Douglas Martin: My name is Douglas Martin. I live over in Giles County. I wasborn in the Pearisburg Hospital, but I grew up in the community of Newport October 2, 1941. As a little side note there my mom went into labor early October the 1st and went into the hospital. I was born around 11 PM October 2nd and my son said I probably stopped to talk to ten people on the way, so that's kind of my reputation. I came to Tech from '60 to '64 for my undergraduate then went into the Air Force. Spent four years in the Air Force during the Vietnam 1:00era. I spent 37 months in Europe, part of tough duties I had was primarily in personnel, but I also traveled Europe playing baseball two summers. And then I came back and after looking around for jobs I was hired at Virginia Tech in October of 1969 as their first full-time records manager. And then I'm not even sure of the dates, but around in the '70s we did the master's and went through it pretty quickly then I started taking doctoral courses, went through that. Couldn't really get time to work on dissertation because I had a family and so forth, other than I sort of kind of got fired upstairs which gave me time to work on dissertation and I think I finished that in the early '90s. 2:00
As you can imagine pretty much a rural life. My mom was one of 12 born on top ofa mountain there in Newport. My dad lived up in the Clover Hall area. They met at church as is typical, and then just grew up there in the rural community. My dad worked at Celanese. My mom was super mom but she also was a switchboard operator and then worked at some of the local department stores and things like that. I have a younger brother Daryl. Daryl passed away a couple of years ago five weeks after my mom passed away. Daryl also was a Tech undergraduate and master's, but he was also Governor Baliles' strategic planner under the Baliles administration. He came back to Tech after that and worked with Dr. McComas over in the College of Agriculture.
We were actually a very close-knit community. Newport personifies it takes avillage to raise a child. I had kinfolk close by. We went barefooted in the 3:00summer, but baseball was and is the sport there, so we played baseball in the cow pastures. We played baseball what now would be Little League. That was our primary things then.
Then along with that came the you cut your firewood and you milked the cows anddid the things like that. We had one cow. A lot of people milk eight a day or something like that, but played with the neighborhood kids and did the things like that, and pretty much grew and I'm still very much into nature. Like a bear is eating my birdfeed now and stuff like that, but I grew up in a country setting. And of course Mountain Lake was close by and many times as teenagers and so forth we would get jobs at Mountain Lake. And mainly addition to detail. 4:00You had to have it done. It wasn't something you do today and think about it later on. It was twice a day and we didn't do a lot of things, we weren't big farmers like the others, but as a teenager we would work on the farms and we would have some days where we would put up 1,000 bails of hay. Some places you got 50-cents an hour or if you found a more generous person you could get $1 an hour, but I've helped out on a number of the farms. Also with silage, haul it with the trucks, hauling underground silage, things like that.
That was mainly summer but then we had a Mountainview League baseball team. Eventhe pro scouts would come and stop and watch us. And what the good news is we've had two major league baseball players from Newport. Both of them actually were all-stars in the 50s, Bob Porterfield a top pitcher in the American League and 5:00Mike Williams of course was a closer for the Pirates and also an all-star too. I was the outfielder but mainly the leadoff batter was fleet of foot, so my job was to get on first and steal second.
There was a gentleman part of the sport and we did that, but the other side ofit we came to play. I mean it was a school of hard knocks but it wasn't vicious or anything like that but you didn't get cut any favors when you played if you were in the baseline. You would pick yourself up somewhere along the way. And being short of statute and about 130 pounds I learned pretty early you're going to have to take care of yourself. That's not going to get you through anything.
I went to the old Newport High. I was in the next to the last class in 1960, asuper school there. I like to tell people that 75% of my class went to college 6:00and we have people with doctors and master's who did quite well. Now that figure is 9 out of 12, but again that speaks well. But super teachers, super instruction and they really cared about us. I always say we weren't poor we just didn't have any money.
