ï"¿Ren Harman: This is Ren Harman. The date is November 19th, about 10:10 AM.So, just to start with, just introduce yourself for the recording, and just tell me a little bit about your family and growing up, and just about yourself.
Rich Carpenter: My full name is Sidney Richardson Carpenter. I'm the fourthSidney in the family going all the way back to the early 1800s, but none of us have the same last name. It changes last names during that time, and my grandson is also Sidney, as was my father who was also a Sidney. But I go by Rich, my middle name, because it was tough having two Sidneys in the same family but one junior. But I'm a brat, even at this age what we lovingly affectionately refer 1:00to as a military brat.
Rich: I went to 15 or 16 schools before I graduated from high school and thatwas all over the United States. My father retired as a full colonel in the United States Army. He had many assignments overseas, but unfortunately they were what are known as TDY, or temporary duty, so we couldn't accompany him. He spent time in Egypt, France, Germany, and Russia and Panama Canal Zone, Korea, Japan, World World II obviously, but those were always times where it was a short period of time or it was a combat zone so we couldn't go. But we still moved around quite a bit given the sorts of assignments that he had, so I lived in Virginia and a number of other states, but that is one reason I ended up here.
And this was the first place in my entire life where I lived more than 4 years,so the new marketing campaign in the Athletic Association, the first time I saw 2:00that, I said, "Yes, it is home." This is home to me. It's as much home to me as any place. I was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and I have many family members who were there at that time. I'm one of 25 first cousins, a big family, but they are now spread all over the United States and I'm the second oldest. In fact, we just spent time in Montana and Idaho and Washington State visiting with a couple of my cousins out there this summer, so that was a neat thing to do.
Rich: So that's kind of the background. I graduated actually from McLean HighSchool in McLean, Virginia. It's in northern Virginia, so that gives you a synopsis.
Ren: How did you kind of end up at Virginia Tech? What was the decision there?3:00Was it a family decision?
Rich: No. I guess I had some intention of making the military a career, myfather being career military. In my senior year in high school I applied for an appointment to West Point but did not get an appointment. Ended up then beginning to look at various other places that I might want to go. Virginia Tech was one of those places, but I really didn't pursue that because my initial decision was to go into the army right out of high school at age 17. My father had to say that that was okay and had to sign papers. And not too long after basic training, I then asked for and was sent to the United States Military 4:00Academy Preparatory School. That prep school had a process whereby I could try to obtain what was known as a competitive appointment to West Point. But I did not achieve the competitive appointment either, so I had to serve out my time as an enlisted person in the United States Army. Got out of the military, and during that last year particularly I applied to several different places. Interestingly enough I took courses while I was in the military and exempted my first year of college, and then ended up coming here, which was the only place that did not recognize those credits.
Ren: Oh my goodness. And that still happens today.
Rich: Yeah, well it's a great place. It has high standards, so I have no issuewith that.
Rich: So I ended up coming here into the Corps of Cadets, still with theintention of making a military career. Along the way there was a little break, the summer I got out of the Army I went back to Ft. Meade, Maryland where my 5:00parents were stationed. I was there for a couple of weeks before, and that was the longest time I had stayed with my parents basically since I graduated from high school. I went back to their home in preparation to come to Virginia Tech. Went to a party and met this young person over here. Then we began to date, and we continued to date and I'll let her tell her side of the story.
Rich: After our sophomore year we were married in Ft. Meade, Maryland, and thenin September we relocated here. I was still in the Corps. 6:00
My sophomore year a gentleman in my company who, as we used to say and I lovethe term, I "ratted" under him and I have no issue saying that, because it's a neat thing, because quite frankly I'll go off on a tangent for a second.
Ren: That's fine.
Rich: The guys that I still hang with now and are still my closest buddies aremy "rat brothers", about 3 or 4 of them from Virginia Tech, and we all call each other our "rat brothers". I mean that's just the way it is. In fact, the last football game one of them was here staying with us, he and his wife, and he was also at graduate school with me here. So, as I said, we were married between our sophomore and junior year. But my sophomore year an upperclassmen in my company, Hal Schneikert asked me, he was Chief Justice of the Cadet Honor Court asked me to be his clerk, the secretary of the Honor Court and obviously you say, "Yes 7:00sir," when something like that happens.
Rich: So I became the secretary of the Cadet Honor Court, and then my junioryear I was defense attorney, and then my senior year I was justice of the Honor Court, which led me on a unique path which I thoroughly enjoyed actually. When we came back to campus that summer that was a unique thing. Not many cadets were married and not many cadets had been in the service beforehand, so I ended up living off campus. I really never asked for permission to do that. I just did that and I don't think they really knew how to respond because there was really no response per say.
Rich: So that's how I ended up here. Then at the end of my senior year I was8:00told that I would lose my commission unless I had another knee operation. I had one as a sophomore I believe, and at that point I said I really don't want to have another knee operation, so I lost my commission and did not continue the service of an officer. I then got my release from the military and was also in the reserves during the four years I was at Tech. So I then had a new plan. The new plan was I had already applied to graduate school, was accepted, and went on to graduate school. After graduate school I stayed here for a while in 9:00Blacksburg working for a company, in equity investments and insurance. Then left that and went off onto another tangent and ultimately ended up in consulting. And then ultimately had my own consulting practice, and that's pretty much the story.
Ren: Okay. So, a couple of things, to put it kind of in the context of a year,when you first enrolled it was early 1963?
Ren: And you graduated with your bachelor's degree in 67?
Rich: Right, and got my masters in '69. It was a masters of science in business,not an MBA.
Ren: When you first stepped on the campus of Virginia Tech what was that momentlike? Do you remember that?
Rich: I remember the first time I visited here with my father. We drove downfrom McLean, VA to campus. There were no four-lane roads down here and you had to come through Cambria and if you've never been that way it's a very interesting little two-lane road coming down. I remarked, and please don't take this the wrong way, but I remarked to my father, "There must be a university here because how else do they support the economy?" And I didn't mean any disrespect, but I didn't see any development. I saw nothing, but yet when I arrived on the campus I was impressed by the architecture, the limestone, what we lovingly call Hokie Stone. Just the whole Lane Stadium, was not Lane Stadium, 10:00it was still the old Miles Stadium and that was one of the older, really old football stadiums here, but Burruss Hall and the drillfield, all of that made quite an impression. It seemed like a very neat place.
Ren: Right. So we've had a lot of other people that we've talked to talk aboutthe Honor Court and about it being student ran. What was the Honor Court and what did that mean to you? Obviously it was very proud for you to be able to serve.
Rich: The Cadet Honor Code basically says a cadet will neither lie, cheat,steal, nor tolerate those who do. And, I guess growing up in the military and having a bit of that sometimes it's very tough to hang with that, to really understand and follow that. Sometimes it's very, very tough. In fact, one of my consulting assignments I was with a company, and this was during the first war 11:00in Iraq. There was some news byte where there was some indication that this particular company had some involvement in supplying material, and I actually reported... My contact was with the EVP of the company, the executive vice president of the company. And the next time we met, because we met rather frequently for me to just let him know what I was doing and where I was in the United States and working with people overseas, and I asked about it. I said, "I was conflicted in that this is the news report."
