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Subject: Dr, Paul Williams
Interviewer: Glenn Wilson
Lake County 10/29/76
I: You been the president of L-SCC [Lake-Sumter Community College,
Leesburg, Fla.] since the beginning, that was in 1962?
S: Yes, 1962.
I: All right, when you started I understand there was no permanent
campus. You started with skeleton buildings and small faculty
S: Uh huh.
I: Was it a hard process getting started?
S: I don't know how much background you want. I can give
you more detail than you want. How far back do you want me
to go? Do you want me to go to the very beginning? About
interviewing for the presidency, even?
S: Well all right, let me do this. Let me tell you that the
legislature of Florida in the '61 session authorized the
college, and at that time, as you know, all of our community
colleges in Florida, then junior colleges by name, were under
local elected school boards. That was the local legal govern-
The school board asked me to come for interview for the
presidency, and as I recall there were forty-two applicants
for the position. That wouldn't be unusual today, but back
in '62 that was a goodly number to be interviewed for a po-
sition for a new college that was just a paper institution.
They narrowed from the forty-two, using what criteria system
I would not know, narrowed it down to three of us. We came
for interviews, and I was the last to be interviewed. I think
they rightly and properly invited the wives to be with us, all
three of us were together that day to be interviewed.
I have learned since taking the position that one person
here for the interview came loaded with notes, already written,
which he assumed might bNeasked him, and sat down at the table
with a nine-member advisory committee and the schoolboard
with notes in front of him, just in case they might be needed.
I understand that didn't greatly impress those who were inter-
viewing. The other person frankly was quite upset, emotionally,
and I noted that. He was the second person to be interviewed.
The fact that he was having to wait until the first person had
finished upset him because, I guess, he was of such import, he
believed, that he thought he should have been interviewed first.
I imagine that did not assist him in his interview.
Anyway, I was offered the position. I headed the school
system in Naples, Florida, below Fort Myers. I had the oppor-
tunity to go either to the University of Alabama to head up a
graduate program in their college of education, or to take
another college in this state, a public institution, or Lake-
Sumter, a brand new one which, I repeat, was a paper college.
I accepted this position. I felt after six and one-half years
at Naples that if I had anything to contribute to that situation,
it had already been accomplished.
So I came here. Incidently, it's the first job I've ever
applied for in my professional life, this position here. I've
had no regrets; it's been a wonderful experience personally
for me and for the family. We've enjoyed living in central
But back to specifics, I got the job January 1, 1962.
We hired a secretary that began about the middle of January,
Mrs. Furnas, you know her. She's still here, fortunately for
me and for the college. We then employed some other people
by July 1 of that year and we opened the doors to students
the fall of '62. And I remember we had seventeen professional
faculty people with us, three secretaries, and one custodian.
That was the staff of Lake-Sumter that fall.
You mentioned where were we housed? The college commit-
tee had not yet picked a permanent site for the college, and
we were housed in our initial years on the Leesburg high
school site where now are about three or four tennis courts.
Some individuals from the city of Leesburg donated to
the board at one dollar per year to make it legal. We all
know of the Jim Walter-type construction, and that's what they
were. There were six of them, donated by six different people
of Leesburg, Florida. Since then I know most of them are
really up in the scrub right now, as vacation cottages and
so on. And I suppose that if they haven't rotted away, they
are still in existence. But that's how the college started.
Three hundred-sixty students were with us in that first
year of operation. But that was our physical facility. I
might add that we did use the science laboratories of Leesburg
high school. And some of their physical education facilities;
otherwise, were housed in these six buildings.
I: After your first year did your enrollment increase dramatically
as you started the permanent campus? Or did it just go up
S: Really been a gradual increase through the years. I'd have
to get back and look at specifics, and of course, admissions
would have it. Name and date and time. But it has been a
gradual increase, in other words.
There was one complicating situation to that. You may
or may not know, but at the same time Lake-Sumter started, a
black college also started in Leesburg, Florida. The depart-
ment of education, I think very wisely at that time, required
that new back junior colleges be organized and operate on
the campus of an existing black high school. This was done.
