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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Interviewee: Cary Reichard
Interviewer: Willie Henderson
January 12, 1983
H: Can we start by you telling us your full name?
R: Cary L. Reichard.
H: First I would like to get some general background information. When and
where were you born?
R: I was born August 8, 1938 in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
H: Did you go to high school in Indiana?
H: That is where you graduated?
H: Did you go to college immediately after graduating from high school?
R: No, I spent four years in the service, in the navy.
H: As an enlisted man?
H: Was that during a war era, like the Korean or....
R: No. It was kind of overlapped between the latter part of the Korean
conflict and the Cold War period thereafter.
H: I see. And after you spent time in the service, then later you continued
H: Immediately after?
H: Which college did you attend to pursue your bachelor's?
R: Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana.
H: Why that college?
R: It was in my home state and it was relatively close to my hometown so
that I could commute on occasion.
H: Oh, you commuted. What was your major as an undergraduate?
R: Speech pathology.
H: What made you interested in speech pathology?
R: I really do not know. These are hard questions. I just found my way into
it. I did some searching in different departments, different programs.
What I saw in speech pathology I liked and then I went into the special
education program at Indiana State. I had never had any experience with
working with speech-impaired individuals, but I became interested in it
because of the people and what they were doing and the clinical approach
they employed, and I just kind of fell right into it.
H: While you were pursuing your bachelor's, did you work part-time or at all
while attending Indiana State?
R: Oh, yes. I had to work all the time.
H: Did you really?
R: Of course I did kind of participate in some athletics at Indiana State, so
it was not full-time, but every summer I had to work, and over the
Christmas vacations, and my last year as a senior I ihad to work nights at
a Sears and Roebuck store.
H: I was going to ask you what type of work. You worked at Sears? What
athletics did you do?
H: Do you remember the exact year you received your bachelor's?
R: Let me see. That was 1963.
H: Then you pursued a master's from the same university?
R: I did, but I took a teaching job at a junior high school in my hometown.
H: So you taught a little?
R: I was teaching and then going to night school during the summer to work on
my master's degree.
H: So you received your master's by really going to school at night?
R: Yes. Piecemeal. And full-time during the summer. Because teachers do
not necessarily work in the summer.
H: How long did it take you to receive the second degree?
R: Four years.
H: Four years going the way that you did. And did you pursue the master's in
the same field--speech?
R: No, I had changed to mental retardation which has a lot in common, because
retarded individuals do have a lot of speech impairments and the special
......-- 1.1-1- l1- i11j1.).l\;il..Ll.l..I--....... .-.. -i.-... .
education program had a strong master's in mental retardation and I wanted
to spread out a little bit.
H: For this particular master's, were you required to write a thesis?
H: You did not have to write a thesis?
R: No. That was optional.
H: Oh, I see. But you did have a supervisor governing your progress?
H: What was his or her name?
R: Dr. Heller. William Heller was my master's adviser.
H: Was he difficult to work for? Do you remember anything?
R: No, very enjoyable. It made a lot of hard work fun.
H: So did you work after you received your master's?
R: No, I went directly. During the process of teaching and getting my
master's, I also applied for doctoral study at the University of Northern
Colorado in my last year, and was accepted and so as soon as I received my
master's, then I resigned from teaching and moved to Greely, Colorado.
H: You had a job. ....
R: Yes. My family and I went....
H: Did you have an assistantship while working on your master's?
R: Yes. I had a full fellowship.
H: And how was that? Was that a bigger strain trying to get a master's
teaching or was that more so than when you were working and pursuing your
R: No, this was much easier.
H: Much easier. And the pay was better?
R: And it was directly related to my field of endeavor.
H: So what did your duties consist of? I am talking about the assistantship.
R: To assist in research with my faculty and also I taught a psychology
H: So you did have a chance to teach?
H: Can you tell us the exact year you received your master's and what was it
called? An M.A., M.A.T., whatever....
R: Oh, I really do not know. I think it was a Master of Arts degree. It was
a Bachelor of Science degree, and then for some reason, I received a
Master of Arts degree.
H: And then you said you went to which institution?
R: University of Northern Colorado. It is in Greeley, Colorado.
H: And you taught there?
R: No. I had received a fellowship to do doctoral studies. I did not teach
there. That was a full and free fellowship.
