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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Interviewee: Robert F. Lanzillotti
Interviewer: Samuel Proctor
April 27, 1993
Robert F. Lanzillotti
Robert Lanzillotti begins the interview by talking about his name, childhood and family
history. He worked various jobs as a young boy and his parents pushed for education
(pages 1-6). He went to school at American University and became interested in
accounting and economics and then was transferred to Dartmouth. He speaks of his
experiences at Dartmouth then at Columbia, where he finished his education (pages 6-
10). He was then shipped out by the Navy to Scotland and describes his landing on the
beaches of Normandy during D-Day. He describes other experiences during World War
II, including service in the Pacific and with the atom bomb test in Bikini (pages 11-21).
He married his wife and talks about her schooling and their children (pages 21-23).
He went on to graduate school on the GI Bill at Berkeley and describes his experiences
there and as assistant professor at Washington State (pages 23-30). He then moved to
Washington, D.C. to work at the Brookings Institution and conducted research about
the pricing of products, which he describes in detail. He talks about the journal article
that he wrote as a result of that research (pages 30-37). He turned down a job offer at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and instead moved to Michigan State. He
had previously accepted a job with the Ford Foundation as an economic advisor to King
Hussein of Jordan, which in the end, he decided not to take (37-43). He describes his
administrative position and talks about his experiences at Michigan State where he built
up the economics department (pages 43-49).
Lanzillotti left Michigan in 1969 and came to the University of Florida. He describes his
reasons for coming to Florida and his impressions of the town and the department,
recruitment efforts by the university and his salary, as well as the move to Gainesville
(pages 49-56). He explains the organization of the college of business, the status of
women and blacks in the college. He describes a controversial talk he gave to the
Associated Industries of Florida about discipline on campuses. (pages 56-60). He
describes his relationship with businesses around the state and his relationships with
University of Florida faculty members, including Mike Gannon, Dick Julin, Irv Goffman
and Frank Goodwin. He discusses Stephen C. O'Connell and the situation involving
Don Hart (pages 60-66). He describes the Ring report and university retirement policies.
He also talks about his relationship with Ring (pages 66-71). He then relates the story
of the arrest of Irv Goffman on drug charges (pages 71-73). He then talks of his
involvement on the price commission in Washington, D.C. and of various professors
brought into the departments of economic and finance (pages 73-77). He discusses
the formation of a school of accounting separate from the business college and the
benefits of that move. Many wanted to see a great improvement in the students coming
out of the accounting school. He also discusses the changes in the field of accounting
(pages 77-87). He talks about working with Jack Feldman, Russ Berry, and Fred
Fisher. He talks about fund raising and contacts with alumni (pages 87-91). He next
discusses in more detail his appointment to and work with the price commission. He
then relates how he voted in presidential elections and the occasion of his being sworn
in. He met with Richard Nixon, who spoke about China (pages 91-97). He goes on to
talk about his popularity in the department at the University of Florida and evaluate the
MBA program (pages 97-100). He tells about his relationship with Bob Marston. He
talks about his service on corporate boards, other faculty members serving on boards.
He relates a story about Jim Walter, Joe Cordell and Jimmy Kynes (pages 100-103).
He left the deanship at the university in 1986 and went on to work at Florida Power and
in the United Arab Emirates. He discusses why he left the deanship, whether he misses
it and reflects on his accomplishments and choices (pages 103-110). He ends the
interview by talking about his leisure activities and the future of the University of Florida
and the College of Business (pages 110-115).
P: [This is Samuel Proctor, and] I am interviewing this morning Professor Robert F.
Lanzillotti. We are doing this interview in my office here in the Florida Museum of
Natural History. This is April 27, 1993.
Bob, I am delighted to have you here this morning. Let us start off, first of all, [with
your name,] Robert F. Lanzillotti. I would like to know what that F stands for.
L: The F stands for Franklin.
P: Where did that come from?
L: Well, that is an interesting story in itself. Legally, my true name is Franklin Robert
Lanzillotti, but I did not discover that until after World War II, when I went to the
records office in Washington, DC, where I was born, to obtain a copy of my birth
certificate. It so happens that I was the sixth of seven children. I had been born and
was in the hospital unnamed, and the doctor was pressing my parents for a name.
My parents, as is true of many immigrants, named their children after brothers and
sisters, but all of my uncles' names had been used up, so they did not have any
readily available names of uncles. So they said to my doctor, "Well, we will name
him after you, Robert Perkins." The doctor said, "No, that is not a very thoughtful
way of naming a child." My parents told me this. My father said, "Well, I know a
congressional representative from Pennsylvania by the name of Representative
Franklin," who was a friend of my father's. He said, "I would like to name him
Robert Franklin Lanzillotti." The doctor registered the name Franklin Robert. I did
not notice this through all the years until I applied for a copy of my birth certificate
in Washington, DC. I was somewhat amused when I went in there to the vital
records office and said, "I would like to have a copy of my birth certificate."
P: And there it was.
L: Well, she said, "I have no record of a Robert Franklin Lanzillotti. Are you sure you
were not born in Maryland?" I said, "No, I was born in Washington, DC." She said,
"Well, let me go back and look again. Oh, I have a copy of your twin brother's birth
certificate." I asked, "What is his name?" and she said, "Franklin Robert." I said,
"That is me!" [laughter]
So I went home and asked my parents, "What is my name?" and my parents said,
"Your name is Robert Franklin Lanzillotti." I said, "Well, that is not true." They
said, "How do you come to that conclusion?" I said, "I went to the vital statistics
office to get a copy of my birth certificate, and that is what they told me." I should
have it around here someplace, but it does not matter. My true name, legally, [is
Franklin Robert]. So I then had to consider whether I was going to have my name
changed legally. I was advised by an attorney, since I had used that name all my life,
[to] just leave it the way it was. [laughter]
P: What is your birth date, Bob?
L: June 19, 1921.
P: Now, were both your parents immigrants?
L: Yes, they were.
P: They came from where?
L: They came from Italy. My mother was a sixteen-year-old when married by my father.
He had already immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800s. I have forgotten when he
first came over. He was born in 1880, and he came to the U.S. before the turn of
the century and then went back and got my mother. I think he must have been
eighteen when he first came, so he must have come over in 1897 or 1898 or
something like that.
P: What brought him over?
L: He told me that at that time there was some promotion in various parts of Italy to
Italians to emigrate to the U.S. I forgot what the promotion literature was like or
how he learned of it. One of his cousins came in that first wave, I believe, of Italian
immigrants just before the turn of the century. He emigrated to Boston, and there
are still some Lanzillottis in Boston of that first wave. He wrote to my father, and
then my father came briefly to Boston and then to Philadelphia. Then he went back
and got my mother.
P: Were they already married, or did he go back to marry her there?
L: He went back and married her, and then this was a honeymoon-immigration kind of
event. He then moved to Washington, DC.
P: Where did they come from in Italy?
L: Well, my mother's parents were from [the area] between Rome and Salerno, and my
father's parents were in that same general region. I have forgotten the name of the
city. It is a small city.
P: What was your father's name?
P: So you came later on. When you were born your father was already in his early
L: Oh, yes. I was the sixth of seven children.
P: You have brothers and sisters living?
L: Yes, I still have two brothers and one sister.
P: What business was your father in when he came to America?
L: Well, he was poorly educated. I think he had a sixth-grade education at that time.
He started out in those days [following in his father's footsteps]. His father was [a
barber-doctor]. If you look at some of the old western movies, [there were] barbers
who also acted as sort of semi-doctors. They did a lot of blood-letting. Well, in this
country I do not think they allowed much of that other than in the West.
P: In the West they had that.
L: Yes, in the West they did, but in the East I do not think it was done. But that is
what he started out as because he learned that from his father. He ended up as a
barber, and then he established a beauty parlor in addition to that and a cleaning
establishment. So he sort of was a retail businessman, but he was basically a barber.
P: What brought him to Washington, where you were born?
L: The way he told the story was that Philadelphia at that time was, I guess, a mature
community, and there did not seem to be as much opportunity there. I think this
Representative Franklin that I told you about may have been one that befriended
him and urged him to come to Washington to open a barber shop there. He
perceived it as more opportunity. Whether those were all of the considerations I do
not know, but I know that they talked about wanting to live in the capital; my mother
and he talked about that when they first left Italy.
P: Did he do all right business-wise?
L: Oh, yes. Well, he was a small businessman. We were of very modest means. But
he saved, and we had nice housing. During the Depression things were rough. I
have a very distinct memory that one month they could not pay the electric bill, and
I remember very distinctly the electric company disconnecting our electric service,
which was something I have never forgotten. At that time, you see, I was just barely
P: You were a teenager.
L: Yes. This was 1932 or 1933, so I was about eleven or twelve years old. I remember
the man coming. He did not knock on the door. The lineman had his instructions:
he went up the telephone pole and cut or loosened the wire that was the service to
the house. That stuck in my memory.
P: Did you have a very close-knit family?
L: Yes, I think so. Usually large families are close knit in the sense that the older
children take care of the younger children. My father worked very long hours. We
were close-knit, I think, by virtue of the fact that there was a large number of
My oldest brother, for example, in that family was sort of like a second father. He
organized the work activities--the tasks on Saturday mornings. I remember it was
almost like being in a boot camp. There were two other brothers and I--there were
four boys--and he would assemble us and say, "OK. This morning this is what we
have to do. We are going to wax floors, or we are going to do windows." It was
friendly. Do not misunderstand me. But we had sort of a second father. Since my
father worked Saturdays, my oldest brother was sort of a second father, and he was
a good second father. I mean, he not only organized chores for us, he also did things
for us. He took us places. He went to work very early in his life. He bought an
automobile and took us to the park and to the zoo and those sorts of things.
P: Did you yourself work outside of the home?
L: Oh, yes. We all did. I think that may have been a part of the immigrant family's
motivation. We were very highly motivated, I think, all of us. I cannot remember
any of the boys who did not work very early in life. I remember being too young to
get a paper route but wanting one. My brothers all had paper routes, delivering
papers by bike or walking. I remember when I got my first paper route. I was
young; I do not know how old I was, but it was during the mid 1930s, so I must have
been thirteen or something like that.
But my oldest brother, Guy, was hustling, as I called it, door to door, selling Fuller
brushes. I remember the incident of the electricity being cut off. He got back to the
house the afternoon when this was going on. He had earned enough money to pay
the electric bill. I remember there was some confrontation with the serviceman, who
said he could not accept the payment because he was a technician, not a business
representative. But they finally called and worked it out, so he took the money back
to the office. That brother brought the money back to pay the past-due electric bill.
All of the brothers [worked]. We shoveled snow, we delivered papers, we cut lawns
as kids--aggressively. I do not mean just haphazardly. And [we] saved money. I
remember going into the Christmas tree business very early; we sold Christmas trees.
In the summers we were very lucky because our next-door neighbors were related to
Clark Griffith. The mother of the children next door--Robertson was their name--
was the sister of Clark Griffith, and because of that, Griffith Stadium was an
opportunity for us to work in the concession stands and to sell Cokes and hot dogs
at baseball games and then later at football games. So I had that opportunity during
the summer and in the fall during football games.
P: So the work ethic was definitely part of your family and your growing-up years.
L: Very much so. I think the parents generated that, but I think it almost was not
necessary to articulate. I just think it seemed to be automatic with us.
P: There must have been a strong push for education, because you had a very splendid
education. Yet these were the Depression years that you and your brothers and
sisters were involved with.
L: There was. My mother's father (and her brother) were presidents of a private
school. Now, this was in Italy. Her brother was a Latin scholar. His name was
Feruccio Incutti. I got to know him later on, after the war, and that by itself is a
story. He was chased out of his job by the Fascists during the war. But that is a
I think from my mother's side there was [a] stronger push for education, but I am the
only child who actually finished college, and I am the only one who went on for an
advanced degree. My mother pushed me in that direction. It may have had
something to do with the Depression and the other boys going on to work. One of
my brothers had a football scholarship at North Carolina State, but he was injured
in a game and he never finished. I was the first child to finish college and the only
one to do graduate work. That was my mother's influence. I seem to recall her
reading me letters from my grandfather, her father.
And very early--for some reason or other--I became very studious. I do not know
why. I became the butt of jokes from my playmates who were very much involved
in athletics. We were very much involved in athletics, all of us. We played all sports.
I boxed. And I was the only one of that group who had sort of a serious study habit.
They used to kid me about that. I remember as a child wondering about that,
whether I was being too ...
P: Too bookwormish.
L: Yes. Oh, yes. They used to really ride me. We would be playing football or
something in the lot, and I would leave. "Where are you going?" [I would say,] "I
have lessons to do for tomorrow." Then there would be the usual catcalls and that
sort of thing.
P: You went to high school in Washington, obviously.
L: In Washington, DC.
P: How did it happen that you went to Dartmouth?
L: Well, that was accidental in this sense. I joined the navy V-5 program as it was in
those days. Later I was transferred to V-7. V-5 was pre-flight school. My eyes
weakened, and I was transferred to V-7, which was deck school for deck officers.
The navy sent me to Dartmouth. That was interesting, because I had been recruited
by Dartmouth--scouted by Dartmouth, I guess is what I should say--because I was a
high school football player, and I was pretty good. I was a lineman. I was light.
Dartmouth and Lafayette and some other [schools were interested in me]. As it
ended it up, I decided I wanted to stay in Washington, so I went to American
University and started there. But the navy sent me to Dartmouth.
P: So you started in American University.
L: Let me see. I graduated from high school in February 1940, and then it was the
following fall I went to American University.
P: The fall of 1940.
P: The year before we got involved in the war.
L: That is right.
P: The draft came into effect in September of 1940, but you were not caught in that yet,
L: No, although I could have been. I have forgotten when I signed up with the navy
program. It could have 1940 or 1941, I think. I suspect it was 1941. Yes, it was
1941. As you may remember, [since] you were on campus, the various services came
around to college campuses, and I remember the army was there, and the marines
were there, and the navy was there.
Since I was a young kid I had always harbored, interestingly, a desire to go to the
Naval Academy. Coming from Washington you had no sponsor; you do not have any
senators [to recommend you]. I had very good grades. I am almost embarrassed to
say. My playmates used to kid me. I was almost a straight-A student. I do not know
what it was that did that. I do not think I was necessarily that bright by way of native
intelligence, but I was very highly motivated.
I looked into it, and I found out that I had to get a sponsor. Well, how do you get
a sponsor? I asked my dad, and we looked into it. At that time I do not know
whether there were any appointees from the District of Columbia, because there
were not even any of the new representatives from the district at that time. So I
think that desire to go to the Naval Academy just disappeared. I was delighted when
the navy came on campus and said, "Would you like to sign up with this program?"
P: What were you planning to study when you went to American University?
L: I was interested in lots of things. I started out in pre-medicine, believe it or not.
That is where I met my wife. I had the misfortune of being signed into an
experimental introductory science course which was not introductory zoology, nor was
it introductory botany. It was a survey type course of both, and I must say that I got
very confused by that experimental course, and I did not do as well as I thought I
should. It sort of turned me off on the sciences. But I had been interested in pre-
med at that time.
P: So that is what began moving you toward what would become your lifetime activity:
L: Yes. I took accounting and did very well in accounting. But then--I hope my
accounting associates do not read this--I found accounting very boring in the next
course. The first course was sort of challenging, but accounting sort of bored me.
I did not really get much stimulation from accounting. I found it worse than
mathematics in that sense.
So then I took a course in economics. Now, here I was a junior. I went to
Dartmouth College; I was transferred to Dartmouth, as I said, by the navy, and I
enrolled in an economics course with Martin Lindahl. I will never forget his name.
Martin Lindahl was already a pretty well-known economist. One day he handed out
examinations, and I had done very well. He had [written] on it, "See me." Gosh, I
wondered what in the world I had done. I made an appointment and went to his
office. He said, "I looked up your records. You do not have a major. What are you
doing here in your junior year without a major?" I told him I did not know what to
do. I said, "I tried several things." He said, "Well, have you ever thought of
economics?" I said, "Well, I guess I have thought about it, but not very seriously."
He said, "You write a very good examination. Why not major in economics?"
Believe it or not, that was it. I went over and signed up, and I became an economics
P: And it has been your life's history ever since.
L: That was Martin Lindahl. Years later when I began publishing, he and I had
correspondence, and I said, "If it is any source of pride to you, you are the guy who
started me off in this field."
P: Let me back up for just one minute, Bob. When the war came along, were there any
dual loyalties [due to] your family's coming out of Italy?
L: Yes, indeed. There was some tension. As a matter of fact, my mother was very
upset when she found out that I had not only signed up in the navy but in the naval
air force. See, at that time navy aviation was really separate. You went to Pensacola
and places like that. Later on is when this really [began to concern my mother]. She
said, "You may be bombing your cousins or something." They were fiercely patriotic,
but at this point, see, I have lots of cousins still back in Italy who are doctors and
But my eyes went bad, as I said, and they shipped me to V-7. For some reason or
other, [my] being in the navy on a ship did not bother my mother as much as the
prospect of my being in an airplane dropping bombs. But we did not have any really
serious problems because there was some rule of the Selective Service, I think, that
not all of the sons had to be drafted. I forgot what that rule was. My father thought
that would be unpatriotic, so all four of the boys were in the service at one time.
One was in the air force, one was in the army, and my brother next oldest to me and
I were in the navy.
P: Did any of you ever get to Italy?
L: Later on. My oldest brother went to England very early on. He was drafted, and he
went to northern England, up near Bedford. He was a master sergeant. He did not
fly, but he was in the air force. I do not think he ever went to Italy. My next oldest
brother never got out of the States. He was a gun sight assembler by trade, and the
army used him in optics. I do not know exactly what it was that he was doing or
assembling, but they kept him in the States.
Then my next oldest brother went immediately to the Pacific. I was sent to
midshipman school, and then I was sent to an LST and landed at Normandy, so I was
the only one in Europe in action on the beaches. And then I was sent to the Pacific
later on, to Okinawa.
P: Yes, I saw you were in both theaters.
L: But I think that was the accident of when I got commissioned in April of 1944.
Normandy was June of 1944, right?
L: Yes. I was commissioned April 13, I had two weeks' leave, and then I was sent
overseas. I never got to Italy then. I do not think any of the brothers got to Italy
during the war. My ship came the closest, I think.
P: So you met relatives after the war.
L: After the war, but my family had visited Italy during the 1920s and 1930s.
P: Now, you did not earn a degree, obviously, at Dartmouth.
L: That is right.
P: You were there just under the special program.
L: Well, what happened was I was in the program, but the way that program worked
[was] you stayed in college as long as the service was willing to leave you there.
When they called for more officer candidates, they said, "Your orders now are to go
to Columbia, U.S. Midshipman School." I was in the navy at Dartmouth and, in
effect, was sent from Dartmouth to Columbia.
P: You were not wearing a uniform, were you, at Dartmouth?
L: No, we did not wear a uniform at first, but later on--the next semester I believe it
was--they made us wear uniforms. I do not know why. But originally we were not
P: So the navy was supporting you all through Dartmouth, in the dormitory and so on.
L: Oh, yes.
P: Were you part of the student life on campus?
L: Yes. As I said, we started out without any change. We were just civilians. I was V-
5, and then I went to V-7, and for administrative purposes they merged us with what
was later called V-12. When we were merged into V-12 the V-12ers had to wear
uniforms, and they made us wear uniforms too. I think it was something like that.
What complicated it was Dartmouth also had an ROTC unit on campus, and they did
not know whether to put us in the midshipman uniforms or into V-12 uniforms.
Ultimately they put us in V-12 uniforms.
P: But you could participate in student life--[the] social and all of the other things that
were going on on campus to the degree that they were going on during the war.
L: Absolutely. I went out for football, but football there was beginning to be very highly
organized, and I got concerned about the time. [I was not sure] whether I could
participate in that and do my studies. As I said, I was a pretty serious student.
P: And also by 1943 most of the students were in the service.
L: That is right. That is one of the, reasons why I was asked to come out for football,
because they had lost various members of their athletic teams and football team to
the draft and to the service. On second thought, I decided not to.
P: So you were at Dartmouth for one year?
P: And then you went to Columbia.
L: That is right.
P: What did you do at Columbia?
L: Well, now you were into a full-dress officer training school. It is roughly a ninety-day
officer candidate school, and it was very accelerated. I believe we went to classes
from eight o'clock until five o'clock, nonstop, very intensive. So it was just a regular
reserve midshipman school. There was one at Columbia, there was one at Notre
Dame, and I forget where the other one was.
P: And you were living, then, under military supervision.
L: Absolutely. Now you were in the navy.
P: You ate in a military dining room and did all of those things.
L: You wore a uniform all day long, followed strict military discipline, and were subject
to being kicked out for academic reasons or other disciplinary reasons.
P: So at the end of ninety days you received your commission.
P: And do you remember the date of that?
