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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWEE: Dr. Robert Cabaniss Goodwin
INTERVIEWER: Dr. Stephen Kerber
DATE: September 11, 1978
Today is Monday, September 11, 1978-. My name is Steve Kerber and
I am going to be conducting an oral history interview with Dr. R.
C. Goodwin, formerly a member of the faculty of the Department of
Chemistry at the University of Florida, and President Emeritus of
Texas Tech University. This interview with Dr. Goodwin for the
University of Florida Oral History Project will take place in the
Ford Library of the Florida State Museum at 10:00 a.m.
K: When did you retire from Tech?
K: I'd like to begin by asking you to give me your full name.
G: Robert Cabaniss Goodwin.
K: Is your middle name a family name?
G: Yes. My mother's family name.
K: I see. What was your father's name?
G: John W. Goodwin.
K: And you mother's full name?
G: Kate Cabaniss Goodwin.
K: Where were you born, Dr. Goodwin?
G: Brownwood, Texas.
K: That's right about in the center of the state, isn't it?
K: Do you mind telling us your birth date?
G: No, I'm a good Irishman. I was born on St. Patrick's Day
K: I see.
G: That's the only thing Irish about me [chuckle], March 17.
K: Now did you grow up and go to grade school in Brownwood?
K: How about high school?
G: I finished high school there. Then there was a college there
at that time. I graduated from Howard Payne College.
K: When did you graduate from high school?
G: Nineteen fourteen.
K: Did you go on immediately to Howard Payne?
G: Yes, I finished there in 1917.
K: You must have been one of the younger people on campus at
G: Well, I wasn't the oldest one anyhow.
K: Now what was your major at Howard Payne?
G: Well, frankly [chuckle] I suppose you'd have to say it was
K: Oh, really? Not chemistry?
G: No, I never had but one course in chemistry [chuckle].
K: You had very little interest in it at that time?
G: Well, my father was a lawyer. Unconsciously, I guess every-
body thought I was going to be a lawyer. So I was just taking
kind of a general course, not any specific thing in mind at all as
far as college was concerned.
K: Just a general preparation for law school?
G: Mm hm.
K: I see. Now at what time of year did you graduate from Howard
G: It was June or May.
K: And did you then decide to go on to graduate school or did
you go into the service in World War I?
G: I went in the service a little bit later on, yes.
K: Uh huh. Which service did you go into?
G: Well, I was in the navy.
K: Where did they send you?
G: I didn't contribute much to the winning of the war. I spent
the time in Great Lakes Training Station.
K: What was your duty there?
G: Well, I enlisted in Michigan. That's the reason, I think,
they sent me to the Great Lakes rather than some other place.
Had I enlisted in Texas, they probably would not have sent
me there. So I was sent over to Great Lakes, but who should
I bump into over there in boot camp but a bunch of Texas boys.
They ran this naval station there very much like on campus.
They had cadet officers and things like that. These Texas
fellows were cadet officers, but the minute they found out I
was from Texas, why I started in on gravy street in a way.
Wasn't long before I was a cadet officer! I was wound up
as company commander of headquarters company. But headquarters
company consisted of the football team, the cooks, yeomen,
they called them, and the venereals. I was company commander
of that company until after the Armistice.
K: I see.
G: Then, after the Armistice, I was trying to get out of the navy.
So that was my military service, until later on I was first
lieutenant in the reserve chemical warfare service.
K: Do you mind if I ask you what you were doing in Michigan?
Were you on vacation or...?
G: I had a brother living there, an older brother.
K: Did you get out soon after November 1918?
G: It was in January of '19 when I got out.
K: Where did you go from there? Did you go on to graduate
G: Not immediately. Once again, my father was in ill health--he
was a lawyer. He had to give up his practice. So I went back
to Michigan again and once again I thought I was going to
be a lawyer. I didn't think so, but that was kind of
[chuckle] what was going on!
K: The expectation?
G: So I went over to the University of Michigan. Of course,
after the war, why, the university was crowded with the
returnees coming back. I know if I'd been really ambitious,
I could have found a place to stay. But, you know, I couldn't
find a place to stay in Ann Arbor.
My parents were back in Grand Rapids and I went back
there. They decided to spend that winter there. I had two
younger brothers, so we went about trying to see about getting
them in school. The principal of the school asked me what I
was going to do. I said, "I guess I'll get me a job here some-
where." He said, "Well, you want a job teaching school?" I
never had dreamed of teaching school. So I took a job teaching
school. Andwhat did I teach? Chemistry. But I had had only
one freshman course in chemistry.
K: Now this was in high school where you taught?
G: That was in high school. That was the beginning of it. In
this school building, they had one of the first junior colleges,
municipal junior colleges, in the country. It opened up about
two weeks after the high school did. They had an influx of
students who couldn't get into the university or didn't want
to go there or something. So they had to have some additional
help in the junior college. So after two weeks experience
teaching freshman chemistry in high school, they put me up in
junior college to teach a course I never had had! Well, that's
what started me in chemistry.