H: But you eventually did receive your Ph.D. from this unviersity?
R: Yes. University of Northern Colorado.
H: And when pursuing this did you just go straight through or did you work a
little, did you teach?
R: No, just straight through.
H: Straight through. So how long did that take you to complete it?
R: Oh, two full years.
H: Can I ask why did you pick that particular university for your doctorate,
for your Ph.D.?
R: Yes. At that time it was considered one of the strongest universities in
the field of special education in the nation. I suspect it still is too.
H: And you had no assistantship or anything while pursuing a doctorate.
R: Oh, yes. I had a fellowship.
H: So can you explain what you did? Could you tell us what they paid you
for this fellowship?
R: Yes, at that time they paid, I think it was a base of $3,200 and an
additional $400 for each dependent. I had my wife and two children--that
is $1,200 plus $3,200 making $4,400.
H: Was that considered a nice fellowship?
R: Oh, sure. At this time, we lived in campus housing that was relatively
inexpensive and actually, I think we felt like we had more money on that
fellowship than we do now.
H: But you had to do a dissertation then, didn't you?
H: What was the subject of your dissertation?
R: Well, let me see. I can give the exact title if you need that.
H: Just explain a little bit about what you did.
R: The idea was to look at materials that have come out of regular education
or out of the mainstream of education and evaluate them in terms of their
value to the special education teacher, to find if those materials at that
time, and it is still pretty hard to find materials that will work with
retarded youngsters, and so we used hundreds of materials and took them
out into the field and had special education teachers evaluate these
materials, and based upon that, we were able to identify materials that
were effective when working with retarded children and to identify those
that were not effective.
H: So you really learned, discovered some things doing your dissertation.
R: Yes, sir. Oh yes.
H: Who was the professor that directed you doing this?
R: Dr. William Reid. [William R. Reid, Professor of Special Education,
University of Florida, 1969-present]
H: Was he also easy to work for, or difficult too?
R: Oh, yes. I still work for him.
H: You still work with him. Is he still at that university?
R: No, he is right down the hall from me.
H: He is here. I see. So tell me, what made you decide to come to Florida?
Did you hear about a job opportunity or...?
R: I had not even looked at jobs. The first part of my last year, Dr. Reid
told me that he was aware of the chairmanship available at the University
of Florida in special education.
H: Dr. Reid?
H: Dr. Reid. He is here, right?
H: So how did you get from there to here?
R: He asked me to come with him.
H: Oh, he was with you at the time?
H: And he was coming here?
H: And he asked you to come with him.
H: And you just....
R: We were essentially starting a new department. It was previously under
H: But as for yourself, you sort of liked coming down here on just faith
alone, because you had anticipated you should be offered a job.
R: Well, of course I came and interviewed before. I accepted the job. I did
come and interview.
H: Okay, but Dr. Reid, is he responsible for getting you the interview?
H: Who actually interviewed you? Do you remember?
R: Let me see. Well, the dean at that time.
H: Do you remember who it was?
R: Dean Sharpe. [Bert Lavon Sharpe, Ed.D., dean, University of Florida
College of Education, 1956-present]
H: Dean Sharpe.
H: He was the dean of the College of Education.
R: And of course the faculty that was in counselor education and special
education at the time interviewed me.
H: And this was around what year?
R: This was 1969.
H: So they interviewed you in Colorado?
R: No, I flew in to Gainesville and then right back. Of course, I was not
completed with my doctorate at that time.
H: Then after the interview there was no decision made immediately. You did
not know when you left the interview whether you were going to be part of
the faculty or not. So later on, he contacted you by phone or something?
R: Said they would bring me in at this much if I am was willing to go.
H: So what type of agreement did you reach? You signed a contract.
H: Okay. Do you mind telling us the money that they offered you to start?
R: No. They started out at $11,000. That was for the academic year.
H: Is that good, or is that typical of what Ph.D's were getting during that
R: For entry.
H: For entry.
R: I suspect. At least in the southeast that was comparative.
H: Can you tell me, were you married at the time?
H: Any children?
H: How many?
R: Two children when I came, and one shortly after we got here.
H: So you and your wife packed up and you were off to Gainesville. Let me
ask you, what was your first impression of the town of Gainesville?