But there was no class distinctions, anything like that. I still even todayalthough most of my teachers have passed on but if I needed personal advice, if I needed $100 or whatever I would feel comfortable going to them. And the same thing with my classmates. I was fortunate to go through where the classmates we were a very close group and then as I mentioned baseball, we played on the same baseball team. We came to win but again a very good number of athletes there but it was a close-knit group and I still periodically will run across an old classmate and we can sit down and reminisce, but the school served us well. 7:00
To be candid one of the shortages we had there was practically no guidancecounseling. I was a good student. In the class of 12 I was the valedictorian. No great thought to college. No parental pressure to go to college, but my teachers were encouraging me to go to college. I didn't really think about it until my senior year. Didn't have a clue on the different colleges. I got no scholarship offers, nothing like that. But I had come over to Tech in the FAA conventions here in the '50s so I would come to Tech. We would come over here and play basketball in the gym, a lot of Tech connections. Newport and Tech started at 8:00about the same time. Newport and Tech I think was only a week's difference and when Tech was founded a Newport was incorporated. Maybe the first director of admissions, I'm not sure of that, who also went to the State Council of Higher Education was from Newport, Dr. Paul Ferrier, so you know I knew him. We had a number of people that worked here faculty and staff, so Tech was always that was just sort of a given, but no one told us about thinking ahead of time and applying ahead of time. So here it is spring of my senior year, well I'll send over an application to Tech. It worked so I showed up in the fall of '60.
To a degree I actually for some reason back then had a camera and I madepictures of the Drillfield. I was impressed with the Drillfield. I remember in 9:00the dorms which I didn't take them but they left a lot of their shiny boots and stuff like that there. I did play on the southwest, they divided us into four areas on baseball so I can remember playing baseball for this side of the state.
The agricultural teachers again were special and my job one of the things I didhere was dairy cattle judging, even though we only had one cow, but shop judging and in a way that was unfair because I'm not overly mechanically inclined. But most of the people there would call a wrench by the wrong name. Like a crescent wrench was really an adjustable end wrench. Well I had gone through the Sears catalogue and I knew the technical right names of these, so I did well in shop judging, didn't win anything but still placed quite well there, but that mainly was just doing my homework where the others would know them by their local name 10:00or something like that.
I got to know Buddy Weill later as I worked with him and he and I worked alongwith Bill Skelton. A number of those people I got to know after I got here and had excellent relationships with them. Buddy was always a well respected and a good contact, but at that time mainly mine was more with the local ag teachers and things like that. The ones that I remember they all were also Tech graduates. In fact we still have a Newport Agricultural Fair which is billed as the oldest fair in Virginia. The guy that came over from Tech was a football player, started agriculture there and started the fair in 1936. So there was that rural agricultural town, and as you may know FFA basically started here as the Future Farmers of Virginia and I think one of our Newport people is the 11:00first treasurer, so we've already had a tie like that, a tie that was pretty strong.
I was a commuter. We drove from home. This is boasting and not bosting, classwas six days a week so I would come on Saturday. All four years I never missed a day or cut a class. Now I stayed in town one winter and I can still remember one of the guys that worked here would make tracks in the snow for me because we had the deep snows and so forth. I even wrote a theme in English on the getting really philosophical of the pigeons making their way on the way to Burruss, stuff like that, with no grammatical errors and got a D on content so evidently I didn't do so well on my philosophical insight.
I don't know that I was either one, by driving over obviously you couldn't find12:00a place to park so it was all over the place. The paperwork and enrolling was impossible because you had to go, and this may be later on, but you went to the gym and picked up cards.
Then you had to walk back across campus and find the class that you wanted andyou would get there and it would be full, so you would have to go back across the campus and start doing that again. And one trick that I learned because you had big lines, you could get through anywhere with a Coca-Cola, carrying your coke. So if you went through the exit and said, "Sorry, let me in, got these cokes," you could get in that way. That was a little thing that I learned on how to get through the lines.
Registration was extremely difficult and you picked up your cards ahead of time,13:00or picked them up for the classes you wanted and then you had to go back to across campus to find that class, and like you said that was a major... So just getting what the logistics done was what I remember about that.
For classwork oddly I don't remember being intimidated. I had good professors. Ihad George Shackleford that later set up Smithfield. Pete Ellison was my law professor, Ed Marsh. Martin Schnitzer along the way taught us statistics. Mayor Berringer taught, and that's my first love and what I really preferred and it worked out both here and in the military was human resources, so had good faculty members. I still remember Dr. White from English working with me. I got off to a good start. Ed Chaplain taught math here and I still remember he said, "When you're right stay right," and I remember working, and I was a hard worker, but the academic part of I did not find difficult at all. I have to credit the 14:00school for that even though it was a small school.