K: I see.
G: That following summer I went to University of Wisconsin--took
the course I'd been teaching.
K: That must have been a very challenging experience.
G: I've had three times in my life that I've been called upon to
teach courses I never had had. That was the first time.
The second time was here at the University of Florida. I
was supposed to teach a course in biological chemistry or bio-
chemistry or whatever you want to call it these days. I never
had had it.
Then, when I went out to Texas Tech, they were trying to
get the chemical engineering started. So I taught a course in
chemical engineering and never was in engineering and never
had had a course in it!
K: You must be a very flexible person.
G: Well, I've always found this--that you can learn a lot by
trying to teach a course.
K: You sure can. You have to. Tell me now, how long did you
continue to teach the high school as well as the junior college
G: Two years.
K: That would have been from 1919...
G: To '21, something like that...
K: To '21. Then did you go back to graduate school?
G: Then I went back to the University of Texas, having decided
to go ahead in chemistry. Of course, I had a lot of make-up
to do, because I hadn't had the work. I spent three years
at the University of Texas. Got a master's degree in '23 and
then spent one more year up there. Then from there I went to
K: Now, let me interrupt you for a second. Did you have to do a
thesis for your master's degree?
G: Oh, yes.
K: What was the reason that you went back to Austin?
G: Well, there again, I followed my parents. My father had recovered
somewhat in his health, and they moved to Austin. My father
was in the office of the banking commissioner as their legal
adviser in the banking commission. So the whole family moved
back to Austin, the two younger brothers and I. My older brother
was married and lived in Michigan, but I went back with my father.
That's how I went back to the University of Texas.
K: How did your parents feel about your decision to go into
chemistry instead law?
G: They had no objections whatsoever. I had a younger brother;
he was a lawyer. So they had one lawyer to keep the rest of
us out of trouble.
K: Now what was it that drew you to Harvard? Just the reputation
of the university?
G: Yeah. I had a fellowship there.
K You had applied while you were still at Austin?
K: How long did that fellowship last?
G: Well, I was up there two years.
K: Two years? Now when did you enter at Harvard?
K: The fall of '24?
K: Could you tell us a little bit about what your program involved
at that time as far as course work and your doctoral examinations?
G: Well, at Harvard I took nothing, practically, but chemistry.
Most every college, you know, and every department had some
pet courses. You have to take those pet courses. In fact,
I've had better courses at the University of Texas than some
of my pet courses I had to take up there. But you had to take
G: I was in charge of a laboratory up there. The Harvard laboratory
operated quite differently from what most of the colleges do.
Instead of having prescribed hours for students to report to
the laboratory, they had none. The laboratory was open all the
time. Every so often they had to have so much work done. But
then the assistants, and in that case myself, would have to be
in the laboratory practically all the time. We did our own re-
search work right there. The laboratory was open all day long
and the other students camein and did their work when they really
felt like they wanted to do it. So I was there for practically
two years in that laboratory.
I came down here, of course, in the fall of '26.
K: I take it that you had not finished your dissertation when you
came down here?
G: No, I had to go back one summer and finish it up up there in
K: Which summer was that?
G: Well, I think I finally got my doctor's degree in '28.
Wasn't until '28 I finally got my degree.
K: Now who was the man that your worked under?
G: A man name Kohler.
K: What was his specialty?
G: Well, he's an organic chemist.
K: How did you hear about the job opportunity at the University
G: Well, that involves another man. Have you ever interviewed
Dr. [Alvin Percy] Black?
K: Dr. Black has been interviewed, but not by me. But we do have
an interview with Dr. Black, yes.
G: Well, while I'm on that subject, have you interviewed Otte, B.
[Burton] J. Otte?
K: Yes, I did Mr. Otte a few weeks ago.
G: Well, those fellows were here when I came, of course. Percy
Black was up at Harvard doing some graduate work the year I
was up there. He, of course, was from Texas, so there again
Texans got together. Of course, he stayed up there one year,
came on back. Then, after another year, they had the opening
down here. So Percy was the one who got me down here.
K: I see. He let you know about it.
G: Yeah, he was the one that pretty well helped me out in getting
the job, as far as I'm concerned.
K: Did you have to have an interview or did you just apply?
G: For what?
K: For this position here at Florida.
G: I had no interview at all. Dr. [Townes R.] Leigh was the head
of the department then. I think that Percy--course I never found
this out for sure--but Percy probably talked with Dr. Leigh
and got me down here. That was about all there was to it.
K: When did you come down here to Gainesville for the first time?
G: That fall, about August 1926, the latter part of August.
K: Just before school started?
G: Mm hm.
K: I see. How did you travel down?
G: I had a 1924 Model T Ford.
K: You drove down all the way?
G: Oh, yes. I made several trips between here and Massachusetts
in that Ford.
K: That must have been a real adventure at that time.
G: Well, it wasn't so bad. No, first time I crossed the United
States in a car was in 1915.