R: I liked it very much. The time we had hit, you know I had interviewed
here in the spring and you know what it looks like in the spring with all
the flowers in bloom.
H: But the city was not as built up as it is now.
R: Absolutely not.
H: Did that create any difficulties, maybe shopping or maybe you have to
commute to other cities for major shopping or for some...?
R: No. See it had not been that long ago. Gainesville has been growing a
great deal in the past fifteen years that I have been here, but we were
located in the Northwood area, the northwest part of town and that was
close to the Sears store and not too far from the mall.
H: Do you remember who you first contacted when you got here? Did you
immediately call the dean? Did you go to someone else in the college to
.get set up?
R: Well, I had met the faculty through the interview process, and as soon as
we got here I talked to Dr. Cunningham, [Myron Arthur Cunningham, Ed.D.,
University of Florida Professor of Education, 1953-present] who was
acting chairman until Dr. Reid got in. Dr. Reid did not come until fall,
and I started teaching in the summer, and they said they had the courses
set up for me. I just came in and talked with Dr. Cunningham about the
content and things like that. I started teaching right away.
H: You had a good impression of the campus?
R: Very much so. I still do.
H: Could you compare it with other campuses like where you have been? Big,
R: Much larger than anything I have ever been acquainted with Indiana State
University is a university that is almost right downtown, so ai. were a
lot of high-rise buildings. There is very little evidence of a rolling
campus. Colorado was a much smaller school.
H: Much smaller?
R: Much smaller. The University of Northern Colorado at that time, it was
Colorado State University.
H: Well do you remember the number of students that were attending there?
R: Yes. You mean at Colorado?
H: At Colorado.
R: I would say about 12,000.
H: Twelve thousand. Compared to how many do you think were here?
R: Twenty thousand when I came here.
H: Twenty thousand when you came here in 1969. Okay. What was your initial
job title at the university?
R: Assistant professor in the area of special education in the department of
special education and with a major emphasis in mental retardation.
H: Where was your department located on campus?
R: We were located in old Norman Hall.
H: The old building.
R: On the south, right, the ground floor of the south wing.
H: And your immediate supervisor was?
R: Dr. Paine.
H: Dr. Paine. Who was the chairman of the department then?
R: He was acting chairman and Dr. Reid had accepted the chairmanship but he
did not come in until the fall.
H: Now what were your duties at first? What was your initial teaching load,
the courses you were teaching?
R: I was given the coordination of the programs in mental retardation which
accounted for a third of my time, and I taught two courses. That was my
H: You taught two courses and you were an administrator. And you did all
your teaching in Norman Hall?
H: Were your offices not in the same room, but in the same building?
R: Mostly in the same room.
H: Oh really?
R: Yes. We kind of adopted room 103 and I think even today most of our
classes are taught in that particular room.
H: Right. But at the time that room was also used as sort of like an office
R: No, it was a classroom. It still is a classroom.
H: So your first office was located in the old building and now they moved
you over to where you are now. Tell me, what was the quality of the
students that you taught when you first got here? In those years 1969 and
the early 1970s.
R: It is hard to say. I do not think that you should start comparing
youngsters on the basis of entry scores and that kind of thing.
H: Yes, just give a general....
R: I would say it was relatively high quality.
H: High quality students. In comparison to other universities you have been
to, like North Colorado University.
R: Not a whole lot of difference. It is awfully difficult to compare
H: I suppose they were mostly Floridians, right?
H: What was the size of an average class at that time?
H: Only fifteen....
H: Fifteen to twenty.
H: How did the students address the faculty in those years? Were they
respectful, less respectful than they are now?
R: I think initially it was Dr. Reichard for the first few years and it still
is, there has been a change in, you know, I have seen kind of a cyclic
kind of a thing. When we came in, there was a period of time in the mid-
to late-sixties, early seventies when there was less respect, I think for
faculty and it has come back the other, swung back the other way. There
is more respect now. The students are more serious.
H: When you first came, you came into the University of Florida in 1969.
During that period, there was the, a period of controversy, the Vietnam
War and all, so, I hear that there were tensions on campus. Some students
would take over classrooms, walk-out demonstrations. Were you affected or
were you involved in any way during that period when you first got here?
R: No, not directly.
H: Not directly.