I started out in business administration and public administration, and mainlypicked that because it sounded good and it was one of the longer titles in the college catalogue. Again, no real guidance of what to do there. The business course served me well and then I've used what I call the funnel approach. I went through the Business of Public Administration and then master's program began to concentrate more on human resources. Dr. Jerry Robinson worked with me, David Alexander in Education. When I interviewed at the arsenal comparing grievance procedures in private sector versus public sector and then as I got into doctoral program one of my cognate areas in addition to the College of Business 15:00was gerontology, the study of aging and that really provided a good foundation for my career here.
I can't remember if there was ever a day I didn't want to come to work, althoughit was hard work, because we were working people with people that maybe were working on disability retirement, maybe death claims, maybe divorces, terminations, things like that.
Probably not a close relationship but I found in my doctoral program BobSullivan who was president at New River. And actually I served on the New River Community College Board and just came off for eight years at Community College, he was very good. Dave Alexander worked with me, as I mentioned Jerry Robinson over in the College of Business, these were professors that were accessible and 16:00I always felt comfortable with them. I don't know that I would call them as favorites because I really studied hard. Like I said I didn't miss time. I would work through the courses. We commuted. One of the people I rode with was a guy that was the dispatcher at the police station, so we would come over. I had actually come across the mountain in an old Corvair in the snow was an experience in itself and we would stop along the way to have to have a Dr. Pepper or something like that, so the commute was interesting.
Courses, we usually took a full load, always did the 18 hours a quarter, triedto take a full load, studied hard and just gave it my best effort, and tried to 17:00learn as best I could, but it mainly was just taking them as they came basically. We tended to not date a lot then, played our sports and went to school and went home.
When we played we played outside. There was not cell phones and there was notiPads and stuff like that. So if we had leisure time, and although I do not hunt at all now hunting was a major thing then. You may even say okay I'll go squirrel hunting. Actually my dad was a night hunger and he worked shift work and some nights even on a school night at midnight he would say, "Let's go." I didn't want to do that but you got out and prowled around the mountains and 18:00things like that.
It was extremely curvy coming all the way from across the two mountains with thesnows. I have actually left a car on the road and hitched a ride in a time or two because get in a snowbank and couldn't get out. And then basically even though I may not have a full load you might have two classes today or three, we'd spend the day here.
And then I do remember accolades, on North Main there was Pete's Drive-In and wewould go there. I didn't have a whole lot of money but I could get a hamburger and a milkshake for 50-cents. And I think Harry Smith, Pete was actually the wife, Harry was the husband and I think he knew that we weren't blessed with a whole lot of money then and he would say, "Doug I've made an extra hamburger by 19:00mistake. Do you want it?" So I would get the extra burger. We also dined at Squires, go in Squires. A friend of mine is probably the only one, an older friend Harry Taylor that was caught bootlegging ice cream because he worked in Squires way back when. He didn't think the ice cream was the right quality so he had a deal out, I'm not sure if it was Clover Creamery or who it was, where he would meet them uptown and bring ice cream back and he got caught. The only person caught bootlegging ice cream, but Harry was a super individual. He was a storeowner there in Newport. He met his wife over here I think.
My dealings with the town was very good, like I said, the places to go eat. Thehouse that I stayed in the guy was an insurance agent and he was a good horseshoe pitcher and we would talk to him. But I don't know, like actually one of my roommates he passed away at an early age but he went to the John Norman's 20:00uptown and was I think the store manager. And of course the Lyric Theater was open then and so, we didn't go to a lot of movies but the Lyric Theater was an option then. Actually probably more of us used the library then they do now. I'm not sure about that.
Quite candidly I don't recall any time that was difficult. I give my dad credit.Even though he was working at the Celanese on wages I did not have incur any student debt. Then in the summers I would work even at Mountain Lake or on the farms and trying to be frugal. We would save what we could so there was not student debt per se, but I kept very detailed finance records and I suspect that 21:00my four years was under $4,000, but just trying to figure out how do we get by here.
But I was not and am not a materialistic person. That was not something... Now Idrove an old Studebaker that I was sort of ashamed of and I would try to run it to death but it was the most durable car. That was my car and it was not one that you want to park out front somewhere but it got me across mountains on a regular basis.