That college was named Johnson Junior College. That
college operated from the Fall of '62 until '65. At which
time based on civil rights act of '64 and so forth, the college
closed it's doors and became a part of Lake-Sumter. The
president of that institution was appointed a dean of Lake-
Sumter, and, as I recall, we picked up approximately twelve
professional people from the black college, Johnson Junior
College, who joined this faculty or staff in one capacity
or another. I might add that three or four, including one
custodial person--there are four persons with us at this
present date that came to us in '65 when Johnson closed.
But in some ways, as I look back historically, I don't
know if this was a great blessing, or something else, for
the black community and the opportunity for the black stu-
dents because I know that when college closed in '65, they
had some 320 students enrolled. We had been able in three
years operation to establish a reputation for being an in-
stitution that demanded quality and expected quality of stu-
dents. We did do our best to recruit the black students in
the changeover, but I well recall that we added only some
ninety students, compared with a college that had just
closed with 320 some students. And then, fortunately, much
of that enrollment dropped out in one or two terms.
So percentagewise for us, we had a pretty good increase,
but it was not a realistic increase because of the circum-
stances I mentioned. We have this fall some 1,685 different
persons enrolled for credit courses at Lake-Sumter and some
230 or 240 enrolled in non-credit courses this term, com-
pared with back in '62 when 366 heads were enrolled in credit
courses the first year we started.
I: What were the original goals that the institution was founded
S: Well, they were spelled out of course, as one would expect
them to be: a statement of philosophy and objectives and so
forth. It's very obvious that in a rural setting, such as
this, post-secondary education had arrived for a goodly
number of students that, for one reason or another, would
not have been able to pursue post-secondary education. So
far as our goals and objectives, obviously it was to serve
student and community needs and in doing that we initially,
as well as now, tried to follow a pattern of meeting the
needs of the student that needed a transfer program. They
wanted to pursue a baccalaureate because of goals and ob-
jectives in profession or career. So your typical transfer
program leads in the junior or community college setting to
the associate degree.
We also started right away with a technical vocational
program. It was limited and has been limited in enrollment
in this institution. A vo-tec-center, which is located
just eleven miles from us, does the bulk of this kind of
instruction and presents this opportunity to our community.
In addition to transfer and vo-tec, our third phase
is community service: instructional services; non-credit,
general interest courses; and evening adult education pro-
gram, for credit and for non-credit. Basically, these were
I recall we pulled in at that time, when we started
the college, a dean of the college who, of course, played
a very important role in working with faculty members and
determine what might be offered for our first year and
what programs in a broader scope.
I remember, Glenn, that a number of high schools in
the district we served had some outstanding music programs
at the high school level at that time, and it was logical
to assume for us that we needed a music program at Lake-
Sumter--not a semblance of one, but a full-blown one,
going into applied music, how to play instruments and you
name it, and professional courses in music. It happened that
the dean we had chosen, now deceased, a Dr. Hoppe [William
A. Hoppe, dean of the college], was secured form Wesleyan
College, a private school, outside Macon, Georgia. It was
all girls school by the way, but his major field had been
music. So we started with a full-blown music program; I'm
pointing this up for a reason. It fell flat on it's face
in two years.
We made some false assumptions. One being that people
engaged in music at the secondary-level were ripe for re-
cruitment as individuals that might want to have a professional
life in music, in other words, professional musicians. Not
so at all. We found there were very few of the students
referred to, who wanted to go into music as a career. They
were interested in it as an avocation, and they were inter-
ested fine. But to set up a music program for us, a trans-
fer program leading to baccalaureate and music career, no.
So we learned in a hurry, the hard way really, that you
can't build a program because of the interest of a given
person on the faculty, nor can you build a program, I think
with success, without a pretty good sampling of the commun-
ity to see if the interest and the desire really is there.