He then began to unfold and, in fact, was actually pleased that I had asked him12:00this question, because he said, "We take this very seriously ourselves. This is what we've done. This is why they said what they said. We had had a relationship through a vendor with this particular individual. This particular individual, when this first started, ceased any involvement with us," etc., etc. So sometimes it can create problems, particularly when one works with an organization overseas where practices that are not condoned here are condoned there.
Ren: Right. What was your major?
Rich: I have an undergraduate bachelors of science in business with aconcentration in management, masters of science in business and tended to spend most of my time in organizational behavior. 13:00
Ren: What made the decision to have the major for your bachelor's degree?
Rich: Well the MBA was not...I think it was either finished or about to befinished, but it was just new. I had some ideas interesting about some thoughts regarding executive development, and so I ended up writing a thesis on that, and that obviously was required for a master's of science at that point, so that was why I went in that direction.
Ren: Did you have any parental influence on what you decided to major?
Rich: Actually no, there was none.
Ren: Very good. I want to give you a break. I want to hear from your partner incrime here. If you want to introduce yourself and the same thing, tell a little bit about your family and where you grew up and things.
Libby Carpenter: I'm Libby Carpenter. That's my real name. My "paper name" isElizabeth M. Carpenter. I'm also the daughter of a military officer. Rich and I met because of our dads working in the same office at Ft. Meade Maryland, and 14:00that was two weeks before I headed off to school. With my father in the military he served with the Burma Theater in China during World War II, helping supplies over the Hump into China, and that meant my father didn't see me until I was 16 months old.
Libby: My mother put me on her hip as a 16-month-old baby. She was 24 and stoodup to the request of her mother, my grandfather had already passed, but stood up to both Granny Barlow and her high school principal who tried to talk this 15:0024-year-old woman out of going to China, because the military personnel was now allowing dependents to join military in their assignments.
So we went by a train from Charlotte. I was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina.We took a train from Charlotte to Seattle. We took a steamer ship across the Pacific Ocean. It was the Ainsworth, the SS Ainsworth. Got into the Sea of China, and before we could offload from the steamer ship, babies and children were taken by coolies to the LST. My mother had to climb down the cargo rope to get onto the LST and that's when I met my dad for the first time.
Libby: Mom had already taught me how to salute. So we spent a year in PekingChina and were evacuated because of the Red Chinese coming in, and came back to 16:00Fort Leavenworth Kansas for six months. Dad was in the Army War College there, and then to Fort Monroe Virginia. That's where my younger sister was born. We then headed to Bamberg and Frankfurt, Germany, where I was in kindergarten through 2nd grade, and my brother was born there. And then we came back to Syracuse, New York, where Dad was professor of military science at Syracuse University, the same four years that Jim Brown played football there. That's probably where my love of football first developed. But I finished 6th grade there. I actually left a little bit before the end of the year.
We then went to Taipei, Taiwan where my Dad was liaison to Chiang Kai-Shek, andthen we came back to Fort Knox, Kentucky. I was there for 9th, 10th, and 11th 17:00grade. Dad came home two weeks before the end of junior year to say he had temporary duty in Panmunjom, Korea. He was one of the negotiators, so that was the same year with the Bay of Pigs, and Dad was in limbo as to whether or not he was staying in Panmunjom or coming to DC. It was also the first time in 25 years that my parents had been separated.
So that senior year was miserable because we couldn't stay at Fort Knox. Themilitary didn't allow dependents to stay on post, so we went to Conway, South Carolina. My Dad was a Citadel grad, and so we went to Conway outside of Myrtle Beach. That year, I know, gave me the passion for the teaching career that I headed into. But by the time my father got back from Korea, I had already 18:00applied to Winthrop. Since South Carolina was his stateside address then I go in state. When he came back, we moved to Fort Meade.
I guess we had been there a month when the officer's club started having partiesor gatherings for all the kids going off to college, and that's when Rich and I met. We dated every night for two weeks. And then I headed to what we called the nunnery to Winthrop, because at that point in 1963 it was all women. Rich sent me a postcard from Virginia Tech after he had gotten settled in with the Corps. I went to school on September 10th and he had to report to Virginia Tech the 22nd of September. Tech was on the quarter system, so that's why he was later.
Libby: And I sent him a note in response to that postcard. I still have thepostcard, but sent him a note saying, "I can come up for homecoming, but don't 19:00feel obligated. One of my suitemates has a boyfriend at Tech, I'll come up." Well he wrote back, 'Obligated hell, you better come.' [Laughs] Of course it was homecoming, great big mums, and all the festivities. I had on a sweater and skirt the color of your shirt, that light blue, Carolina blue I guess, and he had on his Corps uniform, and the wool in my sweater got on that Corps uniform, and they didn't have those little tapes, the lint tools at that point. But after the homecoming dance the taxi didn't come and he got demerits and I finally got 20:00back to the house out on South Main Street. It's still right there. And I got up the next morning thinking if this is what a college weekend is all about, I don't want anything of it. [Laughs] But then of course we kept writing and saw each other at Christmas.
For me to transfer after we married, Virginia Tech didn't have a degree in aforeign language. My undergraduate is in French, so I transferred from Winthrop to Radford and commuted with the daughter of the professor from whom we rented an apartment. Now this is a garage apartment out on North Main. One bedroom fully furnished. One bedroom and one bath and we paid $65 a month plus utilities.
Rich: Including utilities.
Libby: Including utilities, that's right. And with Professor Calrence and hiswife Nell, we go back to "this is family" theme. First of all, we were family, 21:00but then our landlord and his wife became family. Our own daughters were there at Mrs. Trent's 95th birthday. You know it's been family that way. I was able to finish a year early, and during that last year I started looking at what's going to keep the roof over our heads, because we did stay in that apartment for the first 7 years. It was too good a deal, and the rent never went up.
Libby: I started looking at what would work and found that the State of Virginiawould let me teach on a BA degree for 4 years, but I had to get a recommendation 22:00from the superintendent after I'd taught for 2 years in that school system, and I had to go back and take 12 hours of education courses. So that's what I did. In the process I kept coming back to what Virginia Tech had to offer me as a professional, I was hired for the Upward Bound program and taught there for four summers. And in that same process, found out about the NDEA Institute in [English] the summer of '68. And that also, because I was a participant, I think 23:00there were over 350 applications, but they only took in 35 or something like that, but that gave me graduate credits, course credits, and already gave me entry into Virginia Tech's grad school. So I was in the first group of English majors going in for their graduate degree, and that gave me a break between, because I spent my first 3 years, I taught in Ironto in a little 3-room schoolhouse. Couldn't find it, tried finding it last year. I think it's been engulfed in all the other schools in the area. And then gave myself an $800 raise by driving with ten other student wives down to Floyd County High School and taught there for 2 years. Came back to Tech and I got my masters in English while I was a GTA.