Well unfortunately perhaps, because again I was not in the Corps, but I was Ithink #1 or #2 on the Giles County draft list and Vietnam was hot. I interviewed 22:00a number of places and they would come back, "Well you're going to be drafted. You get your military out of the way and then talk with us." I think I can make a difference in the military but I don't like combat and stuff like that. But again, wherever I'm at the way I describe myself even at Tech I was the high touch in a high tech university, so I've always viewed my role as being trying to work with people, do the things like that. But with me being on the draft list, and I still did not have that mentorship. Here I am I finished my degree, what do I do?
And I looked and I decided I would rather give the Air Force and have some sayin where I'm going than be drafted and probably be in Vietnam before the ink was 23:00dry on the paper. So I came to Radford and talked to the Air Force recruiter. This has been, I don't view it as discriminatory, but the Air Force officer training, I took the AFOQT, knocked it out. He said, "You really just - super scores, but we're full right now. You go ahead and enlist and we will send you into basic and then when we have a washout you can go into officer training." Sounds good, so I did that. I get into basic training, a little tougher than I was prepared for. I was in good physical shape so that part of it didn't bother me. I can also shoot clothespins off the line so that didn't bother me, but it was rough because I wasn't prepared for the verbal abuse. I still remember I won the mile race for my squadron area in combat boots and then got cranks and got 24:00chewed out for being outside without a hat on because I fell out of the dorm at that time.
But they came in and they called me in and they said, "We've got bad news foryou. You are a fully qualified officer training candidate but you are quarter of an inch too short so you can't do that." So okay, now what do I do? If I come back I'm going to be tall enough for the Army or I can stay in enlisted, so I stayed in the enlisted, went through all the ranks just right ahead of time and made rank all along the way. I had an excellent career in Germany. I worked in personnel. Actually was given the Air Force Commendation medal for work there, then like I said played baseball in the summers traveling Holland, Belgium, 25:00Italy, Germany. And they came and offered me a direct commission and I said no. I've got so many months behind me I will serve this out and go back home.
Again, I was me there. The military experience, I traveled. Where I've gone, agood example, I worked the base theater off duty and made money. I do not drink, so I would pull guard duty. I would actually be the designated driver, take the guys barhopping and I would sit there on the barstool with the ladies of the night and we would have good honest discussions and they would call me Mighty Mouse. "Here comes Mighty Mouse," and I would sit down and then drive the guys back. And the lady that sold popcorn at the base theater had lost I think her husband and maybe a son to us in World War II and yet we bonded. I couldn't 26:00speak German that well but if an attractive young lady came up to buy popcorn and didn't have on a wedding band she would rub her fingers and tell me this one's not married. When I left she wrote me a letter as a parting gift.
And again, I've found that even here working across different nationalities,diversity and all coming off out of a mountaintop in Southwest Virginia that has never been a problem for me. And I have to give my family credit there was not those biases there. And even now I think you know if you say Appalachian we raise our eyebrow, if you say Appalachian we-- But there's still almost that for lack of a better word hillbilly or redneck mentality. That I did not see at all, and that was not part of my culture when I grew up. We got along well with everyone. 27:00
And even though I grew up in primarily what I call a Caucasian area and so forthin the military my roommates were all types of different races and so forth and bonded very well. I've been the only Caucasian invited out to lunch for fried chicken and things like that, but again, an excellent relationship. I think a lot of it is just treating people as people. And that's why even now if I had words of wisdom here you do economics and other things as if people count and I've tried to work that into what I do.
Well when I came back to the States it had changed. Vietnam veterans were notheld in high esteem at all. I think I interviewed 13 different places, still did 28:00some of the farm work and things like that. My goal when I got out of the service I had three things I was going to do. I still every morning I draw a square and put a 5 in it, every morning. TTD things to do, I did that this morning. The square and this is not a religious lesson, but you've got wisdom, statue, God, man. Those are the things you keep in square. The 5 is the 5 acts of random kindness that you do.
When I came out of the service I had three goals, I wanted to buy me a new car,play golf, and find me a wife. I had saved up enough money and I went and eventually wound up buying the equivalent of a Roadrunner, the Plymouth Sport Satellite, metallic rods, 4 in the floor, 383 engine, bucket seats, all that 29:00stuff, so I bought my car. I went and got me a set of golf clubs. A friend of mine, but he's also a wheeler dealer, he said, "These are $45, I'll take $10 off and you can have them for $35." And I go back and he said, "What did I ask you?" I said, "You said $35 and you was taking $10 off." He said, "Well give me $25," so I did, I gave him $25. Probably the only one that ever got the... I think I've still got the golf clubs.