We started that way initially with those objectives in pro-
gram offerings, but we have through the years, of course,
greatly expanded program offerings at this college, differ-
I'd say one area that's been most important for us in
our relationship with members of the community, not neces-
sarily students in the institution, would be our community
service area. The legislature, I guess due to the limita-
tions in funding, has found it most difficult to buy in toto
the importance of this kind of service to the community. In
our own case, students enrolled in avocational courses, for
example non-credit courses, paid their own freight through
student fees. State tax dollars have not been involved in
that. But this has been a big program for us in the last
five, six years, and I think one very important to a commu-
nity college program as we look at our philosophy in the
service to local districts, local communities.
I: Looking at Leesburg and the surrounding area, Lake and
Sumter counties, in 1962, and in looking at them now, can
you see any visible effects of the impact of Lake-Sumter
Community College? Any changes?
S: Oh, I'd hope so. I think there's greater appreciation for
opportunity beyond high school than there's ever been before.
Some of the products--you're a living example of it, Glenn--
perhaps are now pursuing additional work or in a profession
or a vocation primarily because Lake-Sumter did exist. One
thing I trust has not happened: those who have been in the
institution found it necessary to leave the district we
serve to find the kind of challenge for which they had pre-
pared here, and perhaps later if they continued their educa-
tion. I think this relates to operation of cities in the
district we serve, and certainly as it relates to police,
law enforcement, and criminal justice.
As you well know, we are serving and have been serving
two state institutions, Sumter Correctional Institution and
Lake Correctional Institution. Not only the incarcerated
inmates who enroll in our classes but also the individuals
who work with those inmates, we've been serving them for
a number of years. I think that's made a real impact in
that particular area. When we look at employable skills,
we often find people starting with us--in, I suppose,
business areas would be the prime example-- who don't
even finish with a degree because they've already required
sufficient:. skill for an employer in the district to want
them now and monetarily reward them because they are pre-
pared at least to the degree that that particular employer
would meed for a particular job.
I would hope there's been an impact in a cultural way,
too. As you may or may not know, last Sunday, September
24, 1976, we dedicated our new fine arts center. We had,
I guess, 1200 to 1500 people here for that dedication and
an open house. Tuesday night we had the premiere performance
in it. It happened to be a musical concert and, put on
by our own faculty members, a constitutional debate. The
place was packed. It was an A-plus night for Lake-Sumter
and, even more importantly I think, for the community,
because people left who were in attendance, wanting to come
back to the next performance, whatever it might be. We've
scheduled for this year some cultural things, whether it
will be Shakespearean or opera presentations or a contemp-
orary dance group out of Atlanta or what have you.
We now have a facility, I think, that can better aid
us in fulfilling a void in the geographic area we serve,
and that is cultural pursuit. Now as we look at art as we
know it, the art media of painting for instance, whether it
be oils, watercolour, tempera, so on. This has been a field
where there's been great impact on the community. I see us
more and more getting into this whole concept of life-long
learning which we hear about today.
And as you well know we do have growth in Lake and
Sumter counties. I must say that much of that growth is
senior citizen growth. You're well aware of this. As we
look at the institution and its continued service in the
next decade, I have no question of what we're going to have
to emphasize more and more the things that will appeal to
the senior citizen or the middle age person.
You might be interested in knowing that we just found
out the average age of our credit student this fall is
twenty-seven. That isn't surprising to you, I think, but
it is surprising to many, who hear it. Because many still
conceive of the institution, unfortunately I think, as a
place for that high school senior to go next year to pursue
his education. Well, the high school senior is not twenty-
seven yet, and our average student age is twenty-seven. So
I think there is a change in this concept, a recognition
that learning can be fun and that you c-a upgrade while on
the job. You can also get into some other areas that you
maybe wanted to sometime in your life, but circumstances
I see a rosy future for us, but I would also say that
perhaps our general emphasis will change more and more from
a transfer institution--although we want to maintain and to
keep that, of course, and have quality programs in it--to
one of meeting the needs of the older citizen as they con-
tinue to broaden their horizons and benefit their own living,
whether they're retired or whether they're still on the job
working in the area.
I: What did you look for when you first started hiring instruct-
ors? Character traits, qualifications, and background?