L: It was April 1944.
P: All right. And then almost immediately they ship you out.
L: That is right. I had seven to ten days delay, as they called it. I believe the orders
said delay (with a seven-to ten-day delay) and proceed to Norfolk, Virginia, and
report to the commanding officer of the USS 982. As a matter of fact, that was a
bone of contention when I graduated, if you are interested in that little story.
When we first arrived at Columbia, the commanding officer of the midshipman
school assembled us on parade grounds. He said, "For your information, duty
assignments will be based upon your performance in midshipman school. When you
have a chance to express your preferences, those of you who are conscientious will
be given greater consideration than those of you who goof off." Well, I was pretty
serious. I graduated 22nd in a class of 1,380, and I requested a real man of war. I
was going to be in the navy, and I wanted a battleship or a cruiser or a carrier. I got
an LST. [laughter]
My orders were secret because the ship was ready to ship out, so I was sort of
enthused when I saw that I had to report to the executive officer. He said, "Here are
your orders. You got an LST 982." I looked at him, and he said, "You seem
disappointed," and I said, "I am." He asked why, and I said, "Well, I requested a
battleship or a cruiser or an aircraft carrier in that order. You remember when we
first came here over three months ago the CO said, 'You will be assigned on the
basis of performance.'" He said, "Yes, that generally operates, but what has
happened is the navy has decided that it needs more people in the amphibious corps.
But there is something that we will talk to you about."
This was very interesting. It could have changed my whole life, I guess. He said,
"We had contemplated offering you an instructorship here at midshipman school in
navigation." He said I was the first student to go through there who had a 4.0 on all
of my navigation exams. I never missed a question. He said, "You are the first one
who has ever done that. We could give you [an instructorship]." I said, "Well, I will
miss the war." He said, "The beauty of this duty is you stay here for six months to
a year, and then you really have a lot of good opportunities to be placed." I said I
would talk about it with my company officer, who was Ensign Bowers. Ensign
Bowers said, "Do it. Do it. You will have a great opportunity to go to a real ship
sometime later on." So I said, "Well, if I wait a year, to 1945, who knows where the
war may be."
P: The war may be over.
L: So I said, "No. I will take the old LST." So I did.
P: You shipped out of Norfolk, then.
L: Well, I missed my ship in Norfolk. My ship went to New York, so they sent me to
New York. I missed my ship in New York by twenty-four hours, and then they put
me on another ship to go across the North Atlantic.
P: Why did you miss the ship?
L: In those days I believe the navy was not that up-to-date in getting the message back
to the various bases as to when the ship was actually leaving. At the time they cut
my orders, this ship was in Norfolk, and it was expected to remain in Norfolk. Well,
evidently whatever they were doing there in the way of repairs was done, and when
they were done, they just picked up and left. Well, when my orders were cut on
April 13 they did not know that they were going to leave there before the end of
April, and they did.
P: So you went to Norfolk and found out your ship [had left].
L: The navy still thought the ship was there. The communications had not caught up.
P: So when you got to Norfolk you found out you had to go back to New York.
L: Well, they made me wait there for a couple days there in Norfolk to find out whether
the ship had sailed directly to Europe or whether it was going somewhere else. They
said, "Oh, it is going to New York." Now, in those days they did not put you on an
airplane. I had to take a train, so I took a train to New York. The ship went to
New York just briefly. I think it just took on more fuel and took right off again.
P: So you missed it in New York.
L: I missed it in New York. They said, "Your ship left yesterday," so then they put me
on another ship, the USS Ariel, which was a provision ship. That was another
interesting experience. My ship was down in southern England, but the ship they
sent me over on landed in Rosnith, Scotland.
P: What was your ship? What was its name?
L: USS LST 982. That was the first ship I was on.
P: So you are in Scotland, and your ship is in the south of England.
L: Where I am not sure, because the English are now even more forthcoming. I went
to the naval headquarters in Rosnith there and they sent me to another city close by.
P: Is Rosnith the name of a town?
L: Yes, in Scotland. It was a seaport town.
P: On the west coast? East coast?
L: West coast. It is not far from Robert Burns country.
P: So it is not far from Glasgow?
L: Not far. Glasgow, I think, is where I may have ultimately ended up for information
and directions. So they said, "Report to Plymouth." Well, how am I going to get
there? Here I am on my own. It is not as though there are U.S. officers all over the
place. I had to get orders to get me a ticket on the train, so I did. I traveled
overnight. I did not get the Flying Scotsman--I forgot what I got--and it took me
down to Plymouth.
Well, I got to Plymouth, and I went to headquarters there, but they were operated
by the British. They operated the harbor, but there was a joint command of sorts.
They said, "No, your ship is in Falmouth, England." All this time for some reason
or other I had not shaved. I do not know why I had not shaved. Maybe I could not
find my razor or something. I was wearing my navy raincoat and finally found the
ship after forty-eight hours in Falmouth, and I went aboard and asked the officer of
the deck if I could see the captain. "I had this midshipman's schooling, and I need
to see your captain." "All right." The officer of the deck, instead of asking me for
my name as he would have, thought I was a British officer for some reason or other.
He told me this later. For some reason or other I had taken my hat off that I was
wearing, and the navy raincoats look just like the British raincoats. He thought I was
a Britisher, and the reason why he thought I was a Britisher was because for the
invasion we had a joint British-American command, and they were expecting some
Brits to come aboard.
P: And they thought you were one of those.
L: They thought so, so this guy thinks I am a Brit. I go the captain's cabin, and I sit
down, and I said, "Reporting aboard for duty, sir." He said, "Are you the liaison man
we have been expecting?" I said, "I do not know. My orders just tell me to report
to the commanding officer of the USS LST 982." Well, instead of asking me for my
orders, again, my captain was thinking in this context of, "This Britisher is coming
P: Although you did not have a British accent.
L: I did not have a British accent, and he did not, for the first few minutes, [think
anything other than that I was a British officer]. He said, "What is your specialty?"
See, they were expecting someone to order people. I said, "I do not have any
specialty, Captain. I am just a general deck officer." He said, "Are you an American
or a Britisher?" I said, "I am an American." I still had my raincoat on. He told me
it was the beard.
P: You looked like James Bond.
L: So he said, "Oh!" They thought they had lost me when I did not catch the ship in
Norfolk or New York. They thought I had been reassigned because I missed the
ship. I showed him my orders, and he said, "Oh, you are Lanzillotti. We thought we
lost you. Where were you in Norfolk?" I said, "Well, I went to Norfolk, and you had
already left." I missed them by a day or two in Norfolk and by a day in New York.
You see, the communications never said, "Lanzillotti is chasing you, and he will catch
you at some point." But that was very funny.
He then asked me why I did not shave or something like that. He said I had mislead
him. I said, "I really do not know why. I remember on the train that I was on I
could not get into the rest room when I wanted to shave in the morning, so I just
forgot about it." In any event, I finally got on my ship.
Now I am at my ship, and in less than a month we were on the beaches of
Normandy. We went through exercises with the Britishers.
P: What day did you arrive at Normandy?
L: D-Day. We were at D-minus-2, I believe, was when we hit the beaches.
P: So you hit it right there with all the storming and fire.
L: We delayed, you remember, a day because of a storm. Do you remember
Eisenhower delayed it? We were due on the fourth, and we went the sixth.
P: Right. And your ship arrived safely then? It made the landing safely?
L: We made the landings. We got damaged where we landed. It was our own fault.
It was sort of a comedy of errors. For some reason or other he [the captain] had
gotten word about my background at midshipman school--I do not know how he got
that--and he said, "You are going to be my navigator." I said that was fine. He said,
"Study the charts," and we studied the charts for the landing. The way the charts
were laid out--I am sure you have seen some of this--all the beaches were in sectors,
and there were numbers and there were names to them. We were in Utah Beach,
right next to Omaha Beach. We were at Red Sword or something like that. I have
forgotten what it was.
Well, when we got there the buoys that we were supposed to find (that were
supposed to have been put there by the underwater team, the scouts and raiders),
were gone. See, the storm had messed things up. A lot of things were not there.
So the captain said, "Where do we land?" I said, "Well, we could take a site on the
beach here." We have these tanks and soldiers, and we had to get them off. I mean,
there is a war going on. Germans are firing at us. So we just headed in where we
thought was close to where we were supposed to be.
After we landed, the beachmaster hailed the captain with a bullhorn and came
aboard, and he said, "You are not supposed to be at this sector. You are supposed
to be up there." The captain had enough presence of mind to say, in effect (he said
it very quickly), "Now, you do not propose that in the middle of this landing we are
going to back off and go somewhere else." [laughter] So we landed in the wrong
place. But as we landed in the wrong place, we happened to land on a sand dune
with a very shallow area, and we buckled the ship. So we had to go back to England
damaged. We were there overnight rather than being able to get off, which was not
good for us. You see, what you do is you land, get rid of your tanks, and pull off and
back. So we were there overnight, and the Germans bombed us. We were lucky
they did not hit us.
P: But you were vulnerable.
L: Oh, we were in the thick of battle. It was fun. I mean, I must say I found it very
exciting. Looking back at the time I was scared, but I thought it was an exciting
scared. I really did. I enjoyed it. I do not know why.
P: Did you ever get ashore?
L: Oh, yes. We went on the beaches then, but the captain did not want us [to venture
far]. There were mines on the beach and things like that, and the captain did not
want anyone [to go far]. We were right on the sand and on the beach, but we did
not roam. But later on we came back. We made I forget how many trips.
P: But you went back to England for repairs at that point.
L: We went back to England. They said it was not really that bad, that it was all right,
but before we would go back to the States we would have to have it done. So we
went back, and they just put us in the yard briefly, and we came out. Then we made
more trips. Then we went up the Seine River to Rouen with one load because the
Allies had moved on and taken Rouen very early.
P: Were you carrying just men, or were you carrying men [and] supplies?
L: Well, the original [payload] was armored vehicles and tanks and men. Then later on
we carried all sorts of things--ammunition, armored vehicles. We made that one trip
up to Rouen with mixed cargo. Then I forgot which army got cut off in the Brest
peninsula. Do you remember?
P: I know the incident, but I do not know.
L: Well, we were then one of three LSTs that were diverted to Mont-Saint-Michel out
in the Brest peninsula. We were sent out there with ammunition and gasoline to
relieve troops that were trapped there, and we were the first Americans to land in
Mont-Saint-Michel. The Germans had vacated.
P: But when you got to Rouen it was already in Allied hands?
L: Yes. But at Mont-Saint-Michel we were the first Americans on shore.
P: The Germans had evacuated.
L: Just recently. The Americans had pushed them out of there, and we were the first
American ships in port. There were three LSTs that [made that trip].
P: How long were you in the European theater?
L: Well, let me see. We landed in June, and we came back before the end of the year,
so we must have been there for five or six months. We came back here around
Christmastime. Then we went to Okinawa.
P: So the first of 1945 you are en route to the Pacific.
P: And, of course, the war is beginning to close down in Europe. There was no
possibility, or it did not seem that way, as far as the Pacific was concerned. You
were still on an LST?
L: Still on an LST at this time. Later on I got shipped to a seaplane tender. I was on
an LST and went out to Okinawa. I have forgotten [in] which month V-E Day [is],
but we were getting ready for the landings. Let me see. It must have been just after
the landings at Okinawa that V-E Day ... when was V-E Day?
P: April 1945.
L: Yes. Then we were dispatched to go to the Philippines en route to the landing that
we were going to make in Japan. That is when the bomb [was dropped]. The bomb
was when? October?
P: No. September.
L: Now, it is very interesting the way history works.
P: I think the bomb was actually in August.
L: I think maybe it was. I was shipped back to the States just as the war ended.
P: So you were not there when the war ended?
L: I was en route back to the United States. I got trapped. I got rotation orders. Let
me see. How could I have gotten that? They claimed from April to April would
have been twelve months. I forget how many months at sea [I got credit for]. They
transferred me to another ship, but they were giving me orders back to the States.
I was to go back and take over the command of an LST.
P: By this time what is your rank?
L: Lieutenant junior grade, but I am bucking now for lieutenant. The original command
of the LSTs were lieutenants, and they bucked them up to lieutenant commander,
which I finally got. But I came back, and I was sent to the ...
P: You land on the West Coast, in California?
L: Yes. Again, no where. See, at this time unless you were really a ranking officer or
unless you waited along time to get air [transportation] ...
P: You took the train.
L: Well, I took a ship back to San Francisco, but then I took the train back to
Washington, DC. When I checked into the Potomac River Naval Command I
expected that I would be remaining in the area, because I had a lot of points, as you
can tell from what we have described. So my wife--at that time my girlfriend--Pat
and I talked about getting married, and we said, "Well, we might just as well." We
had decided not to get married during the war. We did not think it was a good idea.
So we set a date for the marriage, and after we sent out invitations I got my orders
to go back to the Pacific. [laughter] So we got married.
P: Meanwhile, wasn't the war over?
L: Yes, but there was a lot of work to be done bringing troops back.
P: And cleaning up.
L: So I was sent to the USS Cumberland Sound, which was a large seaplane tender that
operated in Ulithi [Atoll] and those places. I had a little trouble catching up with
them, but I finally caught them.
P: That was the story of your life in the military, catching up with the ship.
L: Catching up with my ship. I finally got aboard.
L: I finally caught them in Seattle. I jumped around the West Coast and Hawaii, and
I finally caught them in Seattle. They had come back from Ulithi for some reason
P: Where is Ulithi?
L: Ulithi is down near the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific. I went aboard that
ship just at the wrong time, or at the right time. That ship had been manned by a
lot of mustangs, as they called them. These were former chief petty officers who
were given commissions. I do not know whether it was to extend their service or to
come back. They had been given a kind of a contractual commission that at the end
of the war they could be discharged within ninety days or something. These guys,
and there were a number of them, wanted another jump in grade, and for some
reason or other the captain did not want to recommend it for them. A bunch of
officers left the ship at one time just before I arrived.
So I arrived on this ship as a lieutenant, and the captain said, "You are my first
lieutenant." The first lieutenant on that ship is a division officer with tremendous
responsibilities for twenty-six boats, all of the booms and everything that services the
PBYs and picks them up out of the water and puts them on the rear deck and
services them and all of the other gear. So I said, "Captain, you do not want me,
because I am an LST officer. I do not even know how to get down below the main
deck on this ship." He said, "You will learn." That was Captain J. R. Homey, and
he became a good friend of mine. I liked that ship.
Well, come to fate, I was retained there for ninety days because that ship was
designated as one of the command ships for the tests at Bikini. You remember
General [Leslie R.] Groves?
P: I have forgotten his first name, but I remember the last.
P: Well, it just shows you the way history works. The captain said, "I cannot release
you. All these officers have left, and I need some people with some experience. We
are going to have to extend your service for at least ninety days." So I did not get
out. Well, it was an interesting experience.
P: You were still in Seattle all of this time?
L: No. We had moved out, but we had come back to Seattle now. We were back in
Seattle when we got these orders that we were going to go through a conversion
preparatory for the June tests in Bikini.
P: The June tests for what?
L: The atom bomb test. There is a very interesting sequel to this episode. General
Leslie Grove came aboard. What a thrill for me to sit down in the wardroom with
him and the captain. The purpose of the meetings was to see whether this ship could
handle all of the equipment that they needed to explode the bombs and then to
record with telemetric devices the effects in terms of heat and pressure and all that.
My job was to determine whether we could mount all this very heavy gear high on
the ship without affecting its seaworthiness.
Fortunately, just before these meetings, I had been assigned in my division two
spanking new ensigns who were graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy. As part of
their first duty they were required to do assignments under the direction of their
division officer. Well, my first assignment to them was, "Here is all this equipment.
These are the sizes, shapes, weights, positions, and so forth. You figure out what this
does to the medi-centric center of this ship." (That is a nautical term of a ship's
As the days wore on, Captain Homey said, "Look. This is an historic occasion. Why
not go to Bikini with us? We will give you a jump in rank to lieutenant commander
right away." Well, I had not finished my degree, as you know, and if I went out
there, who knew whether I would get back in time for the fall term. Believe me, I
had a long session with myself about that, and I decided against it. I just wanted to
get back to school. I figured if I made that decision, I probably would delay further
to the point [where] I might even be tempted to stay in the navy, and I did not know
whether I wanted to do that. So, after my ninety-day extension I left the ship.
Now, it is interesting. Here we are now almost fifty years later, [and we are] reading
in the paper about various naval personnel who were exposed to the Bikini test who
are coming down with radiation illnesses. The navy and other experts evidently
grossly underestimated the range of the effects of these tests.
P: And they did not know very much about it then.
L: That is right. So who knows? I might have been here, but my ears might have been
glowing if I had gone to Bikini.
P: And I might have caught something. [laughter]
L: You would have caught radiation sickness.
P: So anyway, you come back. You are out of the service now when you get back?
L: I was out of the service.
P: With what rank?
L: I am a full lieutenant.
P: So they had jumped you.
L: Yes. I had earned [that extra grade]. I would have gone to lieutenant commander
had I remained aboard. That is the way they did things. I think that ship called for
a lieutenant commander for that position.
P: When did you leave the service?
L: Well, let me see. I must have gotten back around June 1945. Yes, I think it must
have been. Now I want to go back to college.
P: You did not stay in the reserves?
L: Yes, I did.
P: How long did you stay in the reserves?
L: Oh, I stayed in the reserves in time to satisfy twenty-one years of satisfactory service.
P: So what rank did you hold when you left the reserves?
L: Lieutenant commander.
P: You finally made it.
L: I finally made it. I was promoted to lieutenant commander shortly thereafter
because I was close to it at the time.
P: What decorations did you bring out of the war?
L: Well, let me see. I was in the different theaters, and there were the theater medals.
And I had two battle stars, bronze stars. I had the Pacific-Asian theater, as they
called it, the European theater, [and] the American theater ribbons. I got some
decoration for that Bikini thing, but I do not know whether I ever received it. I do
not know what that was. It was a ribbon for that service.
P: I certainly hope they gave you the good conduct medal.
L: Officers do not get good conduct medals.
P: Understandably so. [laughter]
L: After Tailhook, particularly naval officers. [laughter]
P: So then you come back. You are now a civilian, and you are going back to school.
L: And I want to go to Dartmouth.
P: In the meantime, did you get married?
L: I had been married before I went out to the Cumberland Sound.
P: I remember you sent out the invitations, but I thought [you called it off when you
found out that you were being sent back to sea duty].
L: We got married, and we had a brief honeymoon, and I left.
P: Who did you marry?
L: Patricia Jackson.
P: And she was from where?
L: She was from Washington, DC.
P: How did you two meet? You said something about an earlier meeting.
L: Yes. I had met her at American University.
P: She was a student?
L: She was a student there when I was an upperclassman. I was a year or so ahead of
her. Now I want to go back to college.
P: When were you married?
L: Navy day, 1945.
P: And that was what date? Remember quickly now.
L: October 27, 1945.
P: Almost fifty years.
P: Now, you had how many children?
P: What were their names?
L: Robert J. and Donna Jean.
P: OK. Now, did all of your brothers come back OK? Nobody was hurt or killed?
L: No one was killed. One of them came back with some stomach problems. They do
not know whether he contracted something in boot camp or what.
P: Now, you hoped to go back to Dartmouth, but you do not end up in Dartmouth.
L: I do not end up in Dartmouth. That is a very interesting, easy story. I want to go
to Dartmouth. My wife is also interested in graduate study.
P: What did she take? What was her major?
L: Zoology. She is actually in the museum this morning talking to Bill Hardy about
birds. She is a zoologist.
P: I knew she was a famous bird watcher, but I did not know what her academic
L: Actually, she was probably a better student scholar than I. But Dartmouth was still
all male. I wanted to go back to Dartmouth to finish off, but there was no point in
going up there if she could not go to school. She would have had to commute to the
university in New Hampshire (I forgot what it was), which was quite a commute, and
she did not think that that was a very good school to go to graduate school while I
was finishing my undergraduate. I did not need much at this stage. I needed about
P: For your B.A.
L: Yes. So we said, "Well, what the heck. Why not just stay here, finish the bachelor's
degree, and then apply to graduate, and we both would apply." So I finished my
bachelor's degree in the summer of 1945. I realized, of course--as an undergraduate
it had not occurred to me--that if I were applying to graduate school I was a little
late. I had not gotten my degree. My advisor then said, "Look. Why not just do a
master's degree quickly and apply for the following fall?"
P: For the Ph.D.?
L: For the Ph.D.
P: You had already made up your mind you were going to do advanced graduate work,
then, beyond the master's.
L: Yes. I wanted to go to graduate school, but I was thinking of jumping right into the
Ph.D. So I took a master's degree with Dr. Karl Mann, a real German who urged
me to go on. I also had a professor of statistics, Scott Dayton, who wanted me to go
to Berkeley because that is where he had gone to school.