My Uncle Oscar Dudding was like a second father and he was a good golfer so Iplayed golf. So I had two out of the three and I interviewed and Norfolk and Western made me an offer, but I stopped to visit my dear friend classmate who worked in HR here, Dwight Creglow and Creglow said, "I need you to do me a favor. We've got a records management job that they want me to fill up and I 30:00need to get somebody, would you mind being records manager?" and I said, "Sure." The starting salary was $7,344, so I took the records management job and I was actually the first full-time in records retention schedules.
That's where Dr. Kinnear was doing the first 100 years, so he and I got alongreal well and I did a lot of research for him on Tech's history. The state auditors were here and they did 100% audit then, every document, every receipt, so it took them two years to audit like a year and I wound up doing work with them so I got a lot of insight into the University working with Dr. Hahn and those people. But one day as I was coming down the second floor of Burruss I saw a new young lady and it was love at first sight and we got married later. She served me well. Donna Kay Knapper and she was starting in the Treasurer's 31:00Office. I can't speak for her that it was love at first sight. She passed away in September after we've done over 45 years and have two excellent sons and two excellent granddaughters.
It hadn't changed a whole lot other than I think when I was here there were 400females and it had been primarily Corps. And then what you begin - a lot more female students and things like that. And in fact one of my first jobs in records management there was the EOAA suits and going back and doing the research and getting files and things like that. And then of course there was the Vietnam unrest, the Williams Hall incidents and things like that that came 32:00about, so there was that going on. And still I could see I think in fairness there was a need for a lot of improvement, especially with more equals in equal salaries, better salaries, equal opportunity and things like that. And that began to come about although the change was difficult. I applaud those that went through with it and again an excellent setting.
And perhaps digressing a little bit, I became very good friends with WendyWisson who was sports information director and Al Payne that Al Payne Hall is named for. Wendy was extremely talented, athletic, great insight, both of them well read, Al Payne. But Wendy was to the right and Al was to the left 33:00politically. Very frequently they would pick me up for lunch. I would sit in the backseat and Wendy and Al would go at each other politically. Two of the sweetest you will ever meet and we probably did that for 20 years. They were so well read and knowledgeable that I learned a lot from them.
Retired January 1, 2010 but I came back basically as a consultant up intoJanuary of 2018 when my wife then with medical problems and I didn't go back after that. But I always said I would retire when the planets lined up. The high touch was not as much of an in thing then so I got a few free trips to Burruss. I can give you one story that sort of in that although I did not get in any 34:00trouble over this, but a new faculty member came in, female faculty, finished her doctorate, over 60 years old, had gone through a divorce so she was totally new here. She was the sweetest thing. She said, "I'm starting all over again." I told her what we have here and so forth and she came back about a month later and she said, "I've got some medical issues. I'm worried some." And she came back a little bit later and she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But her appointment papers, I gave her the wrong, they appointed her like a full-time regular faculty which meant she had six months sick leave long-term disability, but the intent was not to do that. So I said, "Well let me see what I can do," because she didn't have a tenure or anything like that. So I called up the department and I said, "You all sent the wrong papers to this lady and 35:00she's got a regular appointment with all the sick leave and everything." "Okay, if that's what you say it's what it is."
And she came back and she said, "I would like to go to my daughter's weddingnext year." And I said, "Can you work until December?" She said, "Yes I can." I said, "Well we've get enough sick leave to get you through the end of the spring semester and because you've finished up the semester you are good through next August with pay, healthcare, and life insurance." She came back a little bit later, sometime after December, came and gave me a big hug and we cried and then she moved up into the New England area. In August I got a call and the guy says, "I know what you all did." Said she came to the wedding. She was the star, died a week later. Now did I cause Tech six months salary? Sure. Should I have? Sure. That's the type of thing that I would do that I considered the high touch 36:00because there are times that all of us have our peaks and valleys. And I still get accolades. I had an excellent staff that showed that philosophy. And I even had those that can make 2 and 2 equal 4 better than I could, but excellent staff. Just yesterday I think it was somebody came up to me at my granddaughter's little league softball game and was complimenting my staff for the support they had given her.
