This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.
This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewer: Everett Caudle
Interviewee: Maurice Mayberry
July 22, 1992
C: This is Everett Caudle. Today is July 22, 1992. It is about one o'clock in the
afternoon. We are in the conference room at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
We are interviewing Mr. Maurice Mayberry, who was the director of the Career
Resource Center here on campus for a number of years. [He] was the founding
director and has just recently retired. Mr. Mayberry, I appreciate your doing this
interview with us today. What we would like to do, as I told you earlier, is start off by
just getting a little bit of personal data and background from you. If you would,
please state your full name for me.
M: Maurice Edward Mayberry.
C: Is Edward a family name?
M: Yes. It was my uncle's first name. [He] lived in Illinois.
C: Was that your father's brother?
C: What is your birth date?
M: July 15, 1923.
C: And where were you born?
M: I was born in Ellenton, Florida, which is not far from Palmetto in Manatee County. [It
is] right on the Manatee River.
C: So you are a native Floridian, and there are not many of us left.
M: That is correct. [I am] a native Floridian by some three generations.
C: Go into that just a little bit for me, if you would. You can start with your father's
background, if you wish. Tell me just a little bit about your father: where he was
from and that sort of thing.
M: My dad's full name was Benjamin Hamilton Mayberry. He was born in a little town in
central Illinois called Broughton. He and his dad and family migrated down to
Florida in the early 1900s. They went from Illinois down to Helena, Arkansas, and
then to Florida.
C: Do you know what brought him to Florida?
M: The reason was to join up with a member of the family, a man by the name of Ed
McClean, who was responsible for starting the early tomato industry in Ellenton,
Palmetto, [and] Ruskin, Florida. So he came down to help his uncle Ed grow
tomatoes. My dad's father was a generalist: he was an itinerant Baptist preacher,
he was a farmer, he was a blacksmith, and [he was] also a practical veterinarian.
C: [He was] a jack of all trades.
M: He passed on in 1941 and was buried in Webster, Florida, which is down in central
Florida. He preached right up to the time he passed on.
C: Did your grandfather move to Florida with your father?
M: My father moved with his father. His father brought the family down.
C: I see. So they came, then, as a family unit to Florida to help this individual in the
M: Right. My dad's mother's maiden name was Jones. We have a family history which
traces the name Jones back eight or nine generations to Wales.
C: What about your dad's brothers and sisters? Did they live and stay in Florida after
[they grew up]?
M: He had, as I recall, some three sisters and one brother. The brother came down
and then later went back and settled in Jonesboro, Illinois, where he later passed
on. The two or three sisters did come to Florida. One left and settled in Memphis,
Tennessee; another one went out to Oakland, California. I do not know what
happened to the third sister, if there was one. But I do remember the two very well.
In fact, I think the aunt that moved to Oakland now lives in a community north of the
Golden Gate Bridge.
C: So you have not really kept in touch with that part of the family?
C: You said your grandfather died in 1941.
C: OK. And your father, meanwhile, stayed--I am assuming--in South Florida.
M: He stayed in that particular area. He married my mother when she was living in a
little town called Nichols, Florida.
C: And your mother's full name was?
M: Frances Clyde Sessions. Her father was born and raised in North Carolina and
moved down at the early beginning of the phosphate mining--when it was on the
surface--around central Florida. He was the freight agent at a little place called
Holder, Florida, which is near Hernando in Citrus County, just north of Inverness.
That is where my mother's mother met Robert Sessions and got married. My
mother was born not too far from that area. She was born in Holder, in fact.
C: Was she an only child?
M: No. They had a daughter, I think later, who passed on. Then Bob Sessions, her
father, passed on at an early age. So the mother...
C: Your grandmother ...
M: My grandmother remarried. Her name was Jimmie Sessions. She remarried a first
cousin by the name of Josh Spivey, who lived in the Citrus County area, out from
Floral City, right in the Withlacoochee River basin. Josh Spivey's father, Will Spivey,
came down from Selma, Alabama, to help establish the citrus industry in that
particular area of Florida. He managed the citrus groves that were along the
Withlacoochee River basin; way back in the woods, but beautiful, beautiful trees and
C: We are talking about the early 1900s, about the 191Os and maybe the early 1920s,
before the boom bubble burst.
C: OK. I just wanted to establish that. Now, how did your mother and father meet? Do
you know anything about that?
M: I do not know exactly, but I think that they met at the Baptist church. My dad had a
very fine voice. He was a vocalist, and he was usually the choir director. His father
was also a Baptist preacher. I have an idea that they met in that fashion. Nichols is
not too far from Ellenton. It is in the same region. I think that is where they met.
They were married in Bartow, Florida, by Judge Spessard L. Holland [Florida
C: That is interesting.
M: [This occurred] when he was a young judge right there in Bartow, Florida, which is in
Polk County. Nichols, Mulberry, [and] Lakeland are all [in] Polk County. That is
where they were living.
C: Did your parents remain in that area?
M: They remained in that area. For several years, they lived in Ellenton, where my
older brother and I were born. My older brother is about two years older than me.
C: What is his name?
M: His name was Benjamin Harrison Mayberry.
C: So he was named, then, for your father?
M: Yes. The middle name was the medical doctor who delivered him: Dr. Harrison
from Bradenton, Florida. They lived in Ellenton and the two kids were born. Then
[they] moved down to Palmetto, and I think this is where my oldest sister was born.
There were three boys [and] three girls in our family.
C: What was your other brother's name?
M: My youngest brother was James. He was born in the 1930s, I think [it was in] 1932,
on the farm in Citrus County.
C: And your sisters?
M: As I indicated, I think my first sister was born in Ellenton, maybe Palmetto. We
moved from there up to Ocala. That is where my second and third sisters were
born. My second brother was also born in Ocala.
C: What were your sisters' names?
M: My oldest sister was Barbara Clyde Mayberry. She stayed in Ocala and married.
Her husband passed away, and she remarried. That husband passed away. She
lives in Atlanta. My second sister's name is Paula. She lives in Safety Harbor in the
Clearwater area right now. She has outlived one husband and has remarried. She
is still living. My older brother and younger brother have both passed away.
C: I see.
M: Then, finally, I have one sister, Frances, who was born in Ocala. She was one of
those kind of miracles when people who are not supposed to have babies at that
age [have them anyway]. My mother had a baby right in the Depression years. She
is married and recently moved from Tampa to Homosassa Springs. So that is the
story on the family.
C: Good. Now, I understand that you went to school in Ocala, and what I would like
you to do, if you would, is go back in your memory and tell me what you remember
about your early schooling. Where did you first attend school? [Tell me] about
some of the particulars of that, if you would.
M: I entered first grade in Gainesville, Florida. My dad was working for the Merita
Bread Company at the time, and they said that they had an opening in Gainesville.
So we moved from Ocala suddenly. So I began school at the age of six at the Kirby
Smith School. After about two weeks, one day [I was] racing through the
neighborhood after my brother--who was pulling a wagon with a friend--I raced
across a little dirt road, and a little light truck from the power and light company [hit
me]. I did not quite get across the road, and it ran over my right leg. That
interrupted my schooling.
C: What sort of damage did it do?
M: It broke my right leg. They took me down to the old original hospital, Alachua
General Hospital. They have since taken the building down. I was there for a week
or so, and it was kind of an exciting experience with all that attention. By the time I
was ready to go [to school] again, my dad's job transferred him back to Ocala.
C: Was he still working for the bread company?
M: Yes. When he settled in Ocala, he was one of the pioneers in the retail radio
business. He had the dealership for RCA Radio there in Ocala. [This was] back
when they were battery radios, not plugged into the wall as we have them now.
That business prospered pretty well, but it had some problems in its early stages.
He was always a merchant or a salesman of some sort. That is how he came to
work for the Merita company. So we moved from Gainesville back to Ocala. I re-
entered the first grade there, just about four or five blocks from where we lived. My
world, as a youngster, was about twelve blocks in diameter. I go back occasionally
and retrace that. The primary school was on the east end of a three-block area.
The high school that I graduated from was in the middle, and the grammar school
was over on the west end. So I only had about four or five blocks to walk from the
first grade on through high school. There was a short interruption. My dad then
went back into the grocery business shortly after we moved back to Ocala and was
transferred down to Leesburg for awhile and then later to Winter Park, Florida. So I
attended second grade in Winter Park, Florida. For the third grade, he had another
transfer to Orlando [to work for] the first supermarket in the state, as far as I can
recall; Food Palace, they called it. My dad was in charge of one of the stores there.
I went to the third grade there.
Then the Depression hit. The company that he worked for--the B & B Grocery
Company--went bankrupt. So we moved to the grandparent's farm, which is in
Citrus County, for one year. This is where my second brother was born. We were
on the farm for one year. I was in the fourth grade. I walked through the woods
about two miles to a one-room schoolhouse that had grades one through eight with
one teacher. Of course, each kid would get up--starting at the lower grades--and
have recitations and so forth. It was one of the most interesting experiences I ever
C: Of course, the older kids helped the younger kids.
M: Absolutely. It was truly a family unit [with] a wide diversity of people. [There were]
farmers' kids who had no shoes. We were made fun of because we wore shoes,
and the other kids did not. Sometimes one or two of the kids in particular would
come in and spend most of the day lying next to the heater in the center of the
room--that was the only means of heat in the room--sleeping. I wondered what the
problem was. I later discovered it was malaria. They lived in a house that had no
screens. So [it was a] pretty primitive existence.
C: It is hard for us to imagine now, but South Florida at that period of time was very
much a frontier.
M: Absolutely. There were no electric lights. My grandmother's home had no electricity
[and] no inside plumbing. [We used] outhouses. The [water] pump was on a porch
attached to the house. Where we lived across the road, the pump was outside
about twenty feet. That was the nearest water for the house where we lived for one
C: Of course, it was an old hand pump.
M: It was an old pitcher pump. It had a big galvanized washtub out there that we would
fill up every Saturday morning. By evening time the water was warm, and each one
of us would get our bath.
C: So [on] Saturday you got a bath whether you needed it or not.
M: Yes. [laughter]
C: That is sort of a tradition. I know we used to kid my grandfather. Even when he was
on up in age, he would always say that he was going to take a bath on Saturday
whether he needed one or not. Saturday was always the traditional day for getting a
bath. You wanted to be clean Saturday evening before going to church on Sunday.
M: Just a quarter of a mile from my grandmother's home was my great-grandmother's
home, a large, two-story, white, frame house that was equipped with gas lights.
They generated their own gas through a carbide system.
C: [They would have] used acetylene gas.
M: Correct. They would mix the chemicals out in the little house, and they would create
the gas, and then they would pump it into the house. They even had plumbing in
that house, which I thought was so interesting.
C: They were uptown folks.
M: They were really uptown folks. But [they had] no electricity.
C: Now, you were in the fourth grade during this period of time. How long did you stay
in South Florida before moving back to Ocala?
M: We were just one year on the farm. In the fifth grade, we moved back to Ocala, and
I re-entered school there in the same area. Each time we lived in Ocala, it was just
a few blocks from where we went to school. This time we were even closer to
school than the first time.
C: This was during the Depression.
M: Yes. Ocala was less than 5,000 in population. We were right in the center of the
C: Obviously, the Depression affected your family. You mentioned that your father had
to change jobs several times because of the situation. What else do you remember
about the Depression, particularly in the way that it might have affected Ocala and
also the time you lived in Citrus County.
M: My first distinct impression that we were in this economic situation that we called the
Depression was when I saw my dad's fortunes decline. We moved, as I indicated,
from Ocala to Winter Park. We rented a home, but it was a very nice, beautiful
home with nice oak floors [and walls of] stucco. The Mediterranean architecture
was all in that area. We went from that house to a little bit smaller house, and then
later we moved to the outskirts of town. So it was a step down each time.
C: So you could actually see this.
M: [I could] see it and feel it and sense it. My dad was the manager of a very
prosperous grocery store at the time, and I remember our neighbors, a nice family
who were fairly monied people from Denver, Colorado. [The father] lost his job and
had no money. My dad would just give them groceries out of his store [and] out of
his own pocket. He did it for the better part of a year. As a result of that, the family
was beholden to my dad. He later recovered and became a very rich person in the
Winter Park/Orlando area. I saw this, and I felt the impact of it as a kid, having to
stand on a street corner in Orlando when I was in the third grade, selling
newspapers. It was difficult to sell a newspaper, even for five cents. I did not have
enough clothes to keep myself warm. The first thing I ever bought as a result of
selling newspapers was a little cotton melton jacket for one dollar. It kept me warm.
C: It was probably a hard-earned dollar, too.
M: It was!
C: Were you expected to help out with the family income?
M: It was only in later years when I became a teenager that I was expected to
contribute to the family upkeep and to maintain myself. I do not know if, from the
fifth grade on, I ever went to my dad and asked for any financial assistance. There
was one time that a group of us decided to go from Ocala down to Lake Weir on a
kind of a house party, and I needed a dollar. I asked my dad for a dollar, and I felt
so hesitant just asking for a dollar. He gave it to me, and I enjoyed the weekend as
a result. Later, when I wanted a bicycle, and I found a used one for eight dollars, he
agreed to pay for that bicycle if I would deliver his lunch to him. He worked at a
store in town as a merchant. I would bring his lunch from home and sometimes
supper there down in the middle of Ocala. So I certainly felt this. I first saw it at
Christmas time when things were so meager. You were hoping to get fire trucks,
and if you got just a little skullcap, you were lucky. Yet, I never felt poor. My dad
always wanted us to live in the best part of town that we could live. We went to
church, and we associated with the best people in the city.
C: And you always ate and had good food on the table.
M: We did. Sometimes, depending on what my dad was doing, I would not see him in
the morning when he went to work, and I was asleep by the time he came back. So
I would only see him on weekends, when he would be practicing his music on a
piano there in our home in Ocala. Or [I would see him] when I would go to church
and watch him direct the choir and sing. We were a close family. It was said by
some of the people, "You dare not throw a rock in Ocala for fear of hitting a
Mayberry." There were so many of us.
C: Everyone watched out for the other one.
M: That, and we did have a fairly large family: three boys and three girls.
C: You went to high school in Ocala. What do you remember about your high school
experience? Were you very academically inclined or athletically inclined? Tell me
just a little bit about that.
M: I was a good student. As a result, I did the seventh and eighth grade in one year.
But I stopped being an academic type. Once getting into high school, I was kind of
disenchanted. I left my peer group by jumping a grade. I was no longer the
president of the class; somebody else was. So I kind of took a back seat. The
quality of the high school instruction was not as good as it was in the early years. I
know that. So my interest kind of waned, even though I made Bs and better.
C: Was it a large high school?
M: Not large at all. Our graduating class in 1941 was the largest one they had ever
had. [There were] about 105 graduates.
C: That is small by today's standards in a lot of the schools. What was the name of the
M: Ocala High. [We were the] Ocala Wildcats. It later was moved, and it is now
Forrest High, I think. But I was interested in sports even though I was kind of small.
During phys ed I injured myself. I ruptured myself. And so I decided I had best not
play any more football, and I became a cheerleader. My older brother, oldest sister,
and I were all cheerleaders at the same time. Later, the other brother and sisters
were elected cheerleaders. So three of us were on the cheerleading squad at one
time. I was interested in dramatics. I enjoyed that. But most of my activity [time]
was taken working. I had at one time three jobs. I would work on the weekends at a
movie theater as an usher/ticket taker. I would work during the afternoons at a
service station not far [from home] pumping gas [and] greasing cars. Then at night I
was a soda jerker at the Marion Hotel in downtown Ocala, and that is where,
incidentally, I served wine to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings when she was courting the
man who was manager of the Marion Hotel. I forget what his name is. He lives in
C: I know his name, and it has slipped my mind as well. Baskin?
M: Norton Baskin. Yes. Of course, I did not know about her fame. In fact, she was just
becoming famous, but I knew that she lived up the road somewhere, and she would
come down there about every weekend. She was a beautiful woman [and] finely
dressed. I knew she was some special individual. That was when I was working at
night as a soda jerker, Monday through Friday. But with those three jobs, I began to
accumulate a little money. I never needed money. Even though my older brother
worked, he never had money. I was always able to save. Economics was not really
a problem for me.
C: You just had that sort of proclivity to save.
M: Yes. In between times I would mow lawns for money.
C: Sounds like you stayed pretty busy.
M: I would repair appliances and things like that. Yes, I did; I was always working with
my hands. I built a little canvas-covered sailboat in my garage. I took it a few
blocks from my neighborhood and sailed it. I was always building things with my
hands: tree houses, caves, something of that nature. I knew that if I could ever get
into something creative, I would be happy.
C: You graduated in 1941. Obviously, the war was on at this period. The United
States had become involved following Pearl Harbor. You mentioned earlier to me
before we started that you came to Gainesville, initially, I think you said, to go to the
University of Florida. Is that correct?
M: Actually, I came up with my brother. Because I skipped a grade and my brother
slipped a grade, we graduated in the same class, and he was the one interested in
going to college, back when it cost about thirty-five dollars a semester for tuition. He
came up here and talked to Dean Beatty, who said, "We will find you a job if you
want to go to school." I got into several of the lines with my brother, thinking that I
would try to enter school, too. In the meantime, I got interested in continuing my
work. Right out of high school, I worked in a men's store in downtown Ocala. [It
was] Kennedy's Store for Men right on the square. I did something that thrilled me,
indeed. One Christmas season, he decided to put the part-time people (and I was
part-time) on a commission. He said, "Five percent commission." I made twenty-
five dollars in one day. I sold five hundred dollars worth of merchandise. At that
time, people that were working full time did not make twelve to fifteen dollars for all
week. I was able to do that. That said something to me. The boss, Kenneth
Kennedy (they later called [him] Skin 'Em Kennedy) said, "We are not going to do
this anymore. Those people will probably bring back most of that merchandise." I
said, "If they do, deduct that from my pay." They did not bring anything back.
C: He did not like the idea of having to pay out five percent of his profits to commission,
M: Right. He did not think in the first place [that] anybody could do that. In the second
place, when he discovered that somebody could do it, it was so astronomical that it
really put the full time people in a bad light. So he did not do that but once.
C: Do you attribute that success to your ability as a salesman or your character?
M: I think I was enterprising enough to see what really sold and what did not. I
remember very clearly if I saw a person coming in the door and they went to my left,
which was down where handkerchiefs and shirts were, I let someone else take care
of that customer. But when I saw them come in and they would go to my right or
their left--particularly if it was a male--that was right where all the suits were, the big
ticket items. So I would stay in that area. I remember I was selling a suit to a
person, I had another one trying one on, and they were altering the suit of another--
three people, all at the same time. That was back when suits would sell for twenty-
nine to fifty dollars. I had that job [and] went to Gainesville just for the ride to be with
my brother. But I did stand in this line.
C: Were you interested in going to college at all at that period? You said your brother
had the interest.
M: He had the interest because he was much more social than I. He wanted to be part
of a fraternity. In fact, he did enter and joined the Sigma Phi Omegas and had a
C: Did he graduate?
M: No. He did not at that time. He stayed in school for just a short period--a semester,
I believe--and then [he] had to go in the service. I went back to Ocala and worked
for a short while when someone from the Greenville Aviation School there in Ocala
came into the store and asked me point blank would I like to have a job working out
at the aviation school. I asked them what was it. They said, "Being a secretary." I
said: "I don't know. I don't know anything about being a secretary." [He said,] "It is
just running errands and typing letters when necessary." I said: "Well, I took typing.
I'm interested." So I took the job at about a double increase in my pay, and I
worked several years at Greenville Aviation School. I saw all these people come
and go, and I volunteered for service. [I] discovered this hernia that I developed
back in high school would bar me from going in the service.