P: Now, the records show that you received a B.A. and an M.A. together, or the same
year, in 1946.
P: You finished the semester, and then you moved immediately into the M.A. program.
L: That is right. As a matter of fact, I think I took some M.A. work in the summer,
because I did not need many credits.
P: You are going under the G.I. Bill?
L: Yes. Very generous.
P: So that supported you.
L: It supported me very generously, I thought at the time. I saved money. I became
at that time an investor. I was using [the] G.I. Bill to invest in the stock market. I
was already becoming an entrepreneur. [laughter]
P: No children yet?
L: Oh, no, no children yet. We now want to go to graduate school and do Ph.D. work,
and we applied.
P: Your M.A. was in economics?
L: In economics.
P: So you are still sticking to the same thing that you were before you went into the
service. So this statistics professor encourages you to apply to Berkeley.
L: Yes, and my main professor urged me to apply to Princeton, Harvard, and Chicago.
I think I applied to Ohio State as well. Anyway, he said, "Apply to half a dozen."
My wife wants to go on to graduate school, so she applies also.
P: To Berkeley?
L: She applied to all the same schools I applied to. Berkeley, interestingly, was the only
institution that offered us both teaching fellowships or teaching assistantships.
P: She is going into zoology?
L: She is going into zoology, and I am going into economics. We went to Berkeley. I
had a teaching fellowship in statistics, and she had a teaching assistantship. They
called me a teaching fellow--I do not know why--and called her a teaching assistant.
I have forgotten why that was. We remained there a little over two years.
P: Student housing?
L: Dreadful housing. We could not get into student housing at Berkeley. We were put
in Richmond, California, which was an old camp there. There was public housing
that had been taken over from military housing, I think. It was dreadful. It was so
dreadful that in the middle of the first semester we just literally packed up our things
and went into town and rented a room. It was unkempt, [and] the residents there
were very rowdy. They were not students; see, we were just thrown in. They did not
have concern. People had their radios blaring and the kids [playing], and we could
not study, so we just picked up and left. We went into town, rented a room with this
old widow, and lived in Berkeley until some university housing opened up.
P: So you get your degree when?
L: Well, I left there in ...
L: No, I left there much before that. I left there too early.
P: But you get the degree in 1953.
L: Yes. I left there in the summer of 1949.
P: I have you as a teaching fellow in statistics at Berkeley from 1947-1949.
L: That is correct, and I left there early. I know that my advisors told me that I needed
one more year, but by this time, for some reason or other, I had gotten bored with
graduate school. I had gotten fascinated with finance, and I went over and took an
extra field with a professor of finance by the name of Leonard Crum, who had come
there from Harvard. I was playing around in the stock market at the time with my
G.I. Bill money. I was getting a teaching fellowship and was making $1,200 or $1,300
plus summer money, and my wife also was getting a salary.
P: You were in high cotton.
L: And G.I. Bill. I mean, I was [doing very well]. So I had some discretionary income,
as we call it in economics, and I was fooling around in the stock market.
P: Doing well?
L: Doing well and getting a little bit bored, so I said, "I am not going to stick around
here any longer. I will take my exams in absentia or something." My wife's advisor
asked me to speak to him, and I went down to see him. I believe his name was Seth
Benson, thesis advisor and Director of Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, who was very
well-known, as was another of her professors, a geneticist by the name of
Goldschmidt. I believe it was he and Oliver Goldschmidt who said, "You are doing
your wife a great disservice by leaving Berkeley so soon. She is going to have to top
out at a master's," which is all she was originally interested in, and they said, "We
want her to go on for her doctoral work. She is good. We have checked her
performance against yours, and we think she is better than you are in economics."
[laughter] So I said, "That may be true, but I am getting out of here. I am tired of
going to school." They were not able to persuade me to stay there another year.
Maybe it was unfair to Pat, but I wanted to go somewhere.
Of course, it was the worst time to come out and look for a job. 1949-50 was a
recession year, as you remember.
P: But I thought with G.I. Bill the universities were increasing their enrollment and
looking for professors.
L: Well, in 1949-50 the cyclical influence was there. Berkeley also was sort of, I think,
a little bit too impressed with itself. Berkeley Ph.D.s in economics only were placed
where the department wanted to place them. I did not know that.
L: You only talked to other Berkeley graduates.
L: So they said, "There is a chance you can go to Illinois, but we placed two back there
the previous year, and they do not know whether they want another Berkeley man
right now. We have an obligation," they said, "to place some graduates in the new
California system. One of them they wanted me to go to was a place called Santa
Barbara. I went down to Santa Barbara and was astonished. It was an old normal
school that had been taken over. There was no library, no nothing. I said, "This will
never do," and I went back and talked to my advisor, the placement officer. He said,
"Well, there is a chance we could place you up at Washington or Washington State,
but we just placed two people at Washington. One of them is a person you may
know from the previous year, Douglas North, an economic historian. We will check."
"No, they are not adding any more this year. So where do you want to be?" "I want
to be on the West Coast." The only opportunity was at Washington State. I said, "I
will take it."
So they were not happy with my going to Washington State, as a matter of fact. At
that time they did not think Washington State was good enough for a Berkeley man.
P: By the way, economics was in their College of Business like ours is here?
L: No. It had been for years and years, but just about that time economics was pulled
out of business.
P: And put into arts and sciences?
L: Arts and sciences.
P: So you took your Ph.D., then, in arts and sciences.
P: I knew you were a good man. [laughter]
L: I am basically an arts and sciences, liberal arts type of dean, as you probably know.
P: As I know, yes. So before you get the Ph.D., then, you take the job in Washington
State as an assistant professor. You move up there with Pat. Where was it located?
L: Pullman, Washington, the home of the new famous football player, a quarterback
Bledsoe, who was just drafted number one.
P: You had gone up there for an interview?
L: No, I had not, partly because Berkeley did not send people to places like that.
P: How did you know how good the department was?
L: Well, they told me about it. It so happened that the professor under whom I had
decided to write my dissertation was acquainted with He and this fellow were
classmates of Harvard, I believe, and he had been talking to them. They said that
they would like to have a Berkeley grad if Berkeley had someone they would like to
send. So they said they did not need to interview me. It was interesting that
Berkeley was willing to put their imprimatur on.
The dean at that time was Maurice W. Lee, and the chairman of the department at
that time, who was a classmate of my senior professor, was John Guthrie. John
Guthrie suggested that they would like to have me. We talked by phone, and they
wrote me a letter, and I went up there without an interview.
P: How much were they going to pay you?
L: The enormous sum of $4,000.
P: As an assistant professor.
L: As an assistant professor.
P: Nine months?
L: Well, as it turned out, that came in as a twelve-month contract by mistake. I did not
know it was a mistake. I accepted it. Four thousand dollars sounded like pretty
good money to me.
P: It was good money in those years.
L: So I arrived at Washington State and started doing some teaching and some research.
They had a Bureau of Economic and Business Research; I had a joint appointment.
In the middle of the semester the dean called me in and said, "We have made a
mistake in your salary, and we did not realize it. You have a joint appointment with
the bureau, but the $4,000 was intended to be on a nine-month basis. Therefore, we
are increasing your salary by 20 percent to $4,800."
P: You must have been walking on air.
L: I went immediately to the Wall Street Journal. [laughter]
P: Instead of calling Pat and letting her know.
L: Where am I going to put this money? I was very thrilled with Washington State.
P: Nice campus?
L: It is a very nice campus. It is a very isolated campus; too isolated as it turned out.
P: But you stayed there until 1961.
L: Yes, but I was tempted to leave several times. I stayed there because I was very
productive, and Pat loved the area. Pat worked there as an assistant to the director
of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.
P: She did not go on to the Ph.D.?
L: She did not go on to the Ph.D. She became a research assistant there with the
director of the museum. We liked it there, and our two children were born there.
P: Now, you finished the Ph.D. program in 1953.
L: Yes. The first year I did not do much on a dissertation. I actually finished the
dissertation in October 1952, and I went down and defended it, and they awarded it
in February 1953.
P: What was your dissertation?
L: It was what we call an industry study. It was a study of the floor-covering industry,
the market structure and competitive behavior in the floor-covering industry.
P: Now, you later published that as a book?
L: Yes, I did, and I published two good articles out of it.
P: Who published your book?
L: Washington State University Press.
P: And I noticed when you got the Ph.D. that you were promoted from assistant to
P: That was an increase in salary?
L: Oh, yes, a very nice increase. In those days they were keeping up with the market
very nicely. I was very pleased with the salary adjustments I got.
P: And then I notice you held that rank until 1958, and then in 1959 you became a full
professor at Washington State.
L: Yes. As I said, I looked at alternatives, but we liked Pullman very much.
P: What was life like for a young couple?
L: You made a lot of your own social life. It was a small town. The university was
really the focal point of social life.
P: Like Gainesville?
L: Well, more so than Gainesville, because we did not have as large a city. Pullman in
those days was 12,200 including the university population, which was about 4,500 to
P: You said it was isolated. What was the closest [big city]?
L: Spokane, Washington, was ninety miles north.
P: So that is where you went for real shopping.
L: Real shopping. Walla Walla was approximately 75 to 100 miles south.
P: How large was the university when you were there in the 1950s?
L: 4,500 originally, and then it got to about 5,500.
P: A cosmopolitan population?
L: Yes, although there were not many minorities there.
P: They were not recruiting blacks or Asians?
L: No. There were some Asians who naturally gravitated there, being on the West
Coast, but there were very few blacks in the 1950s when I was there. [There was a]
a very good student body.
P: Now, during the time that you were there you were also, I noticed, a research
associate at the Brookings Institution. What did that mean?
L: Well, it was actually a leave of absence. There was a feeling of isolation from other
scholars in my field. I consider myself to be a specialist in what we called industrial
organization, which was the theory of a firm and the applications of that; study of
industry--firms, competition, antitrust policy, and that sort of thing. And there was
not anyone else around there in my department who was interested in that subject
or who really did research in that field.
P: So you could really only talk to yourself.
L: There was one other person who had done some work in that field. That is exactly
true, so I felt isolated. I had this opportunity open. Brookings Institution had been
given a grant by the [Alfred P.] Sloan Foundation, I believe it was, of $350,000 to do
a study of large corporations. Brookings wrote to me on a suggestion. I do not know
how this network operated, but my senior professor at Berkeley was well acquainted
with a professor at Northwestern who was an advisor on this project to Brookings.
Brookings had originally intended that a very senior man who was there at Brookings
would head it up, but they found out he could not pull it off. For a year he had
worked on it and had gotten nowhere. So they decided to go outside and bring in
someone who would do the work, but they would still let this fellow associated with
it--while he never wrote a page out of the final study--be given first listing because
the original grant [had his name on it]. His name was A. D. H. Kaplan. I was
delighted when I received the invitation, and I went back.
P: So Brookings recruited you, then?
L: Brookings recruited me, and I went back to Brookings for a solid year.
P: You took the family?
L: I took the family.
P: And you went where?
L: We went to Washington, DC. Actually it was about fifteen months, because I went
through one summer and the following summer. I went back there in 1956-1957, I
P: And Brookings is paying you now. You are on leave from Washington State.
L: Oh, yes, at that time I thought [it was] a very generous salary with allowances for
moving and an extra kicker for living in Washington, DC.
P: And, of course, it was pleasant [that] you were reunited with your family also.
L: Absolutely. So we went back there. I was thrilled. The study that I did probably is
the most important piece of research that I completed, and it gave me great visibility
P: Describe that research.
L: It was research of an empirical nature, as I called it, on how large firms go about
pricing their products. What sort of objectives do they have in mind? What sort of
procedures are used to implement that?
P: This is everything from a can of tomatoes to an automobile?
L: Yes. We took twenty large companies, which included General Motors, Kennecott
Copper [Corporation], Standard Oil of Indiana, Union Carbide Aluminum
Corporation of America, International Harvester, Swift and Company, U.S. Steel,
National Steel, and A & P Tin Company.
My senior professor recommended me for this project. He told me that he had
remembered in a seminar one day [that] he was explaining marginal cost pricing as
the explanation of the way firms priced, and I said, "It seems to me strange that we
keep theorizing about this, and yet rather than just do this on a basis of deductive
analysis, why not do some inductive studies?" So he sort of laughed. He said, "You
do not want to fool around with any of that post-prandial type of research." In effect,
he said a Berkeley man would not do that sort of thing.
P: What did he call it?
L: Post-prandial--after-dinner, after-eating type of research. I will never forget the
comment, and I remember when I finished it I said, "Here is my post-prandial effort
or result," or something.
Joe Bain was my senior professor. I went back to Brookings, and I designed the
study from scratch. I told Brookings what I wanted to do, and I met with Robert D.
Calkins [the president] after I arrived. He said, "I want to know what your research
plan is," so I spent a few days developing a research plan.
My research plan, in effect, was almost the ideal sort of inductive research, empirical
research. I requested that the Brookings Institution open the doors to these major
U.S. corporations, and my research plan was to go and actually live with the officials
for a period of two to four weeks at a time. I wanted to interview the chairman of
the board and the president and CEO and then move down into the managerial
ranks to determine just how they went about setting their pricing policy and how they
did their pricing.
It was really a magnificent opportunity for me because that is exactly what happened.
For example, I went to Swift and Company, and I was able to meet old-time
industrialists who had come up, and some of those who had not come up [through
the ranks over a long period of time].
P: It is too bad you did not tape all of those people--what a wonderful, wonderful
L: Yes. The advantage of that research model was its ability to document how pricing
policy was developed in major corporations. I remember Calkins said, "Why do you
want to fool around up there with the Chairman and CEO? These people really do
not get into pricing." I said, "I want to know what their perception is--what they think
their associates are doing and what they expect them to do."
So I started off trying to get some feel for corporate policy. "What is your pricing
policy?" That sounds like a very straightforward question to us, but I noticed
immediately that these CEOs were baffled by that. "What do you mean by 'pricing
policy'?" I said, "Well, do you have a conscious notion as to what your managers are
supposed to be doing in the way of reaching corporate goals?" "Oh, yes, we know
that. But what does pricing policy have to do with that?" "Well, isn't pricing geared
to--organized toward-- obtaining some corporate objectives?"
What I did was to discuss "objectives" with them first. I found I had to discuss
corporate objectives, which I then translated into pricing objectives. And it was very
interesting. Companies like General Motors had a corporate objective of realizing
a rate of return on investment. I labeled what they did "target rate of return pricing."
They had certain corporate targets that they expected to be realized over the years.
They wanted to make 20 percent rate of return on their investment, whereas A & P
had a market share focus. Standard Oil of Indiana was more interested in stable
prices; they did not like prices to jump around. Others had objectives of meeting
their market competition.
So I developed a rapport with these people at the top, and then, after getting a grasp
on what the corporate views were by the top managers, I moved down to vice
presidents and then to product managers and the like to find out how they went
P: Were all of them, in the final analysis, interested in the bottom line: money?
L: They were, but they were originally very wary of me as a researcher because the
kinds of questions I was asking sounded very suspiciously like an antitrust agency, you
see, and they were very wary of [sharing] this information.
P: They did not want a Trojan Horse coming in.
L: Now, that raises an interesting research question. Brookings worked out my research
plan with the companies. That is one of the beauties of a research organization like
Brookings which has a reputation. They worked out all the protocol, the protocol
being, "What is going to happen to this manuscript and these data?" The researcher
did not have to do that. This time there was a lot of general public interest in the
subject. As you may recall, the Kefauver committee was conducting all sorts of
hearings about big business, and this study was focused on the big business groups
in the U.S. They were concerned about concentration in the American economy.
Kefauver was also interested in that.
P: This is Estes Kefauver.
L: Estes Kefauver, senator from Tennessee and erstwhile candidate for vice-president.
P: With Adlai Stevenson in 1956.
L: You have it. All right. 1956 was when I went to Brookings.
The protocol that was worked out was that I would submit to each company a draft
of any materials that mentioned or included data and materials provided by that
particular company, because I did a case study on each of the companies. The
company had the opportunity to comment on the chapter, but they did not have any
kind of veto power. Now, that was a very delicate thing for Brookings to work out,
because [the corporations] were opening their doors and their records and showing
them to me, an outsider, which had never been done before.
P: Without any opportunity to censor anything.
L: That is right. They did have this kind of an opportunity. I asked them to provide
me with certain materials, but I never physically took materials away from the
corporation. I always had a policy that they would put them in the mail to me with
a cover letter saying, "You have requested this information which we are releasing
P: So you did not go to the corporate headquarters in Washington, Philadelphia,
L: Oh, yes, I did, but [this is] what I said when I was there.
P: I understand.
L: For example, I would say, "Now, just how do you go about pricing these rare
chemical products?" to Lindy Air Products, for example, which is a subsidiary of
Union Carbide. They would say, "Well, let's take argon gas, and let's take some
other rare gases." They actually had charts and tables that they had made out, and
I said, "Gee. This is very fascinating. This tells me exactly how you went about it--
what kinds of costs you used to guide you and so forth. Would you put this into the
mail to me?" I would ask them to mail them to me because I wanted a track record
of their having consciously released this information to me rather than have left the
impression that I might have filched it out of some system.
P: I see. So you were playing completely above board with them.
L: Oh, yes, because I was more sensitive to the antitrust concerns at the beginning than
they were. Indeed, I did not alert Calkins to this at first because I did not want him
worrying about it.
Later on, when the full manuscript was completed (although not published) there
were very long, tedious sessions with some of the companies. Up to this point, they
had seen only little pieces, e.g., "Here is a product summary or a product case study."
or, "Here is an analysis of the firm and its objectives." But they never saw the whole
package put together in terms of not only the company histories and the company
analyses but what they meant in terms of my major thesis: what are the corporate
objectives? What kinds of formulas or rules of thumb do they use in pricing? What
kinds of cost and demand data go into the pricing calculus? What kinds of changes
in costs and demand cause changes in pricing? How are these changes calculated?
Is pricing related directly to marginal costs?
P: In other words, you did a study of each firm and then drew conclusions at the end
L: Twenty companies did not know what the industry patterns were. I was getting
patterns in American industries that had never been disclosed up to this time. See,
this was called "Pricing and Big Business." I published out of that a very major piece
of work in the American Economic Review. I was really testing one of our major
hypotheses in economics and microtheory; that is, the profit maximization hypothesis.
P: Were any of the companies upset?
L: Very upset. I believe the most upset were Union Carbide and General Motors, in
that order. We had meetings at Brookings with the president of Brookings, and I
remember one meeting where Union Carbide brought three lawyers. They brought
their general counsel from Union Carbide and two outside attorneys to Washington
to meet with the president of Brookings and me, even though, as I said, Kaplan was
given really sort of a courtesy authorship. He was not involved because he did not
know what was going on. He did not do any of the research or any of the writing.
The lawyers took my manuscript and said, "There are statements in here that
incriminate us before the antitrust authorities, and we think that this is very
damaging." Well, they had already commented, you see, on the drafts. Remember
I said I had sent them back drafts?
L: Now when they saw it in finished form, and they got an entirely different perspective
about the manuscript and its impact. So they wanted things changed. Calkins was
very good as president. He said, "No. You people have had a chance to [make your
position known before]. These are the authors' interpretations and conclusions.
Factually, if there are errors or something, we certainly ought to correct those." They
said, "Well, we turned over these data and these materials and these illustrations, and
now those become the raw material on which he builds these conclusions. We want
to pull the raw materials. We want to withdraw them." Well, that would have just
have destroyed the study.
P: You could not produce results or a conclusion without the basis.
L: So the end result was quite satisfactory to me. I really admired Brookings for
sticking to their original agreement. They had great integrity. They said, "Look.
The author must be given the opportunity to reach his own interpretations. The
manuscript was submitted to you as it was being conducted, and you had an
opportunity to comment on it at that time. They had drafts that had come back, and
we had corrected things," where they had, in fact, at times said, "Look. What you
have done here in this illustration is absolutely correct, but we do not want our
competitors to know these exact numbers. Can you disguise them in some way?" So
I did disguise things; I changed things. I multiplied by a constant factor, say, 1.25 or
something, to keep the same ratios without giving away the actual details of a price
of a particular product and that sort of thing. So I did disguise some things without
destroying the significance.
P: Now, I think you said this gave you a national reputation.
L: I published an article in the American Economic Review called "Pricing Objectives in
P: Did the companies raise a hullabaloo then?
L: Oh, no. By this time the book was on its way out. If not [already] published, it was
P: So the inevitable was there, and they just had to live with it.
L: Oh, yes. I remember I submitted the article to the American Economic Review, which
was at that time and still is our leading economics journal. The editor was Bernard
F. Haley. I submitted it, and to my amazement, almost by return mail he said, "As
editor I am tentatively accepting this because I think that this article needs to be
published. Even before I get reviewers I want to tell you. But I want to write you
to tell you that this is going to be a very controversial article because you are, of
course, stepping on the intellectual capital of a lot of people in this field when you
are questioning the profit maximization hypothesis. I hope you realize that."