Libby: And then when I graduated in '71, and here's where going back to highschool, well 6th grade, I left 6th grade before my 6th grade graduation, left 8th grade before 8th grade graduation, didn't graduate with my classmates at Fort Knox High School after being with them for 3 years. And then I graduated in the summer quarter from Radford. I started teaching on Monday and graduated Thursday night. And so that masters from Virginia Tech is my first, what I've always called my "really truly" graduation. 25:00
Ren: Very cool. Very cool.
Libby: So it was a wonderful 5 years, and I've always thought that those 5 yearsat Blacksburg High School and working with the students who came to that high school to include the sons and daughters of professors it was just family.
Ren: Right. And so the Blacksburg High School that you're probably referencingis the one that now has gone right on North Main Street, correct? It's just a big open land, right?
Libby: When we were there until, I started the fall of '71 with senior Englishand French when they needed me to fill in, Edith Stockton was the French teacher that I worked with, and then in the fall of '74 we moved into the Patrick Henry Drive facility. It was the open concept and by Christmas we had all walls in, but it was a wonderful, wonderful experience.
We then moved from Blacksburg. Our older daughter was born here. She's also a26:00Hokie. When she sent in her application she wrote a letter as well, even though it wasn't required, and one of her comments, (I will just ask her permission on the phone; she said, "Mom I don't remember." I said, "Well I do,") She put in her letter, "I deserve to be a Hokie. I have spent more time on the Virginia Tech campus than any student who matriculates at Virginia Tech." So she finished her degree in interior design in '97. Our younger daughter was born in North Carolina when we moved there and she's a Tarheel. So we have a 24-hour, like this weekend, 24-hour moratorium; we don't talk football until after the emotions settle back in.
Ren: Yeah, absolutely. Very cool. I'm going to turn back to you Rich, andwhenever you feel free, your time at Virginia Tech I know there had to be some influential professors and advisors that you remember maybe that were pretty 27:00impactful on your life.
Rich: Oh, I remember a Dr. White in English. He was just a great professor. Heencouraged me to write. I ended up through a long process with a minor in English. I've actually written for the Corp Review twice and written some other stuff along the way. I obviously did a lot of writing in my consulting practice with the development of some intellectual property, which had I not had that underpinning in writing, and the writing I did I wouldn't have, I don't think, been able to do it easily. It would have been much more of a labor, although it was laborious to get through it by yourself and getting your PhD you understand that.
Ren: Yes sir.
Rich: Or even in writing my masters thesis. But still, it gave me that kind of underpinning.
Ren: What about for you?28:00
Libby: With the graduate degree Dr. Tench Tilghman was my thesis committeechair, and we all, those of us who took his Victorian poetry class met with him in a seminar room on the top floor of Carol Newman Library. I remember one quarter, I guess it was a winter quarter we met from 6 to 9.
And day students had to park in the far corner of the parking lot that now isacross from the Alumni Center and the Inn at Virginia Tech. It was all gravel. And of course we all have war stories about walking across campus with all the 29:00snow and so forth.
Rich: Before buses, before transportation.
Ren: No BT then.
Libby: The mentality all of us had, because we were a very close group goingthrough that being in the first group, we all felt that if we didn't make an A in a course we'd fail it. You know a B was not good at all, and the first paper that I wrote and got back, it was a B- and I was just horrified. Um, so I went to Dr. Tilghman and talked with him about it. He shared with me his practice that I shared with my students for all 38 years. I did always teach seniors. I'd say 23 of those 38 years I was also the graduation coordinator. But what he said 30:00was all right, because this was not his class that I had made this grade in. He said, "I will make myself available to you. You get your paper written ahead of time and I will be happy to sit down with you and go through the paper and we can talk about what would make it stronger, but you have to come see me ahead of time with enough time that you can go back and correct it," and that's what I always did with my students.
So, Dr. Tilghman was very very encouraging. And on top of that he had quite some31:00stories to tell because we would -- I don't remember whether we started right away, maybe it was in the second year of the program, but he and Dayton Kohler who was in the department and Dayton Kohler is one of the co-editors of Master Plots, so I got to write some reviews, or edit some reviews I guess. But he and Dayton Kohler and Dr. Peacock, I want to say Dr. Peacock's first name was Marcum, but these three gentlemen would entertain us at Dr. Tilghman's home complete with adult beverages. I mean we all were grad students after all, but they would share with each other their stories of their experiences as undergrads.
And Tench Tilghman and Dayton Kohler were at UVA. We forgave them for that. Theyattended UVA at the same time that F. Scott Fitzgerald was there, and told us 32:00some of the shenanigans that went on in the dorm and so forth. So when I would have people question my getting a master's in English from Tech, and of course in the 60s it was even better known for its engineering than English.
Libby: I always answered with, "I know that if I were in the market to teach onthe college level, I needed an English degree from Chapel Hill for example." But I value those stories and that time and that encouragement that the professors gave me and us. It was wonderful.
Rich: Her talking reminded me of a couple of professors that I had glossed overand really need to mention them. One of them was Mayor Barringer, who was the Mayor of Blacksburg and also a professor, and some of his quirks really made the 33:00class interesting. He had nicknames or pet names for not all of his students, but a few of them. I had one which will remain unmentioned[chuckles], but one of the things that he would do, he would bring into class the old papers and he would crumple them up and throw them at us. He would also if he caught anyone asleep he would pick up a piece of chalk and 'boom'. You know you can't do that today with a smartboard.
Professor Pete Ellison was another guy. He was a law professor, which gave me aninterest in the law, which I think also helped me particularly in my senior year, as a justice of the Honor Court, but then being asked in graduate school 34:00to come back on occasion, if someone was out I could handle the class, even though I was not an attorney. I was not reading the law or schooled in the law as they would have said, but that was encouraging to do that. In graduate school Professor Sang Lee who had been as I recall was from Korea. And since my dad was the advisor to the Division and got the DSC in Korea he had some stories to tell. DSC is Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor, so he had some stories to tell. But Sang Lee if my memory serves me correctly had been in ROK, Republic of Korean Division as well, so he was an interesting guy.
Quantitative methods, which I can't say was my great love, but [laughs] wemanaged to get through it. But there were several, and I'm sure if I talk longer 35:00or just sat here and thought for a while there would be others that would come to mind.
Libby: I know that one of the bylines that shows up in [00:36:21] education isbeing a lifelong learner. And what I found in my own professional career was it was almost as if there was a 5-year cycle. The 3 years starting with Ironto and then going to Floyd, and I had 8th grade classes but one senior class, and then the GTA, and I taught freshman English. Duncan Rollo was my mentor and he was marvelous in giving my head, assuring, affirming what I was doing. Then I came to Blacksburg High School and I was at Blacksburg High School for 5 years. Once I came back I was out for 4 years with children and our moves, but I went back into the classroom and here's another 5 years. 36:00
When I chaired the SACS steering committee in 1985, I realized that that schoolwanted me to do the same thing for the next 25 years. So, I went back as the good Lord would prepare it, I was able to go back into the public school system and was hired as senior English teacher and graduation coordinator; I mean just what I wanted to do. During those 5 years I was asked to participate at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching and realized I hadn't been back in the classroom for myself. So then I pursued my masters in administration and supervision. Each time I wanted the answer to the question, "Is this going 37:00to tell me why I should leave the classroom?" I never did find the answer to that question. There wasn't a good enough one...