I did the service awards, MC'd that for many years with the presidents. With Ifirst started you know you would call out your name and you would walk from the back and it was dead time. So I started telling all these off the wall country jokes and stuff like that, much probably to the dismay of my immediate superiors at that time, but they went over great and so that sort of became an institution. And even with Dr. Lavery, Dr. Torgersen, and Dr. Steger would call, but I'll give you one example. Dr. Torgersen would call us, and we use that one. 37:00I always tell about going through Burruss Hall and the phone rings and the secretary Margie Thomas answers it and some guy says, "I want to speak to the head hog at the trough." And she says, "Sir we don't use that type of terminology for our president." He said, "Well I was going to make a quarter million dollar donation," and it goes quiet. She said, "Wait, I hear that big pig coming as we speak." And that's the type of thing that I would tell, making mixed drinks out of bird feathers and vodka or something. That was called a Tequila mockingbird, that type of thing.
But they went over well and our service awards in fact the UVA and some of theothers said, "We can't even get faculty and staff in the same room and yet you all have this awards where everybody gets together." So that was some of the best times and I would actually call, but this is one of the changes. You know with the new names now if you can imagine reading out 500 names, so I would come 38:00in off hours and call their phone and they would say this is so and so and they would pronounce the name and that's how I would learn to pronounce the name. A couple of times I called and they were there at work, so I would have to ask them how you pronounce it. But the service awards was a highlight.
We did put in the first wellness program here. Dr. Bridgett Mitchell wasappointed by the state to come in so we were able to get that going. And then one that I'm proud of is because it became a prototype, see we came up with a faculty sick leave program of six months from day of hire, coupled with long-term disability that you paid for. So if you fell over the doorstep coming in the first day you got six months' salary and 60% of the salary until age 65 with a contribution to your retirement. And that served us well in a couple of cases where people had serious medical. So I took pride in doing those things. 39:00
Of course the shooting was the tough time, the toughest of times, but again thefive faculty that Provost McNamee asked me to work with I bonded with those and they were some of the sweetest people I've ever met and we worked through some very difficult times there.
Well of course at first there was sort of a lockdown and making sure people werestaying away from windows until we knew. For some reason I had a call that said there's a lot of casualties. My boss who was an excellent boss, Linda Woodard, as soon as we could we headed over here which was sort of the command post and that's where I may have told you, I remember parking beside one TV truck with a big boom on it, and 12 hours later going back out and there was 100 trucks with TV booms and I couldn't find where I parked. But I can remember consoling and 40:00working with people that I really didn't know who they were and just trying to do the best we could until we got our duties more defined. And of course me working with the death claims, the funerals, the beneficiaries, the leave payouts and things like that. And trying to figure out, of course there was I think seven kids and I had one company that called and said they wanted to help. I said, "Well we've got kids that lost a parent and they're going to need to go to college." And they said, "Let me call you back." They said, "We want no publicity but we're going to send $100,000 for those kids," which was split up into five 29's. So again, the things like that under the most difficult times, there's a cadre or a nucleus that you can always count on.
Mainly I went from records manager into the benefits office. I had finished my41:00master's degree. I had actually interviewed for a couple of other jobs that in all candor I think I should have had but I did not get those, but a human resources Alban Butt hired me there. He did me a great favor. He asked me to give him five years and we took the benefits office and really made it a viable office there that people were very comfortable with, and like I said hired an excellent staff there.
Mainly I finished up as Director of Benefits. I was not the first, but I wasmade Administrative Faculty and I was given an Emeritus title when I retired which I greatly appreciated, but Director of Benefits. And I had opportunities to leave too, both within the state and then out of state. I was called by some of the headhunters to say we've been asked to see what it takes to bring you 42:00here. I was not overly materialistic. I actually had a dean or two that wanted me to come and work for them. The top administrator was comfortable with having me there because I was a good sounding board. I would help recruit like for a Dean of Engineering or a department head. I may meet them and give a drive around campus. I did lead some campus tours, so they were comfortable with me there. And the job itself had its intrinsic rewards so I didn't pursue being HR Director or anything like that.
Mainly just I was wed to the area. My roots go deep in Giles County so I was wedto the area. I had an excellent wife, wanted to raise kids here because I 43:00figured this would be a better environment and then doing a lot of the local history I've never really given any serious thought to leaving at all.
Of course physically the campus has just mushroomed. And the good news isVirginia Tech has been one of the few localities that can grow out where a lot of them are locked in depending on where they are, so watching the going from Miles Stadium to Lane Stadium, watching that grow, watching the different academic buildings, so watching the building programs mushroom. Obviously the international approach, the diversity, more of a worldwide reputation.