C: In active duty.
C: Let me back up just a minute and make sure we have this clarified for the tape. You
went to the University with your brother in 1941, but you did not enter at that time.
M: I did not. I was just here for the ride.
C: You went back to Ocala and were offered the job at Greenville Aviation.
M: Right. I worked from about early 1942 to early 1944. I went in the air force in
March, 1944. A year before I went in the service, I was called up for selective
service--for the draft. They took me up to Camp Blanding, and they said: "Uh oh.
You have a hernia. It is not bad, but we cannot take you." So I got 4-F'd. I did not
C: There was a stigma associated with that.
M: Absolutely. And I saw all these young people go through aviation school, and they
were making it big, I will tell you. They were doing something exciting. I said, "I am
tired of just being a civilian worker in this effort." I worked first with a contractor [at]
Greenville Aviation School, and then I worked for the air force for about a year. One
day I went down and talked to my doctor. I said, "I want you to patch me up." Dr.
Harry Watt in Ocala did the operation at my expense. He repaired my hernia, which
was on my left side. It was one of those hernias that males have. Someone else
took my tonsils out all at the same time. In thirty days, I was in the air force in basic
training. [It was only] thirty days after that operation! I was eager to go in.
C: You must have been. My understanding is that a hernia operation is very painful
and usually [requires] a long and time-consuming recovery process.
M: I thought it would be, but I had a pretty quick recovery from it. It was not that
serious. I applied for the air force pilot training program, and I was accepted for pilot
training. So in March, 1944, I went into the air force. I went from the Camp
Blanding reception center up to Fort MacPherson [in] Atlanta and then basic training
at Keesler Field in the spring of 1944. [I was] expecting to go into pilot training.
Well, it was shortly after basic training that they said the pilot training program was
being discontinued. The war effort was going well, and they did not need any more
pilots. So [they asked] what else would I like to do. I did not know a whole lot of
what I might like to do, but they gave us several options. One was going to
technical training school in electronics. They did not tell me at the time that later it
would become radar. Radar was a secret word. But I went into electronics training
right out of basic training and spent almost two years training. Two years later, I
ended up as a combat crew member on a B-29. [I was] still in training, and all the
wars were over in March of 1946. I was reassigned as a base personnel sergeant
major at that time out in Harvard, Nebraska. Being a base personnel sergeant
major, you had control of who went on orders. I put myself on orders to be
demobilized--to exit service. My boss asked me later about it. He said, "Is this a
joke?" I said, "Yes." He said, "It is not a joke; it is for real. Leave your name on
those orders and go home."
C: You had served how many years then?
M: I had served two years, and I could have gone on for another yearjust while the war
was winding down. The war was over. In fact, in the summer of 1945, I saw the first
atomic explosion at Alamogordo, New Mexico [at] the White Sands proving ground
C: Describe that for me.
M: We had to come out on the line and ready the airplanes (the B-29s) early in the
morning--before daylight. So I was in this B-29 at the Alamogordo Air Force Base,
getting it ready for a training mission. I heard this explosion [that was] much like
[what occurs] when you see the rockets take off at Cape Kennedy. Then I looked
out, and I saw this big fireball.
C: Out over the desert?
M: Out over the desert. It was thirty or forty miles. It was at the north end of the
Alamogordo bombing range.
C: Of course, you all had no indication of this going on. This was all top-secret.
M: So later on in the day, the Post News came out saying, unfortunately, one of the
munitions dumps at the north end of the bombing range had accidentally gone off,
and that was the reason for that big explosion.
C: Did you suspect otherwise at that time?
M: None whatsoever.
C: You had no inkling that that was anything other than what the army or the military
said it was.
M: Not at all. And I did not know until the day that President Truman came on the radio
and said that a bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima [that was] equivalent to
20,000 tons of TNT. Then the second one [was dropped] at Nagasaki.
C: Did you realize at that point what had happened [and] what you had seen in New
M: Then we put the two together. By that time, I was still at the base. It was not too
many weeks later after the testing that they dropped the thing. It was not a long
period of time at all. I was kind of thrilled that I had witnessed the first atomic bomb.
C: That is an interesting thing to see, I would think. It certainly turned out to be a big
moment in history.
OK. You leave the service in 1946.
M: I came back to Ocala and went to work for the U.S. Geological Survey at the
headquarters in Ocala, Florida.
C: Were you using the training that you had acquired while in the service?
M: Not necessarily. They knew that I had some two years [of] technical orientation, so
they figured I could work as an engineering aide. But it was largely going around the
state [and] fixing devices that measured the level of water. [We were] bringing them
back to headquarters and evaluating that vast amount of information [and] keeping
up with the source supply [and] water levels in the state of Florida.
C: You were looking at ground water?
M: It was surface water, primarily.
C: Lakes and streams and that sort of thing.
M: Yes. It was the surface water division headquartered there in Ocala in the top of the
post office building. That was during the period that I met my wife about a block
from where I worked. She was a bank teller. [She was] my first wife and [is now
my] late wife.
C: What was her name?
M: Barbara Lynn Ryan. We started courting in early 1947. We were married August
24, 1947. It was interesting how this came about. During our courtship, my brother
Ben, who by that time had come back from service, was back at the University of
Florida. They made him the first manager of Flavet Three.
C: Flavet, we should clarify, was the ...
M: Florida Veterans' Housing. There were three sections: Flavet One, Two, and
Three. He was the manager of the Three, which was [a] two-story [building on] the
far western edge of campus. The way he put it, he said, "Maurice, go ahead and
marry that girl and come on to school under the G.I. Bill, and I will give you an
apartment." I could not find housing; it was very tough. Some of the married
students were living at the Gainesville air base and shuttled back and forth. Well, I
went ahead on August 24 and got married. My wife was twenty-one on August 20,
and we had to wait [until] three days later. We did this so that she did not have to
have permission from her family, even though we did get their blessings. But she
wanted to do it that way.
C: Your wife wanted to be independent, and you waited [until] three days after her
M: So on August 24, in the afternoon, at the First Presbyterian Church in Ocala,
Florida, we were married in a beautiful church ceremony by Preacher Ted Jones. In
the meantime, of course, I approached my brother and said, "I am now going to go
to Gainesville in September. How about that apartment?" He began crawfishing on
us, and it ended up that he really could not help us get an apartment, so we found
an apartment in Ocala, and I commuted with several students. The whole time I
was at the University of Florida I commuted from Ocala as a married person.
C: What area did you decide on going into when you went to the University?
M: I immediately decided to go into business administration, and I majored in personnel
management. That was an area that was of interest to me. It was consistent with
my last experience in service, and somewhat related to experience with the air force
as a civilian and with the Greenville Aviation School. But, as they say, people that
are interested in personnel do it because they enjoy working with people. That was
my main interest: to work with people. I was one of the last personnel management
majors at the University of Florida. They discontinued the major and meshed it into
a broad management-type discipline.
C: I see.
M: My wife said (while we were courting), "Are you going to go to college?" I said,
"Yes, I think I will. But I am not going to go as a single man." That was my
C: She got the hint. It was a subtle hint, but she got it.
M: She wanted me to be a college man, so she became a part of it. We did commute.
I will tell you just a little quick one.
M: My elapsed time at the University for a bachelor's degree in business administration
was exactly one year, eleven and one-half months.
C: You finished the degree.
M: I got a four-year degree.
C: In a little under two years.
M: Right. It was because we had these USAFI (United States Armed Forces Institute)
courses [that were] equivalent to the CLEP tests. It is set up [as] the accrediting
agency. My training in the air force was equivalent to about a year or better. There
were two things--the USAFI courses and the technical training--that made up for
that. After one semester, I was a junior because of the credits that were given for
passing the placement tests, as they [were] called then, and then getting a USAFI
equivalent credit for going to military technical school.
C: They actually gave you credit for the training you had acquired in the military [and]
applied that with what you learned here, and in a year and eleven months, you had
the bachelor's degree.
M: That is correct. Yes. I went year-round. I entered school in the fall of 1947. I went
one semester, [and] my wife lost her job.
C: Where was she working?
M: She was working at Perry Printing Process in Ocala.
C: [She was] still a secretary?
M: Yes. So I dropped out of school for a year. I went to work as an office manager for
a little soap manufacturing firm in Ocala, which I enjoyed thoroughly. But I knew
that it was a dead end, and the pay was not that great. So I resumed school the
following fall and stayed in school. But the actual elapsed time that I was in school
was only one year, eleven and a half months before I graduated with a degree. My
grades were fair. [My grade point average was] about a 3.4 or a 3.5.
C: So you still were interested enough in academics that you were able to keep your
grades up and that sort of thing. Describe for me briefly the climate or the tenor of
University life during this period of time--the mid to late 1940s.
M: As I indicated, I entered in 1947. This was the beginning of the veteran bulge. It
was the veteran influx for sure. The veterans pretty well determined the character of
the campus. The campus, interestingly enough, adapted to the veterans, rather
than the veterans having to adapt. Historically, the students have to adapt to the
school. But it was kind of the reverse. Because the students were older, they knew
what they wanted. I remember very well [that] as I was trying to arrange my course
schedule in keeping with my commuting schedule with six other guys (and most of
us were in the college of business) one of the assistant deans in business said, "I
guess you think we are just running this school just to suit you guys who commute to
Ocala." I said, "It sounds like a pretty good idea to me, Dean." That was at a time
where you could arrange your courses. Things were not as rigid. You did not have
to have so much approval. If you wanted it, you got it. There were more married
students on campus then. There was an almost--I will not say wartime
atmosphere--but the campus was being rebuilt at the time. There were large
tunnels all over campus. [There was] construction everywhere. There were
temporary buildings. It reminded you a little bit of a military base in that sense.
Every day you had to detour around some kind of construction, you were in
temporary facilities, and people were doing the best they could with the resources.
The resources were strained, [but] they were not as particular about things. They
were happy to get these veterans situated and get them out of this place.
C: Obviously, these people were happy just to have the opportunity to go to school.
M: They were very, very driven.
C: They wanted to get on with their careers.
M: Correct. This was before the Korean War. That was the next aspect. The
enrollment at the time was less than 10,000. [University President] Dr. [J. Hillis]
Miller came along. He signed my graduation diploma. Another important person in
Florida, [Governor] Fuller Warren [1949-1953] signed it.
C: Did you know Dr. Miller?
M: I knew him as a student. I had a few contacts with him, [but] not too many. But I
knew him personally when I came to work in 1953. He put his stamp of approval on
me before I was actually [hired]. He was not part of the selection team, but he
approved my being hired. He called me in shortly after I came to work in July 1953
to converse with me.
C: OK. He was president when you graduated and then when you actually came
aboard in July 1953. We are going to get to that, but before we get too far ahead, I
want to talk about that period of time after you graduated and before you came to
work for the University. I know you did a couple of interesting things, one of which
was work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
M: Well, while I was here in school, during my last semester, I began to find out what a
placement operation was and what it was not. There were employers filtering onto
campus at that time, in 1950. There were not large numbers, but you would see
signs and notices. Some of them would come into the departments, some would
come to a college, and some would be sponsored by the dean of students.
C: There was no real organization, is what you are saying.
M: No real organization. I took interviews with any and everybody I could. I remember
my very first interview was with the Southern Bell Company, and I was not primed
and ready. I thought I was, but I walked into the interview knowing that they were
going to ask me one thing: Tell me about yourself. So I spent the better part of that
twenty-minute interview [telling] all about my background, just as we are talking right
C: I see. [laughter]
M: We were sitting in a room very much like this with six or eight people. It was a
panel, not just a one-to-one. The gentleman leading the interview, said, "This is a
most interesting story of your life, but I see that we have run out of time. Thank you
very much." That was the end of the interview. I did not make that mistake again. I
interviewed [with] companies like Firestone and Goodyear and Eastern Airlines. I
really had a heyday. I interviewed with the Sears Company and accepted their job.
Actually, as you might have reviewed in the history, I talked to Dean [Walter J.]
Matherly, who was very helpful with students then. Professor Louis Gaitanis, who
had responsibility as one of the placement officers during the period while I was
there, was also helpful. They talked to me about my career plans. The dean
recommended me for a job as manager of the chamber of commerce in Bradenton,
Florida. That really turned me on. I did some research about that. I found out
[some information] through the local chamber of commerce manager and the one in
Ocala. So I had a pretty good feeling for what was going on. He recommended me
for the job, and they hired me for the job without an interview. They just said, "If the
dean says you are right for the job, you are right. You have the job." Then I
continued taking interviews, and I got several more offers. About two weeks after
the job in Bradenton was offered to me I was called and they said, "We are sorry,
but we have to withdraw the offer. The president of the chamber of commerce
wants his son to have that job." I had been told that this was a pretty political
situation, and this was proof that it was a very political situation.
C: A little bit of nepotism.
M: Just a little bit. I thanked them profusely and went on with my business and
accepted the job with the Sears Company. I was the first manager-trainee for the
Sears Company out of the University of Florida under their formalized manager-
trainee program. It was a remarkable program, and I probably should have stayed--I
would have been clipping big coupons right now. But after one year, after I had
gone to work with Sears and I was ready to go somewhere else to another
assignment, on a dare, a friend of mine that I went to school with, Martin Peterson,
said, "Fill out this application for the FBI. You remember how you and I always
wanted to get into sleuthing, detective work, CIA, and so forth." I said, "Yes, I
remember." So we filled out those applications. His came back because he wore
glasses. Mine stuck. I went for interviews in Miami with thirty or forty other people,
thinking nothing would come of that. I was the only person selected out of that
group that particular day. I figured I had a job then. I got a one-page telegram from
J. Edgar Hoover saying, "Tie up your business interests in ten days and report to
Washington, D.C. for agent's training." I thought that was pretty neat because it
doubled the salary that I was making at Sears.
C: What did your wife think of this?
M: My wife thought it was pretty neat because it took her back to her home area. She
was raised in Riverdale [in] the Washington, D.C. area and still had family up there.
So she thought it was pretty neat. Certainly, doubling the salary was pretty neat. [I
was] going from $2,500 a year to $5,000 a year.
C: She could appreciate that, if nothing else.
M: I thought I really had a job. I reported to Washington for training, and I discovered
all I had was an invitation to run the race. I could have washed out any day for
sixteen weeks, along with the rest of the group. About a third of the class did wash
C: And you were not paid for this training.
M: We were being paid. Our pay started the day we started training. But our job was
not fixed until one year. We were on one-year probation all through training school
and one year later; you could be dismissed on a moment's notice.
C: Was this a fairly intense training?
M: It was very intense.
C: Physically? Mentally?
M: It was like eight hours of schooling per day, six days a week, for sixteen weeks.
There was defensive tactics training, firearms training, all types of technical work,
photography, lab work--very technical work. As one of the instructors said, "It is
equivalent to a master's degree in criminology." It was that intensive, and I enjoyed
every bit of it.
C: Were you interested in criminal work?
M: I was always interested in that type of work--the challenge of the quest of getting at
the bottom of something. I was not particularly interested in playing cops and
robbers or chasing people around. But I guess competing--my wits against another
person's wits--was the interesting part of it. Whether you were good or not really
depended on your creative ability. It was just hitting the pavement. There was not
really anything glamorous about being an FBI agent. But it certainly challenged your
ingenuity and your creativity [and] everything about you.
C: What year was this that you finished the training?
C: So you had spent a year in training, and in 1951, you were ...
M: Well, we spent sixteen weeks in Washington, D.C., and then I was sent to
Indianapolis, Indiana, for my first permanent assignment, where I did finish my
year's probation. I became a full-fledged agent there in Indianapolis.
I had some real interesting cases out there. I remember one time a case was turned
over to the FBI from the probation and parole people. This guy had stolen a car,
and he was put on probation. He only had a few more weeks to go. The probation
people could not find him, so after thirty days they turned it over to the FBI. The
probation agent gave the papers to me and said, "You find him." He said, "You
probably won't, but go ahead." There was a lot of friendly competition between
bureaus. I said, "OK." In one week's time, we found the guy in Fort Devons,
Massachusetts, driving a Red Ball Express moving van. Two agents walked up next
to him while he was having coffee and said, "Hello. You are Therlow Jenkins?"
[The man said,] "Yes." [The agents said,] "Well, you come with me." And it was all
over. I tried my best to get Therlow's parents to let him know that if he would just
come back and turn himself in, they would be lenient. If they got him, they would lay
that whole three or four years on him that he would have to serve. He was not really
a violent, evil kind of guy. He just ...
C: Had just gotten into some trouble.
M: Yes. But the key to that thing was my ability to walk into the headquarters of the
National Teamsters' Union, and somebody wearing a badge is about as welcome as
a bastard at a family reunion. But I walked in there, and I got shuffled around. But
finally I came to this young lady, and I said, "Gee, I know you can help me." [She
said,] "All right. What do you want?" I said, "Do you have this person's name in
your records at all?" [She said,] "As a matter of fact, we do. He just paid his dues
yesterday, and he is working for this express company." I named several, [and
asked], "Could it be Red Ball?" She said, "It could be." So I went down to Red Ball
headquarters and discovered that he was on the road, and he was delivering some
furniture in Fort Devons, Massachusetts. And the case was closed.
There were [other] interesting cases that I will not bore you with. The last one in
Indianapolis was where, one morning, we broke up a pornographic ring. Several
males had a pornographic ring going within several states--Indiana, Illinois, and
Ohio. This would involve taking a limousine full of young girls--mostly teenagers--
and they would perform exotic and artistic dances for male clubs, smokers and so
forth. They would just carry on. They would show these pornographic films at these
C: They would carry the girls actually ...
M: Across state lines to perform.
C: Then they would film the performances.
M: Well, they actually produced the films themselves in Indianapolis and other places.
But they would show the film to the crowd--say the men's club of downtown
Chicago--and the place would be filled with just men. They would show these
pornographic films first, and then they would have the girls do their exotic dancing,
which was mostly in the nude.
C: And we think that in 1990, we have things that are wild, and this is in 1951.
M: So we rounded up that crew. [There were] four or five subjects and eight or ten
victims. We considered the women victims. They were not subjects; they were
victims in this process. They were white slaves, technically defined.
C: These were all teenaged girls?
M: Mostly teenaged. [They were] sixteen, eighteen, twenty. I had one that I
interviewed for several hours. She said: "Don't I know you? Don't I recognize you?"
I said: "You might. I have been sitting down there on the front row for your past
three performances." [laughter] Anyway, that was my last big case and we
confiscated over 800 reels of pornographic film. The agents in the Indianapolis
office--one agent or more--had to view every single one and attest, "Yes, this was
pornographic [and] bad news." It was enough to turn your stomach. Not many
agents could handle much of it, but we had to view every single tape. From there
they sent me to New York City to be on the underground squad. I did not quite
understand what the underground squad was until I got to New York City. What that
meant was [that] I was going to be on the subway about eight hours out of ten,
working on subversive cases: Communist party members. All my cases were in
Harlem. Thirty to forty Communist party members [were] black. One of my most
famous cases was Paul Robeson. The files on Paul would fill half of this room, and I
was responsible for that file. So I was there about a year.
My father, during the meantime, would fall ill because of emphysema. He was a
heavy cigar smoker. He quit, but it was too late. The disease had set in. They
moved from Ocala down to Tampa so he could go over to Bay Pines Veterans
Hospital in St. Pete. Every month or so I would get a call. "Come home; your dad is
dying." I would shuttle back and forth. I appealed to Mr. Hoover and others, and
they said, "Gee, we just can't do anything for you. It is so hard to get agents to go to
New York City in the first place, and your wife is working for us, too. We would lose
both of you."
C: What was your wife doing at the time?