S: Well, It's a hard question. I suppose it would depend on
the job description to be filled. In administrators, one's
certainly looking for people who can and will listen, for
people with expertise in working with others, and for peo-
ple who after careful analysis can say no when it's necessary
to say no in any given operation.
Teachers, you're looking for those skilled in their
own disciplines. Initially and today we look for teachers
that we feel can relate to students and for teachers that
are primarily teaching oriented. We have nothing against
research, good research is necessary for us to make some
valid decisions in management, as well as in the classroom,
and in the methodology and the changes for the better.
One of our prides has been a teaching faculty. First,
they like people; there may be some exceptions, I suppose
there are in every institution, but they like people. They
have ability in their own area of expertise, own discipline
interest. And then I would certainly hope they have a
broader outlook than just that. They see the role of the
Now I think one of the most tragic things that can
happen is to find a very able teacher who comes into the
community college setting and the community college student
throws him for a loss. He may expect when he comes--maybe
he's university oriented or grad school oriented or what
have you--that students, with few exceptions, in his class-
room are going to have the potential of As and Bs, based on
any reasonable standard that might be set. An open door
college such as a community college in Florida is far differ-
ent animal than is a private institution or a state univer-
sity that can set some demanding admission standards.
Our only standard, as you know, is a high school diplo-
ma or the equivalency of a high school diploma. Thus, you
have quite a heterogeneous group. There are some exceptions,
there's a culling out process, and you don't get into ad-
vanced algebra as a student unless you've got some background
in math. But in so many of our general courses there's
quite a range. You have experienced it yourself, I know.
You need a teacher ideally that can cope with that range,
that can appreciate that range, and that really can take
great professional thrill in the fact that a student who
could not write a paragraph might learn to write a reason-
ably satisfactory paragraph in a given term and the very
able student might end up being able to write a very accept-
able short story in that term. It's a real accomplishment
for both and hopefully would be rewarding to the teacher as
well as to the individual involved.
I don't know what more I can say on that. We also look
for a mix in age and a mix in training background. If you're
interested, right now our age range of full-time profs
would be from about twenty-five to seventy-five. I think
the age spread has been good. I think a faculty needs that.
All right, we look for something else, we look for differ-
ent training backgrounds. The last time I checked, and
that's been within the last year, full-time faculty on this
campus represented some sixty different colleges an univer-
cities in,I don't remember now, twenty-four, twenty-six
different states. Well that alone doesn't make a top-notch
faculty obviously, but that kind of a mix is important as
you're looking for a faculty and what they can contribute
to a given situation.
We also look for a person that generally speaks well
and is attractive in appearance, but we don't have any dress
code for faculty. Anyone who's been on campus can see that.
We think they're human beings as our students, and we've
got quite a diversity.
Those who have ability along with the diversity, who
can work together, appreciate each other, and the opportun-
ities present for them, just lead to an outstanding faculty.
I could go into open door policy and all this bit. I
don't think you're after that. Those are some of the things
we've looked at. I would have to say too, and not just be-
cause the Title IX, we've also tried to keep a reasonable
balance between male and female as we've looked at both
administrative and teaching faculty and our staff.
I: As a college president, I remember when I was here, you
were active in lobbying, or at least going up and talking
to the legislators, for funding for community colleges. In
recent years with the impact of inflation and with what the
legislature has done, funding has not increased. How has
that affected you here? Have you had to cut back greatly
and in what areas?
S: I'd say the ball game has changed on the matters to which
you refer. There was a time not too many years ago when a
college president in Florida could talk with legislators,
and the president hopefully would be held in high esteem.
I think there was a great pride on the part of individual
legislators that their college, and they looked at it, was
going to get such and such and needed such and such, and
that I'm gonna do everything I can as a legislator to make
certain that it's accomplished. For good or bad that time
I got home last night at 8:30 after a full day in Tampa
with fellow college presidents, and we spent the whole day
yesterday, Glenn, in looking at a proposed nesfunding for-
mula for community colleges of Florida for the coming fis-
cal year. The legislature has requested that our present
formula be looked at, revised, modified, and changed for
the better. I think that was a reasonable request; I see
something coming out of this that can be of real benefit to
the state and individual institutions. Some are going to
lose in funding, and some are going to gain in funding, I
think, by looking at the formula.