G: So, by '26, why that was nothing at all. Just took that old
Ford and went right along. I wish I had it now.
K: Do you mind telling us how much they offered you to start at
G: Two thousand five hundred dollars.
K: Was that for nine months?
G: That's for nine months.
K: I see.
G: Assistant professor. What does an assistant professor get now?
K: Oh, I think about $12,000 to start. What was your first impres-
sion of Gainesville? Did it remind you at all of Brownwood?
G: Well I drove, as I said. I came down in that Ford. Came in
through Lake City to the north, you know. At that time, out
on the north edge of Gainesville, there was a kind of a separate
little town out there almost. It wasn't separate, but they
called it north Gainesville. Between that part of town and
the rest of the town, there was a considerable gap in there
with no development at all. So when I drove in out there and
came into north Gainesville and looked around, I said "Lord of
mercy! If this is Gainesville, I'm goin on."
G: But I did go on, finallycame to Gainesville. My first experience
in Gainesville--out in my part of the country, why most every
drugstore had a soda fountain in it. Well, I drove into Gainesville,
'course the air conditioning in that '24 Ford of mine wasn't
too good. It was hotter than HadesI So I drove down here to
the square and the drugstore there. I hopped out, go in there
and get me something cold to drink. Got in there and they didn't
even have a soda fountain! So [chuckle] I found another store
up there close by did have one.
I was anxious to find Percy. He was the only person I knew
in Gainesville, of course, and I called him up. I owe a lot to
Percy, my coming down here and then the first night I was here
in Gainesville he and his wife--and incidentally, though we never
could establish it definitely, in all probability his wife and
I played together as children.
G: Though we never knew it at the time or anything, but just think-
ing back over the years. Of course, she didn't know at that time
when I came. She didn't know me at all. I didn't know her.
But they had me over for supper that night and they invited
a fourth person. That fourth person was a young lady that I
married later on. So the first night I was in Gainesville...
K: You met your future wife?
G: Mm hm.
K: What was your wife's name?
G: She was a member of the Bishop family, Constance Bishop. Her
father was a doctor here. You may have heard of the name Howard
Bishop, that's one of her brothers.
K: I see.
G: I met her the first night I was in Gainesville.
K: When did you get married?
G: Well, it was several years later. About three years later, we
K: What was your first impression of this campus?
G: [Laughter]. Well, I don't remember what the student body was
at that time. Seems like it was 1,800, but it must have been
more than that. Of course, they had the old Science [Flint]
Hall, Iithink they called it--a combination of chemistry and
biology and geology and pharmacy. All of themin there in the
K: Mm hm.
G: If I remember correctly.
K: Mm hm.
G: And then there was Peabody Hall. Then they had the chapel
[University Auditorium] at the time, and of course dormitories.
You had no trouble finding a place to park! None whatever
[chuckle]. Of course, while I was here, they built the new
Chemistry Building--I don't know if it's still called that now
K: They call it Leigh now.
G: Leigh Hall?
K: Mm hm.
G: It was much more impressive, if I wanted to use that on a
comparative basis, than when I went out to Texas Tech and saw
what they had. But, having been thrown in with Constance
Bishop, she belonged to the town and not the gown. So, most
of my time that I was here, I was thrown in with the town and
not the gown.
K: I see.
G: Of course, there were many interesting experiences out here.
At that time it wasn't coeducational. If I remember right,
there was only one woman on the faculty. She was the librarian.
K: Miss Miltimore?
G: Miss Miltimore, yeah.
K: Did you know her very well at all?
G: No, I didn't know her personally at all. No.
We didn't have as many people. Everything was kind of a
family-like proposition. Our faculty meetings, when we had them,
were just smoke-fests. That's about all it amounted to.
I never will forget one of them. We had another man in
chemistry, Vestus Twiggs Jackson. He was a chain smoker, but
every once in a while he quit. I went to one faculty meeting--
of course, we had no air conditioning in those days. We'd
meet in one of the classrooms and open up the windows. I went
over there with him and I said, "Jack, you better get over here
next to this window, 'cause I'm gonna smoke." This was one of
those times when he'd sworn off. He said, "No, Bob, you get over
there and you smoke and then you blow it right in my face."
K: Was there any landscaping or any lawns around on campus at that
G: Well, of course, they kept the grass cut and a few things like
that. But I don't remember. It was probably there, but I
wasn't looking at that particular time.
K: Mm hm.
G: So I don't know.
K: Now where was your office in Science Hall?
G: It was at one end of the laboratory. That's all the place they
had to put a desk there.
K: Can you tell me which floor you were on?
G: I was on the first floor. I think chemistry was on the first
floor. The janitors were all colored. Everybody was called
doctor. I didn't have my doctor's degree at that time, but every-
body was doctor, doctor, doctor there [chuckle]. Well, we had
Dr. Leigh, and Jackson and [Fred Harvey] Heath and Black. Those
were the faculty. Otte was in charge of the stockroom. That was
about--of course, we had some student assistants, things like
that--but that was about the size of the faculty at that time.