R: There is only one time where it directly affected me and that was a sit-in
here at the college of education.
H: A sit-in?
R: Yes, a sit-out or whatever. All the students went out and sat.
H: Instead of attending classes.
R: Yes. That occurred one time and I do not even think our students at that
time were involved in it. They might have, but it was not a big thing.
H: At least as far as it affected you.
R: No. I do not know, I even forget what they were protesting, but it was
not anything to do with the college. It was most likely the war or the
overall administration or a policy or something.
H: So after President Nixon pulled the troops out, it sort of like died out?
R: Yes, pretty much so. There was not a whole lot of hostility on the campus
during that time.
H: Have you worked with many minorities, well, teaching, I know you have
worked with minority students. Can you tell me, do you think that there
is a disadvantage to the opportunities that minorities have of making it
at this university? I am saying a disadvantage, do you think they have as
much an opportunity to succeed as their white counterparts?
R: I definitely believe that. The problem seems to be that of attracting
minority students and the entry. There are a lot of biases in testing and
these kind of things which I think the state now is, with the declaration
of the 10 percent-exception-to-the-rule-upon-entry thing has really helped
our department and we have a number of minority students in our
department. The disadvantage, I guess, comes from the expense of school,
the entry, getting into the school, and the fact that I do not think we
have in the past, we did not go out and recruit that heavy for minorities.
H: So you do think that the University of Florida is recruiting or they are
implementing a good recruiting program for minority students, at least in
the college of education?
R: Yes, I really do.
H: So you worked also with international students, have you not?
H: Do there seem to be any barriers they have in adopting to this, I guess, a
new culture or...?
R: Certainly. Much like we would have if we studied in another country that
spoke a different language. As soon as we have--
H: So it is mainly a language barrier.
R: Mainly a language barrier. Recently, a doctoral student of mine from
Iran, and the biggest barrier there was, well, there were two things.
Obviously, the language barrier and the fact that we had to work through
an interpreter quite a bit of the time in order to communicate, but she
pretty much took care of that and she was quick to learn and pretty well-
adapted to the English language. But of course the orienting crisis and
this kind of thing, that kind of put her into hiding out of fear for a
period of time, but there are difficulties involved, but I think they
accept that and are willing to bend over backwards to eliminate as many
barriers as they can. We enjoy working with international students. It
gives a flavor to study that you do not have when there are just some
H: Are their qualifications pretty much the same as any other student?
R: The ones we have been getting are very bright. I suspect that is a
H: That they are allowed to come.
R: Yes. That is the only way that they are going to get into this university
is if they are extremely bright. It appears to be that way, at least from
my perspective. The students have been....
H: Has it been, I will not call it a problem, bu have you seen the situation
occur wherein you have international students, students that are selected
from their countries as, you know like they only send the top students to
college that, if they are going to pay for it. I am saying their
countries. Does that create a problem with the American students in the
class where in some colleges, or most colleges I would presume, grade on a
curve system at times, and do they seem to set the high mark of the curve,
making it difficult for the, I will not say average American, but the
American students to make decent grades?
R: The students I am talking about are primarily graduate students and
although I have never graded on a curve for a doctoral student.
H: That is not generally the procedure.
R: No. What you have got there are students that are, the only reason that
they are doing this is because they want to and they are all working, and
so you do not have to decide who has got it and who does not have it as
much at the doctoral level, and no, I do not see a disadvantage for the
American students there because they have to meet the same criteria to get
into graduate programs.
H: Working with graduate students like you do, have you at any time that you
have taught at the University of Florida, have you had conflicts with the
students that may have resulted in a committee action, or something
serious enough that you were, your actions were reviewed before a board or
the student wrote in a written complaint? None?
R: There may have been students writing in complaints, but I never heard of
them if they did. No, I have never been reported on that.
H: Have you, in working with graduate students, are there as many? Earlier I
asked you about the University of Florida recruitment of minorities. What
you said, does it also apply on the graduate level? They are recruiting,
or do you get many minority graduate students?
R: Yes, we do.
H: And have you had any, I am not saying specifically minorities, but in
general any graduate student that you worked with that later became
prominent or very successfu in obtaining a good job?
H: Does that happen often for the rule?