Money has hurt us but I would have to say in all fair-
ness that this college has been hurt less in the lack of
the increased appropriation by the legislature than the
majority of colleges in Florida. There may be a number of
reasons for it, and I don't think we could just take credit
here. From the beginning we have been rather conservative
as we have viewed institutional finance.
I taught finance at the graduate level in a state uni-
versity in Ohio. I well recall back--and this is dark ages
for some of you, I'm talking about the early '50s now--
telling classes that any educational institution just can-
not operate efficiently and well if more than 70 percent
of the operating income is going into salaries. Well,
frankly in our own case right now, looking at personnel
benefits in our budget, it will push 80 percent of our oper-
ating income in this institution, and this is generally
true across the state of Florida in our college and univer-
Because we're one of the smaller colleges of the twenty-
eight in the system, five of us that have had and F.T.E.
enrollment, full-time equivalent enrollment, have been funded
at a different base than have the others in the community
college system. In other words, we get a little more per
F.T.E. There's a recognition that there are some fixed costs
in a college that don't vary too much whether you have 1,000
students or 10,000 students.
Obviously, we have been limited, the small college, to
date in the variety of course offerings we can present and
defend because of size. I personally would feel we've
probably crossed the hump of that problem now with our pre-
sent enrollment, but we have faced that in the past. You
just can't offer, you can't be everything to everybody, at
our size. An institution of 30,000 students, and we have
one in the state that's close to that, can offer just about
anything they want to offer because the demand is there.
In a large urban area they can fill the classrooms and so
on and so forth. We can't do that; we have to be a little
more selective. Because of our size, I repeat, we've been
on a little different funding base. I think the state's
been very fair to us.
Now if you're interested, don't want to say anything
that isn't going to happen, but our new funding formula,
instead of recognizing quote "a small group of colleges in
funding and a large group in funding", will have a number
of groups. It would appear in '77-78 if we adopt what we
spent a day on yesterday. We'd have about eleven different
funding clusters or groups for twenty-eight different com-
munity colleges. In other words, there's a recognition,
and I think it's realistic, that depending on the size of
college, the funding base need is different. But I would
say to you we have not suffered too much in funding from
What the futureholds, we do not know. We've suffered,
as you know, the last two fiscal years. The appropriation
did not meet the need of Florida's community college pro-
gram when it came out of the legislature in the spring, and
we also suffered in the following spring a cutback due to
lack of state revenue appropriated the last two years. I
would certainly take this position; it'll be a sad day in
Florida for community colleges if the state expects the
students enrolled in community colleges to pick up much more
of the tab than they're now picking up. In our own case
this year, students are paying about 23 percent of the cost
of their instruction. The state's picking up the balance
with a little bit, about 4 percent federal. I would hope
that the state percentage does not lessen. If anything, of
course I would like to see it increase; so we could decrease
Some states, California's a good example, do not charge
the community college student anything. The state picks up
the tab. In some other states the student's paying more of
the freight than the student does here in Florida.
But generally we have fared quite well, and another
reason we have--and then I'll get off of this one, Glenn,
I don't want to give it too much time--had slow growth. Had
we had any given year where we had jumped 20 percent, let's
say, we would have faced some real problems. One of our
biggest jumps, as I recall from one year to the next, has
been an 11 percent increase. That's the kind of an increase
really you can handle in a smaller institution without up-
setting a budget that was in Tallahassee the prior June,
before the school year started.
So, generally, I would have to give due credit to the
legislature of Florida and the department of education.
They have dispersed funds so that a college of Lake-Sumter's
size with good conservative budgeting procedures at the local
level has been able to get along, do a good job, and have
decent facilities as we certainly have on this campus. And
the state's to be commended for this.