K: Where were the other departments you mentioned a second ago lo-
G: They were up in the upper stories of the building. I've forgotten
the exact location.
K: Did you know Mr, Van Hyning who ran the museum?
G: No. I knew who he was, of course. But I didn't know him, no.
K: When did your department make the move into the new Chemistry
G: Well, it must have been in '29,because I was there one year
before I left. So it must have been that they moved in there
in '29. Of course, it wasn't completed then. I'm sure they've
added to it much since that time.
K: Mm hm.
G: I had a little office in the laboratory over in a kind of
wooden annex. They tacked on kind of a cover up to put some-
thing else there.
K: It was attached to the new...?
G: It was part of the new building. It was a kind of a temporary
wall there, something that they could add to later on.
K: Were any members of the Chemistry Department consulted by the
architects in the design of your new facilities?
G: Oh, yes. Dr. Leigh, of course, was the principal one. The rest
of us had little individual jobs to look into. My job was to
kind of check--one of mine--was to check the location of the outlets
for the hoods. I don't know whether you're familiar with it,
the hood, or not. The hood is designed where you have a wall
and then there's a part like that, about this far out, and then
there's this--usually it's asbestos or some kind of a board like
that and the draft is a place at the bottom where the air can
pull it up behind that thing.
K: Mm hm.
G: Well, if you need any electrical connections, they have to be
around the hood somewhere. I found several instances they'd
put the outlet behind where just board would be.
G: So, we had things like that we had to check up on, things of
that kind. Dr. Leigh was the one primarily involved in the
design of it.
K: What was your initial teaching load like? How many courses did
you have to teach?
G: I had freshman chemistry lectures and classes, laboratory classes
in organic. I had the laboratory with Dr. Leigh when I first came
here.I was teaching organic chemistry. And I had the laboratories
in it. Then I had the freshman chemistry. That was principally
mine--my job. Dr. Black, of course, had analytic chemistry and
he also had some freshman chemistry. Jackson was what we call
these days physical chemistry. My job was principally helping
out Dr. Leigh in the organic laboratory and in freshman chem-
K: Were you on the semester system...
K: ...at that time? Did you have any committee assignments at
that time or was there that much work that needed to be handled
G: I'll tell you an interesting story in connection with committees.
I had no permanent assignment. I had some special appointments
occasionally, but I wasn't a member of any particular committee.
When Dr. Tigert came here--the first faculty meetings were
in one of these big classrooms-he came in there and the faculty
was all there when Dr. Tigert came in. He had a catalog in his
hand and without much preliminary going on he opened up his
catalog and there was a list of committees with the chairmen.
He started in the first committee, he called on the chairman for
a report [chuckle].
G: Far as I know there was no warning whatsoever, and he went
right down the list.
K: Mm hm.
G: Most of them had practically no report at all. He said, "Now
gentlemen, if we're going to have a committee form of government,
we've got to have the committees' support to function" [chuckle].
That was his introduction to the faculty, I think, about the
K: He made his point, I guess. In what buildings did you teach
while you were here? In Flint and in Leigh, what they now call
G: I was just in two buildings.
K: Just in those two?
K: There was an old originally wood and later brick building just
south of the Agriculture Building where they have recently built
a huge new classroom building. I think in the thirties, right
after you left, it became the University Post Office. Was that
used by the Chemistry Department at all?
G: Far as I know, not. Far as I know, Chemistry Department
didn't. I remember that. It was there when I was there,
probably. Either it was there, or I have on some of my trips
back had occasion to use it. Now I don't remember-which.
K: Mm hm.
G: But I know it was that little building, a little one-story
K: Yes, yes.
G: There was a post office there. But I can't say now positively
whether it was used when I was here teaching, or whether I
had occasion to use it on some of my trips back here. 'Cause
I've been back and forth here fifty times [chuckle].
K: Certainly, with your family connection. Did you have the
opportunity to supervise any theses--master's theses--while
you were here?
G: One, two, something like that. Practically wrote one for a
fellow who reached the deadline and had to have it, had to
have his thesis in. We sat up practically all one night typing
his thesis for him, getting it up for him where he could meet
his deadline. I had one or two work for the master's degree,
'course they didn't offer the doctor degree.
K: Where within these two buildings that we've been discussing
were the chemistry laboratories located?
G: Oh, they were all over the building. Different laboratories,
K: They were not just in one place?
G: Oh, no.
K: Did each professor have his own lab that he taught in?
G: Yes. Take, for example, Dr. Black. He was teaching analytical
chemistry. But it takes a certain type of equipment for that
thing. So it had to be in a certain place.
K: Mm hm.
G: Usually the chemistry in teaching freshman chemistry, you can
teach them most anywhere as...
K: Mm hm.
G: ....far as the lab is concerned. Organic has to have a certain
type of equipment; you've got to have that type of equipment
in the laboratory. You could use an organic laboratory for
freshman chemistry, but you couldn't use a freshman laboratory
to teach organic chemistry.