Rich: Well did you used to say you could teach because of what? Because I worked.
Libby: Right. I could teach because Rich worked. So I then at that point tookon, within the next 5-year cycle I took on a senior project. Is that something you've encountered?
Ren: Not myself, no.
Libby: Okay. A program out of Oregon that was started by two teachers and ourcounty was going to work on it, and when that fell apart because it was top driven rather than ground up, National Boards came along, so 5 of us of the 10 of us in the English Department formed a cohort and went through the National 38:00Board Certification.
Ren: About the cohort, I'm interested, because you said you were the firstcohort, was it English masters students or female English masters students?
Libby: Do check on it, I may be wrong, I may not have been in the first group,but I was definitely in the second group, okay, if I wasn't in that first, but I'm thinking it's the first. Ray Smoot's wife Joyce, his first wife was in that class, so that would give you another name.
Rich: And there were a couple of others too.
Libby: Marge Kaiser and Julia Claycombe
Ren: So these were all female students?
Libby: No, we were a mixed group. I think there were about 21 of us.
Ren: But you were the first or second cohort masters English students?39:00
Libby: Right. Tech was starting a masters in English. Wilson Snipes wasdepartment chair then. H. H. Campbell was in that group. I'm trying to remember who the other professor was that was on my thesis committee. A funny thing about that was when I got, so here it is the final quarter because we're still on the quarter system in '71, final quarter and the graduate school office tells me that I haven't met the foreign language requirement. And I had to say, "Excuse me, I have 36 hours in French as an undergraduate major." "Oh, we didn't look at 40:00that," so it was all right.
Rich: Going back, she reminded me of a dean of the College of Business, H.H.Mitchell, and Paul Wischkaemper
Libby: Bob King.
Rich: Bob King and Dr. Brown, names started coming back when you start hearingother references of people that were close that we counted on, as an undergraduate there were several of us in business that didn't really see that there was an organization to help us get more information about business outside of our studies. There was at that point a professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, but we just didn't feel that from what we knew of them that that was what we wanted, and we started a new organization called the Business 41:00Administration Society.
Then I believe it was Paul Wischkaemper and [Dean Mitchell] were both deltasigma pi, which is the other professional business fraternity. So we approached Wischkaemper, Dr. Brown, and Dean Mitchell, and I'm trying to think of the other ones, because I think there was at least one more, about approaching Delta Sigma Pi and seeing if we could have a chapter at Virginia Tech, and they then approved that. So I and a number of other guys were part of that first group of individuals who started not only the Business Administration Society, but then ultimately which became the Zeta Upsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi, which interestingly enough I was Zeta Upsilon 11. And a year or so ago, I came in for 42:00the installation of the 1,000th brother and there's a picture of me standing with Zeta Upsilon #1,011, and I just thought that was kind of interesting that it still continued and it is still flourishing and doing well.
Libby: And another connection, our younger daughter, Susan, who attended ChapelHill became his brother in Delta Sig.
Rich: Because I was charter chancellor of this chapter and she was also thechancellor, obviously not the chancellor of the one at Chapel Hill, because hers I think is Alpha Lambda, but I'm not positive of that, but she was also chancellor.
Ren: So you see like the connections that Virginia Tech has obviously withinyour own children.
Libby: When Shelley, our Hokie daughter, started her interior design classes and43:00the roster is being read, Dr. Anna Marshall Baker said, "Is your mother named Libby?" So here she was...
Ren: So, you both were at Virginia Tech at an interesting time within ourhistory, and so can you talk about the culture and maybe the counterculture movement, and was that present in Blacksburg?
Rich: Well, yes it was. I was in the Corps obviously as I mentioned earlier.That was the beginning of '63 after having been in the military, a unique situation then as well, not totally, but it wasn't prevalent. There were not a number of people in that situation. And so a number of things were going on in the country, as well as going on on campus. During this time between '63 and '67 when I graduated buildings, were burned, protests were on campus, and the Corps 44:00of Cadets under T. Marshall Hahn's presidency, that whole concept was changed from a mandatory corps to voluntary corps. A number of people at that point and following that became very disheartened with the university, became disheartened with the fact that it had changed what it had been there from the very beginning. And I have to admit early on, I was probably somewhat in that camp.
Now during, as things progressed over time it became obvious that if we as auniversity were really going to progress and become this sort of university that we really could have the potential to become, we needed to make the changes that were being made.
Ren: Because President's Hahn's decision it was obviously pretty controversial45:00at the time.
Rich: It was very controversial at the time.
Libby: And then throw in he has a degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute andI have a degree from VPI and State University.
Rich: VPISU as we call it.
Rich: But back to the response to your question, over time then in 1991 I wasasked by Henry Decker to be on the Corps of Cadets Board of Directors. I had just finished serving a 6-year term on the Alumni Association Board of Directors as guys like Lowe who you have interviewed and others, Sam [00:47:22...berger] who you interviewed. What I began to see is it's not an either/or, it's a both/and, so how do you then really look toward the future and do those sorts of things that are important overall. In fact, one of the committees that I chaired when I was on the Alumni Board of Directors was looking at the concept of diversity and what do we do. So I actually put together a group of graduate 46:00students, I said I'm not really competent to do this, but I think if I would work with some students maybe in doing that, we could get a better handle.
And interestingly enough I'm looking at what's happening on the television lastnight across the country, and looking at what's taking place, and I can say that I'm relatively proud of what we've done here. I mean there's always work to be done, but I think what we've done here is pretty good. Now back to my Corps issue, things needed to change in a variety of different ways. The Corps needed to become much more about taking what's there and breaking them down and building them back up, but taking what's there and building them. And I think that, particularly with the fact that the commandants I've had the great opportunity to know, and obviously worked with to some degree being on the Corp 47:00board, have made that transition, and interestingly enough as well the presidents that I've seen come in since I was on the Alumni Board in 90...
Libby: '90 to '96.
Rich: '90 to '96, were just exactly the right people for the time on the job.And it seemed to me in my humble opinion that the individuals that came in built upon their predecessors' work, whether it was intentional or not, but it was very well done. It was like this foundation stone was set in place then the next foundation stone was set in place, and each time that new stone was set in place it was not at the same level. It was at the next level like you were building a stair step. And the same thing I would also say is true of the Corps of Cadets. We recognize that it's clearly an integral part of the university, but that's not the overall function. That's not what we need to be doing as a university, and we should not be taking young people and trying to break them down. We 48:00should be trying to take young people to build them into the leaders of tomorrow, and I think that's what we're doing.
Libby: I'm just thinking in terms of as we've gone thorugh those changes,tomorrow will mark a point for the two of us in that we will go to Pearson Hall's...