R: Yes. That would be true of all of our faculty I believe. Again, once, I
do not know if it is true of every department. If it is not true of every
other department, it is most likely because of the job availability. Like
our doctoral students, graduate students have been very successful at
obtaining jobs across the nation.
H: I want to touch on research interests. What have been your research
interests over the years and do you have any now?
R: Oh, yes. Unfortunately, I have a lot of interests but I have to key in on
one if I want to get anything done. I stay pretty strongly in one
particular area. In the past, the first few years that I was interested
in the severe and the profoundly retarded and because there was a lack of
research relative to the training of these individuals who are working
with them, and recent years, the last few years now, my direction has been
toward the mentally retarded offender; juvenile and adult in terms of what
happens to those individuals when they get wrapped up into the legal
H: What interesting concepts have you discovered or learned through doing
your research that you have already discovered from previous research that
you have done, and have you been encouraged by your superiors in your
R: Yes, encouragements are definitely there.
H: Any discoveries?
R: Oh, sure. A lot of things.
H: Well, just name a few.
R: I found out how much I do not know.
H: Oh. That is a major discovery.
R: In this particular field though, it is so new, all the research that has
been done relative to retarded individuals in the penal system, detention
centers, is all descriptive. In other words, surveys of what is the
percentage of retarded individuals that are in prisons or how do they get
there. It is just descriptive and no one has done studies of method "A"
versus method "B," how to keep them out of the prison system, this kind of
thing so it is really very, just recent. The last ten years we have
really been hitting in but we have got a lot to learn. We have come up
with a kit, for instance you said, talking about concepts, well, the
concept training police officers so they can identify a retarded person as
compared to a drunk or as compared to someone on drugs or as compared to
someone having a seizure or someone with cerebral palsy or this kind of
thing, so that it can go in the report.
H: Are there other professors helping you with this research?
R: Yes, this has become a national interest. I would say there are ten to
fifteen prominent people now who are currently doing things and we stay in
H: Dr. Reichard, do you feel that the University of Florida is allocating
sufficient funds to the College of Education for reserjch in relation to
or in comparison to the other colleges that they maybe giving funds to
for research purposes?
H: You do not think you are getting all the funds that you need for research?
R: Absolutely not.
H: Is that creating a major setback or would it be beneficial maybe to take
some of the funds from other departments and give more to education, or
just, the university needs more research funds in general to give to all
R: I suspect, I do not think there is foul play going on. I just suspect it
has to do with the overall priorities.
H: Oh, education is not a top priority?
R: This kind of education has not been viewed as a priority. We have a great
deal of support here from our chairman and from our dean of the college
and they beat the bushes to find monies for us and they do, but if, from a
comparative standpoint, we do not get near the money for instance that the
Institute for Food and Agriculatural Sciences.
H: Have you ever had to do any research financed out of your own pocket?
R: Absolutely. Most of it comes out my own pocket.
H: Is that a common thing for teachers now, for professors now to pay out of
their own pocket, more so in departments like education maybe because of
the limited funds?
R: I believe so. Having a grant does not do it all. You still have to put a
great deal of your own resources in it.
H: Do researches ever require you to have to travel?
R: Oh, yes.
H: Often or not often?
R: Not recently. It will pick up again this fall.
H: Doesn't that conflict with your teaching load?
R: No. I have one-third time for research.
H: And during the summers, is research full-time?
R: No. I am only on two-thirds this summer, two-thirds time and
administration teaching one course, so I really do not have research time
designated this summer, but normally I will have a third time or the
equivalent of a third of a week to participate in research activities.
H: I see. Now you have lived in Gainesville for thirteen years and you have
been at the University of Florida. Have you been involved in any
H: Can you elaborate somewhat?
R: Well, what do you mean by community affairs?
H: Have you served on any committees, have you been interested in politics
for governing this area, your children go, attend schools here, have you
served on PTA or things like that? I am trying to say what involvement
have you had in the community?
R: All right.
H: Not just the university itself.
R: Church-related, trends of legislation and that kind of thing, I have been
interested in zoning issues, county commission, city commission I have not
participated directly. I have been involved in meetings, going to
meetings and speaking, you know, bringing out my points of view, writing
letters, this kind of thing. But I am not politically minded. I have
spent most of my time being an adovcate to the handicapped in this
H: Have you written any publications?
H: Can you just name one or two. And briefly what they were about.