P: Well, of course you did.
L: Oh, I did.
P: You knew what the risks were to start with.
L: As it turned out, he subsequently wrote me and said up to that time he had more
comments on the article come in to be published than on any article he had accepted
up to that time.
P: He had sent it out to readers for evaluation?
L: He sent it out to readers, and then when it was published, [there was considerable
dialogue about it].
P: So obviously they came back with a positive [evaluation].
L: They said, "Go ahead." He published it; I believe it was published in December
1958. He published that thing pretty quickly. I was surprised at how quickly he got
it into print.
P: So it was not long, then, after you had finished your year there that this came out.
L: Well, I wanted to publish it even before the book came out. As you know, once a
book comes out with more material that you can publish in an article ...
P: The article does not have very much allure then to the editor.
L: That is right. I had to get approval from Brookings Institution, of course. Brookings
wanted it to be published because they knew it would also promote the sales of the
book. Let me see. The book came out in 1958--1 forgot when--and the article came
out in December, but it was accepted [before that]. Then the editor told me after
the thing was published he had all sorts of comments, and as you recall there was
some retort. One of the people who wrote a comment on it was Alfred E. Kahn who
later became chairman of the CAB [Civil Aeronautics Board] who deregulated the
airline industry, and, still later, [became] economics advisor to President Carter. (He
and I are good friends.)
I had to reply to comments. They selected two comments. Kahn's, and the other
was by a professor from MIT, Morris Edelmann, who was a very prominent professor
in this field.
P: Now, the two you are talking about [made their replies] on "Pricing Objectives in
Large Companies" [which was published in] the American Economic Review in
L: Those are the replies.
P: That is the rebuttal on this.
L: That is the rebuttal.
P: There was "Pricing Objectives in Large Companies" in American Economic Review,
December 1958, and then the rebuttal, the reaction.
L: That is right. My vita should say "reply" on that September 1959 entry.
P: OK. So the two articles, then, are one year apart, and the second one, obviously, is
a reaction to the first one.
So after the Brookings thing you go back to Washington.
L: Yes, but I came close to leaving then. I realized I had an obligation to go back, but
I had been recruited by Duke University and the University of North Carolina at
P: In the 1950s?
L: While I was at Brookings. I had gone down there to deliver a paper.
P: In North Carolina?
L: Yes. I had gone down to Chapel Hill and to Durham to deliver a paper on the
research. They had invited me down. They had heard about the research, and I went
down there, and they were interested in me. Well, I felt I had to go back to
P: You went back and stayed four years.
L: Let me tell you what happened. My dean at Washington State moved to North
Carolina as dean of the School of Business at North Carolina, and he was recruiting
me, even though he knew I had an obligation to go back to Washington State after
the leave of absence. So I did go back. But the next year after I was back there--I
only had to go back for one year--I looked at North Carolina very, very, very
carefully, and I looked at Duke. North Carolina had somewhat more of an appeal
to me, and we got a nice offer.
I brought Pat down, and Pat, in talking to the women there, I guess (I had talked to
the mothers) was very concerned about the famous [U.S.] Supreme Court case Brown
v. Board of Education, the famous desegregation decision.
P: Topeka, Kansas.
L: Topeka, Kansas. Now they are beginning to talk about implementing this, and, for
some strange reason, Durham and Chapel Hill are getting very concerned that the
Brown v. Board of Education decision, desegregating their schools, will upset [the
people and the system]. My wife and I said, "Well, maybe that is not a good
environment to go into. We do not want to have the kids in an upset school system.
The schools are better down there than here, we think, but these are good schools
here in Pullman, Washington." So I turned down Chapel Hill.
P: So the controversy over integration is what made you react against the possibility.
L: Yes. I want to be very candid about this. I still had a typical Northerner's view of
the South at this time, that southern schools in southern communities were still pretty
segregated. I am not claiming they were racist, but they were segregated, and [we
asked ourselves,] "Was this a good climate?"
P: And of course they were segregated in the 1950s.
L: That is right. There is no question about it. For my taste and upbringing that was
a red flag; that was a warning signal. So given this additional concern by the
families, we decided not to accept the Chapel Hill offer.
P: Of course, it is interesting. When you come to the University of Florida it is not an
integrated school yet.
L: That is the irony of that whole decision. As I said, the decisions we make in our
lives, Sam, [can be quite ironic]. When I came down here in 1969 in the middle of
the year, the judge from New Orleans orders Alachua County to be the first county
in the United States to desegregate mid-year. Do you remember that? So that was
a curious irony.
P: Of course, the court had ruled that the University of Florida as early as 1957 had to
begin to desegregate, and we accepted our first black student in the law school in
1957. He did not stay. But when you came in 1961 ...
L: I came in 1969. See, I went to Michigan State.
P: Oh, I am sorry. That is right. When you came here we were desegregating.
L: Well, very little.
P: We were integrating, I should say.
L: Yes. By 1969 there was very little integration here.
P: And of course 1969 was the year when there was the black revolt on the campus.
L: I can tell you about that first year here.
P: But before we get into that, let us move chronologically. I understand, then, that
your concern and Pat's concern about the quality of the schools and the condition of
the schools in North Carolina in the 1950s is one of the reasons why you decided not
to accept the offers from Duke and North Carolina. Is that right?
L: That is correct. The family seemed to be upset and disturbed and very nervous
about the uncertainty about the school system, and that uncertainty was enough to
turn us off.
P: And then the stereotype of the situation as far as the South was concerned was
P: So after you leave Brookings you go back to Washington State. You felt obligated
to go back there for at least a year, anyway.
L: At least a year.
P: But in the meantime your dean there, I think you said, had moved to North Carolina,
and he was putting some pressure on you.
P: OK. You stay in Washington until 1961, and that is when you make the big move
to Michigan. What brought that about?
L: I realized after being in Washington, DC, at Brookings, given my interests in research
and consulting, that Washington State [University] was isolated, and I was pretty
much of a mind at that time that I would be leaving at some point. Even though we
liked Pullman and Washington State, the intellectual isolation from my field was
damaging. I felt that I would not really be able to develop in my field as much as
I would like by remaining there.
P: And you are also becoming much more of a national figure as a result of this study
that you did at Brookings.
L: That is correct. I had more invitations to come and deliver papers, and those are
usually preliminary to exploring possibilities of moving.
The Michigan State opportunity came after we had already made a commitment to
the Ford Foundation, interestingly enough, to go be an economic advisor to King
Hussein of Jordan. I will tell you how that came about. The University of
Minnesota was interested in me, and I had visited there with Walter Heller, who
later became chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors to John Kennedy.
Walter invited me back to Minneapolis to meet with a representative of the Ford
Foundation, whose name I have temporarily forgotten, and he introduced me. He
said that he had been advisor to King Hussein--I did not realize that. The Ford
Foundation was interested in sending someone over there to take up that slack, and
he wondered if I would be interested in it.
P: This is an economic advisor?
L: Economic advisor. I went back and discussed it with them, and there was an
understanding that if I did take that leave, what they would like to have me do was
come back to Minnesota in the economics department.
P: So the appointment would come from Minnesota.
L: No. Actually it would come from the Ford Foundation, but this was advance
P: But you are committed in your own mind to leaving Washington State and going
L: That is right. This was sort of an in-between step to get me to where I wanted to be.
We went through all of the preliminaries.
P: You were interviewed?
L: I was interviewed by the Ford Foundation, the appointment had been made, the
terms of the contract had been set.
P: The Ford Foundation had its offices in New York at the time?
L: That is right. I had been cleared by the Jordanian government.
P: You had not gone to Jordan? All of these interviews were in the U.S.?
L: Yes. They had representatives meet with me in New York, I believe.
P: And the Jordanian ambassador was in Washington.
L: Yes. The ambassador did not meet me. It was someone else. We had signed up to
go, and we had taken our shots, we had our passports, we had the contract. Right
in the middle of this, Michigan State University called. The dean of the College of
Business, in which the economics department was located, said that they were
interested in my becoming chairman of the economics department. "Could you come
back and meet with the president of the University, John Hannah, and the dean and
P: In the meantime you are in New York making these other plans.
L: Well, I had come back from New York. I said, "Well, I am in a very awkward
P: Was the Ford Foundation a good offer from an economic point of view?
L: I thought it was at the time because it gave me a little more breadth, but as it turned
out it would not have been professionally as useful and valuable to me as the
P: I was going to say, this would have isolated you even more.
L: That is right. But it gave me more prestige in terms of being advisor to a
P: They probably paid you well.
L: Oh, yes. From that standpoint [it was very good]. Remember in those days if you
were outside the country for twenty-four months you were tax exempt, and the
housing and all the perks were magnificent. Well, it probably was not a good career
P: You could not have gone to Israel, though. [laughter]
L: That is right. Well, I could. The Israelis were a lot more understanding on that, I
found out later on when I did go to Israel.
P: I know what you are saying.
L: We will get back to that, because I have been a consultant to the United Arab
Emirates in recent years.
P: I have a question to ask you about that. [laughter]
L: I thought you would. [laughter]
Well, I went back there to Michigan State. They made me the offer. John Hannah
was a very impressive president.
P: And a national figure.
L: Yes. I said, "I cannot do this. I am interested, but I have this commitment, and I
feel I should honor my commitment." John said, "Well, we will call Ben Lewis," who
was the representative from the Ford Foundation, "and the Ford Foundation
president." I forgot who it was at that time. "He is a close friend, and we will talk."
So John Hannah called the Ford Foundation and said, "Look. We need this man
here. Would you people release him from his obligation?" and so forth. The Ford
Foundation was very understanding.
P: In the meantime, you and Pat had gone to Michigan to look the situation over.
L: Oh, yes. I had gone. Pat was not anxious to move. She liked Pullman. She thought
that from the standpoint of the family it was a nice place [to live and raise children].
P: And her job.
L: She liked that, although she did work even when she went back to Michigan. She
had some opportunity there to do some of the same things. Well, we went to
Michigan State. It was everything I wanted.
P: this is the fall of 1961?
L: Yes. It was everything I wanted and needed in terms of a university. I had not one
other person in my field but several. It was an environment that really fructified me
intellectually. It was a Big Ten university, the doctoral program was getting national
recognition, [and] there were international scholars on the faculty.
P: So this was an important career change for you.
P: One of the things I wondered about is, for the first time now you are beginning to
move into an administrative post.
L: That is right.
P: You had not done that before.
L: This was a dilemma, you see. I told you my mind-set was, "I am going to have to
leave Washington State if I am going to go anywhere. I want to go to a good
university." I had looked at some others, and the administrative opportunity was the
best opportunity I thought I had to join a first-class university.
P: So you had no objections, then, to this administrative responsibility.
L: Because at that time my view of administration was that this was sort of a vest pocket
function, that the chairman's duties were largely recruiting--which was something I
liked to do anyhow--and I would not get bogged down into heavy administration,
which was incorrect.
P: But as it turns out, you make this change, and it has an impact on you the rest of
L: It becomes a major, major administrative job. I did not realize how much
administration [was involved,] and I did not realize that I might be pretty good at it.
I liked it. As it turned out, I built an economics department there. We had Abba
P. Lerner, who was a student of Lord John Maynard Keynes, a great scholar. It was
really a first-class university.
P: Did you turn it into a first-class department?
L: Yes. We became ranked as one of the top ten or fifteen departments in the country.
It was a tough environment, because once you get into that league you then get into,
of course, intradepartmental disagreements, and there were disagreements there.
P: Where was the department located? In what college?
L: It was in the College of Business.
P: That in itself was a switch for you, was it not?
L: No. At Washington State it was in the College of Business. But interestingly, while
I was there John Hannah decided to reorganize the university colleges at Michigan
State. Among other things, he wanted to create a college of social sciences. He
wanted to break the College of Arts and Sciences into a college of social sciences
and a college of natural sciences, and he felt that a college of social science would
not really be much if it did not have an economics department in it.
P: That is an age-old argument.
L: An age-old argument. This happened about midway in my tenure there, somewhere
in the mid 1960s. So John Hannah said, "We have to move you to the social science
college." I said, "Dr. Hannah, I urge you against that. One of the problems we have
in economics is the tendency for economics to become too ivory towerish. I think
it is valuable for economists to be in a college of business where they are challenged
with real-world problems and they rub elbows with business school faculty, without
losing their anchor, of course, in their basic discipline, which is social science.
P: Did he buy that argument?
L: Partway. "Well," he said, "You have convinced me, so what I am going to do is put
you in both colleges." [laughter] So here I was a chairman ...
P: A King Solomon decision.
L: A King Solomon decision. I attended chairman's meetings in the College of Social
Science with someone whose brother you knew very well, Louis McQuitty, who was
a psychologist and whose brother [John V.] was on the faculty here in education.
P: That is right, and he was also in charge, I guess, of all the giving of exams. He was
the examiner for the University College for many years [and professor of psychology].
L: Well, that was a very awkward administrative structure.
P: I bet it was.
L: I found that I was going from one dean to another.
P: And one meeting to another.
L: Yes. When I had a problem I wanted resolved, I would go to the dean of business,
Alfred Seelye, and Seelye would say, "Well, why don't you talk to McQuitty about it
and see how he feels about it. Then get back to me." I would go to McQuitty, and
he would say, "Well, that is an interesting proposition. Why don't you talk to Seelye
P: Is Seelye related to our John Seelye here?
L: I do not know. He subsequently left the deanship and became president of
Worldwide Wolverine, the Hushpuppy manufacturer. Separate story.
Now I am having second thoughts about administration. I like administration, but
not this administration. This is not working.
I had had an inquiry once again from Duke University to come down to be chairman
at Duke. Now, this is perhaps six or seven years after the original inquiry.
P: And I was going to say that the apprehensions of the 1950s are no longer there in the
L: That is right. We exaggerated that.
P: Plus the fact your children are older.
L: That is right. So we decide, "Maybe I will go down and look at that." So I did go
down and look at the situation at Durham. The administration there was quite
interested in me.
P: They were interested in you as a chairman or as a professor?
L: As a chairman. Their department was having problems. They saw the turnaround
that occurred at Michigan State. It is a rather small fraternity in that sense. [Their
perception of me was,] "Here is a guy who was a good turnaround chairman. He can
build us back up again."
Well, Duke was not willing to commit the resources that I thought I needed, and I
may have been a little bit too demanding. By this time I am learning something
about being a chairman, and it is better to have more outrageous demands than
modest demands because you can always compromise. They were not prepared to
give me the kind of commitment I needed in terms of new lines, and I decided to
turn it down.
Well, I turned them down for another reason. Along about the same time I was
getting inquiries for deanships, which did not exist in the past. I had never even
thought about a deanship. But I said, "Well, I think I will look at these." I just was
biding my time, and lo and behold, Florida called. This looked like it had more
promise if I was going to move south. I still had some concerns about it.
P: Let us finish up with the Michigan situation. You come in there in 1961, and you
leave in 1969. What kind of growth, what kinds of patterns developed during that
L: The department flourished, but it was a department that did have dissensions within
it. I created some of those because of the recruiting patterns. The department
needed diversification. It was a huge department with about fifty faculty members.
They were heavily oriented toward institutional economics [with a] strong labor
component [and] a lot of labor economists. There were institutionalists of other
types. I felt that the major thing that they needed to do, interestingly, in contrast to
my own comments earlier, was to strengthen their theory, so I went on a very
vigorous recruiting campaign to recruit theorists.
Well, the best-trained theorists during the 1960s were coming from, of all places, the
University of Chicago. So I recruited several Chicago graduates, I recruited one from
Carnegie, [and] I recruited one who was not from Chicago but was actually from
Duke. When I was down at Duke this fellow impressed me, so I brought him back.
His name was C. E. Ferguson, a brilliant, young scholar and a Southerner. Well, I
brought him back to Michigan. People did not think he could possibly be recruited
away from Duke. I brought him back to Michigan State. And I brought a fellow
from Wisconsin. I recruited about ten first-class theorists.
P: So you really enlarged the department considerably.
L: Oh, yes. Well, it turned over. There were some retirements, but we enlarged the
department, and we, I think, strengthened it by strengthening theory instructors.
P: Michigan gave you what you wanted in terms of lines and library support and all of
L: Oh, yes, John Hannah [was very good about that. It was a beautiful opportunity
there in the 1960s; it was just magnificent the treatment I got from John Hannah.
P: And the family adjusted to the community?
L: The family liked the community, although they missed Pullman very much. From my
standpoint it was a magnificent career move, because I did have the association with
truly national scholars, not just in economics. We had national scholars in sociology
and political science with whom I developed some interdepartmental programs.
P: [So East Lansing proved to be a very positive experience for both you and your
family,] but not enough to make it your permanent home.
L: I was beginning to see that there was a limit to what you could do as a chairman
without getting into reverberations that I felt were not as comfortable and as pleasant
in this sense: the department was gaining great stature, but there was some
divisiveness developing because the new theorists who came in were attracting the
better students to their fields for writing their dissertations, and the Old Guard was
resenting this. While I was pretty good moderator in moderating their differences,
it was becoming difficult to keep these dissidents--these old-timers who did not want
this change--happy at the same time I was accomplishing what I wanted to.
P: Would you call yourself, as a result of this Michigan experience, a good
L: Yes, I think I was a good administrator. I was a tough administrator. I was tough
in this sense: I saw where the department had to go, I made a case for it with the
administration, I presented it to the faculty, and even though there were people who
resisted change and who were very influential old-time faculty members, I forged
ahead, whereas the easier course would have been to go more slowly or to step back
in terms of building the department.
P: That was your goal.
L: That was my goal. John Hannah said, "I want this department to stand among the
very best in the country." That is the way John Hannah presented it to me. "I want
a first-class economics department."
P: So when you left that is the condition you left it in, you think?
L: Yes. The department was ranked within the top ten to twenty economics
departments, without any doubt.
P: But there were some people in the department who thought you were a son of a
L: Oh, yes. Hard-nosed, and when it came to rewards and promotions and salary
adjustments, we rewarded those who were contributing and who were gaining
recognition nationally with research. We paid attention to teaching; those who were
really outstanding teachers were rewarded handsomely too. But the people who were
weak teachers and weak researchers, of course, were not happy.
P: What about your own activities? Were you still a productive research scholar during
P: Is administration getting in your way?
L: Yes. My research slid.
P: Did you feel that that was a real loss?
L: Yes, I did.
P: One of the reasons you had gone to Michigan in the first place was to have this
community of scholars to work with.
L: That is right. It was a real dilemma. I must say that I did get some things done, but
not as much as I had hoped. The administrative duties really distracted me.
P: Did you write a book during the 1960s?
L: Yes, I got some things done there. I got some research done. I did a study on the
banking industry in Michigan, and I did some other articles. But I was not as
productive as at Washington State. The originality that I had there (at WSU) and
the drive, I think, was dulled by the distractions of administration. No question
P: Would you say that your peak as a scholar, then, had been in the 1950s, when you
were at the Brookings Institution and during that period?
L: I think then, yes, and then the first few years at Michigan I still had some of that
momentum; I still had things that were in the works. But you are right.
P: As administration went up, the scholarship, perhaps, began to decline.
L: No question about it. It is a lesson for anyone who is considering administrative
work. Be assured, on notice, scholarship will suffer, and the more you try to
accomplish administratively the more energy it will take, and the more scholarship
will suffer. I think that is almost an axiom.
P: So "the dedicated scholar should avoid administration" is really the lesson, I think,
you would preach.
L: I think so, or if it is administration it should be administration that is clearly limited,
as at some places where the chairman is really a chairman in name, and all of the
chores go to an associate or to committees.
P: I want to get you to Florida now, Bob, if I may. What brought the decision, first of
all, to leave Michigan in 1969? Were you unhappy there?
L: I was not unhappy, but I could tell--I sensed--that I had pretty much accomplished
all I could as chairman there. I had turned the department around and put it on the
map and got good rankings, and I was beginning to run into some resistance. But
I thought it was counterproductive and that there was very little more I could do
there in terms of building that department.
P: So there was no single thing that happened in 1969 that made you leave Michigan?
P: It had been something that had been building up over a period of time, and you have
already said you were considering earlier the possibility of going to either Chapel Hill
P: OK. Tell me how the overture came from Florida. Were you trying to promote that,
or did they come to you?
L: My recollection is that someone wrote to me, and I have forgotten whether it was
John McFerrin or some member of the selection committee. But I had an inquiry,
and I have forgotten precisely [who made it].
P: Now, is this because Don Hart had left [as dean of the College of Business
Administration]? Did you succeed Hart?
L: Yes, but Don Hart, I think, had been gone for one year. John McFerrin was acting
dean, so Don Hart had left.
P: Don was in North Carolina.
L: He had gone to St. Andrews.
L: As a matter of fact, I knew Don Hart when he was dean of the College of Business
at the University of Idaho.