M: She was a secretary. When I was in Indianapolis, [I was] assigned to an office up in
Michigan City for several weeks. I came back, walked into the Indianapolis FBI
office, only to be greeted with my wife working as the secretary to the agent in
charge. They had hired her without letting [me know]. I was amused more than
anything else. I was delighted. But that is the way they did things. They would hire
relatives because it was much more .
C: More convenient for them in that they did not have to worry so much about
M: The wives could understand what you were up against and you could understand.
We did not share secrets and all that, but we knew what we had to do. So we were
a team in New York City. So after thinking it over, [we decided to quit and move
back to Florida]. The key to my coming back to Florida was another conversation
with Walter Matherly, the dean of the College of Business.
They [the FBI] encouraged us first to work overtime. We had to work at least two
hours overtime every day so that Mr. Hoover could show how hard [the employees]
were working and how worthy [they were] and how much more money we needed to
justify bigger budgets. Then we were encouraged to take leave if we wanted to at
the end of the year without pay. Well, this was during one of those times that my
dad was very sick in December. I came to Florida to visit my sick dad. After visiting
with him, I came up and talked to the dean and explained the problems that I was
having. I really needed to be within a day's driving of my father. He said: "We have
helped you before; we will help you again. I will tell you about this little job that we
just coined right here at the University. It is called placement officer of the
University. I do not know anything about it, and you would probably need to have
your head examined if you took it, but I will recommend you for it." He
recommended me for it. I think the next day, interviews were arranged with the
entire committee. I came in, and interviewed [with] a group of fine faculty and then
took off for New York City. About two months later, I heard from Max Wise, who
was dean of student services. Max called me and said, "Say, I want to offer you that
job." I told him, "I had almost forgotten what job it was." He said: "Oh, no. The
good news is we want to offer you the job. The bad news is that it won't be open
until July 1." This was in March. I said: "That is all right. That is just what I have
been looking for." So I gave my two-week notice and left the FBI the last of March.
I came down to Florida and spent three of the most wonderful months in my life. I
bought an outboard boat. My wife and I cruised all the rivers and lakes of this
beautiful state, and I was ready to come to work July first.
C: You took your leave time that you had acquired and did a little touring.
M: Right. We did not have any money problems. Both of us had been working, and we
were frugal, as I indicated earlier.
C: You did not have any children at this time.
M: No children.
C: So in July, presumably, you start working for the University as a placement officer.
M: All I had was a three-paragraph letter saying, "Your job is to set up an effective
placement service at this University."
C: Tell me a little bit about how placement was done before this. You have kind of
alluded to this before. [You had talked earlier about] when you were here and how
the different organizations would come on campus. Tell me just a little about that.
M: The history of placement at the University of Florida as I understand it goes back to
the late 1920s--1928 to 1930. The College of Business had some interest. A
Professor Chase was one of the first professors who functioned as a placement
officer. They had a going placement service in the College of Education. That is the
formal activity. I do not know how far back it goes, but we have records that go back
to the early 1920s. I had thirty to forty thousand folders on students in education
when they moved the unit from Norman Hall over to Reitz Union. [These] folders all
went back to the middle 1920s. So it was formalized that far back.
C: But the point is [that] the colleges, during this period, took care of their own
placement (what placement that was done).
M: Right. It varied across the board. It could be an individual professor who had some
interest or renown, and employers would come directly to him or her, looking for
applicants. Or it could be a department that worked intensely. Or it could be [on
the] college level. The only [placement done] when I came here across the college
level was the College of Education.
C: That was for placing teachers, naturally. They would have a network within the state
and outside of the state.
M: But the College of Business, under Professor Louis Gaitanis, did formalize their
program, it seems to me, back in the middle 1940s. It was the veteran influx. As
veterans were finishing, they would come to him. Dean Matherly formalized this and
had Louis working almost full time. So they did have an office set up. They had set
up one office. But even there, certain departments still did their thing. Chase was a
real estate professor; he was still there. He did his thing. Accounting did their thing.
So Louis was kind of caught in the middle. That was kind of the microcosm of the
story throughout campus. It depended upon the whims of a professor or the
situation. Nothing was truly organized or cohesive at all.
C: Was there any sort of cooperation between these groups, or was there more rivalry?
M: There was rivalry if not animosity. An assistant dean of men, A. W. "Ben" Bolt,
worked for Dean Beatty, the dean of men, and he was doing his best to run a little
placement shop. He hired a graduate student by the name of Peter Acourti to run
the placement desk for the University. This simply meant that he would receive calls
from employers who wanted to talk to students in several of the colleges, so his job
was to coordinate [this]. If Southern Bell wanted to talk to engineers, business
[students], and maybe building construction [students, they would need to contact]
three different colleges at one visit. Many, many employers just insisted that it all be
done at one place. They did not want to spend three or four days talking to every
department [and] every college. They wanted to talk in one location. Employers
had as much influence on the actual organization and design of the placement part--
the job placement and interview system. It is much more comprehensive than just
placement, of course. It developed as a very comprehensive, education-oriented
program. But one particular individual, a vice president by the name of M. H.
Markwood, in conversation with President Miller in I think 1950 said, "This is a hell of
a way to run a railroad, the way you are doing your placement operation." This got
the president's attention. It certainly had the attention of Dean Wise, who was the
dean of student services. At that time, I think it was as early as 1950, they
established a committee that worked for about a year. In 1951, they came out with
a paper saying that a modified central program should be established and a person
should be hired to coordinate placement. They did not say "centralize" it; they said
"coordinate" the placement. They wanted to use the words "placement officer."
So I came to work in 1953 as a University of Florida placement officer to coordinate,
but my true agenda was to set up an effective placement and career services
program for the University [that was] equivalent to anything anywhere else.
C: Had there been some precedence for this sort of an operation?
M: Yes. It was going on. It was underway at Georgia Tech, University of Georgia,
Auburn, South Carolina, Chapel Hill, Virginia, Maryland, and FSU, where I visited
later. That was my first request--to have money and time to visit every one of these
campuses in the Southeast that had a going program. So I took off and spent over
a month visiting all of these campuses and gathering all of the information I could.
[It was] the first thing that I did. I did not have an office; they were waiting for
Building H space to be fixed. I was stuck in a little desk in the side of the office up in
C: Did you have any staff at all?
M: No staff.
C: It was just you.
M: Just me and a telephone and a few records that Peter Acourti, the graduate student
who had worked there, had left. It was totally open, and I did not get a secretary
until I moved--about a month later--down to Building H. I got a secretary.
C: What sort of ideas did you gather from these other universities that later influenced
the way you began to organize things here at the University of Florida?
M: To answer it in general, I got the philosophic background for it, for what you are
trying to do. I got a very clear picture of how each university might vary, depending
upon its character and nature--how a land grant college might differ from a private
college, or how Chapel Hill varied from the University of Virginia, and so forth. I got
a clear idea of the breadth and scope of programs and where we could go five years
down the line. Immediately, I set out to set up an agency first to coordinate the
interview visits coming to campus. That was the first thing that we did--[set up] the
logistics to be a host for the employers and to help the students. So I got a clear
picture of how that was done. [I also got a picture of] the records that you are
supposed to establish. So the first thing was the beginning of an employer data
base [with] the kind of information that an employer would furnish concerning the
organization, the divisions, the various types of positions, the qualifications for those
positions. They called it the early career information, which is now published in
slickback and videotapes and all kinds of information. Then I got a very clear idea--
all the way from the pure education records--[of] curriculum vitae. [These] were
oriented more toward education majors, [but I adapted them] to what would apply to
students from accounting to zoology across campus, bachelor through Ph.D. [The
vita organized] the type of personal data that you need to present to the employer.
C: What they wanted to see.
M: Right. So in the beginning, it was largely the mechanics, the logistics, and some of
the philosophic structure. I wanted to go far beyond just setting up an interview
center. I will get into that later. But the heart of what we accomplished was: 1) an
effective program of its kind; [and] 2) a comprehensive program [with] three
elements all under one umbrella--career planning, experiential learning, and job
placement--that would go all the way from freshmen to alumni [until] retirement. [It
was a plan] from the cradle to the grave, as we said. This service would meet some
of their needs. So I looked at it in that way, and I set it up in five-year increments,
but later it became ten-year increments. [There was] placement the first ten years,
career planning and placement twenty years out, and thirty years out, [there was]
experiential learning, career planning, and placement. So it all came together. All
the while, we were working on the alumni effort.
C: This was definitely a long-term project as far as you were concerned.
M: It had to be because of 1) the delicate political aspects, and 2) the financial aspects.
I know this is fairly typical: you had to first convince the University [that] they
needed a bridge, and then you had to build at least a pontoon bridge and get some
traffic flowing over that. Then it would move from pain; as you know, many, many
things at the University move from pain. This was a perfect example. Just before
you would go down for the third time, they would throw you some more resources,
i.e., a life preserver.
C: So you did not have a big budget to start off with.
M: We had a budget of less than $10,000, which included salary for myself and a
secretary and expense money to run the office. [It was] less than $10,000. When I
came to work here, I came to work for the same salary that I was making at the
Bureau, which was agreeable to me at the time.
C: You got the move that you wanted.
M: I was only thirty years old. I was just getting started. It was because I had been a
student here, and I saw the need. I had this personnel management training and
the philosophic leanings. So I could see the need so clearly. It was more from the
students' point of view. I wanted to build something that was never here when I was
a student that would be here long after I was gone. So that is kind of the threshold
where it all started.
C: Talk just a little bit about the facilities that you started out in. You mentioned to me
earlier that you started out in Tigert, and then you moved over to Building H, which,
as we know, is the oldest building on campus. Dr. Proctor had related to us that it
was the original building when some of the first parts of the campus were moved
here from Lake City, and Building H was used originally as a storage building for
agricultural implements and that sort of thing. Later it became a mailroom.
C: Tell me a little bit more about Building H.
M: It was decided that because of its neat, central location, it would be an ideal place.
The space had just been vacated by the foreign students office. As I recall, it
probably was not over 300 square feet. The entire building could not have been
over 800 or 1,000 square feet.
C: Just for information purposes, this building was located near where Turlington Hall is
M: Yes. It was at the corner of Newell and Union Drive, which is the southwest corner.
Across the street is Flynt Hall. The Plaza of the Americas [is to the] northeast, and
southeast is the auditorium. So we were right there on that corner. There was a
beautiful parking lot back there between us and Rolf's Hall. I had a parking space
that I could look out and see my car and my tombstone with my name.
C: That is a luxury today, is it not?
M: [It was] a luxury, and I gave it up just for equality. I did not want to have something
that other people did not have. I was willing to do that. We started off in that space
because it was ideally located. It also was one block east of the student union. The
key was to be able to use the space in the student union for interviews. We did,
originally, have one little interview cubicle in the space in Building H. There was my
office, which was probably eight-by-ten, and then there was another cubicle about
four-by-eight that an interviewer could use, then there was a little work room, and
there was an open area about ten-by-sixteen where the secretary sat, and then we
had some files. [It was] very small and very cramped. We were in that space for
thirteen years. All the while I kept presenting arguments for more space [and] better
space. The person that heard me loudest was Dr. J. Wayne Reitz. He and I
became acquainted from day one, when he was provost in agriculture, just across
the street from us in Floyd Hall, and I would go over and talk to him. He could see
the long-range [implications]. Well, once Reitz Union got underway, toward the last
stages of the planning, he told the people on the committees--Bill Rion, the director,
in particular--you have to make room for the placement service. So they shuffled
around quickly and started making space for us. They came to me and said,
"Where do you want to be?" I said, "The ideal place would be right next to Alumni
Services." They happened to be on the ground floor. So they put us in what is
called G22. [It is the] ground floor of the Reitz Union where the campus shop is now
located. The campus shop was at that time located where the video games are
C: This was thirteen years after the original inception. You spent some time in Building
M: [We spent] thirteen years in Building H, running interviews down at the Reitz Union.
We would hold them in the hotel rooms up on the top floor of the Reitz Union. They
had about twelve hotel rooms. They would use those occasionally; employers would
rent those rooms and use them for interviews. We would use several rooms on the
second floor, and [we would use] the big ballroom, which was located [in] a wing
which connected to Johnson Hall, but it burned down. It was over on the west side.
[It was] a big ballroom/auditorium. We had these temporary dividers on wheels.
They would wheel those in and set up little temporary interview spaces--as many as
eight and ten--and we would have the whole place to ourselves with employers just
going a mile a minute, hearing everything that each other was saying. Everybody
was happy because it was the best we could do.
C: We were talking about coordinating the interviews between Building H and the
situation that existed at that time in the former student union, which was in Johnson
Hall, which has since burned down. I was mentioning the fact that it seemed a lot
like that building later developed when they had business services in there, it was
just one cubicle right after the other. You would go in, and it seemed to me [to be]
sort of a horrendous working environment, to work in a situation like that, when you
had a little two-by-two cubicle. But go ahead and tell me a little more about that
situation, about the facilities.
M: Well, the building was known as the Florida Union at the time. It was ideal for the
time for what we needed. Some employers could actually stay in the hotel, and we
had some flexibility as far as meeting rooms. In my mind, what it established was
this important point: that a career center--such as we were envisioning and
developing--needed a space inventory that was highly flexible and useable but that
did not just lay there dormant. As I traveled and saw some of the placement offices,
I would say six months out of the year, those spaces would just be vacant. Nothing
was happening in those spaces because the interview season was not going on.
And yet they had gobbled up this valuable space. So I said, "There ought to be
some way to get around that." So we envisioned the student union. We just
actually lived out a kind of principle of organization and space management. When
we moved into the new student union we were able to fully realize this, having all of
the space that we needed and various sizes [and] quantities and so forth. We could
not duplicate this kind of space in a hundred years anywhere else. So that is why
we found a happy home in the new student union. But the old Florida Union just
gave us the framework for seeing how well-suited ...
C: Just something to work with.
M: Right. [It was] something to work with. We were hosting quite a number of
employers. When I came in 1953, I doubt we had over twenty-five, maybe at the
most fifty, employers visiting campus in a year. No one visited in the fall. They just
visited in the spring semester. No one [visited] in the summer. Later, just before we
moved out of Building H to Reitz Union, we had grown to hosting 500 employer
C: You mentioned earlier that, as placement had occurred before you arrived on the
scene, there had actually been some competition, if not animosity, between the
different departments [and] different colleges on campus over placement. How did
that affect your job early on in trying to establish an independent placement office?
M: It created serious problems [and] made for a tenuous relationship. It was like that
proverbial tightrope. The dean of the college, Dean Matherly, who had
recommended me for the job, said: "If you take the job, you will need your head
examined. It is because you have holes in your head." He also said, "I want you to
know I do not go along with this kind of thing of trying to centralize. They say it is
coordinating, but they are going to try to centralize it." He said, "I will be your
biggest adversary." Unfortunately, he died. Fortunately for me, he was no longer
there to be my enemy because he would have been an arch-enemy. To this day,
the deans of the College of Business resist any form of centralization. They want to
do it themselves--totally independent of a central authority--across this land.
C: Do you think that that was a matter of personal human nature--to want to control
everything--or do you think that they felt they could do a better job of it? What do
you think was driving this?
M: It was a very real and understandable reason [but] very complex. One was the
professors' interest in the students and their welfare. This extended to the
department chair and the college. As one professor said, "I enjoy placing our
students because it is an extension of my shadow." That is one important reason:
the interest in seeing that person develop and feeling a direct part of it and not being
separated or being a bureaucracy [and] cutting them out of the picture. It was the
problems that we all have with bureaucracy versus autonomy or independence.
Another thing that has become very real in this day and age is the leverage that
placing students has for developing funding. As the present dean, Kraft (or his
predecessor, Alan Merton) will tell you right now ... Alan sat in my office when he
first took the job as dean. We invited him over so he could see what we were doing
and so that we could be partners instead of enemies. He said, "Maurice, don't you
understand that I have been told by all of my counterparts that, 'you have to control
the placement because it is such a lever for raising funds for your college,'?" So that
is one of the real reasons.
C: They want to maintain those contacts and maintain those connections with the
business world so that they can have some sort of return on their... not only on
their investment as sending graduates out into the situation, but also to have that
money coming back in the form of donations and gifts.
M: Donations and the linkage for research, which is money. [There is also] the linkage
for prestige: that the faculty have to do consulting. It is just a very real and
understandable interest. The problem was failing to see that a service agency that
works in partnership just relieves that entity of the problems, the details, and the
resources needed. They can then benefit from the contacts. So what we have
attempted to do . and in most of the places, engineering in particular .. .
engineering was totally separate. They ran their own placement shop, too. They
came on after the College of Business did. They would hold interviews down the
street in Weil Hall. But engineering quickly saw how they could turn all the detail for
the logistics and the hosting of employers and records to a party such as the Career
Center, and they would have more time, then, to devote to talking to the employers.
So the notion of having to worry with the detail and seeing the person face to face
was not truly real. There are many examples of where employers would come to
colleges--the MBA program is a good example--where employers would come right
to the MBA school, thinking they are going to have more contact with faculty.
Number one, the faculty are not as interested in contact with employers because
they are too busy doing other things. They are interested if it involves something of
benefit to them, such as consulting or some kind of proposal that they are working
on or whatever. Money again. But other than that, they would have little interest in
talking to employers about their needs in getting the best person in the MBA school
to work for them. Some faculty have a key interest in doing this. Most faculty do not
because they have too much work to do, anyway. They are publishing or perishing.
Working in the human arena is the last thing they want to do. So this notion of
setting it up right there in their midst does not really come about. What brings about
this close linkage and cohesion is a plan, usually established by the president [and]
by the deans, saying, "We will utilize this engine as an opportunity to get closer to
the employers, but we do not have to take over that enterprise in order to do it." We
do not have to set up another telephone system in order to get more efficient
telephones in our building. We do not have to have another bus system. So it is the
inability to think beyond the rather elementary aspects of a business.
Across the country, you will find some large schools that are highly centralized [and]
large schools that are totally decentralized. The decentralized schools are spending
three times as much money to do the same effort as the centralized schools. So
from an economic or cost standpoint, the central versus decentral just does not hold
water at all. But there are a lot of other reasons. And our interest here was to
somehow come up with the best of those two worlds. We were developing, as we
have and you will read in the history, a kind of a modified central program, where the
placement operation is totally centralized for interviews [and] for records. The
employer databases [and] the student databases [are] centralized on the computer.
But, as you know, the computer opens the doors. You centralize it in one moment,
but it enables everyone to use it at the next moment. [The key is] access.
So this is what is taking place now--right this moment on this campus--by having a
central data system for students and employers. Any department chairman can dial
up and find out who is registered for placement, [access] their total records, [and]
they can even find out where they have gone.
C: So what you are saying to me is [that] the way it is set up now, the individual
departments, if they wish, can still play the role as placement [officials], or they can
let the career resource center [take care of that].
M: As far as the placement activity itself--hosting interviews, scheduling interviews, and
all of that--it is now centralized in one location. But the plans are: if it is further
extended, it could very well [end up that] a department could have interviews [and] a
college could have interviews, so long as one source knows. It is just like the
registrar. As long as you have one pure record, a lot of people can use the records,
but you do not want another registrar. But you can have individual faculty actually
creating a schedule for a particular employer. The interviews, then, could take place
in the student union, but the individual faculty would have direct influence as to who
signed up and who did not. This gets into a very, very complex set of [questions of]
philosophy and value as to access, equality, freedom, [and] affirmative action. A
faculty member can no longer do the things they could way back in the old days
when I was here and maybe when you were first starting.
C: Back when the president of the chamber of commerce gave the job to his son.