K: Mm hm. Was it intended that the professor's office should
be next to his lab?
G: Well, there are two theories about that. I don't know that
either theory was in effect here when I was here then, 'cause
you just had to kind of take a laboratory in an office where
K: I see. When you started here, was there a bachelor's degree
offered in chemistry itself?
G: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
K: It was in chemistry?
G: Master's degree in chemistry.
K: Now which college was that offered in?
G: Arts and Sciences.
K: Arts and Sciences. Was there any College of Arts and Sciences
requirement that an Arts and Science student had to take any
certain number of chemistry courses?
G: I couldn't tell you--don't remember.
K: Do you remember if agriculture majors had to take chemistry?
G: Oh yeah, that was the bane of our existence. Sometimes they
had special courses for them, the agriculture students. Not
only in this college, but most any other then, agriculture
[majors] had to take chemistry unless they had specialized
courses for them. Why, the chemistry was the bane of the
existence of ag students. Percy Black also taught some of the
agriculture chemistry students.
K: Was there anyone that you recall on the agriculture faculty
who taught chemistry? Or did those agriculture students take
all their chemistry from the Chemistry Department?
G: Well, they took from the Chemistry Department, I think. As I
say, Percy Black had one kind of specialized course for the ag
K: Mm hm.
G: But, far as I remember, they had to take their chemistry in the
K: Could you tell me roughly how many hours of chemistry a course
might cover during the week? In other words, would it be
Monday through Friday? How many time periods would it take up?
G: Well, the old theory is for every semester hour credit, you
spent three hours in class or its equivalent. Three hours of
laboratory was equivalent to one hour in class. That was the
old theory. I don't think it's still in effect now, but that
was the oldway of doing things. So you could add it up. They
took a three-hour course; most of the courses in the Chemistry
Department had laboratory. So you had maybe two hours in class,
one three-hour lab period a week.
K: Was there any pattern to the days of the week? Would you have
your lectures on a Monday or a Wednesday and then a lab on a
G: Not necessarily. You had to juggle. You didn't have as many
labs as you had classrooms.
K: Mm hm.
G: And you had to fit your lab work in when the lab was available
K: Were your labs or your lectures ever held on Saturday?
G: We had classes on Saturday morning, yes. I don't recall
Saturday afternoon, but we had Saturday morning.
K: All through the time that you were here?
G: Mm hm.
K: Do you know what purpose that served, that Saturday morning
G: It gave you two cycles: Monday, Wednesday, Friday; Tuesday,
K: I see. So that was the thinking behind it? Not the temperature
being cooler in the morning or anything?
K: I see. Now when you had a course that was divided into a
lecture and a lab, would you as the instructor always be
present in the lab or did you have someone like Professor
Otte or a graduate student there in the lab?
G: Well, take my own case. As I said, I was in charge of organic
K: Mm hm.
G: Dr. Leigh taught the course.
K: Mm hm.
G: Other times there'd be a graduate student or advanced
students at least in the laboratory, maybe along with an
instructor. It all depends. There was always somebody there.
K: Were there many out-of-state undergraduates that you taught
while you were here or was virtually everyone a Floridian?
G: Well, I never knew.
K: Never came up in that fashion? In talking about the laboratory,
was the equipment that you had available to you as an instructor
adequate for the type of course and the type of student you
G: Far as mine was concerned, yes. 'Course I was not teaching
very advanced work, but as far as I was concerned, we had ade-
K: Did the legislature or the university attempt to cut back the
salaries of the people in chemistry at any time during these
what were in Florida Depression years that you were here?
G: Not while I was here. Now it may have happened later on,
but not that I recall. Not as far as I was concerned. I
didn't get any advances though.
K: How well prepared were the students coming into the University
of Florida that you taught as compared to say the students
that you were getting in Texas in your first years out there?
In other words, what kind of a job were the high schools doing?
G: Well, I would say at that time there was practically no
difference at all. I think it's almost universally true at that
time that ag students coming from rural schools were perhaps
not quite so well prepared as those from the city schools. I
think that was true here and it was true out there.
K: Can you give me any idea how many undergraduate chemistry majors
there would have been while you were teaching?
G: I haven't the slightest idea.
K: Okay. Roughly how many people might you have had in a chemistry
course in one course?
G: Well, there again you got to talk about what you mean. When
you lecture the freshmen, you may lecture to 100.
K: Mm hm.
G: But then they're divided up later on into groups, so it all
depends what you mean by how many do you have in a course.
K: Was much emphasis in the total grade a student received from his
laboratory work? Or did-this grade come mostly from testing
back in the classroom? Just how did you weigh these various
factors in a grade?
G: Well, it's difficult for me to differentiate between what I
did here and what I did at Tech.
K: Mm hm.
G: Of course, I think that the work in the laboratory, a grade in
the laboratory's quite essential to consider in the total grade.
