a connection. I don't believe that we would've developed our programs, our department in any way as it is today if there wasn't that interaction and support. One of the things that we do is we share everything. I remember talking to somebody from athletics about this and they said, you mean you share stuff? Because they're all, it's a competitive environment and they would never share. I know somebody that would spend 2 years on a manual and would give it away because somebody needed it. Everyone understands what that 01:27:00means is that the field grows and grows and grows, so it's an imperative for us to do that. Now some of my closest friends are those colleagues that I've learned from or with and what we're doing today.

CP: You mentioned that OSU is looked at as a model by a lot of other institutes that are part of this association. Can you talk more about OSU's national reputation?

TK: There's a couple things to that. One is our national offices in Corvallis. In fact, the person I replaced, Will Holsberry, was the executive director of NRSA and full-time director and it got to the point where he had to choose between the two and so when I came in that office became full-time. It is now over off-campus in a building all its own but the reputation imparted is well, 01:28:00we're in Corvallis where the national office is. But we've had over time people engaged in the leadership of that organization in formal positions. So, we've had 3 national presidents who have been here. Our highest honor is the honor award and we've had four people from this campus receive that. More than any other campus. Beyond that is the reputation of who we are and the kinds of programs. We present and share with others who we are and what we do. Sometimes that's new ideas, new ways of doing things that over time as we consistently contribute builds that reputation that oh, you know we don't have the constraints that some parts of the country have, like tradition in the south. 01:29:00You know, we don't have history out west in some ways, so we are more free to do things. As I mentioned before, we have environment here, leadership here, that tells us that risk is okay, that failure's okay because of that other things happen. So, that reputation and our engagement and involvement I think being out front and visible for so long has built that reputation. On top of that, we're able to deliver. That is, you know people are in roles of leadership, for example, or any kind of role that you can count on us to do what needs to be done.

So, then people on our campus or in our department are sought out by others to, 01:30:00would you do this? Would you lead this project? Or would you do that? So that's where that reputation comes from. There's a responsibility for that and everybody knows that. Don't sign up for something and fail. You've got to deliver. You wouldn't be asked if you couldn't do it. So, I think there's that built-in incentive.

CP: You've done a lot of work in the community as well, Corvallis Parks and Rec Advisory Board, Corvallis Boys and Girls Club.

TK: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I think being part of a community requires you to be engaged in that way. I got involved with park board. That's pretty natural for me. Typically they've had somebody from university on that board, so when I came whoever, Dow Poling [?], Charley Fisher had been on that and I think they were 01:31:00moving off so I was asked to step on. Actually, I served with Jo Anne Trow. She was on the board and she was a chair for a while and so was I, so I enjoyed that different perspective of Joanne. Living in a community, our park system is an eye to the community so how we take care of that and how we nurture that is going to be important. That goes back to Legacy Park where the first conversations were let's build it on the site of campus. You don't put your parks on the edge of town, you put it where people are. That contributes to that conversation, so being involved with Parks and Rec was important. There was developments of parks, actually. I was fortunate enough to chair the Crystal 01:32:00Lake Sports Field Development. That turned out really well. A project that had been out there at least the idea of it for years and finally found the land which would work. That's really been a nice addition to the system. Then I was involved with the Boys and Girls Club. My children played sports and all that and that seemed to be natural. I was involved with the building of the first phase of that building when I was on the board. That was pretty neat to see that built as well.

CP: A couple concluding questions for you about the future. It must be very gratifying to look back and think about how Rec Sports has evolved over your association with this university and the central role that it plays now at OSU. Where do you think Rec Sports is positioned at this point? Where is it heading?


TK: Well, I think it's in a good position. I think there's a number of environmental factors out there. The population, student enrollment, will be impacted, I suspect. Money can be impacted by it. But I think the program itself is positioned in a way in which it's well-respected and recognized for what it does, so there could be obviously development that goes on in whatever is happening in the field, whatever's needed on this campus. Those things I think will, they're still a sense of engagement on the campus with the department and that the professional staff are still looking, are still visionaries, still looking at what can be done. I think maybe the collaboration and maybe integration will happen more because of limited resources and maybe limited 01:34:00space or whatever else. Maybe there's going to be more of that, particularly as the focus is on health and wellbeing, so as you think about those units on campus I could see how they would come together even in a stronger way to deliver to students what's needed. It's under good leadership. There's really good people there, very creative, excited, passionate people. I think the future is very positive.

CP: On a broader level, OSU. Where do you see it positioned right now and where is it heading?

TK: Well, I'm not as engaged of course with the campus. There's going to be a leadership change here. That's always an important factor. It's been, what 15 years or more. So, I'd be curious to see what happens there. There's budget 01:35:00issues, budget cuts, so it's hard to know exactly what direction. The idea that I saw evolve over the last 10 or 15 years, let's focus on what we can do well. Let's be sure we have the resources where they need to be. There's certainly more research that's being done. I don't know what that looks like nationally, if there's going to be more or less research money. I think the university itself though is a very important piece of this community but of the state. I don't see that being diminished at all. I don't see us as having some of the issues that other campuses have that sometimes I think are self-imposed, but you know I think that leadership piece I think is going to be the important one. Even that I think the institution is the institution. I don't know if one person can step in, one dean can step in and make a fundamental change. I think there's 01:36:00still this sense of care that happens on this campus, that the focus is on students. I know in our case, every decision we made was about students and so I see that more and more, sometimes it gets moved a little bit but it seems like it always gets adjusted back. I think the future's really positive.

CP: Well, Tom, thank you very much for this. I appreciate it quite a lot. You've helped us to fill in some gaps in our record on the history of Rec Sports. And I appreciate you taking the time to share your memories. Thanks very much.

TK: Oh, good. I enjoyed it. Thanks.