M: Right. Or he would call the dean and say, "Dean, I just don't want to come up there
and spend a day and interview twenty people. You just have me interview one or
two people in your office." [The dean would say,] "OK. Fine." So the dean just, in a
sense arbitrarily, decides who; the individual does not have anything to do with who
signs up or who does not. So the system that we have now is so much more
democratic than it has ever been. It gives people an equal shot, assuming that they
are qualified. Even if they are not qualified, if they have an interest, they can get on
an interview schedule.
C: It would seem to give the employer an advantage as well, in that he gets a wide
spectrum, rather than only being able to see who the dean or who a professor
M: I could give you many examples, but I will give you one as close as two weeks ago.
I was at the Southwest Placement Association Meeting in Little Rock. I was in a
room this size, and it was made up of employers and college people, and we had a
moderator. One gentleman was speaking from Bell Laboratories. He said, "We no
longer are just interested in a Ph.D. in microelectronics who knows all about lasers
and this and that and another. We have to have someone who can communicate--
someone with the interest of the liberal arts. [We want] someone with
communication skills, interpersonal skills, [and] goal-setting skills." Bang, bang,
bang. How can you find that if you just go to the discipline itself? So it has gone far
beyond just the discipline. What this is is a lesson of much greater intelligence for
the whole University. Many, many schools are looking at this. We must go beyond
just the curricula--the required courses--to see if a person is qualified. So,
underway, right this moment, is an opportunity for this University and some others to
create a grade record on the computer and have all credits and hours in the
particular courses. But also [included will be] another record called the co-curricula
transcript, which means the skills and interests that a person gains outside the
classroom. So the two together make up for such an important quotient or product
that the employer is really interested in.
C: [It is] almost a real portfolio right there on the computer.
M: Absolutely. We call it the GPA and the VAI. The Value Added Index is what comes
out of all experiences that a student has. These can be quantified. They are just
beginning to look at that here at this University. These are the kinds of exciting
things that are the only reasons why I regret that I have left. Things are just
beginning as I am leaving. This greater intelligence [is amazing]. We are now
making quantum jumps. The best argument I know is just look at information half-
C: Is that where they say an engineering degree after two years is almost obsolete?
M: Half of the information is obsolete in two years. In biology, I just read, [it is] six
C: That is amazing.
M: Now this is just subject matter--curricula. But think of all the skills that are needed to
compete and to produce now. It is so much beyond what we ever dreamed. When I
first came to work here, the employer was just looking for an electrical engineer with
a bachelor's degree who has a power option, period. [The] same company, Florida
Power and Light, comes back to campus this year. [They say,] "We are looking for
people from accounting to zoology. They must have these degrees, but they must
have all of these success skills to be able to compete. [They need skills of] goal-
setting, problem-solving, communication, and interpersonal. We must have some
indication that they are there." We have hardly scratched the surface, really, on
what can come out of an enterprise such as this.
C: I think what we need to do is back up just a little bit; we got just a little bit ahead of
ourselves in that we started talking about things that are currently important with
career resources and things like that. But what I would like you to do is go back to
those first few years of the Career Resource Center. Actually, at that time, I do not
believe it was even called the Career Resource Center.
M: No. It was called the University Placement Service.
C: So the Career Resource Center, then, is a modern name, and I am sure we will get
to how that came about later. I think maybe one of the things we may start off with
is some of the conditions that you experienced in Building H. You spoke a little bit
about having to shuttle between doing interviews down at the student union and that
sort of thing, but I know there is a particular story about Building H that we had
talked about earlier. [It had to do with] no air-conditioning and the conditions with
the steam and that sort of thing.
M: The office, the first few years, was used mainly as a sign-up location for interviews
that would take place one block west in the Florida Union building. [It was] very
cramped, and only a few students could come in. But we did conduct one-to-one
interviews with students. At the very beginning, consistent with what was being
done around the country, an individual interview was required for each registrant. A
registrant was defined as a person within one year of graduation.
C: Who would do these interviews?
M: I would do them, primarily.
C: And these were interviews primarily to determine basic data and that sort of thing?
M: [They were] to review the information that they had put on paper, personal data, and
also to discuss their true career plans and interests and to try to determine what
other options might be open. This was made as a matter of record. This was the
beginning of the student data file, which was later computerized.
C: How was that data generally recorded at that time and kept for your use?
M: It was first brought to us in the form of a prescribed personal data sheet. Then we
prepared a little three-by-five card on each of these students and classified them by
college, by major, and oftentimes by career interest, which might not be related to
discipline. So the little office was more of a nerve center than anything else. There
was a large bulletin board just outside the door, and students could review upcoming
interview appointments there without coming into the office. They could also review
job listings. One block from us was what was called the Student Service Booth. [It
was] across the street from the Hub, and there is a more modern building there now,
but at the time, it was an information booth on one side, facing the sidewalk. On the
back side, we had some forty feet of bulletin board space that was used for job
listings. This created quite a bit of interest, and it was in a central, highly-trafficked
In addition to job listings, we also posted graduate assistantships and fellowships
[that were] available outside the University. That was a corollary duty for our office
to keep up with that.
C: What kind of cooperation were you getting at this time from employers, particularly
with regard to having a list available with vacancies and things like that?
M: It had a remarkable positive effect, not only in attracting more employers to the
campus, but having more employers deal almost exclusively with me. In previous
times, they might deal with the department or the college or whatever. But when
they determined that there was one person and one office that could coordinate their
activities and arrange schedules that would cut across colleges and disciplines, then
this was quite a boon to them and to the office. So it made a dramatic, positive
impact for us and for the students.
C: Now, you mentioned earlier some of the animosities in some of the other colleges. I
think you mentioned [that] the College of Engineering and the College of Business in
particular were a little bit resistant to this plan. Did they begin to warm to the idea
early on, or was this an ongoing problem of them resisting your efforts to centralize
or to coordinate?
M: The first year or two, they would just ignore us, as though we did not exist. But we
went about our business deliberately. We would actually visit employers in the
College of Engineering and tell them about our presence and our responsibility. [It
was] the same in the College of Business. So we began to curry the favor of
employers, even though we did not have anything directly to do with hosting their
interview visit. [We did] the same with students. We began making presentations in
classes, or student organizations would call me in as a speaker, and we would talk
about the program and the benefits and how they could use it. Very shortly, not only
employers but students [as well] began to support the effort and would use both
areas. Students might take interviews in the College of Business or [the College of]
Engineering, but they would make sure that they touched base with the University
They used this more as career information resources than anything else. The job
search goes far beyond employers that come to campus, as you know. Some ten
[or] twenty percent of employers come to campus looking for students. A student
has to find the rest. That has been the basic theory that we have advocated or
promulgated over the years. Do not pray for the good Lord to send you a chicken;
pray for the Lord to send you after a chicken. Teaching the student how to tap the
hidden job market is one of the most essential things we ever did. This was the
basis for our presentations, where we talked about resumes, job search
correspondence, and interview practice. It all had to do with effective
communication and job search strategy. This created a following to the central
C: So what you are saying, then, is that very early on you did not limit yourself strictly to
providing that service of a center for interviews [and] a center where employers
could contact students. You also provided a training aspect of the placement office
that gave students information as far as where they might find jobs and how they
might go about getting those jobs once they [found them].
M: That is correct. In our first charter, we were only responsible for the College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences. Of course, we had fairly good numbers coming and
using the center. It was only secondarily in some of the other colleges surrounding
us. But we have to be in a rather important geographical position, right at the
crossroads of all these colleges. They would see us, and they would come by, and
they would use us.
C: Initially, then, the specific mandate for the placement center was for the College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences students.
M: That was the only college that said from the very beginning, "We would like for you
to assume full responsibility for assisting [in] placing our students, certainly at the
undergraduate level, if not at the graduate level." We began working with graduate
students in Liberal Arts and Sciences. The subject matter here is creating credential
files, dossiers--placement folders is what we called it--but it was rather extensive
information that the Ph.D., say, in math, chemistry, physics, or the humanities would
send to prospective employers, mostly educational institutions. So we began doing
that early on.
C: Obviously, at this time, we had very little automation. Everything was done mostly
by hand. You touched briefly on the three-by-five cards and how those were used
as a means of organizing material. What sort of assistance did you have as far as
personnel and facilities at your disposal during this early period?
M: Very little, frankly, because of a limited budget. We did have a secretary, a very
able person, who had to do many kinds of things.
C: Was this the same person? Did this person stay on for awhile with you?
M: No. We had about three secretaries before one came to work for us who literally
spent her career [there]. [This was] Mrs. Dorothy Palmer, who spent over twenty
years starting out as a secretary and growing with the program.
C: I knew there was one individual (mentioned in some of the information that I have
read) who stayed with the program [from] very early on, and I was wondering if
perhaps this was one. So starting out, you only had one secretary and yourself.
M: Yes, and we had one or two student assistants working for us. I think the second
year they did add another person. For the first few years, there was a person added
every other year. Then, [during] the last few years, it was a person each year added
to our staff to where it became a total staff of some twenty-four full-time people
when I retired. [There were] thirty to fifty student assistants, three or four graduate
assistants, and the thing that was the blessing--the serendipitous part of our
experience--was five [or] six hundred volunteers--students who were willing to
volunteer their efforts. This only came about in the later years when we would put
on the big career expos over in the O'Connell Center and things like that.
C: Why do you think they were willing to volunteer?
M: They wanted to get better acquainted with the employer world. They wanted to rub
shoulders with employers. They wanted to show their stuff. They wanted to get
their foot in the door, so to speak. They also wanted to present themselves [and]
make themselves visible. It never failed that a student who assisted an employer at
one of the career days--or in whatever means--became of interest to that employer.
From that came job offers and opportunities for employment. So the students
picked up on that very early, and they were smart to do that.
One of our student assistants in the early days was none other than Reubin Askew
(when he was in law school), who later became our governor [1971-1979], as you
remember. He was a student assistant with another law student, who happened to
be the president of the student body at the time. Bill Benson was his name. So we
had a lot of students supporting us. The best communication that we ever had--and
I presume that will ever exist--was word of mouth. A satisfied student and a
satisfied employer would [bring in] almost a measure often or more. This has been
the tradition. With all the various communication, nothing has ever matched the
word of mouth of a satisfied customer.
C: When you started out in the early years, did you have a specific, set-down set of
goals and objectives [that] you wanted to accomplish, say, for the first five or for the
first ten years?
M: Yes, we did. We were rather cautious about laying out specifics in the beginning
because it was a new world. But the University Placement Committee had laid out
in general terms [the] objectives [and] the functions. Then later we had to add what
might be operational goals and objectives for the center. But I looked at it in five-
year increments [or] five-year plans, and we were able to meet those as we went
pretty well. The important policy that we operated on was to determine what the
need might be for the employer, the student, the faculty [member], or [the]
administrator, and then figure out how to help them meet that need. This is the way
we won friends across the campus. People that would not even talk to us one year
would come to us [the next year]. We will get into that later--how, within ten years,
the program began to come together [and] centralize itself. The College of Business
came to us. The Colleges of Education, Agriculture, and Engineering [all came to
us]. "Why don't you take this over? You have done such a good job, and employers
are telling us what a fine job your program does, so please do that."
C: Do you think it took the full ten years for the colleges to start recognizing that
contribution that you were making, or was this something that came about
M: It came about piecemeal in the first few years. We would get acquainted with
people that had the responsibility in a department or a college and find out how we
could assist them rather than warring with them. We would say, "In addition to what
you are doing, you are really doing our job--or what we were set up to do--for us."
So we always applauded the efforts of administration or faculty. In fact, we said at
one time, "We have over 2,000 people working for us on the campus," meaning the
faculty. At that time, that is about what it might have been. But it was a gradual
thing, and it was something that you could not push. If we came to a college and
said, "Sure, we will take over everything you are doing," and not have added
resources, it would not have made much sense for us to double our workload
without at least incremental personnel and budget resources. So it was a gradual to
and fro. We would work at it piecemeal. I would talk to my boss, the vice president
for student affairs (it later became that title), and I would say, "We have an
opportunity in this college, and can you support us?" We were very cautious never
to build that pontoon bridge and have it collapse.
C: You wanted to make sure you had the support of the administration, particularly the
support of those dollars coming into the program in order to take on added
responsibility before it was offered. Now, how receptive was the administration to
you acquiring more and more territory, so to speak?
M: In general, it has been very supportive through all the bosses that I have reported to.
First, [I reported to] the dean of student services, Max Wise, who, after two or three
years, left the University and returned to Columbia University as a teacher in the
College of Education. But he certainly was supportive to the extent that he could
give us a budget. At that time, a few hundred dollars was like a thousand dollars
would be now. Then later he was succeeded by Dean Beatty as an active person.
Dean Beatty supported us because he believed in this concept of a modified central
program. Then following Dean Beatty was Lester L. Hale. Hale did not give as
much support in the beginning, but he did before he left the University (I think he
was dean of student affairs [or] vice president of student affairs for maybe ten
C: Why do you think he did not give the support in the beginning?
M: He was not sure of the importance or priority of it--as many people were not. We
came into a situation where it was not considered (and some people feel to this day
that it is not) the obligation of the University to help a student get a job. At one time,
in the College of Liberal Arts, in the catalogue, it said, "One of our objectives is not
to prepare students for the job market." I thought that was rather strange, even
though the college looked to us and believed in what we were doing. But you could
see there was not this strong commitment.
C: There was no philosophy of providing actual training for specific jobs and therefore
extending that philosophy one step further in trying to acquire that job.
M: Without going into a whole lot of detail, the hangup was essentially [the question of]
why a university is here in the first place: Is it here to educate people or is it here to
train them? So between those two issues was the problem. We did not have a
choice in our program of deciding "we just educate people" or "we just train them."
We had to do both. I will talk about how that finally came about--those two worlds
came closer together--toward the end. Essentially, learning was put to work. But I
can understand this, and so we more or less weathered this long storm, and we put
up with this philosophic difference. But in the later years of Dean Hale's
administration, he said publicly that the most critical need was for more career
awareness, more career assistance for students, and this is what they wanted. So
he felt that this was one of the primary thrusts of student affairs. He did a one-year
study after he actually retired. He stayed on and did a study of how this University
could more effectively meet that need--how you could reconcile all of these varying
differences and come out with a more effective program.
C: You said that the College of Education had traditionally taken on quite a bit of the
burden of placing their own graduates. Were they reluctant to relinquish that?
M: The question of where placement should reside usually was in the mind of a dean or
an associate or assistant dean. So, to answer your question, they came to us
because of the burden of funding the program. Paying a full-time professional staff
member and a secretary and a student assistant or two and maintaining the office
and the files and all of that [was too much of an expense]. They came to us and
said, "Would you take it over?" This was Dean Weil at the time. We worked with
Dean White; originally he was the first dean, and then I think he was succeeded by
Dean Wiles. But it was interesting that the various people that I worked with in the
College of Education had somehow had some contact in placement. Joe Fordyce,
who later became the first president of Central Florida Community College (later
Santa Fe Community College) worked in placement in the College of Education in
addition to teaching. Also, Bert Sharp, who later became dean, worked in the
placement office. The first person in education I ever worked with was a Bob
Stripling. He was on the committee that selected me. So I always had an ally over
there. I felt that this was a reflection of their confidence in us doing the job. But, as
you can see, we would have liked it to have happened in half the time--five years
instead of ten. But it all began to come together in some ten years of very rigorous
C: What was the job market like in those first ten years? I know that is sort of a long
period to give an overview on, but [just give me an idea].
M: All right. During the middle and late 1950s, America was just beginning to come out
of World War II and grow like mad. Jobs were opening up, and the numbers of jobs
requiring a college degree were increasing many, many times. At one time, when I
first started in the program, less than five percent of the jobs in America--according
to one study--called for a college degree. As we proceeded through this to this
present day, [it has changed so that] something like twenty-five percent of the jobs
[require college degrees]. So you can see that it was a slow escalation of demand
for people with education. But at that particular time, the market was beginning to
boom. The 1960s was truly the golden era for jobs for college graduates. It lasted
for one decade. It was only when we hit the end of the 1960s and went into the
1970s that there was a momentary drop in the demand. This was because the
country was going back to more of a peacetime footing rather than a military [one].
The war was over, and they were converting more to peacetime needs. This is
where many, many people, particularly the technical society [secured employment].
They say now that two-thirds or three-fourths of engineers are employed by military
effort in America.
C: And the space program during this time period was also taking off.
M: Yes. You have hit on a very interesting question. But from where we stood long-
term, it has been a continuous upward increase, and we predict that it will continue.
C: Do you think that during this initial period the need for college graduates and that
atmosphere affected your ability as a center on the University to get an organization
off the ground and to get it moving?
M: There is no question.
C: I think what I am asking you here is if you compared it now, where we are having a
real slowdown in the economy, and there is not that great of a demand as compared
to then, do you think that there would have been a difference in the way the Career
Resource Center would have progressed?
M: I would say that it would have grown even more rapidly during these particular times.
Here is the reason for that. It is as if the employer and the student were on a
teeter-totter. When one is up, the other is down, and vice versa. These are the
main forces that are driving the activity. Students are much more enlightened now
and much more vocal. If you asked the typical ten students out there today why
they are here at the University, I would judge [that] eight--maybe nine--would say,
"To get a better job." So this is what is driving it now. But in those early years, it
was the employer side that had the most effect on the growth and development [of
the center]. To this day, I always applauded them for their support. They gave
advice to the administration. They gave great financial support--those employers
who recruited here at the University--to the departments and to the colleges. In later
years, they began giving direct, tangible support to the Career Center itself. They
donated something like $150,000 just two years ago to build a wing on the student
union for interviews.
C: Different employers?
M: Yes. We did not ask any one employer to donate enough money for the whole wing,
even though there was one employer that wanted to donate enough money for the
whole project. We preferred [donations of] $1,000 to $10,000. Ten thousand dollars
was the largest amount. So we solicited; a direct effort. At the time, we could not
get the money from the state.
C: Their willingness to contribute, then, was a very good testament to your ability and
the degree to which you were fulfilling your function as far as employers were
M: I agree with that, but the thing that made it all happen was the quality of this
University and the quality of its students--the product. This is really the magnet that
has attracted this large following of employers to this University. [We attract]
government employers, educational employers, [and] business and industry [from]
throughout the world.
C: They know they can get good people.
M: They know they can get good people, and they know that those people will perform.
So they are here [because] it is really the record of success with those kinds of
people. I just simply grew up with that.
I might just throw this in, one index. In the colleges in which we work, we were not
the primary placement agency for every college. There were some of the
professional schools: law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and the MBA
program, who had their own placement program or channel. Pharmacy was another
one. For example, they have to sit (work for a year) in a pharmacy or for a druggist.
C: [It is] some sort of an internship.
M: Yes, a professional internship. [It is] the same in architecture. But in the remaining
colleges that we had direct responsibility for, we would get as high as ninety percent
registration by the graduating students in those colleges, say engineering and
business. It was an average of seventy-five to eighty percent, where across the
country, sixty percent was considered a pretty good average of student registration
for job placement within a year of graduation. So we knew that we were on top of
some good things [and] doing some good things.
A point I wanted to make was [that] we had over 150,000 students come through our
program in thirty-eight years. Over 150,000--it could have been more than
that--[were] using the center in some way or another. I jokingly say I take full credit
for all of those who have succeeded. For those who did not, I hold no responsibility.
[laughter] For those that used the program, it was an unbeatable thing. It was a
principle that worked, just like a principle in math. If you use it correctly, it will work.
The principles of career planning, job searching, and intelligent career decision
C: There are some other things I want you to touch on before we move a little further
along. One of those was the idea of career days. I think that was something that
was started fairly early. Explain just a little bit about how career days worked and
perhaps how that concept was brought into the placement center and how it was
M: Career days usually refer to a group of employers representing a particular
occupation, discipline, or field, coming to campus at a particular time and having
students come into some large arena--ballroom or whatever--and just talking
casually to these employers on a very informal basis. From this informal contact,
the employer does some pre-screening and invites others to consider them further.