I: There are a number of people on your faculty and staff that
have been here since the institution began. What kind of
strengths do they bring to the institution now, after four-
S: Obviously, there's some things you cannot learn unless it's
through experience, being there and being on the job. We've
got a number of such people. They complement this institution;
they have perspective that a new faculty member could not have
when they come on campus. Selfishly for me, they give sta-
bility to the situation. Another important thing is this;
they recognize what that newcomer might have to offer in the
way of change. Now progress, you and I know, does not come
about unless it necessitates change, But I would also react
that change in and of itself is not necessarily for the better,
We have a mix here and a leveling influence, I think,
of quote "the old timers", And you'd be surprised how much
those old timers have changed, some of them in their philos-
ophy and in their way of operation.
We have a certain division head, I would not mention
that person by name, who came to us pretty much in the tra-
dition of the typical staid university professor; strict
lecture notes; a standard to be met that was inflexible;
and, I think, generally a lack of recognition of individual
differences and background that would affect achievement.
The particular person hasn't done a 180 degree turn, but
he'smade great strides in his own philosophy and in his
own teaching. He's made a real contribution to members in
that division. He's seen through out the years what can happen
to the student that perhaps has not found himself--blew it
while in high school and didn't have certain or didn't take
advantage of certain opportunities--and suddenly he's on
this campus. He wants to learn, wants to achieve, wants to
broaden his or her horizons. He now recognizes that such a
student can accomplish, can contribute.
I don't think I've gone overboard on that, but I've
seen some real change in the people to whom you refer. But
they've given great stability to this institution. More and
more, Glenn, and perhaps I better look at myself too, we see
them entering their retirement ere, and we've already lost
some of this group. We're going to be losing another one
this coming spring. We lost one just this past spring. I
would hope there are those on campus that can fill the gap.
I'm sure there are those that can fill the gap, perhaps in
a different way. But they've given stability and strengths
to the college and have had a real part in the development
of the institution. They've had involvement in it; they
take just pride, as do all of us who have been here from the
start, in what's been accomplished; and it's just been a
great experience for all of us.
I: How long do you plan to continue as president? Do you have
any deadlines to meet?
S: I've been asked that question a lot. Three years ago when
presidents in Florida got together for a meeting, you didn't
hear the word "retirement", and I would have to say, Glenn,
you don't attend a meeting anymore, of at least a day's dur-
ation, but what you hear someone talking about retirement.
I haven't decided for myself. The Lord willing, I am really
honestly playing it now year by year.
I told the board some two years ago that if they were
satisfied with me, and they appeared to be at that time at
least, I had made a professional decision that I would be
ending my professional tenure in this institution. If other
opportunities might develop, frankly I would not be consider-
ing them. I don't know whether that was a wise move or an
unwise move for me, but I told them this about two years ago.
So to answer you question, I can't answer it.
I am going year by year. I'll be fifty-six this spring;
that's pretty young to sit on the porch and rock. Frankly
I have serious question if I will be an active person in this
institution at age sixty. Now, I would hope I'll not be re-
tired from the world and all that's in it by age sixty or be-
fore that. Realistically I expect two or three more years
in this present role, and that will be enough for me and
perhaps too much for the institution.
I know a university president recently left his post
in Florida with the statement that no one should be president
of a given college more than ten years. He, interestingly
enough, is president of another state university in Florida
at the present time to my surprise. That statement may be
true. Perhaps I've been here too long as I look at what's
best for the institution.
I still see challenge and opportunity ahead. One could
say problems, I'd rather view them in the former sense. I
have every intention, if the board would desire my services,
to be here at least for the next academic year, 1977-78.
I'd mention this to you: I'm one of the few birds in
our system who is tenured as a president. That happened
many years ago in this institution. But I would hasten to
tell you, as I've told the board repeatedly, that if the day
comes when I had the feeling that the majority of the board
felt the institution could best be served with another indi-
vidual in the president's role, the board would willingly
have my resignation. The last thing I'd want to do is stay
on beyond a reasonable tenure. If it would be felt by fac-
ulty, staff, and the board that it's time for change--and I
haven't felt that yet, and I trust I'm not naive--I would
willingly leave at that time. Don't know that I've answered
your question, perhaps in part.
