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0:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Monday morning, Dr. McGee, I wanted to ask you

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer begins the interview

0:10 - New Health and Human Performance building

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Partial Transcript: Well, that's really why I'm back in town for a few days

Segment Synopsis: McGee talks about the changes to the building

3:24 - Planning committee for new building

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Partial Transcript: Well, tell me about your involvement on the planning committee

Segment Synopsis: McGee talks about how she became involved in the planning of the new building and what the responsibilities of the committee were

7:15 - Personal background

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Partial Transcript: Well, that's an interesting observation, and it is important

Segment Synopsis: Moran talks about where she grew up and how she ended up teaching in Greensboro

9:49 - Coming to UNCG

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Partial Transcript: What was it about North Carolina or about Woman's College

Segment Synopsis: McGee reflects on her initial experiences at UNCG

14:07 - Evaluation in physical education

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Partial Transcript: Yeah. Well, when you see measurement and evaluation

Segment Synopsis: McGee reflects on areas of measurement for students in physical education

16:03 - Personal teaching philosophy

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Partial Transcript: Right. Well, see, Dot was a graduate here

Segment Synopsis: McGee describes her teaching philosophy in physical education

18:05 - Women in education

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Partial Transcript: Well-when you- well, your formal study must have been

Segment Synopsis: McGee spends quite a bit of time discussing women in education and women in leadership roles in education and how that affected the university and learning as a whole

27:11 - Students and their futures

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Partial Transcript: With different visions, different backgrounds and the strength.

Segment Synopsis: McGee remembers the types of students that were in the physical education program and what their futures were most likely to be

29:31 - Advantages and disadvantages of women's education

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Partial Transcript: Well, maybe that tells us something about education

Segment Synopsis: McGee remembers the experiences she had at UNCG and the benefits and disadvantages of a women's education and women in leadership roles in education

36:20 - Administration position and return to teaching

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Partial Transcript: And I didn't want to give up my teaching. And so I told

Segment Synopsis: McGee recalls her experiences when she was a dean, and explains how she preferred teaching to being in administration

40:00 - Current place of women at UNCG

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Partial Transcript: Which is a statement about this school. I mean, it's a statement

Segment Synopsis: McGee explains the changes that have occurred on the campus since it became a coeducational institution and talks about the place of women in positions and leadership at the university.

48:53 - Administration figures

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Partial Transcript: Yeah. Tell me a little bit more about Dr. Elliott- well,

Segment Synopsis: McGee talks about female figures in the administration and how they were great female role models

51:03 - Personal reflection

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Partial Transcript: In thinking back, what were some of your best times here

Segment Synopsis: McGee reflects in great detail about many of her experiences at UNCG and what teaching at the school meant to her.

64:01 - Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: I mean, there was a rule. They knew they were not

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer ends the interview


AP: This is Monday morning, and Dr. McGee, I wanted to ask you about the new building [Health and Human Performance]. Let's start with that since it's such a celebration. Tell me about it.

RM: Well, that's really why I'm back in town for a few days. I wanted to be here for the dedication because I was on the planning committee over the years and saw it evolve. And when I came in 1954, they had just moved in 1952 into Coleman [Gymnasium], which was state-of-the-art building at the time. And it was, I thought, really unique for a campus of this type, which was, of course, a women's campus at that time. And it was planned and supervised by a woman, Ethel Martus [Lawther], who was the head of the [physical education] department. And so the coloring in the building was like pastel bricks - aqua and yellows - and I don't mean pink and blue, but - you know. And it really had a great sense of design. And I notice the difference in this new building. It's, of course, huge 1:00and much more footage and probably much more functional for the diversity of the school now. But it's a colder building. The atrium, I think, is just really unique though because Coleman and Rosenthal [gymnasiums] were the two old buildings. Rosenthal was the first one - well, it was really the second one. The first one was just a outdoor covered thing. Rosenthal, I think it was 1926, and then Coleman was 1952. And they were joined by a little tunnel over to the swimming pool and so forth. So they have been sort of renovated and merged, and behind them is the atrium. And the atrium, really then, connects all the new building, which is out toward the fields. And so it's a clever architectural kind of design.

AP: So they did - they kept the two old buildings? I mean, I've been in that -


RM: Yes, they've kept that. Of course, their function has changed. Like the old Rosenthal Gym is now the dance studio, and practically all of Rosenthal is dance now. When we were in Coleman, we were all one big department. And now, see, we're a School [of Health and Human Performance], and each group has their own little section and a place to do their own little specialty. So the space function has changed, but they haven't lost the use of that old part. And they've tried to tie it in.

AP: And so the architecture really helps to tie in all the functions?

RM: Right. And I think the atrium does that, even though - see, you've been in it. When you get in there, and you're looking down four floors, it looks like -

AP: It is impressive. Well, I've been amazed, too, about the - well, I was going to say the biomechanics of sport. I don't know. Maybe that's a new thing with emphasis on fitness and everybody's physical well being as well as mental 3:00well being. But the school has an interest in that, too.