P: Before he ever came here?
L: Before he came to Florida. When I was at Washington State he was dean at the
University of Idaho School of Business.
P: What had you heard about Florida, with Don's leaving and all of that hassle?
L: The information that I had before my visit was very mixed. Of course, all of the
Midwesterners expressed the typical stereotype of the South, that "You would not
want to go down there," that "It is a southern university," with all of the impressions
that people had about what southern universities were like. Secondly, "You would
not want to head up that particular college of business because it has been a sleepy
kind of intellectual enterprise, and one would have a hard time really doing anything
with a university college of business of that stature." So I had sort of mixed views
presented to me.
P: Well, the image, actually, that Gainesville and the University of Florida projected at
that time, to somebody like you at Michigan State, could not have been the greatest.
L: No, it was not, as matter of fact.
P: First of all, Don leaves under something of a cloud anyway.
P: And I am sure that within the fraternity, within the profession, you had heard about
all of that.
L: Well, interestingly, I was not at that time in close with the college of business
grapevine. Remember, my background was all in economics, and economists were
not really considered full-fledged members of a college of business. They were there
by sufferance or by accident or something. So I was not aware of the problems with
Don Hart until I visited and talked to people here and then people elsewhere about
P: Did you know John McFerrin?
L: Not before I came down. I might have met him. I think I did meet him at a
conference of the U.S. Savings and Loan Association in Chicago. John McFerrin and
I had been invited there as professors during the summer for certain weeks' exposure,
P: Now, the fact is that the College of Business and its economics department were not
ranked among the top in the United States. Gainesville was like Pullman--it was
kind of way out in the wilderness, and support was not ever the greatest here in the
1960s. Yet you get a letter out of the blue--I presume out of the blue--from
McFerrin asking you if you are interested.
L: Yes. Now, I cannot say that at first blush there was really strong interest on my part.
P: Or enthusiasm.
L: Or enthusiasm, but I had itchy feet there at Michigan State, and I thought I would
take a look at it.
P: Were you weighing anything else at the time?
L: I had some, but nothing that was that far along. There were other things. I have
forgotten [precisely which, but] there were a couple of other universities. But again,
they were what I call sideways moves--chairmanships--and I did not really feel that
I wanted to move as a chairman to another chairman's job. I did not think that that
offered the same kind of promise that it did originally. And I said, "If I am going to
stay in administration, why not try something else?" As a matter of fact, I had been
in the search for a presidency at about this time. I am trying to think whether it was
Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. But I did not really seriously
consider that because it was a small, very isolated liberal arts college, and if I ever
were going into administration I wanted something of a major institution. So as I
said, there were things going on, and I did not know much about the University of
P: So you get a letter from McFerrin one day telling you about the position here in
Gainesville and that it was a dean's position.
L: I think he wrote to say, "Your name has been suggested to us as someone who might
be interested in being considered for the deanship here," and then he went on to
describe that Dean Hart had departed, and the search committee was interested in
me, and he asked if I would send them a c.v. I sent them my c.v., and then we were
off to the usual interviews.
P: You talked to him on the telephone.
L: I talked to him briefly on the telephone, and he talked about visits and when I could
P: Now, you are still talking to McFerrin alone.
L: McFerrin, I think, was chairman of that committee, if I am not mistaken.
P: I mean, it has not moved up into the president's office or anything like that.
L: Oh, no. This is very preliminary, on my part as well as here. I did not detect--not
because I do not think that John McFerrin was not very supportive--any special
excitement that "you are the choice" or anything like that, because it was very
preliminary. But they wanted me to come down for a visit.
P: Did you know anybody in the department or in the college at the time?
L: The only person who was here--I had forgotten about it--was Jack Vernon, who was
a member of my faculty at Michigan State who had come down to Florida [in the
economics department]. I do not know but that he might have put my name into the
P: So there was nobody here that you could call and say, "What is the situation in
L: Exactly. As a matter of fact, I had no friends down this way, no acquaintances,
scholarly or others. I looked over the roster of faculty and realized then that this
where Jack had come. I do not know why I thought Jack had gone to Florida State,
not the University of Florida.
P: Had you yourself ever been to Florida before?
L: Oh, yes, I had been to Florida. I passed through Gainesville. I do not know whether
I was ever on the University campus, but I had been to the state many 'times
vacationing because I had a brother [who lived here]. My oldest brother was a sport
fisherman, and he kept what they call a billfishing boat down in Palm Beach and
Lauderdale, and I used to come down to fish with him. So I knewv Florida, but I
knew mostly south Florida.
P: I see. OK. So you come down for a visit. When is this? 1968? 1969?
L: This is 1969. This is during the winter of 1968-1969, I guess it was.
P: Early in the year, then.
P: Because you come in as dean, then, in the fall of 1969.
L: I came in in July 1969.
P: Oh, did you? So you negotiated pretty quickly then with these people.
L: Well, the way it went, I met with [UF president Stephen C.] O'Connell, and I was
impressed with O'Connell in a way. There was a certain chemistry there that was
attractive. He and I had, I think, sort of similar approaches to things. I noticed he
was a take-charge guy--"Get things done. Don't stand on too much ceremony"--a very
direct person, and I like that.
P: Well, that is the kind of thing you might have learned over a period of time. Tell
me about coming to Gainesville.
L: Well, the first visit ...
P: McFerrin meets you.
L: McFerrin and I met with the faculty.
P: You flew in?
L: I flew in, and they put me up in what at that time was the president's guest quarters
over in the old Hub, the old union, I guess that was at one time. That was
unimpressive. The air-conditioning did not work, it was very musty, and I noticed it
on my first visit. Then my wife came down, and that did not help, because it
projected a very bad image of Florida.
P: What they were trying to do was put you to the test: if you can survive this, you can
L: It was a very musty kind of [accommodation].
P: Well, it was opened up only occasionally for VIPs.
L: That is why. It had a window air-conditioning unit, I believe, and it was noisy. To
say the least, it did not project the University in the best light.
P: And yet you came despite that. [laughter]
L: Well, I had very mixed feelings, I must say. I turned the job down originally. I do
not know whether you know that.
P: I did not know that.
L: O'Connell made the offer to me, and I went home that night and laid it out before
the family. I said, "Look. I have a chance to go to Florida."
P: At a good salary.
L: Yes, an increase in salary, and more responsibility. When we left Washington State
the children were a little younger, so it did not seem at that time that it really
involved much deliberation. I probably should have tried, even though the kids were
young then. My daughter was only four or five, I guess. She was born in 1954. My
son was seven or eight when we left for Michigan State. But we decided we better
put it before them [this time], and they did not want to leave Lansing, even though
they liked the idea--having come to Florida for vacations--of the climate and so forth.
P: And the beach.
L: There was something [bothering them]. Now, whether they were getting feedback
from other children whose parents had talked about the fact that we were
interviewing down here and they were getting the anti-South rhetoric I do not know.
But I think there was some of that. So they said, "No, we do not want to go." Pat
was never in favor of moving--wherever you are is just fine, thank you. [laughter]
P: She did not like packing and unpacking.
L: That is right. So I called Steve O'Connell and said, "Thank you, but no thanks," in
effect. Well, he was very disappointed. He said, "Well, give it some more thought,"
or something like that. I went home that night and told the family; I said, "Well, I
told him 'thanks, but no thanks.'" They said, "Oh, you did that?!" The children were
upset. I said, "Well, that was the sentiment, wasn't it?" "Well, we really did not
mean it, Dad. We really did not mean it." So I said, "Let me think about it another
day, and you think about it another day." I then asked them, and they said yes, they
wanted to make the move. I have forgotten whether I called McFerrin or O'Connell,
but I said, "Look. The family now is more supportive of the move. If you still want
me to come, I would be interested in coming down again with Pat to look at the
place and see if we can agree on some things that were left loose or hanging." So
we came down and accepted. I cannot say that the president's quarters were any
better. [laughter] They were still musty, [with a] noisy air-conditioner.
P: But you knew you were not going to have to stay there very long.
L: That is right.
P: How much did they offer you?
L: I forgot what it was, but there is an interesting story that Steve O'Connell says. I am
trying to think whether it was $42,500 or something.
P: That would have been a generous salary at that time.
L: Well, I am trying to think. I think he offered me $36,000 at first, so I think I told
him, "Look. That is not much more than I make as chairman here." He said, "Good
gosh! But the salary you want"--he tells this story just this way--"is more than I
make." He says my reply was, "So what?" [laughter] So he said, "I knew this is the
kind of guy I want." [laughter] So I did come down, I think, at a higher salary than
Steve, but I am not sure.
P: Did you get a supplement from the Foundation?
L: No, I did not ask for one. I think the Foundation at that time did not have really
much in it.
P: No. They were really just kind of getting going.
L: I am not sure, but I have the records, and I could check that for you. My
recollection was that he started somewhere in the $30,000s. I may have ended up
around $39,000 or $40,000.
P: What kind of a commitment were they making as far as growth and the college were
concerned--lines, graduate programs?
L: Very good commitment. That was the part of it [that really interested me]. Among
other things, O'Connell committed eleven new lines for the next three years, and that
was in addition to retirements and resignations, so that was a major commitment.
The other thing that I liked about it was the budgetary flexibility. In those days all
dollars were fungible. You could move dollars around. There was not the rigid
budgeting that there is now. You could over-commit your faculty. As long as you
had faculty on leave you could still have commitments to more faculty than you could
really support if all were on board at one time. There was a lot of flexibility.
P: A lot more than we have now.
L: Oh, far more. Of course, they moved me down here. My recollection was we
needed more secretarial support, and I think he committed that.
P: Which was more difficult than the lines. [laughter]
L: Absolutely. And I think they expanded the OPS [Other Personnel Services] for
graduate students. Those were the three major areas.
P: Where did you all move to? Where did you live?
L: Well, we actually built a house in absentia. I commuted down here. I started a
house right where we are now, right out in the Meadows. Phil Emmer had come out
on one trip to show me around, and he showed me property all over the city. Pat
and I came back down and decided we liked the Meadows here. [James] Don
Butterworth [chair, Department of Marketing] lived in that area, and Don suggested
it, so we went in. We bought a couple lots from Emmer and built on one of them
and still have the other.
P: So the house you built in the 1960s is the house you live in now.
P: Phil built it for you?
L: No, he did not. Fred Mason built the house. Do you remember the name?
P: Oh, sure. He built my house.
L: All right.
P: He was a friend of Jane and Don Butterworth.
L: That is right.
P: Tell me about the college when you arrived. What were the divisions within the
L: Pretty much what they were for many years. There was an accounting department,
a management department ...
P: And Williard Stone was chairman of accounting.
L: Williard Stone was chairman of accounting. The management [and business law]
department was chaired by William Wilmot.
P: Management was the second division, marketing was the third.
L: And finance [and insurance] was one.
P: Was that [C.] Arnold Matthews?
L: Yes. And I guess before that, [it was chaired by] McFerrin. Then there was a real
P: Was that Al Ring?
L: Al Ring.
P: So that is five divisions.
L: Yes. I think finance had insurance in it.
P: I think it did. So you have five departments, five divisions within the college.
L: That is right.
P: McFerrin was the associate dean?
L: McFerrin was associate dean.
P: Who else did you have in the administration?
L: Clem Donovan was the chairman of economics.
P: So that is the sixth department. We did not name that before.
L: Let me see. We had economics, management, accounting, finance and insurance,
marketing, and real estate. I guess there were six. That is right. So Butterworth was
chairman of marketing, Donovan chairman of economics, Wilmot chairman of
management, Ring chairman of real estate, Matthews chairman of finance and
insurance, and Will Stone chairman of accounting.
P: OK. Who were the administrators in the college? McFerrin was the associate dean.
L: McFerrin was the associate dean. He was the acting dean when I came down, and
I asked him to remain as associate dean, and he agreed to it.
P: You and McFerrin got along well.
L: Very well.
P: You considered him to be an able administrator, obviously.
L: Absolutely. [He was] very valuable to me, because, as you have probably discovered,
I was much more brash and aggressive, and McFerrin was just the right kind of
person to go behind me and tidy up all the feathers that I had ruffled.
P: Were there others in the administrative level with you other than McFerrin at the
L: No. We had a very lean administrative set-up.
P: Approximately how many students did you have in the college when you arrived?
L: The University was at 19,000, I recall, in 1969.
P: Would you have had as many as 1,000?
L: I think yes.
P: Business was one of the larger colleges.
L: Oh, yes. I think we had possibly 10 percent. I think we may have had 1,500 to 1,900.
P: What kind of a graduate program did you have when you arrived?
L: The graduate program was just really getting off the ground because originally, until
the 1960s, I believe, the only graduate program of any consequence was in
economics. The Ph.D. was in economics, and anyone who wished to take a Ph.D. in
the College of Business was obliged to take a Ph.D. in economics. That did not
change until the 1960s, as I recall, shortly before I came down here. In other words,
someone who wished to take a Ph.D. in marketing was not able to do that until I
would say somewhere in the mid 1960s.
P: Now, the only building you had at the time was Matherly Hall.
L: Matherly Hall.
P: Bryan Hall was still being used for the law school.
L: Correct. The law school moved the next year, I believe.
P: And you were able then [to move into Bryan, as] they allocated that space to you.
P: Geography was there, too, in part of it.
L: They had part of it. Geography and business got part of it.
P: What was the status of women and blacks in the college when you arrived in 1969?
Had there been any recruitment?
L: I would say almost nothing. There did not seem to be any organized effort. I got
into trouble over that my first year, as a matter of fact. There was another
interesting story between me and President O'Connell. I had asked him to do what
he could to open doors for me to the business community by way of introductions so
that I would be able to establish a rapport with the Florida business community,
which I felt I needed to do very quickly.
You will recall in 1969 we were going through the antiwar demonstrations; the anti-
Vietnam fervor was, I guess, about at its peak. I believe it was in 1969--it may have
been that first academic year--O'Connell called me one day and said, "OK. You
wanted an opportunity to meet with the business community. I have an invitation
here to speak to the Associated Industries of Florida. I cannot make it; I have a
conflict. They have invited presidents of various universities in the state to talk to
Associated Industries on why students are so unruly and restless."
P: Isn't that a major lobbying operation?
L: Absolutely. [It is] a very conservative group. Well, I said, "That sounds great. I
would be happy to talk to them, but can I talk on my own subject?" "Oh, yes," he
said, "but that is the general theme." It was held in Orlando, [and there was an]
enormous crowd. I recall the presidents of different colleges in the state. I recall
at that time Florida Presbyterian's president got up, someone from Rollins got up,
I believe someone from Florida State got up (it was not Bernie Sliger because he was
not there yet), Central Florida was not in being, I do not think, and someone from
Miami, Henry King, a very proper [individual, got up].
I was the last speaker, and the remarks that preceded me said, "We do not have any
problem with our students. We have very rigid discipline rules, and we do not allow
any of these demonstrations." One got up and said, "We make our students wear
coats and ties, and they have to have clean fingernails." That was sort of the drift of
it. If you had the right kind of discipline in terms of a dress code and attendance,
you would not have any of these things.
I got up, and I said, "The reason why students are restless these days is because they
are cynical. Business students, just like other students, are cynical. The reason why
they are cynical is because they are upset about what they hear in the classroom and
the campus, and then they compare it with what they see out in the real world. They
say, "Hey! This ideal that we see at the university just does not square with what we
observe. So they get cynical. They get cynical about the war. It is an unpopular
war." I went on in that vein. I said, "They are cynical about our values," and I
developed what you would develop in a talk like that.
Well, I did not realize that was such a controversial talk. I mean, I gave sort of a
straight-forward [opinion of] why students are unhappy, why they are restless. "They
are restless," I said, "because they are idealistic, and we are shattering their ideals
and their idealism with what is going on. So they get cynical and frustrated."
Well, someone was very offended by that, because the first question was fired at me:
"That dean from Florida is my first question. What do you mean by 'cynicism'? And
you used the word 'hypocrisy'." I said, "Students see a lot of hypocrisy around them."
Like a damn fool, I remembered the introduction of the chairman of the session. He
gave one of these sort of flag-waving introductions that just annoyed me. He said,
"Here we are in the land of great opportunity. This is a place where someone can
do whatever he wants to do. There are all sorts of opportunities. We have in
colleges these people who have great opportunities. They go to universities, and
what are they doing? They are tearing up campuses and demonstrating and so forth
and so on." I said, "Do you remember that introduction? Do you know what went
across my mind as I looked out? There are 800-some people in this auditorium, and
I looked out, and there is not a single black face." The chairman got up and grabbed
the microphone and said, "This session is over." [laughter] So I knew then ...
P: And that is your first public appearance in Florida.
L: My first public appearance in Florida. I have the newspaper clipping of that in the
Orlando Sentinel. A woman came up to me--I saw her coming across the stage, and
I thought, "Uh-oh, I am in for it now," and she said, "Sir, could I say something to
you?" I said, "Ma'am, I am sorry if I have offended you. I did not intend to." She
said, "Not at all. I have been coming to these meetings for years, and that was the
most stimulating talk this group has ever had. It is what they have needed. I want
to thank you." God, did I feel relieved. Well, she stayed around. Come to discover
shortly thereafter when we went off to the reception or something, she was the wife
of the chairman of the session who cut the thing off.
Well, O'Connell got the word, and he called me and said, "You caused a little bit of
trouble in Orlando, didn't you?" The Orlando Sentinel wrote it up as the "liberal
business school dean." Do you remember that?
P: Of course, they were so conservative, the Orlando Sentinel, at the time, much more
so than now.
L: Oh, boy. So I caught hell from Stephen. He said, "Well, you got introduced, all
right." But he did not hold it against me, although I think he had his own views on
segregation and integration, as you know.
Then I got all sorts of invitations. People wanted to hear this nut from [the
University of] Florida, and things really opened up for me.
P: You really communicated right from the very beginning well with the business
community of the state, did you not?
L: I think I did. What helped me a lot, of course, was when I got appointed to the
Price Commission in 1971. That really gave me a lot of visibility. But I did make
a conscious effort, as I said to O'Connell, to get out, and I visited businessmen in
Miami and Orlando and Tampa. I am not sure whether it was Jim Walter, but some
businessman in Tampa said they saw me in Tampa more frequently than the dean
of the University of South Florida's School of Business.
P: But certainly in terms of the financial support, which you were largely responsible for
the college, you must have made a positive impression on the business community
right off the bat.
L: I think I did. I think they were a little wary of me because I seemed to be perhaps
too liberal for some of them, and they did not expect that in a business school dean.
But at the same time I think they saw enough sort of business sense. Charlie Zwick
[chair and CEO, Southeast Banking Corporation] introduced me once. Did you ever
see that introduction that he [did]?
P: I know who Charles Zwick is, but I have never seen the introduction that I know of.
L: It was when [Florida Governor Bob] Graham appointed me to be chairman of the
Unitary Tax Study Commission. Charlie Zwick was asked about Lanzillotti, and he
said, "He is a guy who looks like a football player, thinks like an intellectual, and acts
like a businessman."
P: You cannot beat a combination like that, can you?
L: That was a nice tribute, I thought.
P: I think that was a wonderful tribute.
L: Well, I think that in a sense I did communicate well with businessmen. Now, mind
you, I had at this time tried to bridge the world of academe with the business world.
Remember I told you that in graduate school I was sort of restless and decided, "Hey,
I want to discover the world of finance and investments"? So I was doing some of
that, and I also had been doing--and this may have been what did it--some consulting
with law firms and business firms. Ever since I finished my dissertation, I had done
consulting work with law firms on antitrust litigation, and when I was in Michigan,
I worked with bankers up there. When I came down here to Florida, Sun Banks had
an antitrust problem right off the bat. I do not know whether they found out about
me from a Washington law firm or what, [but they retained me as a consultant]. In
any event, those things helped.
P: When you came in 1969, things were really popping here in Gainesville. First of all,
we had just gone through all that business with the black student revolt; as you have
pointed out, we were involved in the Vietnam protests; and there had been all that
controversy just previously about integrating the schools in Gainesville. Gainesville
High School, for instance, was not integrated until 1968.
L: I think it was 1969.
P: Well, it was around that time.
L: It was in mid year. My children were moved from one school to another in mid year.
P: Well, my oldest son was in Gainesville High, and they had the double sessions at the
L: That is right. My boy was in there, too.
P: And we had just come through all the hassle of integrating public accommodations
in Gainesville. So it was a chaotic period in Gainesville.
L: It was an irony to me because of what I told you about the move to Chapel Hill.
P: That is the reason I am raising that point. It was the least-gentle, quiet period in the
history of this community in the last twenty-five or thirty-five years, and the
Lanzillottis arrive in the middle of that.
L: It was very upsetting to us, too.
P: I had not thought about it up until now, but maybe they were the spark.
L: They were some of the spark, because I remember some of my friends back in East
Lansing who were in correspondence with me and visited us said, "You see?"