I: If you could pick your successor, what character traits would
that man or woman have?
S: Character traits. This doesn't have anything to do with
character I guess, but he or she certainly would be a younger
person than I. I came to this job at age forty. I think
that's probably an ideal age for a college president. In
today's world perhaps a younger president would even be
desirable, assuming some background.
I'll never be involved, even if requested, in recommend-
ing a successor. I could give you some experiences from my
own life, but you're not interested in what happened in
Ohio many, many years ago. I don't want to get into that ball
game. I don't think it's fair to the institution or to any
successor that might be chosen for me to have an active role
in recommending to a board, even if I should be asked that
I would certainly hope that the person who follows me
would be a listener. I would hope that person would be a team
person. If you have good minds in a given situation, the de-
cision, resulting from the meeting, is probably much more
effective and appropriate, and will likely be more successful
than the assumption based on my experience, my training. I
can sit here and make the decision myself, and know it's the
best decision in the given situation. Decisions have to be
made; I'm simply saying that the chief administrator needs
all the assistance, help, and varying viewpoints and opinions
he can get before he or she does end up with a decision.
So I hope that person would be able to exhibit greater leader-
ship qualities than perhaps I have been able to exhibit. I'd
hope they would build on what are some strong foundations
in the institution at present. And I would certainly hope
they could make some strides I have not been able to make in
other areas that, in my opinion, are not necessarily so
strong in this situation.
Although I've made hundreds and hundreds of speeches
in the district we serve, I would hope that my successor
might be more able in public speech making, in being able to
present the role of the college in the community, in a
better fashion than I've been able to present it. I would
hope that that person could better relate to students than
I've been able to. If I'm not naive, I think students have
held me in respect as a person. But it may be that I have
not been able to give an organized student government the
leadership that a college president ought to give those in-
volved in student activities.
I would hope they'd have an honest, sincere person as
president. I'd certainly hope they'd have a president that
was willing to make change when it seemed that change would
be the best interest of the college and the community. I'd
have to say, however, that I would hope the person might be
on the lob for a reasonable time before they would make dras-
tic changes. You and I have seen a situation where a person
would come into a new role and make immediate changes. Often,
I think, this later proves to be regrettable action on the
part of the person. Basic changes, I think, should come
after due time and after an attempt to appraise the entire
I'm sure of one thing, with the able board that I serve
my successor is going to beamore able person than I have
been in this role as president of Lake-Sumter.
I: What kind of experience do you want a student to have when
they are attending Lake-Sumter?
S: When they are attending? I'd want them to learn, if they
haven't already, how to apply themselves to any challenge:
whether that be a classroom textbook knowledge challenge,
whether that be a challenge in human and interpersonal re-
lationships, whether it be a challenge in a volleyball game
or a ping-pong match, or what have you. I still believe in
value of competition. I think it can be a profitable, re-
warding experience. I think failure can be rewarding as
well. I would hope all of us in life have the opportunity
and experience of failure. I think all of us can be made
stronger by how we react to failure. Some people once fail-
ing, fall down, and, I guess, never get up. But those that
are going to be satisfied with a self image and make contri-
bution to this world have to overcome failure.
I remember a crude illustration, let me throw it in, of
Thomas A. Edison when they were working on the incandescent
light bulb in his laboratory. And they'd tried over 700
methods, and all of them had failed.
One day an assistant said to Edison, "Gosh, isn't it
too bad. We've done over 700 things, and none of them work."
And Edison, just as quick as a flash said, "Man, what,
what, what do you mean? Don't feel bad, we know of over 700
things that won't work."
Well, with a philosophy of life like that, it's no
wonder the guy went on to become our great inventive genuis.
I think failure can make a person. I would hope for every
student some failure. I quickly add that I hope he'd over-
come and rebound from the failure.
I'd hope every student would get involved in student
activities. In a commuting community college, and I could
go into detail, but I don't need to. You know exactly from
experience what I'm talking about in the leadership role you
had in the community college. There's a strike against stu-
dents in that transportation is involved, time's involved.