In any science, there's a certain amount of dexterity involved.
If you want to go ahead in it, as well as knowledge, you've got
to be able to use your hands. So the laboratory work has to be,
I think, considered. Now just to what extent might vary somewhat
in different people. You can give tests in the laboratory as
well as in the classroom and certainly the laboratory reports
are graded. So I think they all need to be considered in determin-
ing the final grade of a student.
K: Mm hm.
G: The fact of the business is, I think sometimes the laboratory
work has helped a student pass when otherwise they might not
K: Was there a separate branch chemistry library here while you
were here? Perhaps in Science Hall?
G: Yes, there was a little library here. There again, I'm trying
to differentiate where I've been, various places.
K: Mm hm.
G: There was a library there all right.
K: In Science Hall?
G: In the old Science Hall. Whether it's still there or not,
I don't know.
K: Yes, it is. It's called Flint Hall. By the way, did you
ever meet Dr. Flint? Edward Flint?
K: What was the area on the north side of campus--on the north
side of University Avenue--like when you arrived? Were there
any buildings there that you remember?
G: If there were, I don't recall. I don't recall anything about
K: Do you remember if the street was paved out that far?
G: University Avenue you're talking about?
K: Yes, sir.
K: East and west.
G: East and west. 'Course wasn't University Avenue at that time.
Wasn't it paved in brick or somthing, with a kind of parkway
in the middle or something of that kind? Or was that somewhere
else? I had a room downtown and drove that old Model T Ford
back and forth. That was about the extent of my driving as
far as the college was concerned.
K: Did you live in a boarding house or a hotel...?
G: No, my first room was in a home that's still there--one of the
prettiest homes in Gainesville--the old Gracie home. It's
still over there.
K: Did you remain there until the time that you got married?
G: No, later on I had another room in a house that's long since been
torn down. It's back over there where that parking lot is back
of Wise's drugstore, in that area there. There was a house
in there where I had a room.
K: Where did you park your car when you came out here? Was
there a parking lot or did you just leave it at the side of
G: No, just drove up there and parked in front of the Chemistry
K: How many cars would you see around the Chemistry Building?
Did many people own cars?
G: Well, there was never any trouble finding a parking place.
K: What kind of or style of clothing did the students wear here
in the twenties? For instance, did they have to wear a tie?
G: Oh, I don't recall they had to wear anything. I don't suppose
anybody had $200 suits on in those days, but they were neatly
dressed. Nothing wild or anything about them at all.
K: What about the faculty? How did the faculty members dress?
G: Well, I'll say about the same thing. Of course, one advantage
you have in science sometimes, you can always just wear a
smock or something like that, and you don't have to be dressed
up in tuxedos to go to class.
K: Mm hm.
G: But I think most of the faculty just wore ordinary business
clothes and things of that kind.
K: Did you yourself wear a jacket or a tie?
G: Oh, yes.
K: Do you know if there was a university-wide policy on class
attendance and whether students would be required to attend
all their classes?
G: I wouldn't want to say. I don't know. I don't recall.
K: Did they still have compulsory chapel attendance while you
G: No. The only thing that was supposed to be compulsory was it
was supposed to be compulsory to go to commencement exercises
[chuckle]. That was one of my assignments at one time. I
was a marshall to make sure they all got lined up and got them
in the chapel.
K: That's where they held the ceremony then for graduation?
I see. Did you go to any of the football games in the twenties?
G: Oh, yes.
K: Where did they play? Relative to something like Thomas Hall?
Can you tell me?
G: Well, frankly, I forgot. I don't know where they played.
K: Okay. How about basketball? Did you attend any basketball
G: No, it didn't have much basketball, I recall, in those days.
K: Mm hm. Do you remember if they ever showed movies on campus,
motion pictures? For the students?
G: If they did, I don't recall it.
K: Either during the regular school year or perhaps if you ever
taught during the summer, did you ever have any female students
in your classes?
G: I don't recall ever having any, no. I taught in the summertime,
K: Can you tell me how long the summer term ran in those days?
G: I believe it's a six week term.
K: Six weeks?
G: That's what I seem to think it was.
K: Can you recall if there was much excitement over the establishment
of the radio station in 1928?
G: Well, of course, what was his name, Riley?
K: Bert [C.] Riley?
G: Bert Riley. He was quite an energetic gentleman. I knew him
quite well. 'Course, I had Red Barber in one of my freshmen
K: Mm hm.
G: He got over there pretty quickly when he was a student here.
We knew the station was there, as far as that's concerned.
I wasn't particularly interested in radio programs myself
at the time, but we knew it was there. Mrs. Riley and Bert
Riley, I recall them very definitely.
K: Did you get to know Dr. [James M.] Farr? The vice-president.
G: I knew who he was, that's about all.
K: And how about Dr. [Albert Alexander] Murphree?