From the students' standpoint, it is an opportunity for them to identify the type of
employers that they want to interview [with] at later dates. Employers who come to
career days--almost without exception--also have interview days coming that
particular semester or the next semester. So it is used as a pre-screening device for
the employers and a pre-identification device for the students. It started here at this
University in a formal fashion way back in the early years in the College of
Teacher Placement Day was really the first Career Day. We did not have anything
to do with it at that time; it was already going. But in our experience, the first full-
fledged career days took place toward the latter part of the 1950s--1957, 1958,
somewhere along in that area--where we had a large number (some seventy-five)
government agencies come to campus. Most of them were technical laboratories.
We had eight or ten laboratories from the Potomac River Naval Command [that]
came all the way from Washington [D.C.] to come to us. They were doing this
around the country because the federal agencies have traditionally had problems
attracting the kind of people they want. So they made the effort, and we picked up
on this effort and became one of the schools they decided to visit in this part of the
It was a very successful affair. [It was] held in a little ballroom on the second floor of
the Hub, and it was ideally suited for our purposes. Each employer would set up a
little booth and have literature and things available to students. Students could just
come in [and browse. It was] like a career fair.
C: Very informal.
C: Obviously, this has sort of escalated in the recent period. I know that you have
several different career days each year over there at the center now that represent
M: That is correct. [There are] twelve to fifteen career days. There are two large
events called Career Expos [that are held] in the fall and the spring semesters.
Some 250 employers turned out at the O'Connell Center one year. There were over
600 representatives with those 250 different employers. There were 4,000 to 5,000
students who came over to visit with them. That was the peak. In recent years, it
has not been quite that popular, but it certainly was earlier. We were told by
employers that we had one of the best programs, if not the best program, in the
country. Employers who came to that also visited schools throughout the country.
The career days could be as small as an insurance night, for example. Students
interested in careers in insurance [would meet with] a half-dozen insurance
companies [that] would come to campus. We later had camp days added, where
summer camps would come to interview candidates for counselors and waterfront
directors and various types of personnel. Nursing Career Day was another. We
took over the Teacher Placement Day. The first one that we hosted drew people all
the way from the west coast of the United States. It was a very popular event, and it
is still going on now. All of these kind of evolved. The big Career Expo came out of
what we call the Engineering Career Day. The Engineering Career Day was so
successful that we decided to call it a technical and non-technical career day. We
added the business, liberal arts, and agriculture to that component. It was spread
out over three days in the student union. But we ran out of space in the student
union. There were so many employers wanting to come and so many students
[that] the space was not large enough to permit that kind of activity. The air-
conditioning could not handle it. Lots of things dictated us going over to the
O'Connell Center, even though it cost $5,000 just to rent the space.
C: That was something else I was going to ask you. Who generally paid the cost?
M: The employers paid the cost. In some departments [or] some colleges, the College
of Agriculture, for example, worked with the Career Center in sponsoring Ag Career
Day. In the early days, the college felt that they should pay the expenses, and they
did. But later on, they discovered the employers were delighted to pay the few
dollars it took to put the event on. Regarding the Career Expo, I might add that all
the logistics, the meals, the publications, and the advertising expense [for the] event
that took place on Wednesday night, the all-day presentations on Thursday involving
employers in the student union, and then the all-day event in the O'Connell Center,
added up to over $50,000, and the employers gladly paid every nickel for that. We
would adjust the price to where we would come out maybe no more than ten percent
above the total cost.
C: Would they determine how much each individual employer was going to be charged
based on their size or participation, or was it divided equally?
M: We had a very easy, simple increment to work with, and that was a table. One table
for the last event, I think, cost $175. The next table cost half that, and the next
table. So the employers could open-end. Some of them would have as many as six
and eight [tables].
C: In a sense, then, they could buy as much space as they wanted.
M: Correct. It was an open end. It was based on first come, first served. We
advertised this several years in advance so that people could get on the schedule to
come to this event. It was one of the most successful events. It was one of the
most spectacular events. It was just like a great big fair over there. The students
would come out well-dressed [and] well-presented. At one time, I thought perhaps
instead of coming to the University to get a job, they just came for Career Expo.
They were so eager to turn out for Career Expo.
C: Was it successful on the students' part, do you think?
M: It was very successful. I would say the majority of employers would pre-screen
students for interviews, and the majority of the students that went over there actually
got interviews. It was finally geared to where the student could talk a few minutes to
an employer, present their resume, and determine in those few minutes whether the
employer was really interested in having them sign up. If the employer was
interested, they would hand the student a little card, [and] the student would go to a
computer counter in the building and sign up for the interview that might take place
anywhere from two weeks to two months later. So it was a very rapid turnaround.
Employers liked it because there was no delay. They could essentially pre-select
people if they wanted.
C: They could screen the spurious applicants out.
M: They knew the kinds of people [they were looking for]. Then they would open up
additional schedules when they came for their regular visits to other people who
might have missed career days or Career Expo.
C: Did you find that you had a lot of participation--not just in career days, but in other
events as well--by non-student members of the community or of the state?
C: To some extent. It was limited because of limited resources, but we offered informal
counseling to employees of the University. Faculty members very often came to
me, not in large numbers, but they knew that they had access. Wives and husbands
of people in the community would come to me or come to [other] people [at the
center]. They still do. We had to limit that because our first priority, of course, is
with students and employers here. But to the extent that we could accommodate
them, yes, there was kind of an open-door policy. Also, graduates of other
institutions were invited to come here to our career days and participate in
Another very important group is the alums. We kind of think that they are non-
students. But if they were ever a student and a graduate, they are always a student
and a graduate. In the last few years of Career Expo, quite a number of alumni, one
hundred or more, would come at that particular time, just for one day. Two weeks
later, most of them had jobs, just as a result of this contact. It had many, many
It grew. We were so successful on our campus with these career days, incidentally,
that other colleges in the state emulated a lot of what we did. We emulated a lot of
what they did in the beginning, but in the end, we kind of outdid [them]. Without
bragging about this, no other school had the turnout that we had. The dimensions of
the program [were larger than any other]. But, later, these career days were so
successful that it was agreed by the state and university system placement directors
that we would have a Florida Career Day. The last three or four years, we have had
such an event at the very end of the school year.
C: Just for employers from Florida?
M: For any employer--but mostly Florida employers came--and any student who was
still in the job market was invited to come to the statewide career fair [that was]
sponsored by the State University System. So this was an outgrowth. They did it
the first time in the same kind of facility that we have here at the University, the
O'Connell Center. They did it down in the Sundome at the University of South
Florida. So it has grown from its original concept.
C: And it has been successful.
M: Yes, I would say it certainly has been successful. [It has] paid for itself. What you
have just said here is an interesting thing. A lot of people have said, "How do you
measure the success of a career center and its programs?" It is a very democratic
thing and not required, which is one of the weaknesses and yet one of the boons. It
is not required such as the registrar and so forth; people can come and get five
degrees and never worry about the Career Center or the placement center. When
they do [go to the placement center], they do it of their own volition. So it is sort of
like voting by your feet. One index we always measure the success [with] is the
number of people participating. [We keep track of] those graduating students [who
are] registered, those numbers of students that came in for counseling, the students
who came in for experiential learning (internships, co-op education and all that), and
the early group--the freshmen and sophomores--who came in just for career
guidance and planning. The numbers would overwhelm you.
Just one figure in my mind [stands out]. The Career Education Program of the
Career Center is called the Career Mini-School. Students come in and sign up for
as many as fifteen or sixteen different subjects that we offer, everything from initial
career planning to interview practice, and even plant visits. One is given on effective
plant visits. All of those put together plus presentations to classes plus events
outside of class (sororities, fraternities, dorms), anywhere, anytime, the Career
Center offers a speaker's program to the entire campus community. This total effort
generated over 25,000 contact hours. That is one hour with a student in one of
those events across the campus. That is exclusive of the career days and the
interviews and all that.
C: [That is a] very good turnout and a very good success rate as far as being able to
contact the students, getting them involved in it and having them want to become
M: [It is] always a question. People said, "How do you get students to use the facility?"
We did it by offering positive, constructive, needed services. The center has never
had any problems or lack of participation by any of the publics that we have dealt
with. The problems are accommodating those large numbers. That has always
been the problem. You take care of 1,000 students, and here comes another 1,000
on top of that; how do you do that? It has been one of those interesting problems of
success. [We are] always trying to play catch-up.
C: Let us regress again just a little bit. I want you to give me some of your thoughts or
ideas about how the student population changed in the 1960s from the student
population that you saw in the 1950s and the different demands of those students in
the 1960s on the Career Center.
M: All right. From the outset in 1953, we were dealing--as I reported earlier--with
veterans from World War II. This meant a more mature, more driven type of
student. Later, we added the Korean [War] veterans. So the 1950s and early 1960s
were influenced largely by the veteran population here concerning their needs for
job placement, career development, and even some career planning. But the
turnabout was in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War in particular. This was when it
was discerned by many, including me, that a lot of students were here to avoid the
draft. I am not sure how accurate that is, but that was reported to be the case. So
their motives for being here were a little different from those previous. They were a
younger group, and certainly, if you followed this, you realize that they had some
pretty radical ideas. Many of them did not like the idea of the war. It was pretty
obvious that those who were here to avoid the draft did not like the war. They did
not like the draft. So they wanted to do something about it. There was certainly a
more radical behavior element within the student body. [It was] not in a large
degree, but enough to create some pretty serious problems that we had to deal with
right there at the Career Center.
C: OK. I am going to ask you to speak just a little bit about those problems because I
know you had some demonstrations and things that affected the Career Center. But
first I think we need to make clear the fact that you have changed locations on
campus in this period of time. You moved from Building H over to the brand-new
facilities that were at the J. Wayne Reitz Union.
M: That is right. I think it was 1967.
C: How did that come about? How did the movement from Building H to the new
facilities come through the channels?
M: How did we come to be located in the student union?
C: Yes. That is what I am asking.
M: This was largely Dr. Reitz's bidding, as I said earlier. We were acquainted with Dr.
Reitz from the day we hit campus and we would seek his counsel, advice, and
support. He was just across the street from us there in Building H. We did not ask
him ever to be in the new student union. But I had talked to people about it, and I
was told, "The student union has their program, and you have your program, and
even though it is in the same division, there really is not much point to you talking
about being in the student union building." So we were kind of turned away at the
outset on that. But almost overnight, toward the closing stages of the final planning
of the student union, the director was approached by Dr. Reitz himself, who said,
"We have to provide space for the University Placement Service." (That is what it
was still called at that time.) We had been in Building H for thirteen years by the
time the new student union building was completed. So he was the one.
I was asked by the planners then what I needed, and we worked several weeks
giving them some idea. They gave us just a fraction of the space that we needed
and asked for. I think we came out with something like 1,500 square feet. Also, we
had a little conference room adjacent to us that we shared with Alumni Services.
But you could not say we had over 2,000 square feet in the new student union at our
disposal. That was enough to get our feet in the door. We were asked where we
would like to be located, and because of our interest in assisting alumni, I said,
"Right next door to the alumni office," and that is where we were put: in G-22, Reitz
Union building, right next to the alumni service, which was in G-1.
C: So originally, then, you only had that one office on the ground floor. I know [that]
now you have a couple of different floors occupied over there.
M: About ten years later--it was in the early 1980s--we moved into the [old] Alumni and
Development Office. They had a need for much more space, and they moved out.
We immediately moved in. The student space committee was willing to let us keep
the space we had and take over all the space in the Alumni and Development Office,
which would have given us about 5,000 square feet. [That] would have been pretty
good. But in the later stages, we were ruled down in keeping G-22. We had to give
that up to the Campus Shop, which was moved from the corner of the building to
where it is located now. We were given then the Alumni and Development Office--
some 3,300 square feet--for administration.
We had always, from the very beginning, been able to use virtually any space
needed in the building, up to fifteen or twenty interview cubicles or spaces
throughout the building for the interviews. [We can use] assembly rooms,
auditoriums, [and] whatever. So this was an ideal location for the Career Center.
The hotel rooms are particularly ideal for the employers. I just wish they had put [in]
100 hotel rooms instead of thirty-six. That is just a little of the history behind that.
The effect of having the space and being right in that beautiful, magnificent building
with all that student traffic, the geographic center of campus, was just phenomenal,
even though it was only 1,500 square feet. It had a salutary effect.
C: By this time, the geographic center had shifted because of the expanding of the
M: Yes. We were truly at the crossroads of the campus. We were right within the
center of the recruiting activity on campus: the College of Engineering, then
followed by the College of Business. But in the early years, the interviewers looking
for engineers outnumbered those looking for non-technical majors or any of the
other majors. But as we grew--we were talking about measures and objectives a
moment ago--we wanted from the very beginning to have an equal number of
employers looking for technical graduates as non-technical graduates, and vice
versa. We wanted opportunities for every student, accounting to zoology, at least
[to have] a representative number [for each major to] come to campus. That has
always been the aim, knowing full well that you cannot get enough employers to hire
all of your students. But that was one of the primary [goals].
C: How successful were you in that endeavor?
M: Fairly successful. We had a measure one time. It was a computer program called
Grad Two. This enabled us to do a market study. We had 1,000 employers in the
system matched against 2,000 students. Employers had the freedom to indicate
what majors they were interested in, so that [one] could see very quickly [the
numbers]. We were able to add up the calls for each measure and do a bar chart.
There was a representative sample, but it was weighted heavily in favor of the
technical graduates. At the time that we did the study, the demand for the chemical
engineering major outnumbered all the other majors in that particular sample of
C: That sort of information would be useful to students as well, as far as career
M: We had that information available to students for career planning. We also had
what we call an exit report. Some people call it follow-up. Actually, it is an exit
report of what happens to the graduates when they leave. [We learn] who is
employed and where, by major, by degree, by graduation date, [and] by everything
that you wanted. We collected that information for years, and it would make a
beautiful study for someone. But this was made available to students who wanted
to figure out what the relative chances were for employment.
C: OK. Let us talk about the situation in the late 1960s and particular problems that
were caused for you in the Career Resource Center by some of the demonstrations
and that sort of thing that went on on campus. You spoke earlier about the change
in the characteristics of the students [and] what they were after from the University.
[You said] they were not only less interested in careers, but also a younger
population generally. What were some of the events that stand out in your mind that
were important in this period as far as the Career Center is concerned?
M: First, let me make this point. As long as I have studied the question, there are far
more commonalities than differences in students' expectations and likes. Even if
you compare the students in the 1950s with the students in the 1990s, there is far
more agreement in what they are looking for and the way they think [than there is
discrepancy]. But there is enough variation to show at least some character or
flavor about this. So when I was referring to the more radical element, we are
talking about a very small minority group. Most of the students that we worked with
during the 1960s--right in the middle of the demonstration days--were very
dedicated, earnest, career-oriented students. In fact, when we had one of the
demonstrations in front of our building, a student representing the College of
Engineering (Benton Engineering Council) came to me and said, "Would you like for
us to get rid of these scoundrels? We want to take job interviews, and they are
disrupting what we are trying to do." He even added, "I have friends on the football
team and we will bring the whole team over here and get rid of these radicals in
about twenty minutes." I said, "Please don't. Let's do it in a due process manner--a
friendly, logical, and peaceful manner." So they backed off.
C: Some people might wonder why protesters would be demonstrating in front of the
Career Center, so I think you probably need to touch a little bit on that.
M: Across the country, it was happening at schools [like] Berkeley, Columbia, Maryland,
[and] Penn State. Major universities were being used to highlight the discontent of a
certain minority group of students. The employers that became the targets were
those that were directly involved in the military effort in some way--[through] a
product, for example. Napalm was the product that was produced by the Dow
Chemical Company. Any employer associated with that or similar devices became a
target. Dow Chemical Company was one of the primary targets way after they had
divested themselves of making napalm. They had quit doing that and turned it over
to someone else, but the students still thought that they were the people that were
producing this ugly item that was devastating people. The CIA was a target
because of students thinking that the CIA was [in] back of the war effort. The
military agencies--army, navy, marines--were targets. So this was just an easy
group to have the public identify with very quickly. It did not have to make a whole
lot of sense, but it certainly caught the attention of the students--a few of the radical
C: How were the demonstrations handled from your end as far as [your role as] the
director of the center? Did you know beforehand that they were going to occur? Did
you suspect that they were going to occur?
M: We were able to review what was happening across the country, and at many of the
professional meetings, I was able to talk to my counterparts. We discovered very
quickly that the Career Center was the setting for many of these demonstrations.
The president's office might be one. The computer center for campus and [the]
ROTC [area might be others]. There were many areas that were kind of centers for
attention by the radical groups. But in talking with my counterparts, I discovered the
patterns that were taking place.
Long before anything ever happened on our campus, we had an idea of what we
should be doing. So we proceeded to help the University administration develop a
policy concerning student demonstrations. I talked to my counterpart, a Bruce Ritter
at the University of Maryland, a week after they had had a very serious
demonstration. He told me of their plans. They had to do it in reverse. They had to
develop a policy after the fact instead of before the fact. I thought it would be
prudent on our part if we could do something in advance. So we took the white
paper position that they had developed and adapted [it] to our needs. I submitted
this to Vice President Hale. He submitted it to President O'Connell, and out of it
came a very straightforward policy that was developed for the center before any of
the serious demonstrations ever happened. That policy simply said that students
have the freedom to demonstrate so long as: number one, they do not infringe upon
the rights of others, [and] number two, they do not disrupt the normal operation of a
University department. These were the main tenets. Then they attached to that the
statute "trespass with warning." So by the time we had our first demonstration, we
were prepared and ready for them.
C: How did that work in practice?
M: We got some forewarning. In fact, I got acquainted with the ringleaders of the
demonstration effort. A young man by the name of Ed Freeman was the ringleader,
the head, the chair [or] whatever of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
Freeman would come to me and talk to me. He was smart enough to try to get the
lay of the land. He wanted to have a good demonstration where a lot of pictures
were taken and a lot of attention was focused on what they were trying to do and the
issues [at hand]. But he had enough sense, I think, not to want to really disrupt or to
create ill will with people like me, who might be kind of an unwilling host for some
activity. So I even got in conversation with him about things.
They had to advertise [these demonstrations] to the entire student body, and they
did it by having a news gathering with the campus newspaper and others, even the
local newspapers: "The SDS is going to demonstrate next week against the CIA or
The first demonstration in the Career Center--and it was not publicized as much as
the second one--was against the CIA. About twenty-five or thirty individuals (I will
not call them students) wandered into our reception area in G-22. It was hardly able
to handle that many. There were not enough seats for that number; it was a
relatively small area.
I saw them coming. My office was at the very back. In fact, some people alerted
me that some unusual-looking characters were in the reception area, [and] maybe I
should come. Sure enough, it was the first contingent of the SDS. They were there
to confront the CIA representative, who was interviewing people in the conference
room between us and the alumni office at that very moment. They approached me
and said they wanted to have an audience with the representative; they wanted to
ask him certain questions. I said, "Let me talk to the representative." Without letting
them know where the representative was, I did make contact with this person. He
said, "I work for the CIA, but as a personnel recruiter, I have no authority to talk to
the demonstrators. Here is who they can talk to. Here is the telephone number.