One of the things I don't think I shared I was appointed to the TIAA CREFAdvisory Board and I was maybe the first from the MidAtlantic region. It was a three-year appointment so here someone from the country got flown to New York, 44:00Denver, Miami, places like that for them for over a three-year period, excellent relationship with TIAA CREF.
But one of the things that I was always concerned, typically as you went aroundthese other schools no one ever asked about your academic programs or your Rhode scholars. How's the football team this year? And I got to know Coach Beamer and his wife well as I worked with them on things like that. Jim Weaver would call me over periodically to address the athletic staff there, but again they had the confidence that I was doing well. But just the change, obviously a lot more female faculty and things like that. I can remember, and I won't call names, but one department head was not going to pay a female faculty leave because she was expecting during the semester and he said that was poor planning. I said, "You 45:00can't do that." So she got to use her leave. Overall it was a very positive experience.
A lot of the change, my fear is now that everybody is a specialist and we cansee our specialties, but there's not a lot of willingness to go well beyond that. I still get some calls of a person who had not hired but quit, but he was vested and he passed away and they didn't want to pay his life insurance. I said, "Yeah, he's due life insurance because he was entitled to it." And even the state was balking but when they finally followed through she called me back and said, "I've got my life insurance." So there's a lot of people not knowing 46:00what they don't know and yet not being willing to... You know as we sit and talk how many verbal conversations do you have now? We can make eye contact and I can read a lot into that. That's being lost now as we go by email and social media and stuff like that and that's a concern now.
To be honest and have had family difficult times, have been away from it andthen being on the New River Board I have really been impressed with their attention to the individual students. I don't fully know now and in fairness not aware of how well that's being done, how well are we taking care of people as people. I think the reputation I think there's a lot of good things coming out of it, but somewhere in this everybody is on their little personal journey and 47:00it's a lot more of making big bucks and things like that. We are losing that ability to sit down and even though we may disagree still go to lunch. That's the way I like to do it. Especially when you get into politically or socially or whatever there's a lot of differences and the diversity is good. One of the things that I use within, you've got a university maybe is the common denominator, up here you've got diversity. And then when you look at even the word community there's the word unity and in the word unity is you and I. I think that's kind of like using that funnel approach down. Do I understand you and I and it is that big loss now. You know why do I have to text message you? 48:00Why can't I just sit down and we go to lunch and you can tell me really where we're coming...
I think it may have come from my boss Linda Woodard and I was so pleased.Because again, I'm not a maverick but I'm not part of the inner sanctum. And I've done the best that I knew how to do the way I knew it, but in doing so I'm sure there was disagreement along the way. In fact I was told one time people will come in to you and think you are going to take care of their problem. Well I took that as a compliment but it wasn't presented that way. I think Linda Woodard and I had an excellent relationship and she told me that, and I was greatly pleased because I had not expected that, but at least that was a recognition there that okay, these 40-plus years have made a difference somewhere. 49:00
Probably what I'm most proud of again is what I've alluded to, one is being ableto have a staff that I trusted implicitly and people, I'll give names like Carolyn Pratt, Ella Mae Vaught, Kathy Gibson. Those people did their jobs and did them well and I could stay out of the way of them and knowing that I was going to be doing--but again it's just the personal relationships, the fact that I had a new person, they actually go to the church I do and they came back and said they were at the museum, the Moss Museum recently and they brought my name 50:00and the guy said he just couldn't stop singing my praises on how much help I had been. That's the way you want to be remembered.
I think, and I'm not sure how best to raise the issue is the gift of awareness.I applaud and greatly appreciate and am pleased with the diversity and so forth, but there has to be an awareness of the culture here. To give you an extreme example, I had an individual, because I would pick up on voice inflection and if I took someone out on a date and we would go to the door and she says goodbye and the bye is a lower decibel than the good I don't even need to bother calling her back. But if she says goodbye that's a positive. And I had a guy to come and say, "Doug I just came to tell you farewell." Well I called ahead. I knew he was suicidal and they told me that and we got him institutionalized.
A while back there was a phone call, "I'm coming to campus to take care of51:00business," and I was aware of that phone call. I said, "I know who that is." And I knew they had had some family crisis. So I actually went that night and just so happened to visit with - greatly pleased, introduced me to family members. They never knew that I knew. As far as I know no more problem there, but that gift of awareness I think is very important.