Libby: Dedication. And when I first came to Virginia Tech that very first time,come down the Mall, of course there's no Torgersen you know, and it was the brick dorms, Rasche and Brodie and the car I was in pulled up to the curb, and I don't know how Rich saw me, but he ran down the steps.
Rich: I "dragged" down those steps too.49:00
Libby: You "dragged," yes. [Laughs] And so the campus for me was just marvelousand what, we went to a Peter, Paul & Mary concert in Burruss Hall, and it was that kind of... Maybe it wasn't that first weekend, it was another time. But to go to Pearson Hall tomorrow for its dedication, and for me the cadets finally have a facility they deserve. Oh my goodness. Now, we have since 1995 had a tailgate for Rich's former company, E Company.
Rich: So for 20 years, in fact if you want to see the picture up on the wall,for 20 years we've brought all the cadets from my former company to one game in the fall, fed them, because when I was on the Corps Board my thought was we need to find a way to interact with the people who are currently cadets. 50:00
Libby: So they know how to act when they meet with alumni.
Rich: For 20 years it's been the same routine. The freshman will always stayover here together. They are really afraid to come talk to the alumni. They don't want to interact. The sophomores are like they will come talk and then they will leave. The juniors and seniors, 'Tell us what it was like. Tell us how we can learn. Tell us what we can do.' In fact tonight we're entertaining the company commander for E Company and the take over a major leadership position next year. The [00:52:29 ex] we would have had here tonight, but he's got a class.
Ren: Oh, okay. Yeah, I heard about someone's brownies I believe.
Rich: Oh yeah. They are good brownies.
Libby: How did you hear about that?
Ren: A little research.
Libby: Oh goodness. Well, I've got some brownies in the freezer right nowbecause I don't have a pan here. You know I've been using the same Pyrex.
Rich: But this year was the very first year that we had to go inside. Even we've51:00been in rain before, but with the weather forecast being high winds, and I'm looking at a tent being taken off by a high wind I'm going you know we... So I actually, Captain Snyder and I said, "Here's my thought." And I called my cohort who after... Libby and I had been doing this about 5 years, the same gentleman who asked me to be his secretary when he was Chief Justice came and said, "Can I help with this E Company tailgate?" I said, "Well of course you can," so he's been instrumental in that, and we've stayed connected in that regard for 20 years.
Libby: Not to mention he followed you on the Alumni Board and then on the Corps Board.
Rich: Alumni Board, then I talked to him about getting on the Corps Board sohe's now on the Corps Board.
Ren: We talked a lot about really positive and good things about Virginia Tech,but were there some struggles when you all were students that you can remember 52:00that were maybe some difficult times?
Libby: Yes. When the power would go out and...
Rich: And we were in our rented...yes. [Laughs]
Libby: In our apartment out on North Main. You know the power would go out andwe learned very quickly to get some oil lamps.
Rich: Actually I think there was already one in the apartment.
Libby: Right, and we still have one of them.
Rich: I studied by oil light.
Libby: Sharing one car, and I was in a carpool to go to Radford, but there weretimes when he had the car and I needed to get to particularly biology lab, so there were some issues with that. We could even hear the bells in the electrical system, the bells on campus, because whatever that surge to ring the bells it 53:00would come through.
Rich: Almost like the silence on a phone when it's silent but you can hear it go'zeep zeep', exactly that same sound. You could hear it.
Libby: Now for me as a graduate teaching assistant there was that weekend, whenthe students in protests with the Vietnam War burnt the ROTC building. It was a wooden structure, but burnt it, and a group of students took over Williams Hall, and the Blacksburg Police had to come in. Students were bodily carried out of Williams Hall and put in a moving van and taken to the city jail. Well, I knew 54:00none of this. I'm out on North Main Street all weekend, and come in Wednesday morning for my 8 o'clock class, and Williams Hall is completely surrounded by state troopers. And my impression was every single one of them was 6'4". They were all standing one arm's length from each other, and every fourth state trooper had a German Shepherd at his heel. Those of us going through to the building had to show our IDs in order to go into the building. Very tense, very tense.
The same weekend following that episode, Rich and I went to the Lyric Theater;had to park on the side street. It was overcast. I got out of the car and put 55:00some money in the parking meter, and the dime, because it was just a dime then, wouldn't go in the slot. Rich got out of the car...
Rich: Don't tell it.
Libby: I am telling it. With a Mary Poppins umbrella, you know, the big blackone with the metal tip and the wooden handle, grabbed it by the tip and swung to hit the parking meter.
Rich: I hit it like this with the tip trying to get quarter... No, no, no.
Libby: But at the same time he was aiming at the parking meter. A police carscreeched to a halt. Two doors opened. One comes around and gets in Rich's face and said, "Don't hit that thing." And Rich says right back to him, "It's not a thing sir, it's a parking meter sir."
Rich: And the quarter won't go in or whatever.
Libby: And I thought in that split second that we were both going to join the students.56:00
Rich: If you're going to tell it tell it right. I did not whack that meter. Iwas trying to get the...
Libby: But that story was a story I told every year to my seniors in order toemphasize the word 'thing' because Rich was right. There is a word. I want to tell you, this paper is going to tell you three things about it-- So I always...
Rich: I bet [00:58:26] got back in time. [Laughs]
Libby: I think the world was such a different place then because in my lifetime57:00Betty Friedan came and spoke at Winthrop right after she had written the Feminine Mystique, and I was in a small college with 2,400 women, and yet we were...you know my father is military and my daughter is now my mother's story about taking me to China. We come from strong stock. So, when you ask is there any family influence as to where to go...
Rich: Not directly.
Libby: Not directly. I knew I was heading forth. We were...
Rich: That was part of our upbringing. You weren't going to hang around. Youwere going to get gone, and I don't mean that in any disrespectful way, but you were going to go.
Libby: So I was 20 by 3 months when we married and he turned 22 in November58:00after we married in early September. I mean it was, Virginia Tech was our world. It was our family. It was our home. It offered us all sorts of opportunities.
Rich: In fact, we have a neighbor down the street, an Illinois graduate, wherewe [01:00:00 live currently], CPA, a smart guy. His son applied to Virginia Tech and one of the things that we encouraged this son [01:00:12] was to do everything you can do, but just remember you are there to finish and do it well. But if you have the opportunity to do X Y or Z, do it. Actually I've got a little academic problem because my first years I tried doing everything and that didn't work out.
Ren: Rat Year, is that correct?
Rich: The Rat Years are...
Libby: Sophomore year was worse.
Rich: But this neighbor's son ended up going to Alaska, I mean all of the things...
Libby: To Africa, as well59:00
Rich: Yeah, it's incredible.
Libby: He was a forestry and wildlife major with a concentration in fisheries.
Rich: Because...I'm sure it wasn't just my encouragement, but the fact that Isaid you have the opportunity to do these things now. You're not encumbered by other things. Do them.
Ren: Right. Did you have difficult memories when you kind of hinted a little bitabout your sophomore year?