P: "You got there and started causing trouble."
L: I realized even more clearly at the time how segregated East Lansing was. East
Lansing was a white bedroom community for the university and for businessmen in
Lansing, Michigan. I had not really fully appreciated that until I left. I said, "You
people talk about segregation and integration." It was a lily-white [community]. I
do not think there was a single black family in all of East Lansing.
P: Well, when you arrive in Gainesville and see this situation here, did you play any
kind of a positive role?
L: Yes. I am sure you have interviewed [UF professor of religion and history] Mike
Gannon. Mike and I tried to act as some sort of moderators between the blacks and
the students who were causing demonstrations and the administration, but I do not
think we were very effective.
P: I do not remember your voice being heard or you being identified along with
Gannon and along with Austin Creel in religion or Irv Goffman [professor of
economics] in your college.
L: Well, remember, my profile was not as high, but in the dean's meetings, see, is where
a lot of this [took place], and then behind the scenes. We were pushing Gannon out
there because Gannon was a man of the cloth. Actually in the dean's meetings [is
where a lot of discussion and strategy planning took place]. I remember one
important meeting we had with O'Connell at his home. I think that was the next
year, 1970, when O'Connell called out the National Guard.
P: That was about 1971, I think.
L: Well, Dick Julin [dean, College of Law], Mike Gannon, and I asked O'Connell for
a meeting at his home. We went down there and met with him for several hours.
We said, "Look. You cannot be so stiff about this. You have to recognize that the
students have a legitimate position." I remember his fighting with me about it
because I said, "Your position on the bonfire," which was one of the things that
generated considerable controversy, "was hypocritical." He said, "What do you mean,
'hypocritical'?" I said, "Well, at the football games I notice we have bonfires out on
13th [Street] and University Avenue, and there was no incarcerating or problems
raised about that." "Well, that is different. That was under controlled conditions
with a fire truck." Do you remember the bonfires they used to set out there? He
did not consider that hypocritical, but I thought it was very hypocritical. But I was
not as visible, I guess, as Gannon. But Goffman ...
P: I was going to ask you whether you were ever critical of the role that Goffman
L: Oh, I was very supportive of Irv Goffman. As a matter of fact, when he left the
University, which was an unhappy experience, [UF president Robert Q.] Marston
wanted to fire him. I can tell you when we get to that stage of what actually
happened. I not only talked Marston out of it, I shamed him on that. I will tell you
about that as a separate incident.
P: Let me ask you about the divisions within the college when you arrived. [The
structure of the college was] not anything that you responsible for, but [there were]
things that you had to deal with once you got here. First of all, you had the [Don]
Hart situation. Had that caused division within the college?
L: Yes, it had, and I was not fully aware of it.
P: Well, you had no [way of knowing that, since you were new to the people and the
P: I was asking you specifically now about the [Don] Hart situation. It was
L: I am coming to Hart. I had said, "You know, we are terribly undermanned here."
I think he committed one or two secretaries.
P: You are talking to O'Connell now?
L: O'Connell and, I believe, Fred Conner in one meeting. They said, "Well, that is not
our fault. Your predecessor never asked for any expansion funds." I said, "Well, you
obviously are aware, from what I have told you, that if you intend to reach the
objectives that you have..." and O'Connell was very specific when I asked him what
his objectives and vision were for the college. He said he wanted it to be a college
that was ranked among the very best nationally, a vision that I threw back at him
more than one time, because his view of a college that ranked nationally was more
a college that ranked regionally, when I was thinking nationally. So it was at this
point that I said, "Well, what do you mean? Why am I disadvantaged because of
Hart?" Well, when the University was in the expansion mode, Hart had the
opportunity to propose any budget expansion requests, and he did not. So I was in
a catch-up mode in a lot of respects, and I did inherit, I think, some of the residue
of Hart's administration in that sense.
P: But that was now a situation between the college and Tigert Hall.
L: Yes, sir.
P: But what about within the college itself? Were there pro-Hart [persons]?
L: Within the college, let us get specifically to that. I had a rude awakening my first
year. When I was interviewed, I made an appearance before the college faculty and
gave a talk in terms of my vision of what the college needed to do to become a
college of some prominence, and I laid it out in excruciating detail. I said, "There
is a lot of old dead wood in this college, and there is a lot of young dead wood in
this college, and we are going to have to build around that. Some of that dead wood
is going to have to shape up. These are the criteria that I have in mind for the
college in terms of incentives for promotion and salary increases, and I laid it out
P: That must have made a lot of positive sense to the young [faculty].
L: To the young people, but it made some of the older people very nervous, as you can
imagine. In the first year I realized what had happened. I remember we were going
through the tenure-promotion reviews in the late fall or the winter of that year, and
I remember the chairman saying, "He really means it. He is going to implement
those." Well, I did not know what they had thought about my earlier comments.
Were those just so much wind?
P: Playing around.
L: So I began to realize that this was not going to be as easy. The enthusiasm I sensed
on the part of the faculty at the beginning transformed itself into some dissension in
P: A little apprehension.
L: Oh, yes. I remember a dean called me from the University of North Carolina, the
dean whom I almost went to join, Maurice Lee. He called me one day and said, "I
understand you are causing some problems down there." I said, "What do you
mean?" He said, "Well, my faculty reported to me that your faculty down there said,
'They turned a tiger loose on us down here, and he is chewing up faculty left and
right.'" So he said, "Go slowly. Do not try to accomplish everything the first year."
I told him about some of the problems I had with dead wood. So I was much more
aggressive. I also ran into then some backlash, which I did not realize. Frank
Goodwin [professor emeritus of marketing]--do you remember the name Frank
P: I remember Frank well.
L: He wrote letters to Steve O'Connell saying, "I understand that this new dean you
have brought in is ruthless and does not have any respect for the old faculty, and
something has to be done about it." Now, I do not know whose views he was
reflecting, but O'Connell got a hold of me, and I said, "If this guy wants to meet with
me and go over what the program is and what the objectives are, I would be glad to
meet with him." So Goodwin wrote me a letter which I thought was outrageous, in
which he said he wanted to interview me, and not only did he want to interview me,
he wanted to tape the interview, and he wanted to bring his own equipment. He
would like to get this all approved in advance. Well, of course, I was outraged that
anyone wanted to come and tape me, but I said [to myself,] "Why not finesse this?"
[I wrote him,] "By all means, bring your tape. If you have trouble, let us know in
advance. We will get all the equipment set up in advance so you can get good sound
and a good recording. Just let my people know in advance, and we will have the
people from the media center come over and set it up for you."
Well, he was somewhat shocked by that response, and he never came. [laughter] He
never came, you see. He thought I was going to say, "Why, of course I would not
allow you to interview me and tape it." So Frank Goodwin never came, although he
was a critic. Now, I do not know why he was a critic. I had never met the man up
to that point. He was getting secondhand stories about what was happening in the
college, as you probably were.
He may have also gotten a hold of the Ring report.
P: I want to hear about the Ring report. We are talking about Alfred Ring now. He
was chairman of the Department of Real Estate.
L: It was a small department; [there were,] I believe, three or possibly four faculty when
I came here in 1969, and I believe it was the first year I was here--it could have been
the beginning of the second year--he reached sixty-five, and at that time there was
a policy in the University that administrators had to relinquish administrative duties
at age sixty-five.
P: And faculty had to retire at the age of seventy. An administrator could become a
L: That is right. He could become a faculty member after relinquishing administrative
duties. Well, Ring came to me and said, "I am reaching sixty-five. I do not want to
give up the chairmanship." I said, "I do not know anything about the rules here, but
let me check." I called and talked to Fred Conner, who was the VP for academic
affairs at the time. I said, "Ring has raised this question. What is the policy of the
University?" He said, "Well, we had that come up last year (or within the last two
years) when L. E. Grinter retired. The policy has been that we respect and enforce
that sixty-five limit."
P: Which I think was a policy set down by the [Board of] Regents rather than just the
L: In any event, he said, "I will check it out with O'Connell." He checked it out, and
he relayed to me, "Yes, that is the University's position," so I conveyed that to Al
Ring. Al Ring said, "I do not want to step down. You are keeping me from the
chairmanship." I said, "I have nothing to do with it. This is a University policy." So
he said, "Well, I am going to go over your head." I said, "Well, go ahead. I have
talked to Conner, and he said that is the position," and I told him about Grinter.
So Ring did go over my head. He went to see Fred Conner, and then he went to see
President O'Connell. I think he also used his close friendship with William Elmore,
who was vice president for administrative affairs. O'Connell called me and said, "We
need to talk about Ring." I said, "OK." So I went over to talk with him about Ring.
"What is the problem?" "Well, Ring does not want to step down as chairman." I
said, "It is your policy. What is the policy?" He said, "Well, this is the policy. We
have not wanted to take exception ever since Grinter stepped down. I did not realize
until you reminded me that it was a regents policy." I said, "Look. I do not care
what the policy is. You people tell me what you want to do."
P: In other words, you would have kept Ring on as chair.
L: Sure. I did not care. At this stage I was just getting to know Ring. I mean, Ring
turned out to be a difficult person ...
P: But you did not know that.
L: This was not a big deal with me at this stage. It could have become and would have
become later on because of some of the reorganizations that I thought the college
needed. Ring's retirement as chairman opened up the opportunity for reorganizing
and making the departments a little larger so they have a little more viability, but at
that time it did not occur to me that that was the big deal.
So O'Connell said, "We will stick by the policy. I just wanted to know how you felt
about it." I said, "Well, I am new here, and you people really have to tell me about
these general policies." He wrote Ring a letter saying, "I have talked to Dean
Lanzillotti and I have talked with Fred Conner, and we have reviewed the
University's policy. The truth of the matter is that in spite of your great service and
so forth that there is a policy that requires an administrator step down at age sixty-
five. Thank you for all your service to the University. Sincerely yours, Stephen C.
O'Connell. P.S. Nonetheless, if you still wish to talk to me about this, please drop
So Ring got this letter, and I said, "Well, this is a strange letter. He confirms the
policy, and then he reopens the issue again. What the hell does this mean?" So I
called Phyllis Durell and said, "I need to talk to President O'Connell." She said, "I
will get you in."
P: Phyllis Durell was the administrative assistant in the president's office.
L: So I then called Fred Conner and told him I was going over there, and [that] since
we had discussed it before, he may want to be present, too. So I went in to see
O'Connell with Fred Conner. We sat down, and he said, "What is the problem?" I
said, "I am puzzled. We had a meeting here and decided on what the disposition of
this request of Ring's was going to be, and you were to write him a letter and clarify
it once and for all." He said, "I wrote the letter just as I said I would. As a matter
of fact, you were here when I dictated it to Phyllis Durell." I said, "Yes, I was." He
said, "What is the problem?" I said, "The problem is the P.S. on the letter." He said,
"What P.S.?" I handed him the letter, and he said, "Oh, my God. You got the wrong
copy." I said, "Evidently I got the right copy." That is when the fireworks began.
So I, in my own careful, modulated tone, at that time my Italian blood beginning to
boil, I said, "What the hell is going on here?" I said, "I sat down with you and Fred
Conner here, you tell me what the University policy is, and then you write Ring a
letter and pull the rug out from under me. I conveyed to him the policy, and you
write him a letter saying, 'This is the policy, but nonetheless if you want to talk to me
about it, come in to see me.'" I said, "That is no way to run an administrative shop.
How are we going to maintain any kind of consistency and integrity of our policies
if you are going to do that?" He said, "What are you talking about?" So we got into
a very heated discussion. I said, "You are not playing straight with me when you tell
me I got the wrong copy of a letter."
Now, I think to this day that Phyllis Durell sent me the right copy, because she saw
what was happening. To this day I think she sent the correct copy.
P: A mistake was made purposely.
L: It was a mistake on purpose. O'Connell had a bad habit of chewing pieces he tore
from a yellow pad, and he started chewing on that and chewing on his cigar
intermittently. I said, "Now, what is going on here? If you want me to accomplish
the things you have set out for me, you cannot put me in this awkward position with
an administrator. It just does not make any sense. Are you trying to keep Ring and
tell me that you do not want to keep him, or what is it?" He said, "It is what it is."
I said, "I cannot tell what it is. Why would you want Ring to come in to discuss it
with you again if you have already made the decision? The decision is that you are
going to respect the sixty-five [age limit for administrators]."
He leaned across the desk, and he said, "You cannot talk to me like that." I said, "I
am sorry. I am talking to you like that." So he brought his fist down and said,
"Goddammit, you will not talk to me like that." That is when Fred Conner got up
and left. So Fred's leaving sort of relieved the tension.
P: Fred must have thought you two were going to come to blows.
L: Yes, he did. You could ask Fred. I think he told me that very thing. I said, "Look.
We have to get this straight. When I leave here today I am going to be dean of the
College of Business or you are. What is it going to be?" He said, "What does that
mean?" I said, "It means just that. If you are going to pull the rug out from under
me on something like this, what are you going to do when we get to a real issue?"
He said, "What do you want me to do?" I said, "I want you to write a letter and not
mince any words. If you want him to stay on, you say, 'I, Stephen C. O'Connell,
president of the University, am taking exception to the University policy, and I am
keeping you on.' That is your decision. And then we will all know where you stand.
If you are going to respect the sixty-five rule, then write it and mean it. Do not tell
him that you will reconsider it if he wants to talk to you about it." Well, he wrote
him the letter and said, "That is the rule. You are out as chairman at sixty-five."
At that point Ring went on a crusade with realtors all over the state, and he had
letters coming in to O'Connell saying that he had been forced out of his job and all
sorts of things. O'Connell had contributed to that by sending him that earlier letter.
P: And being a little wimpy.
L: And O'Connell got a lot of heat. I mean, realtors from all over the state were
getting on O'Connell about Ring. So that was not a very happy period.
P: Well, what happened to you and Ring?
L: Ring did step down as chairman.
P: Did he stay on as faculty?
L: He did not want to stay at that point. He stayed on temporarily; I think he stayed
on very briefly, maybe a year or two at the most. But he carried on a withering
campaign of vilification which was, I think, very destructive. Fortunately, I had
already established a rapport with the business community in such a way that
businessmen were relaying this information to me--that in their community Ring had
stirred up the realtors, and they were trying to get a local to make a protest.
P: Did he permanently poison the waters with the realtors?
L: Temporarily he did. I subsequently went to the realtors--I went to speak to the
Florida Association of Realtors, FAR, and I went to their meetings, not just once but
several times, and spoke to them--and learned that Ring was not the person that they
loved and admired the most after all. But some of the realtors, particularly those
who were sales types rather than what I would call the owners and appraisers,
realized that Ring was in it for what was in it for him. I really did not need to do
anything more than to talk to these people and let them hear me and hear what my
visions were for the college. That situation righted itself.
P: Did Ring have a following in the college as far as the faculty were concerned? Were
there other colleagues that were supporting his stand?
L: I think he had a limited following. I think there were already some people who had
some resentment against Ring that I did not realize. But the only support he had,
I think, were those faculty who also felt threatened by age and the direction in which
we were moving.
P: With the passage of years have you and Ring come to terms?
L: Yes. As a matter of fact there was something very interesting that occurred.
Normally when someone retires he is recommended by his dean for emeritus status.
Ring left in a huff, and, of course, he tarred me as much as he could. Shortly after
his wife died an accidental death or something--she fell off of a balcony at
Gaineswood--after the funeral, he called me from his apartment and was very
disconsolate and apologetic. He said, "I am calling you because my wife is gone, and
she always said that you were right, that I had been unfair to you in what I did, and
I want you to know in memory of my wife that I am calling you to see if we cannot
somehow or other patch things up." I said, "Why, I would be glad to. What would
you like to do? Would you like to meet some time?" He said, "Yes, I would." I
said, "How soon?" He said, "I would like to meet just as soon as possible." I said,
"Do you want to come on down here now?" "No," he said, "I would like to have you
come up here to my apartment." Well, I did not think that was the most appropriate,
but I said, "Sure. OK. I will come over."
So I went over to his apartment at Gaineswood, and he said that he felt very sad
about things that had happened and he would like to come back to the college in
some way or other, and he wanted to know if I would be willing to have him back.
He did not want to come back to teach. He just wanted to have some connection
or association. I said, "Sure." He said, "You never recommended me for emeritus
professor." I said, "I can take care of that. I would be glad to send it in. The way
you left, it did not seem as though you wanted any affiliation, so [I thought,] 'Why
should I?'" So I said, "I would be glad to do that." He said, "Well, I want to do
something for the college financially." I said, "Well, in the grief of your wife's death,
why not postpone that? But I will put this thing through." I did put it through, and
he got the emeritus status.
He came over then, and he wanted to make a gift to the college. Well, it was a
deferred gift, and there were other conditions. He wanted an office, as I recall. I
am not sure he wanted a part-time secretary, but he wanted this, that, and the other
thing. I said, "Hey! We do not have that kind of space, Al." So the gift never
materialized at that time. I believe it went to arts and sciences instead.
P: The ethics professor. Has he now moved it back into the college, or is it still over
in arts and sciences?
L: I think it came back and maybe moved back. I do not know where it is now.
P: I think it is in your college.
L: It is in our college now? Well, in any event, Al and I did have some rapprochement
at that point. By that time what Ring did or did not do did not really materially
affect [the doings of the college program].
P: The main thing is it did not cause any division within the college of any consequence.
L: No. It was a momentary disruption--distraction, I should say--and it did disrupt my
momentum with the business community, particularly one segment, the Florida
Association of Realtors, because among that group for two or three years my name
was really held in disrepute.
P: Give me the Goffman story now.
L: Irving J. Goffman was a professor in the Department of Economics when I came
here. The chairman of the department at the time I came in 1969 was Clem
Donovan. The entire college at that time had sort of a defensive posture in terms
of promoting itself and recruiting and everything. I was quite surprised that the
college chairmen did not aggressively go out and recruit faculty. They were defensive
recruiters in my opinion. What they would do was respond to inquiries, and they
followed up on them or not. In other words, they defended themselves against
inquiries rather than going out aggressively to the business schools and departments
of economics to find faculty.
P: Was this lethargy on the part of Donovan?
L: I think it was the culture here. The culture was, "Hey, we are the University of
P: You come to us.
L: You come to us. I mean, it was the elitism of their attitude, which is kind of strange,
given that the college really did not have that kind of stature. Under [Walter J.]
Matherly, Florida at one time was the leader in the American Association of
Collegiate Schools of Business because MAtherly had been an aggressive, go-getter
type of dean. After Matherly's death they went into a sixteen-year slide in terms of
promoting and developing the college.
Well, Goffman looked to be just fine to me. When Donovan stepped down, the
faculty voted for him. He seemed to have the energy of a young person and could
recruit, I felt, and that was just the kind of person I needed.
P: And he had a charismatic personality. He spoke well.
L: Yes. I thought that Goffman would be a good chairman. Goffman was a good
chairman. We did some good recruiting.
I did not realize, as all of us have, that Goffman had his personal problems. One
day in the late 1970s two policemen came to my office. One was a campus police
[officer,] and the other one was from the Drug Enforcement Administration, if I am
not mistaken. They said that they had arrested one of our professors. I said, "For
goodness sakes. Where and why?" They said, "Well, we arrested him in his office."
"What did you arrest him for?" "Well, we have had him under surveillance for some
time. His phone line has been tapped. He was dealing in drugs." "What do you
mean, 'dealing in drugs'?" "Well, the charge that we have him on now is that he was
exchanging Quaaludes for something else." They did not know whether it was cash
and/or something or just exchanging drugs--in his office. [I said,] "I cannot believe
that." "Well, believe it. He is under arrest." He was released on bond, and then he
was promptly put in the hospital at Shands.
P: The eighth floor.
L: The eighth floor. The story broke, of course, in the newspaper, and great pressure
was brought on President Marston to fire this professor who was dealing in drugs.
[The sentiment was,] "No wonder we are having trouble here with the students if
professors are involved with drugs." I prevailed on Marston to say, "Look. It does
not seem to me that firing the man outright is the proper course of action. First off,
you are an M.D. Do you think that it is proper to fire a person who is hospitalized
without hearing his side of the story? There has been no adjudication. The man is
in the hospital. All we know is he is charged with something." "Well, there is a lot
of pressure on me." That is what Marston was saying. He had a lot of pressure on
him. He had to fire this professor to teach him a lesson and show that we were
tough here. I said, "Well, give me some time." I worked with Goffman's attorney
P: Selig Golden.
L: No, it was not Selig. Larry Turner. I told Larry, "I will level with you. Here is what
I am trying to do. I am trying to avoid having Goffman fired. I do not think that is
good for any of us. There must be a middle ground. How about a resignation?"
Larry Turner breathed a sigh of relief. He said, "I was hoping we could get to that
point. Do you think you can pull it off with the administration?" I said, "Yes, I think
I can. You get me a letter of resignation for health reasons or what have you, and
then we will have this whole thing behind us." Larry did. Goffman agreed to that.