Many times we put people on the front desk, new person, no association withTech, is clueless of who is coming in. You've got to have someone there to pick up on that. If you look at the violence in the workplace now always watch Mondays. Do they call up to check out the definition of accidental death? Did they change beneficiaries? Did they make statements like when the guy came in and said, "I'd like to see my daughter graduate from high school." Well she's a 52:00junior. Understand what you're just asking. Somewhere out there people have got to call a timeout and say, "Okay, let's go back to the nuts and bolts of these relationships."
I often said in part of my obituary this is just a shell, the nut is gone. Butone is I am a very caring person and I value relationships, things like that. And when I left TIAA CREF one of the compliments they said, "Doug," and there's two things, "Doug we realize that you are just you." And one time I was asked by the president's office to come to the Grove to their house early one morning and the president's wife came to the door in her housecoat and she said, "Doug I 53:00knew it was you." And that's the ultimate compliment that I think you can give, is just to be yourself but again be appreciated that way.
I think Tech has played such a vital role, and then going back we make ourmistakes. The first president and General Lane got in a fistfight in a board meeting. What I found was then the good doctor knocked him down. Well I was telling that story and I looked behind me and here comes a new General Lane. I had to go back, this is not you, this is 100-something years ago. So my propensity to talk too much and too long. Sometimes you have to go back. Especially my older experience falls on deaf ears now. A lot of the old jokes and all they don't comprehend anymore. I'm trying to teach myself okay, this may 54:00not be a fit right now.
No, like I said I brought my coffer. I did find lost minutes of the Board ofVisitors in the 1800s underneath the Burruss Hall. How I found those was there were huge books, probably took two people to carry them of accounting registers. And the legend was they were burned up in a fire.
What they didn't know and I think it was Charles Wade was treasurer and was alsoa banker, and down in between these huge books was this book about this big handwritten that was probably the second set of board minutes going back into the 1800s. So that was a good find. All I got was thanks. I thought maybe I would get a big bonus or something. The other thing is I found an original letter from Booker T. Washington to the president, an excellent letter that we would be proud of now asking his help as they picked a new president for Virginia State I think is what it was. I took that to Special Collection, so 55:00those were the things there.
Again, I worked a lot with both the Virginia Retirement System and the StateDepartment of Personnel Training, had excellent relationships there. In fact, Bill Leighty who later became Assistant to the Governor was director. He still shares - I don't use Facebook that much but he asked for me to add him there. Practical jokes are pretty much gone but the police station was the worse. George Rutledge who was chief of police you would bring your kittens sometimes and put them out at the barn if you had extra kittens. Well George lived in Christiansburg so he brought his cat over one night and put it out. Well some of the others were watching him so they scooped the cat up and run back to Christiansburg and put it on the porch so when George got back he said, "Y'all aren't going to believe this, Pussycat beat me home and so he's got a lifetime 56:00home there." There was a lot of stuff like that that went on. Now I think it's much more serious than that.
The wellness program I mentioned. The university lost 500 pounds quickly there,a great staff, sick leave. That's basically it. It was an excellent career here, an excellent ride. I have great respect for all the people that have labored long and hard here. As I drive around now when I see Litton-Reaves, I knew George Litton. I knew Marshall Hahn. I knew Bill Stareth, Buddy Russell and Bill Skelton, Dr. Torgerson and Dr. Steger, people like that. And yet my relationship with them maybe behind the scenes under 101 is not where you had to be on your 57:00best behavior or wear your shirt and tie and stuff like that.
You mentioned Clarice Slusher, see they had special ink to sign diplomas and Ithink it was made here, but each diploma was hand signed and things like that. So there's a lot of, I always say we stand on broad shoulders here of people who labored long and hard, when in a lot of ways it was a lot more difficult.
I even found a letter that said that the speeders who were driving around theDrillfield, this was years ago at 15-20 miles an hour and they was going to have to slow those cars down. The first BT I think the first week took in about a dollar and I found a letter from one of the VP's that they took in a dollar that week. We will declare a dividend and I think it went kerflooey after that. But a lot of this was tried earlier and then fortunately now it's working well.
Virginia Tech is still a beacon. It's beyond Southwest Virginia. It's a beaconthat you can be proud of to say I'm from there. I know those people and that I 58:00served them well and they served me well.