But we are not authorized to have any dialogue with any student demonstrators on
any campus." I relayed that back to the students, Freeman in particular. He was
not content with that. At this point, I went to the front of our office and locked the
door. He looked at me, along with his crowd of people, and said, "What are you
trying to do?" I said, "I am locking you in." He said, "I don't understand this." At that
time, most of the some twenty-five or thirty were sitting on the floor, and you could
hardly walk. I asked them what they were up to now that they discovered they could
not talk to the representative. They said: "We are just here to demonstrate. We are
going to have a sit-in." I said, "Fine, but I am going to lock you in here, and you are
going to have your sit-in." They said to me, "Mr. Mayberry, I don't know why you're
getting so upset about this. We were in the president's office just yesterday, and we
had a sit-in." I said, "Well, the president can run his office the way he wants to, and
I am going to run mine the way I want to. We are going to call the campus police if
you do not get out of here." I said, "What is it you want?" He said, "We would like to
get our picture taken." I said, "All right. Just a moment." I went outside the door
and got a photographer and brought him in. They got their picture taken in our
office. Then they filed out, peacefully, without any more problems.
Two did come back to the office and said, "We still want to talk to that CIA
representative when he leaves this office. He is in this area, isn't he?" I said, "I can
only say he is in the building, and I am not going to say where he is." About that
moment, a representative from the Sears company was leaving the office dressed in
a trench coat. He pulled the collar up and started walking out, and the students
said, "Is that him?" I just raised my hands like that. They followed him out to the
parking lot to discover he was just a Sears representative.
Our CIA representative was kept under cover. We took him from the conference
room down a little circular stairs to the basement of the student union [and] out the
back from the loading platform, where he joined his nice wife, and before the
students even knew about it, he was a hundred miles away from campus.
C: How did most employers react to this sort of demonstration that was going on? You
said that not just the CIA, but other employers were demonstrated against [as well].
M: The majority conducted business as usual. But quite a number, particularly those
who were involved in any kind of military work, (like Westinghouse, General Electric,
[and] IBM), were very nervous. They would contact me well in advance of their visit
and ask me if there was something going on that they should know about. The CIA
certainly did this. The Dow Chemical Company did this. They wanted to be
forewarned before they walked into any kind of a situation.
C: Do you think that that had any impact on the number of companies doing
interviews? In other words, do you think that discouraged some companies from
doing interviews or from making contact with students on campus during this period
M: It discouraged a few, but I do not think [it was] a large number. It certainly
discouraged some of the military from recruiting in an open fashion. The military
discontinued having what they called their "fruit stand recruiting," where they would
set up tables across campus and would have students come up. Upon our advice,
they pulled in their horns and would only do their recruiting on the ground floor of the
student union building.
C: Under the official sanction of the University of Florida.
M: Under the official sanction of our Career Center.
C: Was it mainly students that were involved in the demonstrations? I have heard
mention that there were some elements of the faculty that were, in some ways,
driving many of these demonstrations.
M: Our experience--in just the few instances in which we had direct contact--would
indicate that there were mixed groups. The demonstration that we had following the
CIA demonstration followed about a week later, where thirteen individuals were
arrested, [and] over half of those individuals were not students. There were
students brought in. One of the "students" was a young, black male, who was
perhaps the most violent of all. They had to turn him upside down and shoot Mace
in his face to quiet him down. But he was not a student; he had never been enrolled
at [the University of] Florida or anywhere else.
C: He was just a rabble rouser?
M: He was just a young rabble rouser.
C: I want to take a break in this and have you get off the Career Resource Center just
for a minute, and tell me what was going on with you personally during this period of
time. We know that in the early 1950s, when you came to work for the University,
you were married. That was the last point we had left off with the Maurice Mayberry
story, so to speak. Had you had children by this point? Bring us up to date.
M: All right. Barbara Lynn and I were married some nine years before she conceived.
This was because of some scar tissue, I think, in her female organs. The problem
was discovered by a local doctor. We had our first child here in Gainesville. [That
was] my son, Maurice, Jr. Then a few years later, we had a second son. Finally the
third child came along, my daughter.
C: Give me the birth dates on those.
M: I can give you their ages, but I cannot give you the exact dates.
C: OK. Start with Maurice, Jr.
M: Maurice, Jr., is thirty-five. His birthday is August 7 (of 1958, I am pretty sure); I think
that he will be thirty-five. My daughter just celebrated her birthday. She was born
on June 17. She is twenty-seven. We had a son in between. The dates escape me
at the moment. He was killed in an accident out where we live on the farm. A friend
took him on a tractor. The wife left him with this older gentleman who was doing
some mowing on some very rough land. Even though the gentleman assured the
wife that he would not ride this young fellow in this rough land [and that] they were
going to go back to the house at the lake, apparently he did anyway, and my son
C: Did he fall off the tractor?
M: According to the gentleman who was running the tractor, he said that he fell off. It
was a very strange story that he told about seeing a snake and getting off the tractor
while the tractor was running and then telling the young boy who was only four-and-
a-half, "Push it in gear and run over the snake," or something like that. It was at that
point that he hit a stump and was thrown into the mower.
C: That was a tragedy.
M: It really was. I guess that is the reason I cannot remember his birthday.
C: That is fine. I did not want to dredge up too many old memories.
M: In 1968, his mother passed on while we were living at the lake.
C: This was your first wife.
M: [It was] my first wife, Barbara. It was during this demonstration of radical students
here that she passed on. It was when President O'Connell was here. I remember at
a big banquet setting, he called me over to the head table and expressed his
sympathies. I lived in Alachua General Hospital for three months right next to my
C: She had been ill for some time, then.
M: She had been ill for the better part of a year, but they took her to the hospital for the
last time, and it was three months or so that she spent there before she passed on.
But I continued my work. I never did miss any time, even after she passed away.
The work helped me a great deal just to continue.
C: Staying busy helps you get through the [rough times].
M: It certainly did. Then, twenty years ago, [on] July 15, I married the only student I
ever took credit for placing. Of the 150,000 students who came through, I have
never claimed that I placed anybody except one student, and that is the person who
is my wife now. We celebrated our twentieth anniversary on July 15, which happens
to be my birthday. We were married on my birthday in Wilmont Gardens here on
campus and had our reception in the student union.
C: What is your second wife's name?
M: Her name is Gloria Evelyn Click. Click was her maiden name.
C: Where is she from originally?
M: She was raised in Miami, but she was born in Tampa, Florida. She had been
married and divorced, and came back after becoming a grandmother to finish her
college degree in landscape architecture. She came to the Career Center within a
few months of graduation, and one of my associates said, "Here is a resume that
you ought to look at." I looked at it, and invited that lady through the manager of the
hotel in the student union to have coffee with me there in the student union. From
that coffee get-together in January, the following July we were married. We courted
during her last semester while she was here at the University of Florida earning her
degree in landscape architecture. She is registered and has been practicing ever
since. I experienced, really, this modern thing of trying to blend the life of a mother,
the life of a wife, and a career girl all in one. I felt that was important to me in
understanding what I was doing.
C: Sure. You have a lot of that nowadays. It is a role for most all students, whereas in
the 1950s and 1960s, you did not have that sort of an aspect to consider.
M: Absolutely. You were referring to changes; it was in the 1960s that we first saw dual
careers. This meant the wife and the husband would graduate at the same time and
want to go to work at the same time, maybe with the same employer. It was
interesting. I remember a mechanical engineering couple. You could always tell
who the male and female were because the female would sit in the back on the
motorcycle as they were driving across campus. They both got engineering jobs
with the Union-Carbide Company, and this was a real example of dual careers.
C: Two people who met in college, graduated, and went to work together at the same
C: Did you find that you had a good number of people doing that?
M: A fair number. There certainly was a large group of students married here. We
found quite a number graduating with degrees at the same time and entering the job
market at the same time. How they were able to balance this question [was that]
very often they would agree that they would go in the direction of whoever got the
best job (meaning the most pay), whether it was the male or the female. Very often,
the woman got the best job, meaning more money [and] more promise. The
husband would go and try to find a job elsewhere. Employers became very
sympathetic with this. Some could hire a couple, so long as they did not work in the
same unit or same department. Some would say, "No, we cannot employ you, but
we will certainly help you get a professional job." This was a part of the bargain
when they would hire the spouse.
C: They tried to accommodate that situation as much as possible. I know it makes it a
different situation when you have both people who have professional careers and
aspirations, rather than if you just have a couple where one person is college-
educated and the other one is not. You say that this situation became more
apparent in the 1960s?
M: Yes. There were many changes like this. They were not so much changes in the
students' attitudes, behavior, and expectations, as there were [in] the employers'
policies and practices. The students kind of followed what the employers [set up].
In one sense, the students had a direct influence.
An example is affirmative action. Long before there were ever any affirmative action
programs sponsored by the government, our center was in the affirmative action
business. We were assisting minorities at the time. Originally, it was women who
were the minority. We began helping women get jobs right alongside men. I can
remember when a company (for example, Shell Oil Company) one year would say,
"No. We do not hire women for sales jobs." CPA firms [would say,] "No. We do not
hire women," because of the problems they felt they would encounter being on the
road traveling and being away from the family and so on. The very next year, that
same employer said, "Where are the women?" The retailers got to where they were
hiring predominantly women. Now they are crying, "Where are the men?" These
are the kinds of changes that have taken place. Here at this University, the most
significant change within our program was in 1970, when we established the
minority affairs program. First it was women, and we had counselors and special
assistance for women. Then we merged the racial minority students with the
women's program, and this was headed up by Mrs. Dorothy Palmer, who also was
the one who pioneered the career days with us. The first black student body
president, Sam Taylor, gave our office $4,000 to hire a black female to counsel
racial minorities, predominantly black minorities. That was the beginning. I believe
it was in 1970.
C: How has that program progressed from there. Go ahead and follow that up for me.
M: The record would indicate [that] it was very successful. One measure was that just
within a short period, we had as many or more minority students using the Career
Center on a weighted basis as we did other students. A higher percent of black
graduating students, for example, were registered than the typical cross-section.
For example, as many as eighty-five percent [minority students] were registered.
We did this by working very hard, for one, and by letting the student know that we
were there to help that individual. This word of mouth is what would bring in large
numbers of students to us.
We needed a full-time position shortly after this. We discovered how receptive the
students were [and] how needy the employers were. Employers were just so eager
to hire racial minorities early on. So the IBM Company donated a professional. It
was called their "faculty loan program." They loaned one of their professionals from
their Atlanta office to work in our office for two semesters to help us develop an
effective minority career program. It worked so well the first year that they sent us
the second person from Boca Raton the second year to continue this effort. So it
has grown and prospered ever since.
C: You said that the employers initially were very receptive to minority candidates.
M: In the early stages, we had few racial minorities on campus.
C: I understand that, but I am thinking about after integration, in the later part of the
M: Right. 1954 was the turning point, of course, in integration. Ten years later, in the
middle 1960s, it began to happen. They would make a special effort to identify
racial minorities, qualified or not. It was only in later years that they put the
condition, "We want to see qualified minority students." So it improved overall. It
was not just showcasing that they were after. They were after potential productive
employees, and this is the way it is today.
C: There are a couple other aspects of the center I wanted to ask you about. What
was the Employer Advisory Committee?
M: This was a group of employers from a cross-section of businesses and industries
and government who came to this campus to meet several times a year and make a
report to the vice president. It was organized during Lester Hale's administration
and lasted through President O'Connell's administration, I believe. But this is
something that is done across the country. It is not in existence at the moment. For
us, it was a nice interface with our University Placement Committee that is made up
of faculty members and administrators on campus. There was an opportunity for
those two groups to have an interchange. But it was advisory to the University and
to the Career Center on things that they might do.
C: There were some other things that I know came to the fore during the latter part of
the 1960s and the early 1970s as the Career Center began to progress. One of
these things was a need on the part of the students for some sort of effective career
plan. Could you speak just a little bit about that and how the center functioned in
that aspect of placement?
M: All right. I would like to trace this in ten-year increments.
C: That would be fine.
M: Our plan had been to do it in five-year increments. Our objective for the first five
years was to integrate career planning into the placement service program that we
had. But it was really about ten years before that was possible. So the first ten
years were dedicated to developing the placement service: hosting employers,
establishing student and employer databases, matching students, developing job
bulletins and sending them to alumni, and that kind of thing. That program worked
fairly well, but we knew in the very beginning that job placement is no better than the
career planning that precedes this. For that matter, careers are no better than the
career plans that precede them. We knew that in time we would have to do that,
given personnel. Essentially, individual counseling was the very beginning of our
career planning. This was where we invited freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to
come by the center and sit and talk about their plans. We did this through
advertisements and through presentations.
C: [This would happen] on a one-on-one basis?
M: Yes. We shortly discovered, though, that this completely overwhelmed the
resources. There were not enough people or hours in the day. So we then went to
what we call group counseling, and we divided the groups into those interested in
career planning and those interested in job search and career placement. While
they worked out fairly well, they were not as productive as we thought they would be
because the interests of the group were far more specialized than just those two
categories. From that beginning, we discovered that we should adopt a school
format. We should develop classes with certain subjects: career planning, jobs for
liberal arts, jobs for business administration, or jobs for engineering. Those were
separate classes that were fifty minutes in duration. We later structured them to
where the students could come in and sign up any time for any one of some sixteen
different classes. We call this our career mini-school.
C: What period was this idea of the mini-school developed?
M: This was during the second ten years--from year fifteen to twenty [1968 to 1973].
The late 1960s is where it really came into its full form. Rather than give a special
class to certain students who were interested in, say, interview practice, we just
decided to schedule these things from the beginning of class to the end of class
throughout the week. And the classes began filling up. Some schools just do it if
they are prompted to do it. We arranged it, and it worked.
C: The students signed up when they were able to attend.
M: Right, from nine a.m. to four p.m. Monday through Friday.
C: If you had a session, say on resume preparation, did you have several sessions
during the semester with the same material being repeated?
M: We had at least one of those classes every week. So there were sixteen plus. We
repeated several. Interview practice was given two or three times a week. So the
students had a chance of signing up every week for at least one type and several
times during the week. We also shifted the schedule. Every other week, we shifted
it from one time frame to another time frame. Say interviews were given at ten
o'clock one week. The next week, it was given at eleven. Or it was given in the
morning and in the afternoon.
C: So the students could accommodate that into their schedule.
M: We made it as flexible as possible.
C: Now, these were all non-credit courses that we are talking about here.
C: I know also that at one time, the Career Resource Center was involved in a course
that was taught on campus for credit.
M: Yes. This was a career development course for credit. [It was] first offered by the
sociology department. Then, for a short time, [it was offered by the] counselor
education [department]. Then it went back to sociology. More recently, it is a part of
the curriculum for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It is a course for three
hours [of] credit at the junior level, I believe. It is taught by one of the professionals
in the Career Center. This was a great success. We had to turn away students.
Even though the normal classes would be thirty or forty, we would open the classes
and take fifty to sixty and turn away that many. Ralph Lewis, my first associate
director, was the person who developed that course, taught it, [and] had it accepted.
This was again a part of the career education effort of the Career Center. All of this
started from a body of information that was pertinent to the student. This is
something I will allude to toward the end. This is the heart of our career education
We developed a body of information just from repetition. We discovered what the
students wanted [and] we would find that information. As a result, we had a booklet
for every one of these mini-courses published. If the student could not come to
class, they could pick up a copy of the book. We gave away thousands of copies
until budgets forced us to have to start charging. So the students pay a small fee for
these booklets. Schools around the country (particularly community colleges in the
state of Florida) heard that we were doing this, and many, many of them would order
the booklets from us rather than produce them themselves. But this was a very
significant education effort that was the heart of the career planning effort.
C: Now you said that the mini-course came in the second phase.
M: That was the second ten years.
C: Following up that, [what happened] in the third ten years?
M: The third ten years, from 1973 to 1983, we added the experiential education
component in a serious way. We had always worked with employers for summer
employment [and] career-related kind of work, but we had never had responsibility
for the co-op education program that was sponsored by the College of Engineering.
C: Explain the co-op education program because there might be some question as to
how that works.
M: Co-op education is an alternating program where the student goes to school one
semester and works for an employer [in his or her field] during the following
semester and then comes back to school. They work for money. They are paid
two-thirds or three-fourths of what they would be paid if they were working as
permanent employees. So it was lucrative. They received at least one hour credit.
Some departments gave more than one, but the University, as a standard offering,
gave them one hour credit for this, and it went on their transcript.
C: So in many ways, it was like an apprenticeship.
M: It was a professional apprenticeship very much like a professional internship would
be in education or in medicine or pharmacy or architecture. This was turned over to
us. That was when we really formalized what we call experiential learning, and we
lumped internships, career-related summer employment.
C: In addition to the College of Engineering, what other colleges participated in that sort
of a program?
M: To some extent, the College of Business [does], in accounting and the computer
information sciences programs. [Actually,] the three colleges: liberal arts, business
administration, and engineering [all participate]. The physical sciences programs--
math, chemistry, and physics--[participate as well]. It was beginning to happen in
agriculture and journalism. Where the colleges already had internship programs, it
was not quite as popular. The colleges were content with that, and the employers
were content with it.
Co-op education is quite a commitment because it is a three-way role between the
department, the employer, and the student, where internships can go one semester
or not (they are optional and flexible).
C: It is a very useful concept if you can get enough people to sign on to the idea.
M: This program flourished. Again, it was a matter of resources. One of the most
remarkable examples of internships was when the retail center was established and
they renewed courses in retailing in the College of Business in the department of
marketing. They decided to offer an internship to students. [The internships were
offered] not just [to] students in marketing, but those in other related areas:
journalism, liberal arts, [and] agriculture. I think last year over 150 interns went into
employment with retailing organizations. One employer, the J.C. Penney Company,
hired over fifty interns. [This was] the company who had put up the money for the
chair in retailing and who sponsors the retail center. [There are] marketing
internships, management internships, [and] accounting internships. So the whole
idea of the internships--career-related experience--is in the vogue. It is at a peak of
C: You see more of a movement towards that?
M: Yes. [There is] no question about it.
C: Even with the current budget restrictions and economic downturn?
M: Again, the student was quick to notice that the people who had the best employment
opportunities were those who had career-related experience. They were head and
shoulders [above the rest]. The students in engineering knew that if they co-oped,
they had an offer of employment with that employer as well as others. It is the
power of the known, as we have referred to it. The student has already tested out
what it is they can do, what it is they would like to do, and they are fitting into that
C: In addition to developing contacts while they are in that internship that are probably
going to pay off.
M: Right. It is a very enriching aspect of their education.
C: One thing that we have not spoken a lot about--and I know it is something that had a
big impact on the center--was the slow adoption of automation procedures at the
Career Resource Center. Spend a moment talking about how that progressed from
the first experience of where you were putting everything on three-by-five cards. At
least hit some of the high points of how automation and modern technology has
aided the center in fulfilling its mission to the students and to the alumni.
M: The words "office automation" are a pretty general thing. Typewriters, telephones,
pencil sharpeners, anything mechanical that is an aid to the individual, anything that
extends the human fingers [can be considered automation]. Our school was later
known as one that made rapid strides. It was the field itself that was slow in
accepting automation or electronics or computers. It was not so much our office
because we became leaders early on.
One of the first steps was getting a copy machine. It was 1954. Our first machine
was a wet process, they called it. [It was] a Kodak Verifax machine. If you were
expert, you could take an original and go through this process. It was a kind of
gelatin-like matrix that was dipped in a solution. If you hurried, you could make an
impression of that original eight to ten times before it would finally vanish. We had
people that could make fifteen copies off of one matrix. We were able to investigate
this and were one of the early users of fax machines. I looked at machines in
Germany called Cormac. I looked at the heat-sensitive paper that later became the
3M machine. I even looked at the old Haloid development that later became the
Xerox machine. We started early on. I even recommended this to 300 or 400 of my
contemporaries in a speech my first year in the business. They all laughed. The
University of Florida, when we got our Verifax, had an electrostatic machine. There
was no such thing as a photocopy machine on campus. We in the medical center
bought the first Xerox copying machine on campus. So I have stayed with Xerox for
many, many years. This may not be correct, but in my heart, I feel that I was the
one that prompted the Xerox company to begin using address labels--gum labels--in
their machines. We experimented with this, and even though the gum labels that
you had to type out manually first would stick on the drum, we were able to make a
fairly decent copy. We told this to their sales manager, a man by the name of
Shelton, who passed it on to Rochester. Shortly after that, they developed some
paper that could be used. That was a remarkable step ahead.