I went to Marston and said, "Look. We do not have to go through the risk of firing
him." He did not see that as a risk, but I saw it as a tremendous risk that you would
fire a person who had not been judged to have violated any law. All he had been
done was be charged with something. Certainly there is a major distinction.
So Marston wanted it behind him, of course, and he agreed to it, so Goffman
resigned. He went into the deferred prosecution program and had the charges
expunged from his record. But it was quite a shock.
P: And he is living and working in Miami.
L: As a consultant on impaired earning capacity.
P: And I think he does well economically.
L: Oh, I think he does very well.
P: Did you and O'Connell kind of patch things up after the [Ring situation]?
L: Very much so. We became very close friends.
P: I would think so. You are kind of alike in personality.
L: Yes, we are very much alike.
P: Your ancestors came from different parts of the world, but ...
L: That is true.
P: But so what? [laughter]
L: But so what. He and I did become much closer. In fact, we became good friends.
I can recall when he moved to Tallahassee, he asked me if I would come to speak
to the Tiger Bay Club one year, and he introduced me with the most glowing
introduction I have ever had--I have never forgotten it--which was his way, I think,
of publicly telling just how he felt about me, and he was telling them as well as me,
I think, and I have never forgotten that.
P: He stayed on a couple of years after you became dean.
L: Oh, yes.
P: He supported your expansionist programs and the other things that you wanted to
L: Oh, yes. He was very proud. As a matter of fact, in 1971 I was invited by President
Nixon to be a member of the Price Commission that had formed, and that was a
good test for my relationship with O'Connell, because I agreed to do it subject to
approval by the president of the University. I called O'Connell and went to see him
about it. I said, "Look. I have this opportunity. You know they are going to appoint
this seven-man price commission in Washington, DC, and I have been asked to be
one of the seven members." [I had also discussed the appointment with my good
friend] Governor [William] Scranton of Pennsylvania and some other rather
prominent people. He said, "Absolutely. You have to accept it." I said, "OK. I
believe I need to take a leave of absence from the University." He said, "No, I do
not want you to take a leave of absence." I said, "Well, that is going to be awkward
for you and for me." He said, "What do you mean? Will you be there full time?"
I said, "No. At first we are going to be meeting, and it may turn into full time, but
the intention is that the commission would get the regulations written in the first
month or so, and then we would meet a couple of times a week." He said, "Well, I
want you to stay on."
So I commuted between Washington and Gainesville. I remember at one point the
Alligator or the [Gainesville] Sun or the Jacksonville Journal commented that I was
drawing two salaries. Actually, I was not drawing a salary as a member of the Price
Commission. What you drew was a consulting fee. It was a per diem for each day
that you worked. But I was criticized for that, and that was one of the things I
worried about when I told O'Connell. But he was not worried about that. He said,
"No, that is perfectly all right. I will take care of that," and he did. He explained
when he was asked that it was his doing, that he wanted me not to take a leave
because he thought it was important to keep the college going at the same time I was
doing this. He was very supportive, in other words.
P: Who were some of the stars that you brought into the college?
L: Well, if we go back into economics, I think that one of the great appointments was
Fred Arditti. He was formally trained in economics, but he specialized in finance.
P: He came to us from where?
L: Arditti came to us from Berkeley. I went to Berkeley to recruit him. I brought in
G. S. Maddala, who is one of the most prominent econometricians.
P: Where did Maddala come from?
L: Maddala was at Chicago.
P: And he came into what department?
L: Economics. Then Henry Theil was brought from Chicago. He was another
econometrician. What we did was bring in a very strong group of econometricians.
We also brought in Steve Cosslett. He is no now gone. We had a strong
P: Who succeeded Goffman as chair of the department?
L: Arditti, I believe, succeeded Goffman. We also brought in Chaim Levy, who is a
professor at Hebrew University. He is an internationally-renowned professor of
P: He came in as a joint appointment?
L: He had a dual appointment at the Hebrew University and the University of Florida.
P: Was he able to spend much time here?
L: Well, he spent the equivalent of two semesters. He came in the beginning of the
summer and gave two summer sessions, an A and a B, and in that he covered the
same amount of material and ground that he would have covered during the course
of the academic year. It was a very accelerated program. He is a first-class scholar
and teacher. I know when he first came here I had a letter from the student
president of the MBA association at Wharton School saying that they had
complained to the Wharton School for letting Chaim Levy go, that he was the best
professor in the program up there.
P: Were you responsible for bringing William Woodruff here?
L: No. Woodruff was already here.
P: He came before you, and he was a graduate research professor?
L: Yes. I was responsible for bringing him back to the economics department. Before
I came, he had left the economics department and gone to history.
P: He had gone to history, yes.
L: And for some reason or other after I became dean he wanted to come back. I do
not know all the details on that.
P: He did not get along well. There were a lot of personality clashes there.
L: Is that what it was?
P: Yes. But Woodruff was considered one of the stars in the college, was he not?
L: Yes. In marketing we brought in a very distinguished group of marketing people.
Joel Cohen became chairman of marketing and recruited some first-class consumer
behavior people. In accounting John Simmons became head, and he brought in some
prominent people, including Rashad Abdel-Khalik, who is a prominent theoretical
accountant. Those are some of the stars who came in.
P: What about the finance and insurance? Were there any major persons there?
L: In finance we brought in Eugene Brigham, who is world renown for his textbooks.
We also brought in Arnold Heggestad from the Federal Reserve Board (he was a
former student of mine at Michigan State). Well, Arditti and Levy and Heggestad
[were all in finance]. Heggestad had been with the Federal Reserve Board.
P: Where does David Denslow fit into all of this?
L: I recruited Denslow my first year. Denslow was recruited as an assistant professor
right out of Yale University.
P: He certainly has become a popular person on campus.
L: He is an outstanding instructor and a good scholar as well. Among professors of
economics who teach introductory economics nationally, Denslow is probably one of
the top five instructors in the country in the principles of economics course.
P: I would like you to talk a little bit now about something I am very interested in, and
that is the development of the School of Accounting. I want you to go back and tell
me how that whole idea got started, why it got started, and who was supporting it,
both within the University and the state.
L: I think it was a happy, fortuitous, as the Germans say Konjunctur of certain events
that were taking place. Nationally, the accounting profession was going through
some rethinking concerning their focus and emphasis as a discipline--that is, what
should be the organizational curriculum structure of accounting? Should accounting
become a purely graduate discipline like law? Should there be only graduate
instruction in accounting? That was one extreme view. Nationally there were some
concerns being expressed by congressional committees about CPA firms and practice
and whether the standards were rigorous enough. I recall Dingell was one of the
representatives [from Michigan] who I think [was very involved in this discussion].
There were some hearings.
P: That is Fred Dingell?
L: I am not sure. I think it may be John D. Dingell. From Michigan?
L: There were others at the time. There had been some criticisms of the accounting
profession. So there were developments nationally in terms of the accounting
profession. There were some developments internal to the accounting profession as
to "what is the proper focus and emphasis of an accounting education?" Then there
were purely local--I would say Florida and Gainesville--concerns.
My view of the accounting program when I first came here was one of some
disappointment. The accounting program here when I first arrived was oriented very
heavily toward preparing students to go on for graduate study. There was very little
interest on the part of the faculty for preparing accountants for professional work as
P: To become accountants.
L: To become accountants.
P: And yet most of the accountants in Florida at the time had to be graduates of this
L: Absolutely. It was almost by sufferance they allowed them to go through, and those
who did not wish to go on to graduate school sat for the exam, became CPAs, and
gained some prominence. I think it was a tribute to the accounting faculty at the
time that they had this interest in graduate study, but they were neglecting
unnecessarily the needs of the accounting profession and at the same time turning
out students who wanted to be practicing CPAs. In other words, I saw nothing
inconsistent about having a strong graduate program and a strong undergraduate
program. You could do both things. It is like walking and chewing gum--I think you
can do both things at one time. We could have both.
I was also disappointed because the accounting program at Florida State at the time
had much more prominence than ours did, particularly with the accounting
profession. So among other things, this is one of the things O'Connell and I talked
about: "What are we going to do to turn the accounting program around?"
I sized up these different considerations and said, "We have to do something really
distinctive. Let's see if we can do something in Florida that recognizes what is going
on in the profession." At that time there was serious consideration being given to
requiring five years of accounting study in order to sit for the exam in the state. As
a matter of fact, the state of Florida subsequently passed a statute, I believe,
requiring that to sit for a license to practice.
P: Like law, then.
L: Like law. I talked to the accounting firms in the state and some of the national
partners in different firms and told them I wanted to improve the quality of our
program, but I needed support from them, both intellectually and financially. I
developed an accounting advisory committee.
P: Well, who birthed the idea, Bob, of having an independent school separated from the
college? Was that a part of a national trend?
L: Well, there was discussion going on at that time, but no one had done anything like
that. There was one place that announced it, but they never went ahead with it.
L: Regarding the school of accounting concept, there were discussions about accounting
programs going on nationally among accountants at this time. The thought that
occurred to me as I discussed the matter with both our faculty and practicing
accountants was, "What can we do that would give our program some distinctiveness
and visibility nationally and, at the same time, did not really do any real violence to
the academic integrity of the program and the college?"
The school concept is one that emerged, and I have forgotten if anyone proposed it
in just those terms, or whether it emerged out of discussions. I know there were
extreme views. I can recall some accountants who took the extreme view that
accounting education should be fully graduate, just like colleges of law. I thought
that would make a lot of sense perhaps intellectually, but it did not make any good
common sense because firms in Florida wanted to hire accountants, and if we did not
have an undergraduate degree in accounting they would certainly find other
universities that would turn them out. So while it made sense to upgrade the quality
of accounting education, you could do that without making it entirely graduate. The
real question is whether the discipline was that well developed In other words, was
the content such that it was deserving of purely graduate level? I thought not.
P: Well, would a separate, independent school, like the School of Forestry on our
campus, necessarily have only [a graduate program]? Could it not have an
undergraduate program, too?
L: Sure. This is what we ultimately [decided on]. I said that was one extreme--to make
it purely graduate. The other concepts that we discussed were based on what we saw
here and elsewhere.
P: The point is you finally worked out a compromise so that we never set up an
independent school here.
P: But that was part of the original thinking here, was it not, to set up an independent
school and severe it from the College of Business?
L: There were some accountants who wanted that.
P: Florida and national accountants?
L: Yes, but it was not a unanimous position.
P: Why did they feel [that way]? Did they feel that that would produce a more
L: Oh, I think accountants are much like attorneys to the extent that they would have
made the accounting program more distinctive by having it entirely separate from
other disciplines, just like law.
P: I mean, you would not have law as part of the College of Arts and Sciences.
L: No, but I do not know what the antecedents of law are. It may be that at one time
law was part of some other [college]. I do not know. Suffice it to say the
accountants viewed themselves in terms similar to attorneys, that is, they were like
M.D.s and dentists and lawyers, subject to an examination procedure, certification by
the state, in terms of their professional competence to perform certain kinds of
functions. That was the rationale that I would call the extreme. The extreme view
was, "We have to be separate from all other disciplines because we are a separate
P: But as a dean of a college that had an accounting department, what were your
objections to losing that and having it become a school?
L: Well, the separate notion, I think, was so extreme as to be ludicrous. First,
accounting is not a discipline that has a base of its own. Accounting is built on
finance and economics. In other words, a lot of what is developed as accounting
theory is really economic theory and financial theory. So it was fatuous to think that
accounting had developed as a discipline to the point where it had all the
foundations, that it could start with accounting and end with accounting. Indeed,
there are some schools like the University of West Florida that have proliferated
their curriculum to the point where it is ludicrous. They have four years of
accounting, and it is very specialized. That is what I would call a trade school.
P: Bob, [what was the nature of] the pressure that you were getting as dean from the
firms in Florida? They wanted more accountants because the state was growing or
because government regulations were increasing? Was there a combination or what?
L: The kinds of sentiments that were expressed to me were basically, one, the
accounting program at the University of Florida had deteriorated, and we needed to
P: In other words, [they wanted] better-trained students.
L: Yes. [Two,] the faculty did not seem to have much of a commitment to the
undergraduate degree, and that was true to a large extent. I think that was true
possibly by default, that no one was pushing the accountants to say, "Look. You can
do both things. You can have a respectable undergraduate program and a
respectable graduate program."
There was some pressure from some people in Florida toward this separateness idea,
but nationally there was not nearly that unanimity. As a matter of fact, I was
severely criticized by some accountants who became deans of colleges of business.
Justin Davidson, for example, who was dean at Cornell, was a good friend of mine,
and he was very critical of even designating an accounting program as a school within
the college rather than just a department.
P: By the time you got up to the 1970s, when all of this was beginning to develop into
something very formal--a school of accounting--was there a need for more
accountants in Florida?
L: No question about it. There was a need for more and better accountants.
P: OK. Now, once again, is this because of the growth of the state or government
regulations or everything?
L: All of the above. I think accounting was becoming a more complex field. The
Financial Accounting Standards Board was issuing many more pronouncements. The
tax code and other SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] regulations were all
becoming more complicated, and I felt you needed someone who was trained more
rigorously in finance/economics as well as accounting. So I felt we could do both
things. We could maintain the concept of a school within the college, which would
give it a somewhat higher profile. We would be distinctive in being the first major
university to establish a school of accounting, which we were; that gave us some
P: Of course, in that, you are certainly establishing a precedent here. I do not think
[there are any others]. Is there a school within a college here?
L: Oh, yes. The School of Forest [Resources and Conservation] is within the College
of Agriculture. There was another one at the time that we researched, but I have
forgotten what it was. It was not uncommon in universities to have a school within
a college. You asked, I think, the fair question: What is it that a school does that
a department could not just as well do?
L: I think it is somewhat appearance. A school sounds more impressive. It does have
a little bit more autonomy than a department. The agreement at that time was that
the School of Accounting would have a separate budget under the dean. Well, all
departments have budgets under the dean anyhow. The question was whether the
budgetary process would be handled more separately, and we agreed to that. But I
think it was not as not as much a change as a lot of people wanted to read into and
as a lot of people preferred. I viewed it as somewhat symbolic in one part; that is,
you were a college that has a school in it. The school sounds more prestigious. It
sounds as though it does have some more independence. It sounds as though it has
more authority over its degree and that sort of thing. But in point of fact, the same
process for curriculum change and promotion and other decisions go through the
college just the way they always did.
P: Now, here at the University, the School of Forestry and the School of Accounting
each have a director under the supervision of the dean. Right?
L: That is correct.
P: All right. How did your faculty react to this desire on your part to up the standards
and the quality and all of those things as far as accounting was concerned? Were
you getting a lot of, "Hooray! This is what we want to do"?
L: Well, as you would anticipate, there were mixed feelings. Not all of the accountants
(but most of the accountants) were very elated. The rest of the faculty wondered
what it was that they were going to do that would make a difference. What does a
school mean? And they were curious as to whether it meant that they were going
to get more resources than the other departments. So there was some apprehension.
P: As you saw it, where was Williard Stone standing in all of this? Williard was the
chairman of the department.
L: Yes. I do not think Williard had any really strong feelings one way or the other, to
tell you the truth.
P: But that is Williard, is it not?
L: Yes. Exactly. I do not think he had any [strong opinion either way]. I think that if
you were leading him in the direction of a school concept, that was fine with him.
If you were leading him away from it and [maintaining] the status quo, that was fine
too. So that was Williard's view. I think that it was not so much Williard's position
or even many members of the faculty that was governing the sentiment, because I
think the faculty had mixed feelings, the faculty of accounting as well as the faculty
of the college generally. Always, [the thoughts were,] "What does this mean? What
does this mean budgetarily? What does this mean in terms of faculty lines and
commitments? What does this mean in terms of autonomy? What does this mean
in terms of curriculum change? What does this mean in terms of promotion
Well, there was some more autonomy that came out of it. Promotion decisions are
still handled within the college. They have to go through a department and the
college procedures as they always did. I think what we accomplished was that we got
the attention of the accounting profession. They were much more receptive to
supporting this program because there seemed to be something fresh, new, [and]
different. The accounting profession wanted to get behind it; it wanted to show
support for it because what it was doing was, in effect, enhancing the value of
accounting as a discipline. I think that the accountants viewed this generally with
strong approval because it seemed to be saying, "Accounting is more important than
it used to be, guys! We are now a school, not just a department."
P: What about Tigert Hall? You have Bob Bryan, who is now vice president for
academic affairs, and Gene Hemp [associate vice president for academic affairs]
looking at the financial figures.
L: They were supportive, partly because in conjunction with these developments we
were receiving assurances from the accounting firms that they were prepared to put
up money, because we said this would cost something if we were going to [transform
the Department of Accounting into a school].
P: Well, you got $1 million from the private funding.
P: But is this Bob Bryan and Gene Hemp saying to you, "OK, Bob. This sounds like
a good idea, but you are going to raise the money to support it. We do not have
P: In other words, they said to you, "Fine, if you can get some outside support."
L: Yes. They gave me the green-light go-ahead.
P: In other words, they were not saying, "No, do not do it."
P: They were just saying, "We cannot afford to do it."
L: They were saying, "It is a good idea. If you can generate some support, we will
P: All right. You then went out to the accounting firms in the state and elsewhere.
What happened then?
L: Well, we began to get declarations of support for professorships.
P: I know, but specifically the million dollars, now, to get the school off.
L: We had commitments from different [firms and individuals].
P: I mean, you went out with [John K.] Simmons [director, Fisher School of Accounting]
or somebody and talked to [these people around the state]?
L: Yes. Remember we had this advisory committee.
P: You already had an advisory committee for the college, not for the accounting
L: But I had a separate one; I established a separate one within that for accounting too.
L: I had broken off. See, some of those were accountants, but I had a separate group,
[including] Al Warrington.
P: Did Al take the leadership role in this?
L: Yes, Al was, I think, one of the major leaders. There was Al Warrington [chair,
steering committee], Bob McMullen from Price Waterhouse ...
P: Where was Keith Austin in all of this?
L: Keith was on the extreme. He wanted a separate college of accounting. He took a
position that if you do not go all the way with it, [then there is no point]. As matter
of fact, he called me down to his office one day when we were in the experimental
trial period. I think there was a three-year trial period.
P: Five, was it not?
L: Something like that. He said, "You have reached a point where you have to make
a decision whether you are going to be the dean of the School of Accounting or the
dean of the College of Business." I said, "Well, fortunately I do not have make that
decision. I am the dean of both." He said, "No. You have to make that decision.
You have to make this a college of accounting." I said, "Well, that is not in the
works, Keith. It is in the works, but the accounting profession does not want it."
P: Now, Keith had once been a member of the faculty.
L: Oh, yes, and a very strong member of the accounting advisory committee--the
executive committee, I believe they called it.
P: Do you remember who were the chief fund supporters?
L: Oh, yes. At that time we had Price Waterhouse, which was Bob McMullen, and then
after that Tom Franklin and Jerry Dingle from Tampa. From Arthur Andersen we
had Al Warrington.
P: What position did Al hold?
L: Al was the managing partner of the Miami office. He had come from Atlanta.
P: Who did you have in Jacksonville?
L: In Jacksonville we had Bob McMullen, and then later Tom Franklin from Price
Waterhouse. We also had [a representative] from Touche Ross. Touche Ross as a
firm was very much opposed to the school of accounting concept, by the way. They
did not favor that.
P: Did you have any strong voices here in Gainesville in favor of it?
L: Oh, yes, people like Keith Austin.
P: I am talking about not necessarily in favor of a separate school but in favor of a
stronger program and a school that would be part of the college. You said before
that Keith wanted a completely separate, independent school.
L: Yes. I think that there were mixed feelings. Let me tell you why there were mixed
feelings about this among local practitioners. Let us say you improve the quality of
the curriculum; you make it tougher. You make the selection process tougher. You
raise the aspirations of the students; they want to go out and practice with a Big
Eight accounting firm. (Now it is down to a Big Five.) Local practitioners get the
leftovers. You see, when you point the students in this direction, you are really going
to have to meet a higher standard. You are attracting higher-quality students, you
are setting higher standards, and some of those who had gone into accounting might
not have gone into it [and] may not be able to make it. That meant that a lot of
people who would practice accounting with local firms like Keith's or Jody Davis'
firm might not do that because you are not attracting them. You are attracting a
student mainly for the national firms. That was their perception.
Well, the truth of the matter is that there are always some who would prefer to be
in local practice rather than go with a Big Eight firm. But that was a concern: "Are
you going to, by this emphasis, make it difficult for us to recruit any of your
graduates? In other words, are we going to find most of the students going to Big
P: With this kind of support that you were getting, both from within and outside the
University, why set this up on an experimental basis? Why didn't you just go right
on into the school program?