G: Well, Dr. Murphree was president when I came, but I didn't,
I couldn't say I knew him at all. 'Course, I know his sons
K: I'd like to go over some of the members of the Chemistry
Department, some of the people you've already mentioned. If
you would, I'd like to ask you to tell me what it was that they
taught or specialized in and a little bit about their personal-
ity or their character. I'd like to start with Dr. Leigh.
G: Well, of course, Dr. Leigh. He was...I would say his principal
characteristic was precision. He was quiet, but quite precise.
He was the one in charge primarily of organic chemistry and head
of the department. He and Mrs. Leigh had this home out
there in Fair Oaks, I think it was. I think he had been a
regular research man. I think he didn't do much research
here, but he had had some reputation as a research man. If
I remember correctly, he taught nothing but organic chemistry.
Now Dr. Heath was the principal professor in freshmen
K: Mm hm.
G: He died while I was here. He was a well-loved man, I think,
by his students.
As I look back on it, I can't tell you exactly what Dr.
Jackson was supposed to teach. I'd say he was supposed to
teach probably physical chemistry.
Dr. Black was analytical and he also had this special
course for the ag students.
K: Did Mrs. Leigh work as a secretary in your department?
G: Not while I was here.
K: Not while you were here? Can you tell me anything about her?
G: No, I didn't know her very well at all. She had us out to
her home occasionally, but I don't recall anything particular
about her at all.
K: How about Walter [H.] Beisler?
G: Oh, I forgot about Beisler. He was a chemical engineer, what
we had in respect to chemical engineering at the time. He
was the one that taught chemical engineering courses, or what
we call chemical engineering courses now.
K: Now you mentioned Professor Jackson, but did we mention John
G: Now Hawkins was a student.
K: He was a student here at that time?
G: He and Matlack were students.
K: What was it again that Mr. Otte did?
G: He was the curator in charge of the stockroom.
K: He was not teaching at that time?
K: There was a man named Cash Pollard. Was he the one who
filled your position? So he was not on the scene before
you left? Okay. Do you and Mrs. Goodwin have any children?
K: When did you decide to leave the University of Florida and what
were the circumstances?
G: Well, I had this chance to go out there. I talked with Dr.
Tigert and it was a time when advancements of one kind or
another were few and far between.
K: Mm hm.
G: So we decided that itmight be better for me to go on out there
while I had this opportunity, because it was a young school.
Of course, Texas Tech started in '23 and this was in 1930. But
I went out there as head of the Department of Chemistry.
K: How big was your department at that time?
G: Well, there were four other people in the department when I was
out there at that time. Wait a minute--more than that--five
people other than myself. We had very limited facilities, but
very rapid growth and development of it. But that's why
I went out there, because we just didn't see any future here.
I was at the bottom of the totem pole on the faculty.
K: I see. Did you hear about this opportunity through a professional
colleague or through a family member?
G: I'm trying to think. 'Course, the man who was out there was
resigning. He went to Rutgers. I don't recall [chuckle].
K: That's all right.
G: I remember I had two possibilities at the same time. Both
of them out there in Texas. One of them an industrial job
with the Cabot Carbon Black people and the other this at Tech.
I don't remember how I actually got onto either of them, but
I had the opportunity to choose which one I wanted to try to
get into anyhow.
K: Dr. Goodwin, would you tell us a little bit more about your
subsequent career at Texas Tech, the various positions you
held until you became president?
G: Well, now I'll tell you a story, you may want to eliminate
this later on. You may have heard the story; you're familiar
with how things usually run around a college or university.
This fellow started in as an instructor. He'll be around
for awhile and then be made assistant professor, and then after
a few more years he might be associate professor, and then
after several more years they might make him full professor.
Then some of them, after they're professors for awhile, they
put into administrative positions and might be made a dean.
Then after a few more years, why he might be made one of the
vice presidents, and then a few years later he might be made
That happened to this imaginary fellow I'm talking about.
A few years after that he died and wound up in Hell. Satan
said, "Aren't you surprised to find yourself down here?" And
he said, "No, it's just a continuation of the progression."
G: Well, mine wasn't quite that bad--I haven't died yet! But
most of the rest of it is, 'cept I started out as an assistant
professor. I was head of the department, dean of Arts and
Sciences, dean of the Graduate School, vice-president and
K: When did you hold office as president--what years?
G: Nineteen sixty to 1967.
K: 'Til 1967. And what direction did you try to move Texas
Tech in at that time? What did you see as the role of the
G: Well, one of the bigger problems we had at that time was
racial discrimination. While I was out there, the first
colored people started Tech.
K: Mm hm.
G: That and the gradual development of the school. Right now they
have a law school, medical school, everything else out there.
We didn't get any while I was there, but we started all the
groundwork for the development of the medical school, the
law school. The fact of the business, I'm the one that engaged
the first dean of the law school out there.
K: Mm hm.
G: Tech is not a land grant college, but in every other respect
it acts like one.
K: Mm hm.
G: We just don't have the advantages of the federal subsidy, but
it has a school of agriculture. Tech has more acres out there
on the campus and the farms than most any other school in the
K: Mm hm.