RM: Yes. That's become much more technical. And the equipment to go with it - in fact, one of the labs over there is designed specifically just for the study of, you know, human movement, you know, how people go up and down steps and things of that sort.

AP: Well, tell me about your involvement on the planning committee and, well, just tell me about that, and then we'll go back to some of your coming here in the first place.

RM: The committee started originally - it was appointed, of course, by Chancellor [William] Moran, and I think he tried to get each of the areas represented. And then I had been here quite a while, and I had also been an acting dean while we were in an interim and so I viewed my role as sort of the overview role. I'm not sure the committee - some of the committee members viewed me that way because obviously I was a physical education orientation. But I did 4:00feel like that I brought to the committee a more global picture of what the building should be and not that I was just scrapping for a golf room, you know, or like a dancer would want a studio or a rehearsal hall. I was trying to say, "Well, you know, we're a large, complex school now, and we need to meet everybody's needs." And so often I felt like I was sort of the mediator on that. And then, you know, the give-and-take. And then, as the committee went on, see, we went through planning, you remember - I don't know if you remember it. We didn't get enough money on the bids, and so we had to go back and replan [sic] and cut a lot of things they told us that we could have, and that's, that was hard. You know, that really got at your heart, really. And morale was poor, and we were delayed, you know, that two years.

AP: What year was the committee set up in the first place, say, when Chancellor Moran appointed you?

RM: Oh, gosh. I don't even remember, seems like it was six or eight years ago, 5:00now. And then, of course, we were in Forney [Building] for four years. Two of those years we wouldn't have even had to be there because we moved thinking everything was going forward, and then it didn't. And then, so, it meant that we were displaced all over campus as a school. And we lost some of the communication among the various departments. And over the time then, the committee changed a little bit because people would leave, and people would come in and things of that sort. So there was a little fluctuation in the committee, which was also difficult because, you know, they would have to come in and learn their way. Like Nelson Bobb [athletic director] came in for athletics, and he, of course, should have been on the committee. And he was, and he was a tremendous help. He was just fantastic.

AP: Yeah. I would think he's a clear thinker on things.

RM: Yes, very. And we all had our little separate subcommittees, and I did a 6:00lot of my special work with Nelson Bobb. But it was a study in longevity and frustration, but it was also a study in satisfaction. But the school - the building hasn't yet done what I hope it will do and that is to bring a sense of wholeness back to the school. And it is so large, the building is so large, I'm now not sure it's going to do that.

AP: Yeah, I've gotten lost in it and asked, you know, headed for something and have to ask directions at least two or three times, and I'm persistent.

RM: It has brought, though, the faculty and the students back together. See, when we had all of our offices over in Forney, the students, unless they had a conference, they had no reason to come see us. And over there, you know, you see them going back and forth to the gym and to the weight room and to the locker room, and so you just have more casual contact. And so I think, as far as within 7:00physical education or within dance, and within each of the areas, the faculty-student tie is renewed. But the sense of wholeness about the school is not there yet. And it may come, but it may not.

AP: Well, that's an interesting observation, and it is important for the faculty-student relationship to - at least to - for the possibility for that to exist in a natural way, everyday way. Well, tell me about your first coming here to the school, tell me - well, tell me a little about your growing up and your own background, your life, if you would go into that.

RM: Right. Well, I consider myself a Texan. My - both my parents are Texans, and it just so happened at the time I was born they were living in New Jersey. And then the Depression hit, and we went back to Texas. But I spent all but I think two or three years there. And went to school there in San Marcos. And we 8:00were a Depression family. Papa was the business manager of the Baptist military academy there, and mother was a dietician. She was a home economist - and is, or was, I guess, when she was still working. And then he became the county auditor and was for some forty years. Southwest Texas State University is in San Marcos, and I went to school there. And I knew that I, all along, that I wanted to be a physical educator. And at that time Texas Woman's University at Denton was the premier school in that field, but we couldn't afford to send me. And Papa always said, "You know, if Southwest Texas hadn't been in San Marcos, you wouldn't have gone to college." [laughs] But anyway, I did go to school and got my degree in physical education and taught in Galveston, a junior high, and I just loved them. And then, then went on to Illinois State [University] and did my master's. 9:00And I was beginning to focus then in measurement and evaluation statistics, so that's my specialty. And then I went to [University of] Iowa and did my doctorate. And when I was at Iowa is when I met Gail Hennis, and she was already on the faculty here and she was coming back to Iowa City in the summers to finish her degree. And I had gone two years solid to finish mine, and we overlapped there. And so she asked me one day if I'd be interested in coming to work at [Woman's College of the University of North Carolina] Greensboro. And I had two possibilities. One was Greeley, Colorado, and I went out there for an interview. And I didn't even come here for an interview. I talked to Mrs. [Ethel] Martus on the phone and decided to take this one.