L: This was a tactical maneuver with the administration, [Bob] Bryan and [President]
Marston. The point was that we did not know exactly how this was going to be
greeted, for one thing. We wanted the accounting firms to put their money where
their voices were. [If we presented it as] experimental, then the [perception is that
the] final decision has not yet been made. [Our message to the firms was,] "If you
think this is such an important idea and concept and you are behind it, show us.
Then cement it by showing us good support."
Also, we were really not sure how it was going to track internally. In other words,
how was this going to work? Was the faculty going to be concerned about this? Is
it going to affect the curriculum decisions?
And to get it through the [faculty] senate, I think we decided that it might be easier
[if we proposed it] on an experimental basis rather than to try to get it through on
a permanent basis on the first shot. I do not know whether you were at the senate
meetings on this.
P: I was not.
L: The senate was sort of curious [and] skeptical. [Their stance was,] "What is this
animal? What do you mean, a school of accounting?" Our colleagues would say,
"Accountants are bean counters. Why would you even [think of such a thing?]
Maybe accounting does not even deserve to be taught as a University discipline."
You can imagine there are people in the University with that mindset.
So I think that we had several [perspectives]. We had a tactical view on that
experimental thing--tactically from the standpoint of internal reaction as well as
external. We wanted to make sure that we had not done something that we could
P: Was there also the fear that if the College of Business could create a separate school
of accounting, other colleges could then also have their own specialist schools?
L: Oh, yes. That was Bryan's concern, because I believe already the Department of
Civil Engineering wanted a school of civil engineering.
P: And if he let business do it then the others would say, "Why not us?"
L: Yes. Well, the criteria that Bryan set up, of course, were [challenging, to say the
P: That million dollars, I am sure, was one of them.
L: That is right. It was a matter of principal--spelled with an al. [laughter]
P: I can see that happening. How did you get Fred Fisher involved in this?
L: Well, I was very fortunate. One of the development officers that I appointed in my
time was a fellow by the name of Jack Feldman. Jack Feldman, I think, is one of the
most effective development officers that has ever been here at this University.
Unfortunately, I do not think he was fully appreciated by the Foundation, partly
because he was a little unorthodox. But he was good.
P: What do you mean by "unorthodox"?
L: Well, he did not follow the standard approach to fund raising. He did his own thing.
His view was not to sit down in a group and say, "Well, let's plan a fund-raising
campaign, and let's do all of the traditional, standard things that fund raisers do,"
which means they kick up a lot of dust and make a lot of trips. Jack was sort of like
me: "Let's get the job done."
All right. How do you get the job done? Well, Jack did research. Jack on his own
would read the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune, and he would find names.
Then he would find developments associated with a firm and look at the CEO and
the president. He would think, "Does that fellow have any connection with the
University of Florida, the state of Florida?" and so forth. Jack was sort of an
investigator of sorts. He would find leads. He found Fred Fisher. I had met Fred
Fisher, but I knew very little about Fred Fisher. Jack Feldman to this day has to be
given most of the credit. I take some of the credit because I called him, but Jack
Feldman was the finder. The finder is the important person. He uncovered Fisher,
and we cultivated him. Jack did this on his own. It was not the group thing from the
Foundation. Jack was an independent type of fund raiser and did so well. That is
why they did not like him too much over there.
He brought Fred Fisher into the picture, and then we cultivated Fred. Fred wanted
to do something meaningful, and Jack was pushing him to do something. It so
happened that Fred saw an opportunity where he was going to buy a whole bunch
of wrap-around mortgages and have them pay for themselves with shopping centers
all over the country, and he was going to give those mortgages to the University of
Florida. Now, the value of those mortgages was not clear at the time of the gift
because, like any mortgage, it is sort of like a lot of RTC [Resolution Trust
Corporation] paper now. If someone went out and bought a lot of RTC paper there
might be mortgages or property, and who knows whether they are any good.
Well, Fred was a very sharp person, and he knew they were good. When he made
the gift we negotiated and did not accept some of the mortgages that looked sort of
weak. As it turns out, that was a very solid package of mortgages. Fortunately, that
gift materialized early enough that it was not affected by this last serious recession,
because some of those mortgages could have gone into default.
In any event, Jack Feldman uncovered him, as he did others. He uncovered Russ
Berry; Jack Feldman was the one who found Russ Berry. He came to my office one
day and said, "Do you know there is a guy who went to school here for a while who
is the head of the Russ Berry Company?" "What the hell is the Russ Berry
Company, Jack?" "Well, they make plush toys and novelties and so forth." I said,
"Let's go see him." Now, that is the kind of guy Jack Feldman was. I said, "You set
it up, and I will go with you."
P: So you made a really winning pair.
L: Feldman was good. We went up to Berry's headquarters just outside New York in
New Jersey. We went in there, and I remember Russ Berry's sitting down. Jack, as
I said, was unorthodox. He was refreshing in a way. He said, "Russ, I want you to
give my dean a big gift." See, Jack could get away with that. Others could not
breathe a word of "I want." He did not say, "Wouldn't it be a nice thing if sometime
in your estate planning that you considered the prospect of a gift to some charitable
institution, possibly the University?" Not Jack Feldman. He looked him in the eye
and said, "Russ, you ought to make a big gift to my dean here." At times I said,
"Jack, you are a little bit too direct." "Sorry, Dean. Don't worry about it." Russ
Berry said, "Well, maybe I could do that. When my company went public, I think my
net worth went up by $278 million." So Jack was very good. Jack brought in a lot
of others like that.
P: Why did you not you keep him?
L: I tried like hell to keep him. What happened was the Foundation was very jealous
of Jack, and the others over there were so jealous of Jack's success that they
undermined him over there, and Jack left. I wanted to keep him. Jack left not
because I did not want him. I still think he is the best fund raiser that we have had
in this University.
P: He is in St. Pete now?
L: No, I think he left St. Pete. He went to William and Mary, and then he came back
and was working for some private foundation down there. Then I understood he
went back into a university again. Jack was good. Oh, I never had any reservations
P: But you have been good too. I mean, fund raising was not part of your early career.
P: It really starts when you come to the University of Florida.
L: That is right. As a matter of fact, I wanted to do some at Michigan State, but the
dean up there discouraged me. It was very interesting. Part of that was at that time
John Hannah, I think, had an understanding with the University of Michigan
president that they would not compete with the University of Michigan for private
funds because the state was so generous with the state system. That was a surprise
[to me], because I had opportunities. I can remember I was doing consulting work
with General Motors and other firms in Michigan, and I would say, "Do you have a
foundation? Do you ever give money?" "Sure. Do you want to get a grant?" I said,
"Well, how about other monies?" "Well, we have a foundation for that." After I got
down here, in addition to what we got for the college I have $500,000 in research
grants that I still have not spent that came to me personally.
P: Now, when you came here in 1969, the Foundation concept was really just beginning
L: It was just getting started.
P: We had always had a gift-receiving operation, but it really did not amount to
L: It was sort of like the recruiting--it was defensive.
P: Yes. I think that Steven C. O'Connell was the one who kind of began to promote
L: That is right, and Steve Wilkerson was the first director. He came out of a religious
[organization, from some] church.
P: He and Bill Stone.
L: Bill Stone was better than Wilkerson in that he was more seasoned, more
P: And Marston pushes the program, does he not? Marston has been given a lot of
credit, which he has accepted, for really getting it into big time.
L: I think that Marston gets credit because he was the guy who was the top man at the
time, but Marston did not have any special vision. I did my own thing.
P: Marston himself was not a fund raiser.
L: No. As a matter of fact, the one time I took Marston on a fund-raising trip with me
we did not do very well, and it is one that I still regret to this day. [We went to see]
Al Ellis, who I think we should have gotten a big gift out of. We did not. I wanted
President Marston to follow a program of recognizing important industrialists in this
state by identifying them for honorary degrees. I said, "I think if we have a good
mixture of academics, public figures, and businessmen [to honor with such degrees,
we will be in good shape]. I think that you have to bet a little bit on the future.
Identify these people. Make a case before the faculty and see if you cannot put them
up for an honorary degree, as long as you are going to have it. These people, I
think, are going to respond." Bob was scared of that concept. He wanted someone
to have done something expressly for the University so there was a quid pro quo
after the fact. I said, "Well, you have to do a little bit of, as we used to say, fishing.
You have to do a little chumming."
P: Well, you were successful even without that. Now, what was the secret of your
success of going in with people like Joe Cordell [Florida business executive] and all
of the others?
L: I think I was lucky in part. First, I was astonished at the entree that I got to business
firms as a member of the Price Commission. I mean, I was just astonished at how
easy it was for me during and after to get an audience with the CEO of a major
P: But you did not go in and say, "I am from the University of Florida. I want money."
L: No, but having been in that position, [it was easier to get in to see the CEOs]. I can
remember being invited to go to Detroit to see the president of General Motors,
Tom Murphy. Do you remember when I came back from the Price Commission I
had a lecture series that we gave in economics, and I brought in all of these
P: I remember that.
L: Well, that was because of the good fortune to have met these people on the Price
Commission, and then I just followed up.
P: If somebody were sitting here, as I am doing here right now, asking you who you
could really take credit for in terms of making major gifts, who would you list? Billy
L: People that I tapped?
L: Well, I would say Billy Dial. Most important, I think, is Alfred McKethan, Fred
Fisher, Joe Cordell, Jim Walter, Charlie Rice ...
P: These are all people that you became socially and personally friendly with, too.
L: That is right. Now [there was] another thing that helped me, by the way, [and I will
tell you] so you understand this. As a result of being appointed to the Price
Commission, the Florida Council of 100 tapped me to be an honorary member.
P: Yes. I saw that listed in your curriculum vita.
L: They rotate this among the presidents; the University of Florida and Florida State
are permanent honorary members, but the others rotate. They tapped me. I am the
only [honorary member who was not a president of a State University System
institution.] I was just fortunate. They figured, "Here is a guy who is a national
presidential appointee, and we want him in the Florida Council of 100. That meant
that when the Florida Council of 100 had their meetings I am sitting there with all
P: And you are friends with them now.
L: I am friends with them. We and our wives are going to dinners together. We are
playing golf. Jim Walter, George Jenkins, Billy Dial.
P: You are touching the hands of billions.
L: That is right. I am sitting there with these guys, and that made a big difference. In
other words, now I do not need someone to call them to get me an appointment. I
call these guys myself.
P: I want to stop this for just a moment and get this Price Commission [experience].
I want you to tell me how that came about and what it was. That was an
appointment from President Nixon?
L: Yes. What had happened was, as you may recall, in 1971 inflation was threatening
to accelerate--it was about 5 percent. The previous year the Congress had passed a
statute called the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970. Nixon said he did not need
that kind of legislation. He did not want it, and he would not use it even if they
P: Is this on the advice of his secretary of the treasury and people like that?
L: Yes. They said, "Why would we want to have [a bill like this]?" Well, the Congress
was doing it just as a standby measure in case inflation should get out of hand. You
might want to have standby authority, and all he would have to do was invoke it.
Well, here it was in the summer of 1971, and inflation began to accelerate.
L: There were really temporary forces. I do not think there were permanent forces.
P: I see.
L: There was a temporary surge in the price of certain things, but I think they were
more cyclical; even some of them were seasonal, temporary forces. But Nixon was
very paranoid about the economy. He remembered that Kennedy had beaten him
in that campaign on the economic issues, and here he was going to be running for
reelection, and he sure as hell did not want to have a sorry economy. So he decided
to invoke the authority that the Congress had given him, and he decided to invoke
the Economic Stabilization Act. He froze prices and wages in the summer of 1971.
He said he was going to appoint a price commission and a pay board. The pay board
would control labor costs, and the price commission would control all prices.
I was quite surprised to get the call. I am really not sure [how it came about that I
was chosen]. I think it may be that the chairman of the Council of Economic
Advisers at that time was Paul McCracken, whom I had known. He was from the
University of Michigan.
P: So you are just saying the phone rings one day.
L: The phone rang one night. As a matter of fact, my son answered it and said, "I do
not know who it is, Dad." We were having dinner. "It is a woman, and she does not
know how to pronounce the name. She is probably selling something."
P: So you had no forewarning at all of this.
L: I picked up the phone, and this woman said, "I am calling you from the White House,
and Dr. Paul McCracken has placed the call and would like to speak to you." I
remembered Paul McCracken, and a thought occurred to me, "Why would Paul be
calling me? I wonder if they are going to go ahead and appoint the people to that
crazy price commission. I hope if he is going to ask me for my opinion about
someone, it is someone I can give a favorable endorsement to." That is what went
through my mind. "Oh, my God. They have somebody under consideration." So he
said, "Bob, this is Paul. I am here in the White House, and I am having a meeting
with the president and ." (I forget who else was there with him [besides] the
secretary of commerce at the time.) "We are going over the list of people the
president has approved for appointment to the Price Commission and Pay Board."
I said, "Well, how can I help you?" At that point I was thinking he was going to ask
me about someone and what I thought. He said, "Your name has been presented to
the president." I said, "You have surprised me. I did not expect anything like this.
Just where does it stand?" He said, "Where we are is it has not only been presented,
[but] he has approved the commission, and you are one of the seven members that
P: Had you ever heard of the Price Commission up until that point?
L: Oh, yes. As a matter of fact, I had lectured on it on that lecture series we were
talking about. I said, "This is sort of a dumb idea and a cockamamie idea. What are
they going to be doing?" Paul asked, "Do you know what is going on?" and I said,
"Yes. I studied the legislation and the president's announcement. I have some
skepticism about this. You need to know that." He said, "Well, you are not the only
one, but would you accept appointment? This is not something that we are going to
present. Your name has been presented. The president had approved, and why we
are really calling now is to tell people and ask them if they would accept the
appointment." Sort of like this thing with [New York governor] Mario Cuomo--is this
guy going to be tapped [as the Democratic presidential nominee] or not? I said,
"Well, if I say yes, does this mean that it is approved?" and he said, "Yes. That is
what I am trying to tell you." I said, "Well, I am clearly interested, but I have to
clear it with my president here at the University." I told you about that. So he said,
"That is fine."
P: They expected that, obviously.
L: Oh, yes. I said, "You have to tell me about how much time it is going to take and
so forth, and he said, "I am not sure that I can tell you much about that. After your
first meeting with the president you can really find that out later." I said, "What do
I need to do?" He said, "You do not need to do anything." I said, "Is there any way
of knowing the other appointees? Who am I with?" He said, "I would like to tell
you that. I cannot tell you that now, but I can tell you that maybe later tonight or
tomorrow morning because we are going to ask other people, just like we are asking
you, and it is not certain that every one of them is going to say OK." I know one of
them who turned it down was George Stigler, who was a nobel laureate from
Chicago, and he wrote me a nice note afterwards. So did Milton Freidman. The
next morning, then, I did get the full list of people who had [accepted the
P: In the meantime you had contacted O'Connell.
L: I contacted O'Connell that night. I called him at the president's house and said,
"This has happened. I hate to interrupt your night like this, but it is a matter, I think,
of some importance, and you ought to know. I would like to come and talk to you
about it tomorrow." He said, "Well, as far as I am concerned it is a great
development. Yes, I will approve it. Come in and tell me more about it as soon as
you have more details."
P: You hung up. What did your family think?
L: The family was quite surprised. They said, "Are we going to Washington?" I said,
"No, I do not think that is going to be what happens here. I think this is one of these
commissions where you commute some." Oh, they liked it in the sense that they
would be [able to visit Washington, DC, again]. They had relatives back up there,
of course, and they liked the notoriety of it because the thing hit the papers shortly
thereafter, as you may remember. The kids, of course, were very thrilled with that.
P: Were you a Republican? Was that a necessary condition?
L: No. As a matter of fact, that was an interesting thing. Later on, when I was up
there for swearing in, somebody (I have forgotten who it was) at the White House
said, "We do not have your party affiliation confirmed." I said, "The truth of the
matter is I am a registered Republican." Whoever asked me said, "Oh, we have you
down here as a Democrat." I said, "Well, does it make any difference?" They said,
"No, but .. ." They thought they were getting sort of a bipartisan group. Now, the
way they got that impression was when I was in Michigan I worked for George
Romney, [Nixon's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development] and Romney
thought I was a Democrat. I had a student in one of my classes at Michigan State
named Scott Romney, who was his son.
The way I became a Republican, the first time I had a chance to register, as I may
have told you, was when I was a student. [The first election] that I voted in was the
presidential election of 1948.
P: That was Truman and Dewey.
L: Yes, Truman and Thomas "Elusive" Dewey. Thomas E. Dewey.
P: So you voted for Dewey.
L: No, I did not vote for Dewey. [laughter] I was saying that in that election Earl
Warren was the governor of California, and he had been nominated both by the
Democrats and the Republicans. Did you know that?
P: I know that.
L: I thought, "Gee, this is my kind of guy. What is he? Well, he is a Republican." I
said, "Well, then I am going to register Republican." So I registered Republican.
Now, the truth of the matter is I vote very independently. I voted for Kennedy, I
voted for Johnson ...
P: But how did you vote in 1968, between Humphrey and Nixon?
L: In 1968 I think I may have voted for Humphrey, but in 1972 I was bound to vote for
Nixon, since he had appointed me.
P: And you were not going to vote for George McGovern. [laughter]
L: McGovern scared me. I voted for Clinton this time, and I am glad of it.
P: Well, tell me: you are on the Price Commission, and you went to Washington.
L: I went to Washington. It was actually a full-time job for the first month or two.
P: You were sworn in in the White House?
L: Yes, we had a swearing in.
P: Pat went up with you for the swearing in?
L: No, Pat did not go up. I forget exactly why.
P: That was a great occasion.
L: It was, but I forgot why Pat did not go up.
P: And the kids did not go up.
L: The kids did not go up. We got the swearing in. See, I went up there in October.
P: I remember it in the papers and all.
L: The problem was we went up there, and we were full time. I did not realize [how
much time it was going to take].
P: Who became the acting dean?
L: Well, John McFerrin ran the shop. I came back after that swearing in, and I told
O'Connell what I realized. I said, "Hey. This looks like it is going to be pretty
intensive here for a while. Are you sure you do not want me to take a leave?" "No,
do not take a leave. Let's wait and see." That is the way O'Connell kept putting it.
So I went to John and told him, "John, I do not know how much time this is going
I went back up on Sunday and stayed right through, and the next couple of weeks I
was up there full time, nonstop, night and day. We went up there in mid October.
We had to have the regulations completed by November 15.
P: Where did you stay? In a hotel?
L: We stayed at the Watergate and the Madison. [laughter]
P: Well, they put you in nice quarters.
L: They did. I was a little concerned about that. Bill Scranton advised me about that.
I said, "Gee. How in the world am I going to afford the Madison and the Watergate
on government per diem?" He said, "You will not be on government per diem." I
said, "How is that?" We were on level three. He said, "At level three you will get
reimbursed for all expenses. All you have to do is have your receipts." I did not
realize that. Did you know that there are some people in government that get
[reimbursed] no matter what it is? At that level you got your full reimbursement.
P: So you could eat anywhere you wanted. You did not have to eat at McDonald's.
L: And they gave us a book of transportation requests, TRs, as they called them. You
filled out your own, and you traveled first class. Did you know that?
P: Well, I never have had that opportunity. I travel for the University of Florida.
L: I did not realize that. Well, I guess it is the system at a certain level. They called
us level three, I think. So we worked there nonstop for the first [few weeks].
P: You worked in the White House?
L: At first we worked in the White House. Then we were in the executive office
building. We had some meetings in the White House. We met with Nixon.
P: Was Nixon a gracious, knowledgeable person?
L: He was gracious and knowledgeable, but he did not really talk much about price
controls. He talked mostly about China.
P: He was into that.
L: We would start off talking about the controls on something, and he would say, "Let
me tell you about my forthcoming trip to China," or, "Let me tell you what I have
been reading about China," or "Let me tell you what I have been told recently about
China." I thought he was very knowledgeable on that.
At one meeting he welshed on a luncheon deal. We had a luncheon meeting with
him, and we got word just as we sat down the president would not join us for lunch.
He might see us later. This was a meeting that was going to last for two or three
hours; this was in the White House. As you probably know, their dining room is
P: The White House mess.
L: But they have private rooms off of the mess there, and he drifted in with this very
attractive woman on his arm. He said, "I have come in here to apologize to you for
having to miss your luncheon, but I have with me the reason why I missed the lunch.
If you had the opportunity to have lunch with this charming lady or with you, whom
would you have gone to lunch with?" Guess who it was? Imelda Marcos. [laughter]
She had been visiting, and boy, she was striking. Now, this must have been 1972.
P: She must have been a striking-looking woman.
L: She was a very striking woman, a very attractive woman, very gracious. She went
around and shook [our hands]--he introduced her to all of us. Then he took leave.
He said, "Now you know why I did not join you for lunch."
P: That is a good reason. [laughter]