C: Obviously, all of these little things that you talk about that we take for granted
today--like Xerox machines and things like that--helped the center immeasurably in
terms of productivity and the ability to serve more students and to grow.
M: [There is] no question about it. It was interesting that in the early days, when they
did not understand machines, they would say, "Well, if you want to grow, we will
have to give you some more people." We would grow very slowly in that respect.
But as soon as I discovered there were machines that would augment and magnify
the productivity of the person, then it was easier to get machines. One day, my
boss called me up and said, "Maurice, I understand that you want a word processor.
What is that? I have $25,000 if you can use it." I said, "I can use it. It only cost
$18,000, but then I would like to buy a memory typewriter to go along with it." So we
bought one of the second generations of word processors--the IBM OS6. It only had
a little screen of about four or five inches. But that was the beginning of the real
electronic automation in our office.
C: I think you are starting to allude to something that I want to ask you about, and that
is the use of computers and how that affected the center. You spoke earlier of the
use of computers in developing some sort of an electronic database that both
employers and students could use.
M: Electronic information systems became my primary interest during those
development years. I remember one time visiting an office in a temporary building.
It was called a tabulating center. It was the first mechanical device that did what the
computer later did. It was operated by the statistical laboratory--the tabulating
center. They were one of the first offices to get computers on campus. But we
watched it from those early beginnings, and in my mind, there was an opportunity for
us. I enjoyed visiting with the IBM people in particular. They would include me in
some of their seminars, along with administrators here at the University. I was
working with them in recruiting. So this whetted my appetite. The Office System
Six, the word processor, was really the first exotic electronic device that we got in
the office. We were able to record job listings. At the time, you would have to type
them out and then you would make copies of them. We discovered that you could
type them once and [then] make as many copies as you wanted. You could also
match them against applicants. It was a crude applicant-job matching device. That
was kind of a building block that we used. From that, we actually were the first
university unit to connect a word processor to NERDC--the central computing
center. The very first agency here in the community was the plant services group
out on 34th Street. They had a word processor, and they connected it, too. But we
were the first unit on campus. And this gave us some credibility with the computer
center. Shortly after that, the administrative computing operation, under Jack
Hadley, appropriated some money to us to do some early computer programming
on the mainframe. We then acquired a program from the College Placement
Council called Grad Two. It was an employer-student matching program that was
done in one central location.
C: This, rather than being a modified word processing program, was actually a piece of
software that was designed specifically for your purposes.
M: Yes, to use with a computer. It had an employer data base [and] a student data
base, and it would match the common features and come out with a list of applicants
who met the employer's requirements [and] a list of employers who met the
applicant's requirements. That is what is referred to as an employer-student
It was in its early stages, and we used punch cards as input. This was very
expensive. The input device for a computer has always been very expensive.
Through the monies of the administrative computing apparatus here, Jack Hadley,
and also a donation from student government, we were able to get this program
going. We were able to hire a professor in computer information science to help us
adapt this big computer program called Grad Two--it came to us on a giant reel--to
our use. We were on the quarter system at that time. We ran it every quarter for
about a year.
One time we ran it just to see how many matches we could make with as many
applicants as we could make. We had an output of over sixteen boxes of computer
paper. That was several dollies full. We had more output than we could handle.
The output was matches with students and matches for employers, which we mailed
to those respective parties. It just proved to us what could be done if you wanted to
do it on that scale. It was expensive, and it was time-consuming. So we
immediately started looking at a way the program could be interactive. It was a
batch program that you would run each quarter. We wanted to do some matching
real-time or interactive. So we proceeded to develop a program called Gatormatch,
which did match real-time.
C: Clarify "real-time" for me.
M: You can sit down as an applicant and interrogate a database and get a list right
there on the screen.
C: Rather than running a batch.
M: Rather than waiting until tomorrow or next month, we will make a run for you [right
away] and give it to you.
C: So you wanted something that was user-friendly, to use the modern jargon. [You
wanted] something where someone could sit down at a screen, put his or her
information in, [and] get immediate feedback from the computer.
M: Precisely. This was the interactive version. We got a young student over in
journalism to write a program in a very exotic language called APL. We paid him.
He was developing a similar program for the giving program for Channel 5 over
there that is still in existence. He worked with us, and we got an interactive program
going. But it was so exotic that we rarely find people who know how to work it.
They were not conversant with APL language.
We did demonstrate the first remote inquiry of this database by an employer. We
had a representative from Jacksonville Electric dial in to NERDC and dial into our
database and actually interrogate several hundred files of students. They selected
twenty-five that met their needs. They invited twelve of them to sign up for
interviews, and six accepted employment. This was done in about fifteen minutes,
rather than if it were done manually or physically. The same process [done
manually or physically] would take three or four days.
C: What time period are we talking about for Gatormatch?
M: It started in the late 1970s. I wrote an article for the Journal of College Placement
about Gatormatch, and we also did a research study in 1978 and 1979. We did
validate scientifically that it was a viable means for identifying and selecting
applicants for employment or employers for employment.
C: Where has that progressed since then? Where is that now?
M: It has advanced to where now students can go in and do this on a personal
computer. They can interrogate databases that have been developed within the
Career Center. They can also tap into many, many databases of job opportunities
across the country. There is one called Kinexus that is sponsored by the College
Placement Council. There are just unlimited numbers of databases now that
students can access from their own personal computer, wherever they may be. It is
just beginning to refine itself to where students and employers can talk to each other
at any time. But our goal was [that] once the applicant's information was in the file,
[and] once the employer's information was in the file, those two parties could talk to
each other at any time. They could be on the beach in Hawaii together, talking to
each other and not even know they were sitting next to each other. This is possible
now. We have overcome the single biggest obstacle to this whole business: time,
place, [and] utility. [You can be] at the right place at the right time. If your name is
in the database, and the job is in the database, you will always get the right time at
the right place.
C: I see.
M: This is the remarkable result.
C: [It is] very democratic, too. It avoids that problem that we talked about earlier. The
one that comes to mind is what you mentioned. It eliminates the problem of
selectivity in that more students are now able to participate in the job search
M: A person does not get left out through some whim or because they are not popular
enough. If they have their data in that database and the program is doing its job,
then that individual does come to the attention of that employer. It does not mean
that other things--the political elements--do not continue to take place. The
department head says, "I know we have twenty people. They are all in the database
and you can look at them, but I would recommend that you really look seriously at
this person and this person." Where, in the old fashion, the department chairman or
faculty member or dean would just innocently [and] not knowing what they were
doing, say, "Well, there is only one person that I know." They would arbitrarily make
that important decision for the applicant. The applicant should make that decision
[of] whether they should be considered. The employer should make that decision.
So you can see that really it is the very heart of true affirmative action [and] equality
for all students. The University now has a system for matching personnel on
campus. The individual hiring unit can bring up applicants and look at their records
and make that choice. Before, it was to a sense arbitrarily decided. Somebody at a
desk decided, "These people qualify, and these do not." But now you can look at
the whole system. The information age has done more to improve access for more
people, for more good things.
C: One of the things that I wanted to touch on, because I know it created some
problems as the Career Resource Center became larger and more involved in the
process of placement, was a problem that developed over interviews. Traditionally,
as you have said, part of the Career Resource Center's function is to provide a place
for interviews and for employers to come to campus and that sort of thing. But I
know at one time it got to be a real problem with so many students trying to get on
an interview list and things of that nature. Could you speak about how that operated
early and how that was changed?
M: Everett, I think you are referring to the interview sign-up procedure and how that
C: That is what I am talking about.
M: I appreciate this. Early on, students could just come in to the Career Center and
sign up manually. We had schedules for two weeks on this large board inside the
building. Students could sign up Monday through Friday for two weeks. An
employer's schedule was up there with a slot from nine to five or nine to four on a
thirty-minute basis. Students could decide themselves if they were qualified and if
they wished to sign up. It was first come, first served. Every morning, we would
permit students to come into the center at nine thirty in large numbers. We would
have to have someone police the group and let in a few at a time. That is the way it
was handled for many, many years, up until about 1975 or 1980. It got to where the
students would queue up at nine thirty. They made long lines within the building just
to get in the center because of first come, first served. After the first hundred or so
students came through, the interview schedules could be filled up, and the rest of
the people were out of luck.
So the students began coming earlier to the student union. Finally, some would
spend the night in their sleeping bags for certain employers that were coming on
campus to make sure [they got an interview]. [It was] just like getting tickets to the
football games or to the concerts. This, to me, was an intolerable situation. Any
time I see a line, I think there is something wrong and we should do something to
avoid that--as much as students seem to enjoy standing in line. [laughter] When we
moved from G-22 over to the alumni office, we had to move the interview operation
downstairs. So the students would queue up in the long corridors. For some
reason, because of the closeness, it became a little less tolerable, and students
were not as tolerant with each other. A student could hardly get out of line just to go
to the bathroom for fear they could not get back in line.
C: Competitiveness in the job market was starting to happen.
M: They would leave their books there while they went to get a cup of coffee, and by
the time they came back, their books were gone. We even had some fisticuffs, and
toward the last stages of this particular process, we had to order the campus police
to come over there to maintain order.
About that time, I inquired at the College Placement Council, and they told me of a
computer program called Sign-Up that was being tested at Pittsburgh. I called the
person who was developing it--my fellow placement director, Dan Nagy--and he
said, "I will send you the program if you will help me refine it and give me your
opinion on it because we would like to sell it to other schools." I said, "I will be glad
to give my name in your advertising if you will let us use it." We brought it to
campus, and we got the services of Dr. Richard Elnicki of computer information
sciences in the College of Business. He gathered a group of graduate students
together and in one semester we surveyed the students and employers and [asked]
what they needed. We made refinements. We studied the software program itself
and made certain changes in it and adapted it. In one semester, we had it up and
running in the Career Center. It has been in use ever since.
C: Explain for the tape how that system works and how it is different from the old
system of first come, first served.
M: The way it works now is students have about four different ways to get an interview.
The first and best way to get an interview is to send a resume to the employer, or
go to Career Day, identify themselves to an employer, and an employer gives them
priority. They can get on a schedule right there. But if they send a resume, and the
employer says, "We want you to sign up when we come to campus," the student
attaches that letter to the application for the interviews for a particular week. Each
week, the student is given an opportunity to indicate the appointments that they wish
to have and submit that request to the Career Center. This is done about three
weeks before the interview actually takes place. It is on a weekly cycle. If a student
has the qualifications called for (major, degree level, graduation date, and things of
that nature--sometimes grade point [averages] were used, but are no longer being
used as a criterion--interest, and location) then the student can request that as an
interview at a certain time. The computer knows when a student is available for
interviews, and it actually takes the priority schedules first and puts them on the
The second group are those who meet the criteria or qualifications, and they are put
on the schedule. This run is made each week. This comes to the Career Center,
and it is posted on a board every week. Students may come back at a particular
time and see if they got it on the first cut. If they got on the schedule, fine. If they
did not, at that time, it is called open sign-up. [It is] the third way to get on the
schedule. The student may write his or her name in on the schedule, take it over to
the computer terminal, the input operator puts them into the system, and they say,
"You have an appointment." They make a note of that and then put the schedule
back up for other people to come in and sign up.
[Let me explain] the fourth way to get an appointment. Suppose the student does
not meet the criteria, but there are openings left the day before the interviews take
place. Then students may sign up if they just have a general interest. International
students who may not be legally authorized to sign up may sign up at that particular
time. So they are put on the schedule.
Then we could mention the fifth way. The day of the interview, if there are still
openings left, and if the student comes to the Career Center and can identify that
there is an opening, and if they are there waiting outside the door of the employer,
they may take a courtesy interview at that moment.
C: Is there some sort of a bidding system that is at work in this?
M: I should have mentioned [it]. Yes. Each student is given one hundred bid points as
a part of the second way of getting an appointment. They meet the criteria, but they
also bid points. I left that out; I had forgotten that particular point. They can bid zero
to one hundred points. Normally, five or ten points will get you on the schedule. If
you really want to make sure, fifteen or twenty is a pretty good number. Bid points is
another way to equalize or to really test a student's interest.
C: It makes the students at least prioritize the five, six, eight or ten people that they
want to interview with.
M: Yes. This is one of the real ways that the computer improved the quality of life of
students here at the University. You may have another related question, but I have
a point I wanted to make. We eventually developed-- starting back in the middle
1970s up until the present time--the way the computer aids the student. First, there
is computer-assisted career guidance. A freshman who is doing career planning
can come into the center and sign up for a program called Choices. It will help them
develop a career profile, match them with a thousand different types of jobs, and
give them an actual printout.
C: That is a reactive type program. I think I am familiar with that. The computer asks
the person questions and then that person responds, and at the end of the session
M: All you have to know is where Y [yes] and N [no] are on the keyboard, and it gives
you an actual printout. It is very similar to other computer-assisted career guidance
programs such as Discover, Sigi, and others around the country. But that is one of
the most powerful tools for the initial career planning. It is used by the counseling
The second way the student is helped with the computer in the Career Center is
computer-assisted experiential learning administration, and computer-assisted co-op
administration. All the co-op records (the file of applicants [and] the file of
employers) are computerized, and they are matched.
C: I was going to ask you about that because I would expect that there would be quite
a bit of competition for those available slots--those co-op jobs and those internships
that are offered.
M: The computer helps make the match. Finally, most of the employers will come in
and interview the applicants that make the match, and they make the final decision.
It is pretty well open to those who have a true interest and who have general
qualifications. But the employer makes the decision. In some cases, the employer
leaves it up to the Career Center to make the decision.
The next stage is in the entire placement center operation [and involves] the
computer sign-up program for interviews. The library catalogue is computerized.
Now, whether it is a freshman or a Ph.D., they may come into the Career Center
and browse through the catalogue holdings in the Career Center. We have a unique
library in the Career Center. [There is] nothing like it.
C: Say a word or two about that library. [Tell] how it got started and how it functions
now within the center. I know that is an important part of the [Career Center].
M: It started from the career literature that we collected from employers who would
come onto campus who were recruiting on a large scale. They developed some
beautiful, expensive, slick, color literature, and we began cataloging that in
placement services, as it was called years ago. Then we began developing
information--the books and publications--that would be of interest to people in the
career education area. So it became kind of a private library for each of the
counselors. Then, following that, we discovered that there were many, many
directories that the students could use: Standard & Poors, Dun & Bradstreet, etc.
[There were] directories of employers, chamber of commerce directories, even
telephone directories. So it just began growing and growing. When we moved into
the student union building, we were able to really tap the potential of that because
within a year [of beginning to collect this material], we did not have space for all of it.
When we moved over into the present location, we had a much bigger library. So
now you will find employer literature in that library, and most of it is in permanent
binders. [There are] five or six hundred [binders] representing employers. There is
occupational information; there is career guidance information; there are directories.
There is a directory of directories. There is an association of associations. [It goes]
on and on. There is no limit. The office--the last year I was there--spent about
$15,000 just for new publications--periodicals, magazines. It is not a big chunk, but
for that office, it is pretty big. The library, then, is truly an information resource.
C: [It is] a little bit better than going to the want ads. [laughter]
M: Well, we get the want ads. The job listings that come into the office are put into the
library immediately so students can review immediate job listings that come to our
attention. They can review jobs up to one year old. Jobs for college graduates
continue to reoccur unless the company goes out of business. They are usually
large enough scale. So if you see a job that might be six months old, it is still
pertinent, and you should apply for a job like that. That is all you have to do:
identify if the employer has any type of job, and then go for it. It is based on a
presumption that they are always interested in new blood. That is what drives the
C: You mentioned something earlier that was interesting to me. You said that they no
longer use grade points as a criterion. Do you find that employers have gotten away
from that, or is that something that is just a choice that was made in the program?
M: The employers at this University and many across the country can no longer publicly
indicate a cutting score, a threshold, on the GPA.
M: Our University Placement Committee grappled with this for a good period of time,
and they discovered because of affirmative action more than anything else that it
was discriminatory. It did not favor certain minority groups that did not have as good
a grade point average. That was one of the reasons. Historically, there is yet to be
any research that shows a correlation between career success and GPA. There is a
lot of correlation between [career success and] being hired. It is a threshold. If you
do not have a 4.0, you may not ever go to work for Bell Labs. But they are
beginning to loosen up on this and look at far more factors. Employers are more
intelligent, and it was just a crutch in the good old days. It was just something that
historically [was considered as a measurement of future success]. People in
technical and scientific areas still think the GPA is a direct measure of a person's
technical competence. But the studies do not support this. So I think we have just
kind of come out of the Dark Ages. But even while employers can no longer say (as
they once did), "[You must have a] 3.5 or better or don't sign up," they may not say
it, but for the record, very few people are hired as a result of a [GPA]. So they are
just much more subtle about it. They are not as open or blatant. But many, many
more employers are hiring students that have . well, they are considering not just
grades, but the entire student record. And this, I think, is the age of enlightenment
that we are coming into, where more and more information is being used by all
parties--the student and the employer--to make these important decisions.
C: What other major changes do you think have occurred, particularly in the last three
to four years in career resources and placement that have had a major impact or will
have a major impact?
M: There are a number that come to mind, but the first has to do with downsizing. It
has to do with fewer jobs with the larger employers. At this moment, there are far
more jobs with employers of a hundred employees or less than all the other
companies that are large. So the growth is in the small company--the entrepreneur
company. That is the significant change, and it happened at the same time that the
large companies and corporations were downsizing for many, many economic
reasons. It is globalization, is my understanding. We have moved so many of the
jobs from America to somewhere else so they could reduce production costs. TVs
are not being made here. In fact, just the other day [I discovered] Smith-Corona is
no longer manufacturing typewriters in America. They are taking them to Mexico.
So this has reduced the large-scale recruiting by so many employers. The
downsizing has had a great effect. The good side is that the smaller employer is
now coming to the fore, and they are making themselves known. While they may
not be able to justify coming to campus in large numbers, they are listing their jobs
in databases, and they are encouraging students in advertisements and the like to
seek them out.
C: I would think that automation process that you were talking about with the computer
database and that sort of thing would assist those smaller companies and enable
them to participate in the search process, much as a big company with big
resources was once able to do.
M: Correct. To get back to my cliche, if you are in the database, you are in the right
place at the right time, whether they have one opening or a thousand. That is what
it takes. So this information system that lives twenty-four hours a day is what is
making it work. It is another level of intelligence, I call it. It is not artificial; it is real.
But getting back to the employers, we at one time had as many as a thousand large
corporations come to campus. One year in the late 1960s, we had eighty-two or
maybe eighty-eight of the top one hundred corporations come to this campus to
recruit. But now the numbers have decreased because the needs have decreased.
The good news for a campus such as us (a sophisticated, large, land-grant
campus) is [that] we are continuing to have fairly large numbers of employers
recruiting. This is because they have singled out the major sources. They have
stopped going to the smaller schools and the less sophisticated [schools] and the
less quality schools. So it is the real small schools that are really being hurt in this
era as far as recruiting activity on campus. This simply means that we have to shift
into the business of teaching the job seeker how to tap the hidden job market. It is
more critical now than it ever was.
But I will always say that you do not even have to know if a job exists if you know
the type of work and you know of an employer that operates in that area. The
employer is interested and receptive to that opportunity. It is a wonderful thing.