I don't know how it was when you were a student. But over
50 percent of our students today are working. Despite all
of this, students need the experience of participation in
student activities initiated by students, conducted by stu-
dents, and so on. I feel badly if we have students on campus
not getting into some of that at least.
I would hope every student that leaves this campus would
be a better person for having been here. Whether they leave
as a A student, or frankly whether they leave as a drop out.
There are a lot of things to be gained in college. How to
get along with people is one of them. Acquired knowledge is
one. How to fail and still win. I don't know if I'm giving
you anything you expected here or not, but those are some
I think tolerance of the other guy is very important
too. College ought to have a broadening effect in that re-
gard. Many of us, we don't have to be my age either, can
quickly arrive at decisions that are final. I don't quarrel
with the fact that all of us need something to tie to, some-
thing to believe in. We must have that to be happy, success-
ful people. But in college, I think this is the time to ex-
plore and to look at different roles and different opinions,
and the thinking person then, I think, comes finally, hope-
fully to a conclusion for himself. On the other hand, one
of the saddest things that can happen is for a student to
get on any college campus and find himself afloat, never
coming down to bedrock.
One of the greatest teachers I ever had in graduate
work, I won't mention him by name, was known nationally,
perhaps internationally and the best questioner that I ever
had as a teacher. He could ask the questions, and he could
put you on the limb and then saw it off with finesse. But
it was tragic, in my opinion, that in his own life as an in-
dividual, life was a question for him. What I'm saying,
Glenn, is he never came to any final conclusions for himself.
Despite all the questions which are important and college is
a time for it in my opinion, hopefully a person can end up
with a philosophy and with a purpose tied to some things in
which they believe. I think all that's important in the
college experience. And I hope students at least get some of
that here at Lake-Sumter.
: Two more important questions. What has been your greatest
problem in fourteen years here at Lake-Sumter? Has there
been any one problem that has recurred or one big problem
that caused you some headaches?
S: One's inclined to look at recent vintage, and I suppose my
biggest concern now is that we maintain the collegial atmos-
phere--that administrative and teaching faculty can both
recognize we complement each other; we're here for the same
reason, the same purpose, namely, the student. I hope the
lines of communication can remain open, and I realize if they
do, management and administration must be willing to make
change. Those in the classroom must be willing to make
change. And we've had a wonderful climate:.on this campus in
that regard; I hope it can continue. It is now my greatest
I expect that it will continue to be a concern because
unionization, or what have you, is spreading throughout the
state and the nation. Yes, institutions can live with it.
I think there's a better way. To date I think the vast ma-
jority of our staff and faculty feel also there's a better
I: Why should parents send a child to Lake-Sumter Community
S: I'm glad you asked that one. You're talking with a parent
whose child came, he wasn't sent, but he chose to come. I've
always been glad for that and he has too.
Obviously we think of the dollar sign. It does cost
less. Not as less as we might want to say because there's
commuting costs, and whether you eat at home or eat in a
dorm at a university, it's gonna cost money. But it does
cost less in a total picture.
I think the key thing to me is that this is a teaching
faculty. I've been at the university level, I've been a
prof, I've been a department head at the university level.
I have high regard for the university. With few if any ex-
ceptions, we have qualified profs, teachers, that are inter-
ested in the grad degree they might be pursuing or interested
only in one with a top intellect. Here we have teachers that
are willing to work with students. I think you probably say
and experienced that; hopefully you did.
So I would say the biggest thing we've got to sell to
the parent to have their youngster come to this campus is
the fact that if that youngster is going to succeed in post-
secondary education and if he can't succeed at Lake-Sumter,
I question whether he's going to succeed any place. I think
if he starts here, it is going to stand him in good stead
as he pursues any vocation or any formal higher education
when he leaves. We have a demanding but a fair faculty,
and the faculty will go beyond the call of duty to work with
the individual student in their own particular need at the
time they need help. I think that's the biggest thing we
have to sell. I could talk about nice buildings, attractive
coeds, and so on and so forth, but I think that's key number