R: My most recent one was the Mentally Retarded Defendant Offender, and that '
was the title of it. It was a description of the retarded person upon the
scene of the crime and the process that the individual goes through in
terms of being sentenced for the crime. Usually descriptive study in the
journal of special education, but I have two books out which are not
related to that.
H: Two books?
R: They are methods in teaching retarded children.
H: Are you making profits with your books?
R: Some. Special education is such a relatively small field compared to
other fields, even and education. I get a lot of peace from
these books. It does not amount to a lot, but it is reinforcing.
H: Your department, what type of department is it? I assume it runs
smoothly, but who makes departmental decisions, the final decision? Is it
a democracy, everybody, the professors, doctors, get together and vote,
all the chairmans, make decisions, or is there--
R: We place a lot of confidence in our chairman, although whenever a major
issue comes up, the chairman always calls a meeting and we sit down around
the table and discuss it and I would say it becomes then a faculty
decision on major issues, but on issues which the chairman feels that she
need not take up our time in having meeting after meeting after meeting,
she will either make the decision herself or she will appoint a committee
of faculty. It is a very democratic process.
H: But you rarely have departmental controversies or major feuds or
R: This is my viewpoint, okay. You have to realize, you talk to someone next
door and they might know something I am not aware of.
H: Before we end, I would like to ask you, who do you think made the greatest
contribution to your department over the years that you have been here?
R: Dr. Reid.
R: Dr. Reid? And why, why would you pick him?
R: Because when we first came here, it was a total faculty of three. Now we
have twelve. We have many more students in this process and we were not
even a department, a recognized department at that time, so it was a
faltering, failing program and that is the reason why Dr. Reid took the
challenge, and he, through grant writing, we were working at $200,000 a
year from the Bureau of Education from the handicapped through his grant
writing. So as an administrator for that first five, six years, he
developed one heck of a program. So I would say overall, the chairman we
have now I am sure will make just as strong a contribution of her ablity.
H: There is one thing I must ask you. The College of Education, I will call
it, there has been talk going around in general that the education field
is not particularly a good field for one to pursue in college now because
there are no jobs for teachers or whatever.
R: That is funny. I just heard a report this morning television that they
are having trouble finding teachers now because teachers are leaving the
field because the pay is so low.
H: Do you feel that this is true?
R: Teacher shortage.
H: Do you feel personally--?
R: Yes, in special education we have never had any difficulty with finding
jobs around. There are graduates finding jobs, there has been a new
legislation which has created Public Law 94 and 22 came down a couple
years back, and it essentially says every child has to, every handicapped
child, regardless of the severity of their handicap, has to be taught.
H: So there are jobs out there. What do you think is the problem which would
keep this rumor going that there are no jobs? Is it that people do not
want to go to the jobs or something like that?
R: It goes from department to department, okay. If you were talking to a
social studies professor, there may be a shortage, or a need, or no need
whatsoever. Job opening, it is hard to find a job in that particular
area. That is not true in special education. It really goes from
department to department.
H: My final question is what type of attitude would you suggest the student
have who would wish to attend the University of Florida and go into their
educational department. What type of student, what attitude would a
student have to have to be most likely to succeed, even beyond a
bachelor's and to the graduate level?
R: Well, prior to attitude, you have got to have brains. Because you cannot
beat brains. Obviously, I have found that an enthusiastic person that
really wants to get involved in human relationships, teaching, working
with those, and whatever, that can be evidenced by their past interests,
their volunteering even in high school to maybe work in Special Olympics,
those kind of things. A very positive attitude, and a very accepting
attitude, especially in our area where we are dealing with handicapped
individuals. No strong need for a lot of money [laughter] because you
are not going to make a whole lot of money as a teacher, but there is a
great deal of satisfaction. I think it takes a lot of drive.
Intelligence and drive and empathy and just a number of characteristics.
It is hard to say.
J: You would not discourage anyone from pursuing an education in--?
R: Absolutely not. I would be surprised if anyone would discourage it. I
can understand why people get discouraged, or why the students themselves
get discouraged, but I would never discourage anyone going into education.
H: Well, thank you, Dr. Reichard. We appreciate you giving us this interview
for the oral history project, and as we said, the tapes will not be
released until you sign a release form.