Rich: Oh... [Chuckles] No. It's just sometimes you focus on... It's a goodlearning eperience. You need to learn what's really important and all else if you say it this way you really get to mean it, all else pales by comparison. In other words, if you don't get the grades then nothing else matters. So it's a process of learning how to prioritize and that was a good learning experience, to learn how to prioritize, and I think the military helped me do that. Reflection helped me to do that, and I'm not the only one who has been in that 60:00boat. There are times where you've got to say, "Wait a minute, what's really important here? What is the bottom-line thing that you need to pay attention to?"
Libby: And that first semester in grad school there were three of us inparticular who spent some time together, a study group, like an AP study group. And I can remember sitting in the student center at Squires and the three of us looking at each other going, "I can't do this. I don't know how to do this. I thought I knew how to do this." And it was the camaraderie of our little study group, we sort of clung together. But I also would agree with Rich, and it was what I passed on to my students as well, it all depends on me. I have to find it 61:00and I've got... I have to make certain... I've got my priorities. We've always shared with our girls the best thing you can do for us is take care of yourself.
Libby: And I've always encouraged when I've talked to parents of my students,I've always encouraged them to understand it's your son or daughter lying in that bed in the dorm at 3 in the morning talking to himself, talking to herself about I can't do this, or I can do this, because it's not your decision.
Rich: Oftentimes they have to be put to the test to find that inner strength.
Rich: One of the best things I ever learned was a good sailor doesn't learn howto sail on a calm sea. And I remember when I learned how to ski in Colorado, after thinking I knew how to ski having learned in Vermont, I didn't know how to ski. 62:00
Rich: I got tested and the mountain won every time until I relaxed and said,"Let's pay attention."
Ren: My next question is very broad obviously and it's to the both of you, butwhat makes Virginia Tech so special?
Rich: Early on here it was, and I hope, since I'm not a student now I reallycan't say, but early on it was the people. The people really, and the surrounding community, the surrounding community pretty much embraced the university, embraced... A buddy of mine and I used to like to hunt, and we would go out and we would ask farmers and whomever if we can hunt on their land. They would say, "Are you college boys over there?" "Oh yes sir, we are." "So you would like to hunt on my land?" "Yes sir, we would like to, is that okay?" Now we never killed anything. [Laughs] What we enjoyed I think was just being out 63:00and having some fun. But I was always amazed at the folk in the mountains, very plain salt of the earth folk who liked this place, and never got the sense that there was any of this animosity toward this place, and embraced what it was trying to do.
That would be one part of it. The other was I just never felt unwelcomed and Ifelt to Libby's earlier point, if there was a real problem, in fact now that you've mentioned it I remember going to my advisor, I'm just racking my brains remembering his name about an issue, and again, understanding, helpful, not condescending, treating us as adults and trying to problem-solve. And one of the 64:00things in our family, in fact a couple of things that have in fact I guess grown out of all of this, one is there's more than one way to skin a cat without getting hair in your teeth. That's kind of a saying.
And one of the things I've taught both of our daughters, we have taught both ofour daughters is if you know you have the ability, say yes and then figure it out, and I was on the phone when I started my own consultancy, I get a phone call one afternoon from a navy base, and there from the training officer at this navy base, trying to accomplish these objectives. And as I talked to them I would say, "Yes, yes, yes." I get off the phone and basically said, "How am I 65:00going to do this? I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do this, but I've already said yes." So basically what we agreed to is I fly there. They pick up my expenses, but I will not charge them for the day of consulting, and at the end of that day if they want to move forward, and then I get a better sense of what they're trying to do then we can move forward. Well that started a 4-year engagement, and it only ended because of a change at the political level which created... That particular president wanted to cut the budget significantly and therefore cut out people like myself who are working in that arena. Otherwise they would have continued...
Libby: We have always been engaged in our local Virginia Tech chapter, so withthe scholarships that we offer, Rich and I have taken our turn many times to 66:00interview the students. And our first question is what made you, because they've already been accepted at Virginia Tech when we interview them, what made you decide on Virginia Tech. And always the first answer is, "All I had to do was get on that campus." And the campus has... It says, its physical presence says this is an important place. You're important too. I've taught in too many cinderblock school buildings that do not say that same, you know, give that same message to the young people coming in. So I think we very definitely have to say 67:00something about the physical presence of this campus, and for the drillfield to provide such a... It's almost like everything else or the arteries out from the heart, and then everybody cycles through and finds out what the heart of this university is.
Ren: Yeah. I love that. Very neat.
Rich: When we were here there were no sidewalks across the drillfield. Therewere no lights out on the drillfield. It is a different place, but the heart and soul I think are still here.
Libby: The excitement is there.
Rich: But I mean one of the pictures I have on my office wall is that picture ofeveryone with candlelight and I]--
Ren: Okay. Yeah.
Rich: That was a tough time.
Ren: Yeah, it was. It was really tough.68:00
Libby: And the students stood up to the world and said, "This is who we are, notwho you think we are."
Rich: Media tried and tried and tried to meet them and they didn't take it. Iadmire them for that.
Ren: That was such a... And that came out in a lot of these interviews that wedo, is what an important time that was to really show the world what we all believe and know who Virginia Tech is and the soul of Virginia Tech and the heart of Virginia Tech that was founded I think when you all were students here. Because I've interviewed so many people and it really started in the 60s and the 70s with Marshall Hahn and that decision. And this is written about and talked about a lot, but I think what that...
Rich: But it wouldn't have existed without that foundation before Marshall Hahn.
Rich: The two go like this.
Ren: Right. Absolutely.
Libby: But then you look at Paul Torgersen's leadership and I taught his69:00daughter, Karen. And in fact, we saw Karen and her husband back this fall, [01:10:42] Chapter Officers weekend, okay. Jim McComas.
Rich: McComas was phenomenal.
Libby: Oh my goodness.
Rich: I mean he was just a phenomenal guy. If he met you once, basically hewould remember you.
Libby: And he took on...
Rich: And he knew many of the names.
Libby: But he would take on so many students each year as they came in asfreshman, but to see him walking the campus with his golden retriever I think... It was home. It was home for him.
Rich: And when they brought back the president to the Grove, instead of beingoff campus where [01:11:25] President Lavery was, that made a statement. And I didn't like it at all when they moved the president off campus. I understand why 70:00they did it, but I didn't like it, because it sent too many other wrong messages, at least in my mind. That's my opinion. But to bring them back on campus, because that means I can escape all this. I can go up there and it's not important. I understand it's a small building, but it makes a statement. And you spend the money and you retrofit it. You do what you need to do to make it livable and make it up to code and all of that stuff.
Ren: So why do you think Virginia Tech alumni become so engaged?
Rich: I don't know. It's a great question, but I don't know.
Libby: I think the answer is in, because I looked through the material or I readDr. Sands' letter that he sent out by email, and to know that 42% of us are engaged when the national average is 18, I think... You know it's always, you 71:00get back what you put in, and Virginia Tech is a place that encourages...our giving, our being involved.
Rich: Ut prosim.