G: This museum is located on a sixty-four-acre tract.
G: We had room out there at the time. Now it's getting kind of
crowded on the-main campus. But it was, of course, a gradual
development. We had to go through World War II while I was
out there and it posed some difficulties. But nothing remarkable,
striking about what happened when I was out there. Just a
gradual maturing of a college.
K: Did your greatest acceleration in student enrollment come right
after the Second World War as it did here?
K: About how large had it become at the time you retired?
G: Well, it reached around 20,000. It hasn't grown too much
since then. I think it's around 22,000. But it was approximately
20,000. When I went there, it was 1,800,I think, something
K: How does Texas Tech fit into the scheme of the university
system in Texas? Is it supposed to be one of several major
universities? Is it supposed to be more of a regional university
G: Well, we went through a long struggle on that very case. It
started out I'm sure in the minds of the people who developed
it as more or less of a regional college. But it has long
since ceased to be. Of the state universities, and Texas has
about as many colleges as Florida does, there's the main university
at Austin. Then there is the A & M college. Those are the
two old colleges, you might say, in the system. And then comes
Texas Tech. I'm putting them in order more or less by years
K: Mm hm.
G: Then like many other places, the normal colleges. You know, back
in the old days they called them normals, and then it became
teachers colleges. Now most of them want to be universities.
K: Mm hm.
G: So we've had several of those--Southwest Texas University,
Northwest Texas, and so on and so on. Then the branches of
the main university. At El Paso we've got a branch of the
K: Mm hm.
G: At Arlington they've got a branch of the university. They're
all trying to pull off separately now and become universities
of their own.
Then some of the junior colleges that were never teachers
colleges have been growing up from junior colleges to colleges
and now they want to be universities. So that's what's been
going on out there. But I'd say certainly the three major
state universities in Texas are the university and A & M and
K: Do you have a board of regents?
G: Each college has its regents there.
K: Each college does?
G: Each university.
K: There's no overall...?
G: Yes, there is an overall, but each one has its own individual
K: I see. So that just kind of adds to the competition, I
G: Well, it has advantages as well as disadvantages.
K: Mm hm.
G: To a certain degree each board is autonomous. I'm not too
familiar now with the Florida system, but what do you call it,
the Board of Regents?
K: Yes, sir.
G: Has far more authority in Florida than the corresponding one
in Texas. That's my assumption, I'll put it that way.
K: Would you think that would lead to more competetion in the
legislature between the various schools?
G: Certainly it does. No doubt about that. The board that Tech
K: Mm hm.
G: ...took very little part in the legislative actions. If
they had personal friends or something like that they might.
But, as an official body, they had a very little action, very
little work to do with the legislature. It was all dependent
upon the administrators of the college. We went before the
legislature. Each one of the colleges had its own representative
there. The overall board determined what they're trying to do
here in Florida now. That is, they determined what programs
the different universities engaged in. That's the big to do
in Florida right now.
K: Mm hm.
G: When they determined that, why then it's up to the college.
If the board says you can have a school of agriculture, why
then it's up to the college to get the money from the legislature
to provide for the school of agriculture. But the board had
very little to do with that. That's where the overall
competition came even among the universities, that board as
to what programs we'd have. We had a pretty hard time getting
permission to have a school of law or a school of medicine, but
we finally got it.
K: Would you say that the success that you had at Texas Tech in
obtaining some of these professional programs was due more
to the presentations and the lobbying that you were doing with
the legislature or to the work of your alumni?
G: I don't know that you could break it down completely. Of
course, the first job we had was to convince this overall
board that there was a place there for that particular school.
K: Mm hm.
G: Obviously there's always a certain amount of competition
between the various colleges and things like that. Then, if
it was found that that permission was granted, why then it
was a combined effort of the administration and ex-students to
work with the legislature. Of course, after we got a certain
age out there, why we had several of our own students who were
members of the legislature. So obviously we could work with
them, through them, as well as the ex-student association in
general. There's always that certain amount friction, jealousy,
you have to overcome a certain amount of it. Another thing
out there with us, when we went out there, the town of Lubbock
had about 20,000 people. It has now, I imagine, 175,000.
G: So that whole part of the country's been developing and growing.
Of course, the more people you have, the more votes you have.
K: Right. Did you ever do any horse trading with say Texas or
Texas A&M to make a presentation and say we support their appli-
cation for this program and they support our application for
this other program? Did you try to divide things up like that
if you could before you went to the regents?
G: They always had a meeting of the college presidents--state
college presidents--and those questions would come up in that
meeting. You could see very clearly which way different schools
were, what they were shooting for. I don't know that we ever
had any downright horse trading...
K: Mm hm.
G: ...but it was pretty close to it sometime.
K: Well, Dr. Goodwin, that's all the prepared questions I have.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about the
time that you spent at the University of Florida or anything
G: I don't recall anything, 'cept it was a very pleasant four
years that I spent here.