Some employers are beginning to even question the business of coming to campus.
There have been experiments with a video telephone. We were involved in it, [but]
it has not become operational. We experimented right here on campus and we have
such a machine. It is defunct now. The employers would not buy the service, but
the service is operational now. Students can come in and sit in front of a screen and
talk to an employer in Seattle, Washington. [It is] real time, and we were one of the
four or five schools in America that helped pioneer this whole idea along with the
company, called Video Placement.
C: But it was never bought.
M: It was never commercialized because of the downturn in the market. But it is
something that used to cost $300 or $400 an hour for such a system. Then, by
using the fiber cable instead of the satellite, it dropped down to $100 an hour. By
the time it becomes operational, it will be a few dollars an hour--like a telephone
conversation. These are a few of the things that we can anticipate.
More employers are now shifting to experiential learning as the link. J. C. Penney
has said, "We anticipate the day where we will not come to campus to interview
graduating students. We will already have worked with them, tried them out, and
made our selection." Now that makes sense. That becomes a true working partner
with an educational institution that does not have the time, the means, [or] the
resources to give this applied component that is so needed, the hands-on
component, which has left the scene.
C: Well, it is 1990, 1991, and you are starting to think about retirement, I would
assume. What sort of things figured in that decision?
M: Other than the obvious--my age; I went past the normal retirement age of sixty-five.
I went up to sixty-eight. I worked three years beyond normal retirement. I could
have retired ten years ago, having reached thirty years employment plus two years
military. I would have had thirty years credit with the State University System. But I
continued to work because of some of the things that we have just been talking
about--some of the new breakthroughs and challenges that have taken place. But I
would like go back maybe to the last five years or eight years. We talked about the
first ten, twenty, thirty years. Now [let us talk about] the last eight years.
M: [Those are] what I refer to as the fruition years. That is when things--instead of
falling apart--begin to fall together. It became a very symbiotic kind of relationship
with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The liberal arts departments were
very much interested in people having more career education [and] more career
awareness [and] being involved in the job process. Instead of having a secondary
priority, all of a sudden what we were doing was truly coming into its own. It was
essential, it was necessary, and I have no fears they would not come about. In
those years, we began acquiring resources that we never dreamed of to buy more
computers. We went from a few dollars to paying processing costs for the
mainframe computer to where we could buy ourwhole [system]. We bought the first
IBM PC network and put it in operation on campus and connected it to the
mainframe. No one else had ever done that. There was a PC network just starting
over in the O'Connell Center, but we were the first to connect, and monies were
coming our way.
C: Were all of these monies state monies?
M: Some of them came from employers. Employers began asking us, "Can't you use
some money? We understand you are working on computers. We have just
identified a few thousand dollars to send to you to use." I could name dozens of
companies--Exxon, Procter & Gamble--that just gave us money outright to fund
needed programs, to help us in our programs, [and] to buy machinery. So the
resources began coming. Instead of getting one position every other year, we would
get a new position every year. So the office in those years matured and became
sophisticated and very professional in its stance as far as the employers were
concerned [and] as far as the students were concerned. The year before I left,
which was one year ago, our total budget was over $1 million. This included the
monies ($150,000) given to us by the employers to help build the annex [and] it
included $75,000 from student government to furnish the space. The students, two
years before, gave me a check to build the addition. We were later told there was a
regulation against adding onto the student union with student fee money. So we
had to give the check back. But then we went out to the employers and got the
money, and the students came back to us and said, "We can buy your furnishings."
So they gave us a check for $75,000.
These were the kinds of things that were happening every day. Our career
development course was finally given full blessing. The co-op program was
maturing and was meeting ABET standards (as they refer to it in engineering
circles). The career days were at their ultimate.
C: So you felt very comfortable, then, in your latter years in that you had created a
working program and one that was going to function and carry on after you left it in
M: I must mention this, Everett. One of the impetuses for this, and it was looking
toward retirement . say, five years before I retired, whether I retired at sixty-five,
which would have been two years later, or whether I retired at sixty-eight, which was
three years later, I wanted to put a very solid plan in place that would insure the
viability of this program for the future. With the approval of Art Sandeen, the vice
president of student affairs, we were able to have a group of consultants--three
experts--visit our campus and spend two days or more looking exhaustively at what
we were doing: looking at facilities, looking at budget, looking at program, looking at
organization. One of these three gentlemen was from IBM. [His name was] Charlie
Cammack, [and he] was heading up college recruiting for the southern half of the
U.S. Incidentally, one year [he] recruited over 100 students from this University for
his company. We were one of only five schools in the U.S. that could say over a
hundred of our students went to work for IBM in a given year. We were in that elite
group. He was one of the consultants.
Another consultant was perhaps the most noteworthy placement person in the
country at the time, a Jack Shingleton from Michigan State. Then the third person
was a Jerry Wilder, vice president of student affairs at Bowling Green State
University, who did a post-doc here on our campus. He was the one that wrote the
report. These three people interviewed all the top folks on the campus and
delivered a report. I call it the Ten Commandments. They made some ten [or]
twelve recommendations. We spent the remaining five years putting these
recommendations into place. They are essentially meant to double the funding (the
economic resources), to double the staff if possible, and to increase the space of the
facilities. So, in the remaining years, that was my intention.
To a great extent, we met those particular goals. We did not double our funding
resources, but [we] almost did. We did not quite double the number of people,
either. We did build the annex to the center, and we were there in the student union
when they finished the space up on top of the colonnade and offered some more
space. So this relieved a space problem. Interview space was no longer the limiting
factor for having employers come to campus. There were years where we would
just fill up all the spaces, and [we would have to say to some employers,] "I'm sorry.
You can't come."
C: Now that is not a problem.
M: Now that is not the problem. So those kinds of things were overcome. The newer
staff were at a more professional level. We had our first full-fledged computer
professional on board, who has done some amazing things. We refined the career
counseling/planning area. We got several people in that operation. The
administration of the office was changed. The organization was changed. I would
say that certainly we satisfied those initial goals, and we felt that we had laid the
groundwork for the next ten years of successful operation for the center.
We also put into place--which had to be scaled-down--a plan. We called it CRC's
Journey to World Class. This was more of an organizational effort to do the things
that I mentioned to you informally the other day. We wanted--through the computer
and through the types of programs in place--to centralize the placement, the actual
campus interviews and the matching of students with employers even more
centrally. [We wanted to] have one single database for all students [and] one single
employer databasee centralized much like the registrar's record is, where every
department, every faculty [member], and every dean can access it. That is in place
That was one of the very significant things that we did early on through Victor Yellen,
who headed up the academic computer services for some years. Now he has the
title of Assistant Vice President of Computer Services, I believe. One day, with just
a flick of the wrist, he gave us access to the total student record. That would have
taken us years and years and years. We were told years before that sure, we could
have it, once the registrar was through with it. [They said,] "But where do you have
to store it? You would have to replicate everything that we have. [You would have]
to have it stored twice." I said, "No. I do not want to store it twice." [They said,]
"You cannot touch that inviolate information. What are you talking about?" I said, "It
sounded like a pretty good idea to me." I think I could have done it years ago if Dick
Johnson had stayed as registrar. He told me way early we were working toward that
direction before he died. Anyway, Victor Yellen, just with a flick of the wrist, gave us
access to the total student record. This gave us a complete student database. We
could look at freshmen to Ph.D.s and identify those students at the University that
might match a particular interest, whether it be a summer job, an internship, a
permanent job, or whatever it may be. This was a very significant leap in the whole
communication process. I could just recount so many of these important things that
In that connection, one of the important things that took place just before I left was
enabling students to have access to NERDC--to the central computer--through any
remote terminal that had a compatible modem. Whether it is a PC in a dormitory or
in a laboratory, they can connect up. This enabled the students, particularly the
graduating students, to register for job placement remotely. They did it without
having to fill out a hard copy piece of paper with a typewriter and take it in to us
letter-perfect. They could do it and review it and see if it was right. And they could
continue to update it at any time. We were the first office that was given privy to this
service, which eventually will be given to all faculty and all staff. They will have
access to the computer through a personal identification number. This is in
operation right now.
The next stage, of course, is to enable employers--from the outside--to interrogate
that database, and it can be done. It has not been done yet, but it can be done.
Right now it requires an intermediary. The employer calls somebody, and then they
connect up. Or the center can make a copy of all of the students in a particular
group (maybe those who have registered for summer jobs, co-op, or permanent
employment) and make it available to that employer in a disk form. So they can
load it in their PC at their end and query and browse and see if there are some
people to employ. So all of these things are taking place that give the employer and
the student/applicant access to information that was never, ever dreamed of.
C: It sounds like a very interesting future.
M: In 1983, our center won the first national award for innovative programs because of
the work that we did in office automation. It was sponsored by the Gulf Oil
Corporation at the time and presented through the College Placement Council at
their national meeting in Anaheim. I was there to accept that award and a $1,000
C: The award meant more than the check, though, I am sure.
M: No question about that. We were the first to receive this in the country. They have
since made this award and similar awards to other schools.
C: Well, we are coming to the end of our tape, and I want to see if you had a few
closing comments you wanted to make before we wrap this up. I know you probably
have some things that you would like to add that we did not cover in the formal
M: I appreciate that. [Let me share] an overall statement that I think would be
important. I would illustrate it this way. Throughout my career, and to this moment,
students at this University [and] students all over this country are asking for more
career information as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, [and] all along, and they
simply are not getting the career information in the quantity or quality that they need.
Dr. Ben Barger made such a study when he was here at the University and has
since retired. Also, Dr. Pete Tully, head of research for the Board of Regents [did a
study]. They established that of all the needs of the students--and they gave a list--
the most important was for more career information. I do not think that this question
has really been addressed carefully enough. But this was the thing that has driven
our particular effort over the years: to try to remedy this. Florida's state department
of education, during the [term of its] first Republican governor, Claude Kirk, made a
momentous effort to infuse career education into the school system, K through 12.
The federal department of education poured lots of money [into this effort]. Most of
it came to the universities in the form of support for co-op education and experiential
learning programs. That has since been used and [has] sort of frittered away. The
community college programs are not as strong as they were in co-op and job
placement. They are still strong in career counseling and career guidance. But this
business of career education (which I define as simply putting learning to work--
where the world of education and the world of work come together) ... And I would
like to just touch on some aspects of this modern dilemma that I have been
The student will come to the faculty member and say, "Gee. I need some more
career information. I really don't know what I want to do." This student has already
changed majors once or more. Three-fourths of the typical college graduates
change majors once or more. Some of them change three or four times.
C: There is always that pressure to pick the major early, and people find that once they
get into the system that things change.
M: And I have heard students tell me that the advice that they have received so many
times from well-meaning faculty [is], "Don't worry. Don't worry." Now, there are
many that do give a lot of good advice. But most of them do not because they are
too wrapped up into their higher priorities, and that is teaching [and] publishing. The
best they can do is to teach the subject to the student. They can no longer develop
the individual as they could back before this information half-life that we talked about
took place. Here at this University, it is becoming more and more theoretic in the
same time span. Compared to what it was when I first came here, there ought to be
twice as much time spent. So these are the problems, and I certainly do not point
my finger at the faculty. They are kind of like spokes in the wheel. I call it the
integrity of the specie. Each spoke has its particular role, and it does not have to be
the other spoke. It just has to be itself. It is certainly not the hub, and it certainly is
not the rim. So I have much more sympathy for the faculty member that is just being
pressed, that cannot work any longer.
The three steps to learning, in my meager understanding, are, first, information, and
we have the opportunity now to transmit, to receive, [and] to assimilate more
information than was ever available [before] in mankind right at this moment. Then,
from that information, [we have] the opportunity to convert that into knowledge, and
where I think we are having the slippage--certainly in higher education--is in the
application of that knowledge. In other words, help the student put learning to work.
This is the missing component in the whole picture. I call it the career education
component. It is just beginning to be addressed, and for the first time, the [state]
superintendent of education, Betty Castor, has developed a publication. [It is]
something about Careers 2000, and it talks about career education for people from
kindergarten through college.
C: Blueprint 2000. That is the new program.
M: OK. She personally was urged to include post-secondary education. Originally, it
was not [included]. Some people urged her to, but they did not do it. A group of us
went up there and urged her. So she incorporated that, and I was delighted.
People ask, "What are you talking about when you talk about career preparation
[and] career education?" They just think in terms of subject matter or curriculum. I
am referring to the student just asking these simple but profound questions: "Who
am I? What makes me tick? What are my aspirations, inclinations, hopes, desires,
and so forth? [What is] truly, uniquely me?" Then the next question is, "What can I
do given these talents, interests, [and] aspirations? What skills do I have? What
talents do I have [that are] uniquely mine? Where and with whom can I utilize these
talents?" It is within those simple questions that the whole heart of career education
lies, and that is the business that the program that we have been talking about for
the last couple of days encompasses. That is what it is all about.
This is something that is not just the school's responsibility, but, as you know,
education is the responsibility of the home, the parent, the employer, [and]
everyone. I talk to employers [and] parents. I have had dozens of sons and
daughters of deans and even presidents of this University sent to me not having the
foggiest notion of what a career plan is. So this is one of the main points I have to
make here. If there is anything that I feel that I have been advocating and stand for,
it is that the career plan should precede the academic program. In fact, the
academic program should come out of what the career plan is!
C: And too many times, it is the other way around.
M: No doubt about it! A student will come in, and [we] say, "Who are you?" [He says,]
"I am an English [major]," having no idea, really, of these things that they could
begin to translate out. We talked about changing the major. The modern job seeker
is going to change careers four to five times or more in a working lifetime. [He or
she will have] ten to twelve jobs. As I have said before, the educational institution is
curricula-oriented--so many hours in a particular subject--and it must go. That is
important, certainly. That is the foundation. But it also must have more information
in the area that should be skill-oriented and talent-oriented.
C: You see this K-12 as well as ...
M: Yes. It should start, certainly, that early. Those little kids can begin formulating
those ideas. It does not have to be [a separate subject]. We are teaching math,
[but] now we are going to talk about career education. It can be incorporated in it. It
is just the inferences. It is how it is being used. Instead of being taught in the
abstract, it should be taught more in reality. I am not talking about vocational
training--not at all. We are talking about having each student coming to college and
saying, "It is not just what I want to do, but it is what I want to be." That is
significant. That is substance. And that is what the employer is looking for now.
This is the crass thing that so many of the faculty do not like--this [attitude of,] "I just
come here to get a job. It is what I want to do that is important." It is what you want
to be [that is important]. But you cannot be much if you are not doing something of
significance. So it is a beautiful circular argument. We talked about how society is
changing, but it is mainly the pace of change that is harming us--the information
half-life. It is at a dizzying pace.
The employer--from the day I came to work until the day I left--would spell out simply
what they are looking for in the way of an applicant. I care not whether it is
accounting or zoology, a bachelor's [degree] or a Ph.D. They are looking for a can-
do, will-do person. The will-do is the value, the character part that is in back of it.
There is not a college student that cannot do most anything there is to do in this
world in the way of careers orjobs. But will they do it? This is the hang-up. We are
not teaching the values--and I am not talking about religious or even moral values--
but just basic values: [the] principles of work [and] the work ethic.
I just want to end with this. The employer is also this can-do, will-do person [who]
possesses success skills. Success skills, in the employers mind, are [first,] very
clearly, a person who can set goals. Goal-setting skills [are important]: daily,
monthly, yearly, throughout their lives. [The second success skill involves] problem-
solving skills. [Employers look for] the ability to carry out those goals in whatever
fashion is needed, the detail and the agony. The third skill is communication--the
ability to have people not only understand what you are saying, but believe what you
are saying and support what you are saying. That is communication; that is
leadership. Finally, the toughest one is the interpersonal skills--the ability to get
along with other people. That is the failing that most people have, period. The
stumbling block for college students in their first year is they have not learned how to
get along with other people. They just blow up and cannot handle it.
Just a final parting shot. I waited a long time and I worked with and for and through
nine or ten presidents; I forget how many have come and gone since I have been
here. But only one president has ever said what I think is a significant thing about
what needs to be done in higher education that would directly impact what we are
saying here: combine the academic component with the career component and
beyond, with improving productivity of this country, with excellence. That is what it is
all about: excellence. It has got to be. You cannot accept anything less than
quality. The only president that I have ever heard really speak to that was [John
Lombardi]. It was in a white paper about a year and a half ago that was authored by
Lombardi and Sorensen. It was titled something to do with achievement
measurements for the institutions. It was certainly endorsed by the chancellor and
sent out to all the universities. The parts that I remember that are significant
[include]: We must measure not just what comes in, but what comes out--not just
the dollars and the numbers and the hours and the courses and all that jazz. We
need to get to the substance. He and Sorenson are willing enough, and I do not
know that anybody has paid any attention to it, but I did. Until somebody embraces
this, I do not think much is going to happen. That is [measured by] indices such as
asking the student a year out how well their education has prepared them for the
problems that they are encountering. Ask the employer how well that student is
doing on the job, and continue doing this. That is true follow-up. There are many,
many indices or achievement measurements that he mentioned that would help us
get on target. But it is an effort to kind of quantify the quality. A lot of people get
hung up any time you start quantifying something.
C: Yes. Number-crunching.
M: Yes. But you need some kind of measurement.
C: You need that attempt to do so, anyway.
M: In our center, we had this measurement of the percent of people employed as of
graduation, and it is an important index. It should be [measured] a year later and on
out. We began gathering that kind of information. This should be a part of the
institutional research of this University.
C: I agree.
M: Well, I have enjoyed visiting with you.
C: I have enjoyed it, too. I am glad that you agreed to do the interview, and I am sure
that it is going to provide a great deal of useful information. I am sure that it will
provide some use to someone in the future as well. The Career Resource Center is
certainly one of the most important aspects of the University, and having an
interview with a person like you who has been so instrumental in building that part of
the University is a real asset to our collection.
M: Certainly the credit goes to people like Art Sandeen, President [J. Hillis] Miller,
president [J. Wayne] Reitz, and all the various presidents. But Art Sandeen was
closer to actually making the decisions that made the kinds of things happen. I just
happened to be that person. I have enjoyed all these years because to me it
became a calling. I took the job first because I knew--having come back from New
York to Florida--it would be a great place to look for a job. It was a nothing job when
I took it. Nobody even knew what it was.
In the first year, I had five or six job offers. The very first job offer I had was to go
back to New York City, two blocks from where I had been working, to head up
college relations for the J.C. Penney Company. The guy said, "I will give you all the
time you need to think about my offer." I said, "I don't need any time to think about
your offer. Thank you very much, but I am staying here." [laughter]
C: You had already found your calling.
M: "I have ajob to do, and I am going to see it through. Every time somebody tells me I
cannot do it, I am going to redouble my effort." That is what has kept me going
forward. It only took us sixteen months to get approval for that little glass enclosure
over that annex. I would still be here if they had told me that we could not build that
annex with that glass over it. But that is the way we had planned it, and that is the
way we wanted it, and it was done that way. It did take somebody in the governor's
office to make it work.
C: But it got done.
M: After sixteen months of bottlenecks, it got done. So I have enjoyed this kind of job,
and I feel that I have touched the lives of some people. That is why I stayed here. It
is what little contribution I could do uniquely for this institution [and] this society.
C: I agree. I would say that you have touched more than a few lives. I would argue
with your assessment that you only placed one person. I think there are thousands
of people that would argue with that.
M: Well, I do get a certain amount of satisfaction. It was mixed satisfaction when a
student walked in and says, "Mr. Mayberry, my grandfather told me to come and use
this center. You helped him get a job." So not only the father but the grandchild has
come to us. So that is a certain amount of satisfaction.
C: That is, indeed. Well, thank you very much.
M: My pleasure.