Libby: Now I know Ut prosim, but mottos can be just words so many times. Where Ithink... A current example that really comes back to me is last March we brought our 15-year-old twin grandchildren, a girl and boy. They are sophomores in high school now, but we took them, brought them here just so that they could see Virginia Tech on a regular day, not game day, because then it's just come in to the tailgate, go to the game and leave. It's not really get to see the campus. 72:00And we went to the new engineering building, and our grandson was just in awe of that airplane engine. But what impressed him more was the chance to talk to a female student who was coming in to use the student-made 3D printer to run her dining card through to print off the project that she had done for class. And you know as we left he said, "You mean I could do that?" So it's those little encounters...
Rich: Give him the opportunity to try and fail. In fact, one of the things Ihave had... I've talked to a couple of groups. I've talked to my fraternity on more than one occasion. I've talked to freshmen in my former company, and one of 73:00the things I'll say to them is finish this sentence for me. If it's worth doing it's worth doing poorly. Let me explain. If it's worth doing it's worth doing at the risk of doing poorly. And interestingly enough I was watching, was it Elon Musk?
Rich: And he said almost exactly the same thing and I went, "Wonder where yougot that?" I never met the guy. [Laughs] But yet I'm going yes -- why? Because if it's worth doing and if it's worth doing well, how many people will stop and never try? First lesson, the second lesson, what you learn by saying if it's worth doing it's worth doing at the risk of doing poorly. I'll take the risk. I'll do it. Okay. But if you say -- if you're tensed and you're afraid and 74:00you're concerned, how many people will stop at that? So that's the message [01:16:14]. Stop if it's not worth doing well, but take a risk.
Ren: We talked a little bit about this and we're kind of wrapping things up,some changes that you've seen throughout the years and maybe some changes you would like to see for the future. Obviously we're out of time with the new provost, the president, soon to be a new football coach.
Rich: Everybody we know is leaving. [Laughs]
Ren: What have you seen and where you would like to see the future of thiswonderful place?
Rich: Obviously I knew [01:16:52...commandant]. I've met Tim Sands and Laura acouple of times. They obviously wouldn't remember me, but I've certainly had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time with them, both in their home... Actually twice I think in their home, and then at various ut prosim or 75:00whatever...things. I'm sure they will be there Friday night for the Gateway Society. I was concerned initially when Dr. Sands came in being with his Berkeley background, but when he talked about the mission of the land grant university I said I think he gets it. I think he understands it. Yet, I also know, if I get too digressed you bring me back.
Ren: That's okay.
Rich: The notion of when I was on the Alumni Board there was one year that theState of Virginia cut the budget significantly. If my memory serves me correctly, equivalent to what the amount of money that was in the community college system.
And yet, private financing made up a bunch of that, and private financing,private money makes up a bunch of what really runs this university. And one side 76:00of me says well are we truly a land grant university if in fact private money is sustaining what we are about. The other side of that is research and [01:18:26] the necessity to become a research institution and foster that side of us, so it's all of those questions how does that get balanced out would be. So, going forward, I think we're doing the right things. I would like to be, I will digress a bit, all of it makes up the whole. One piece obviously is athletics; we're in the throes of making a major decision now. We have a great new athletic director. I've had the opportunity to meet him a couple of times, and he's I think doing very very good stuff. I have some suggestions I would like to make 77:00to him, but that's neither here nor there, but I think he really is doing some good things. I think our new president is, but my wife and I are... I was a chapter president back in the 90s.
Rich: In the 80s, and then I got on the alumni board, so I watched thistransition take place. And I would say at the time you have ideas about what can be approved and then you kind of forget them because other things come along and they lose the focus. They become less important because of other things that become more important. I think we have to be, we have to search for what's the next thing before we know what the next thing is.
That's strategy, and that's what are we about, and take our basic foundationalprinciples and then say okay, let's really put a wedge in here and let's open 78:00this up and let's see what more is there that we really haven't even considered yet. And oftentimes, I used to put together teams of people, what I had to work on, when I was asked as a consultant to work entirely with a particular issue, and always I would bring in at least one person who knew absolutely nothing about what we were doing. And they would always come up with something unique, but they weren't encumbered with all of the knowledge, okay.
So I'm saying, perhaps one of the things we do is bring in someone who has somebasic understanding, an alumni or someone and put them in that situation and ask them what would they do. Now that they've been brought up to speed with what everybody might think. Just a thought.
Libby: What I've been so pleased to see because at one point women in the Corps79:00was a real issue. And our first emerging scholarship winner is a young woman. She was the middle child of three children in her family out of Annapolis, Maryland. She thought she would go to the Naval Academy. Came here on one of these exploratory weekends or whatever and just, she had always thought she would go to the Naval Academy and found what the Corps offered was just what she wanted. And to know how that issue was a non-issue for Virginia Tech's Corps I 80:00think has just been marvelous. The E-Company commander coming tonight is a young woman so articulate and so energetic and so forward thinking. So I think that's what we're doing really well, for a young person to have both the military training in a civilian population to see... The week I spent at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching I was there for the session titled [01:22:45] Military Mind. Now that was my eighth choice but it was marvelous, with both of us the son and daughter of military officers.
And we went back to Herodotus and read military-centered pieces of literature of81:00all kinds, but history. We had the dean of the History Department from Chapel Hill on that panel. But what we came to understand was that struggle between the civilian and the military and that's still an issue today. And for these young people who are committing to the leadership training that the Corps offers, and to have that interaction with a civilian mind that doesn't go that direction at all. I mean we are training leaders for the next...
Rich: I'll tell you a quick story. Several years ago, a contingent of our cadetswent off to Texas A&M and they had just, not just but certainly quite a few 82:00years after we had women come into our Corps, and one of the individuals who went with this group of folk to A&M was a young woman, and I believe she was a battalion commander, but I'm not certain. She was asked to bring their, I assume they call theirs a regiment, I'm not certain about that, but bring their Corps of Cadets to order, so she gave the order and there was this pause. And a couple of looks I have been told were made to the various commanders and then they responded and brought them to order. She interacted with all those cadets for the weekend that she was there. When she got back she was asked, "Well what do you see is the difference between Texas A&M and Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets?" After a brief moment she said, "Well sir, at Texas A&M they graduate Aggies. At Virginia Tech we graduate leaders."
Ren: [Laughs] Good answer.83:00
Rich: I think it nailed it. [Laughs]
Ren: I've got to ask is this a wedding picture?
Rich: It is actually. This was given to me by a fraternity brother, Leon Haroling.
Libby: September 4th.
Rich: On September 4th of this year, our 50th wedding anniversary.
Rich: And there's a story, because this individual, a fraternity brother, hasdone my taxes for 49 years. He's a CPA who lives in Roanoke. I've known him obviously since we were in school. He lost his wife going on four years ago after a very long and very tough struggle. During that process there was a woman he knew, or I don't know exactly that relationship or how they got to know each other, but I believe they already knew each other. I think it was from church.
She came in to help with his wife, with Mary Ellen, so got to know him and got84:00to know them. She had a younger sister who she had been caring for all of her life so she had never married. So, and she was there through Mary Ellen's final days and through her death and through the comforting her husband. So when Leon, fast-forward going on three years now, he calls Jean into his office.
Libby: No, not three years ago.
Rich: Going on three years, plus three years since Mary Ellen passed away.
Libby: Passed away, yes.
Rich: About three or four months ago he calls Jean into his office and heactually says, and you've got to know the guy, "Rich, Libby..." and so he says, 85:00"Jean come into my office please." [Chuckles] So she later said, "I thought he was going to fire me." So he comes in and he pulls out this box and he hands the box to her and he says, "Well this will either be the most expensive friendship ring you've ever received or I would like you to be my wife. In any case, regardless of what you say it's yours to keep." And she said, "It took me four days to say yes." So he calls, this was three months ago or so, he calls me about 10 o'clock at night. Libby answers the phone and, "Who is this?" [Chuckles]
Libby: That late at night it's one of the girls, either daughter going, "Mom."
Rich: And he said, "Well it's Leon. Is Rich there?" I get on the phone. He says,86:00"This is Leon. I've got some great news." And I'm thinking well my taxes are already finished. We've already done all those stuff because my dad had passed away and he helped with that and prepared all that, so I don't understand what great... He says, "I've asked Jean to marry me." I went, "That is fantastic." He's older than I am. So I said, "We're coming up here for the Chapter Officers Forum, but we're actually going to come up here a couple of days early and we're going to stay at the Inn at Virginia Tech that entire weekend, even though we had this place, we're going to stay there and we want you and Jean to come have dinner with us." And this is what he gave us for our anniversary.
Ren: Oh, that's awesome.
Female: It's a great gift.
Libby: And they will marry January 2nd, so we'll be back up here.
Rich: So we'll be back up here.
Libby: And one of the great things about the Inn, even though Rich made thosearrangements back in January and we had no idea this was going to work out, it was a good thing because we had a bridge table and chairs and were sleeping on 87:00aero beds. And I said, "I can't believe here we are on our 50th and we're starting housekeeping all over again." [Laughs] So, a lifelong learner -- yes, we're still learning.
Ren: Absolutely. So lastly, your class ring I see that you wear, do you want totalk about that a little bit?
Rich: Sure. Absolutely.
Libby: We were the married couple at Radford College that all the girls put Mr.and Mrs. Carpenter down, because we had to sign out in those days. So we were the chaperones for Ring Dance.
Rich: For a lot of people.
Libby: For a lot of people.
Rich: There's some things hidden in this ring that people don't know. There'sthe confederate flag on there. There's also a Confederate flag on 68's ring, but now it's... I understand it. I don't necessarily agree totally, but I understand it.
Ren: So this is the same ring from when you actually graduated?88:00
Rich: Oh yeah. This is the same one.
Ren: Very nice.
Rich: It had to be resized, but it is the same ring. If you look very closelyyou will see my company right there.
Ren: Oh yeah, I see that. Mine's like to here now.
Rich: I just had that resized. That's where I born, because I had no other ideawhat to put inside my ring so it says Bowling Green, Kentucky in there.
Ren: Kind of the last question, was there anything that maybe you want to talkabout or I didn't ask you or do you have anything else?
Rich: You had written down a couple of things, but we were like what would wetalk about?
Ren: Okay. Because what's so great about this project is 100 years from now yourchildren or grandchildren and so on and so forth can go to Newman Library and pull up the VT Stories collection and listen to what their grandparents and great-grandparents had to say about this University.
Rich: It's interesting. I have a cousin in California who started the genealogy89:00search, and I have another cousin in Texas who started it on the other side, on my mother's side of the family. And as that has unfolded and more and more has come into play it's funny the names around like Cheatham, Cheatham Hall, that's one of my family names.
Libby: All right, we started taking notes while he's driving up here. Well, youhaven't told him a thing about being the first [bell captain] at Donaldson Brown.
Rich: When Donaldson Brown really transitioned from, it was apartments or roomsfor graduate students I believe is what it is, originally, way way back in the day, there was a reflecting pool out in front and it was then made into the first on-campus hotel. And another guy who was a Delta Sig with me and in the 90:00Corps with me, we were both in graduate school together, we hadn't received our GTAs at that point, so we went down and asked for a job. We were the first two bell captains at Donaldson Brown.
We actually wrote the job description. In fact, I got him the interview. I hadalready got in and I said, "Why don't you go interview?" We got the job as the first bell captain at Donaldson Brown.
Libby: And they were here with us for the Duke game.
Ren: That's awesome.
Rich: Another thing, that reflecting pool was used frequently to throw seniorsinto after the last...we were turned and turning was an experience that really shouldn't... The way they turn cadets now is really the right way to do it. It is perfect. But back in the day it was sadistic I would say. 91:00
Libby: The only thing we haven't talked about, we've had season football ticketssince grad school, since 1969, and I will credit Frank Beamer, because Dooley drove me crazy, I love football. I have always wanted to suit up as an offensive lineman, get in the stance, listen to the [01:34:10] creak of pads, hear the snap of the ball, and you know hit it just one time. So of course Frank Beamer's ladies' clinics and I've tried to get...he did four and it's been 10 years since he's done it, wonderful times with friends and daughters to get to know more about football. But for me as a classroom teacher to go from Monday to Friday 92:00and I can't let go of some of that emotion in the classroom, I've got to keep my adult role but to get in the car Saturday morning, because we have never...
Rich: And grade papers all the way up.
Libby: And grade papers all the way up and then yell and scream until I'mhoarse. I would sleep all the way back home. I don't think I would have been as successful as I was if I hadn't had that outlet. So, you know, I just have a real problem with young women who don't like football. And every time I taught Beowulf I always talked about Beowulf was the quarterback, and his men, his Comitatus were the football team, and yes, he's going to attack the weak side. We would always get in that.
Ren: One thing I want to end on, and I should have said this earlier, but what Ifind so interesting about your life stories is you are both military families 93:00and you kind of moved a lot. You attended different schools. You started at a different college but you ended up at Virginia Tech. You don't live in Blacksburg currently, but some part of you, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Blacksburg and Virginia Tech has almost felt like home to you.
Rich: It is home. As I said, it's the only place I... In my entire life until Igot here I never lived any place for longer than 4 years, and I lived here for 13 years.
Libby: We were here for 11.
Rich: After graduate school, I stayed here for 5 more years.
Libby: Well we moved in '76. You finished in '69 with your master's, so that was another...
Rich: Yeah, 5 years in the equities business and the insurance business and thenback on campus teaching, and training director for the Mid-Atlantic Center for Cooperative Education and off into the big wide world. So, at one point, even after we were married we moved five times in 4 years, built two houses, had a 94:00baby and stayed married.
Libby: A second baby.
Ren: That's a real testament.
Libby: But even in that we still were never far away.
Rich: So far.
Libby: So far away that we could... But we kept those tickets.
Rich: For the years we were in Southern Pines it was tough.
Ren: This has been wonderful. Thank you both so much. I really appreciate it.
Rich: You're welcome.