AP: What was it about North Carolina or about Woman's College that seemed different from Greeley, Colorado?

RM: Right. Well, I don't know whether it was, you know, just South or what. Daddy always said, you know, "You can go off to school if you'll come back to 10:00Texas to teach." Of course, I never did do that. And he's often said, "It would just be so nice if you were within a day's drive," instead of, you know, it takes two and a half days to drive home. But it's probably because I met Gail. I had that contact, and I wanted to stay in the South. And so I really came sight unseen even though I'd gone to Greeley.

AP: That's amazing. [laughs]

RM: And of course, you don't know when you come somewhere in '54 that you're going to stay there the rest of your professional career, which, I guess, nowadays is very unusual.

AP: Yeah, I would think so. What did you think when you got here? So that was fall of '54 that you landed on campus. What did you think when you got here?

RM: Well, it was, it was an interesting weekend when I arrived because I didn't have any housing or anything. And so I stayed in the old Manor Hotel, which is where the Y [Young Men's Christian Association, YMCA] is now. And called Miss Martus and she invited me out to supper that night, and we had a cookout, and I 11:00got to meet some of the faculty. But it was detached because it was right at that time that the big hurricane had come at the coast. What was it, was that Hazel?

AP: Hazel, I think that was Hazel.

RM: Right. And Miss Martus had boats down there, a boat down there see, and they were anxious to get news of the coast. And so it was kind of good that they were focused on other things than, "Well, who is this new bird in our midst?" [laughs]

AP: So it took a little bit of pressure off you?

RM: Right. It did really. And it kind of got me a little bit socially so I could sort of observe instead of being right in the focus. And then Dorothy Davis took me the next day to apartment hunt, and so we got all settled. It was - have you interviewed Miss Martus?

AP: No, I haven't.

RM: I hope somebody will.


AP: I don't know whether someone has done that, but I will certainly make a point -

RM: Because she was, you know, the head and the dean here for forty-three years and would have a great perspective on things. She was always credited as an administrator of vision who got good, strong faculty in. And at the time I didn't realize the significance of it, but I was the first doctorate, woman, on the faculty.

AP: On the faculty?

RM: In P.E. [physical education]

AP: Yeah, I understand, I understand. So you came fresh with this degree and -

RM: Right. And see, it was interesting, because see, Gail was working on hers and really was sort of ahead of me and was thought of as the person on the faculty who was, you know, going to help toward building the graduate program. And they were trying to get strong faculty to do that because we already had, see, a real strong undergraduate major that was nationally known. And so that's just sort of a little fluke of the timing. Several years later, Jan Watson, who 13:00teaches up at Appalachian [State University], did her doctorate here. And she did her dissertation on Miss Martus. And it's in the library, and it does a lot of the history of the - are you all going to collect some of the historical works?

AP: Yeah.

RM: For the exhibits and the Centennial, so that ought to be one that would be in there.

AP: I'm glad you mentioned that.

RM: And I really didn't even realize that that was the thing until I was working with Jane on hers, and she had uncovered the fact that I was the first doctorate. And I think Gail got hers maybe within a matter of months, you know. Probably within a year she finished hers, but she'd even started on hers before I had, see, just the way that she was doing summers, and I had a block of time to do mine. And then we started building from there. And I was - Gail was already teaching the measurement and continued to. You teach some things you are not prepared to teach. I remember I taught history of physical education, and boy, I studied hard every night, and I was terrible at it. But I learned a lot. 14:00But eventually, I built my niche in measurement and evaluation.

AP: Yeah. Well, when you see measurement and evaluation in physical education, tell me a bit more about that, you know, how it actually works, exactly what it is, you know, as you see it.

RM: Well, I see it, as far as a student is concerned, I see three different areas. One, of course, is the motor part. In other words, what are the students doing in the skill? In other words, if they're taking a badminton course, can they serve? Can they stroke the bird, you know? Or if they're taking golf, what's their swing? And so it's a matter of skill assessment and other kind of physical things like fitness and balance and things like that. Then the other two areas that we've developed, but more recently - one is knowledge testing. So always before, you thought, well, all they had to do was perform, you know, badminton. But now, in order to be a good badminton player, they need to understand the strategy of the game, and the history and the terminology and 15:00things of that sort. So the technique, and the strategy, and the mental capability to know enough of that to apply it to the game so that you're playing a thinking game of badminton. And so we've developed techniques and knowledge testing. And then in the third area is in the affective area, where we've concentrated on attitudes, self-concept and things of that sort.

AP: That seems to be one of the most important things about physical education. And it seems to be such a carryover into life, you know. I think about [Dorothy] Dot Casey, my instructor, and there was such a feeling, not only just about being in the physical education class, but we were changed as women because of sports, because of what happened. And I've thought of that, and I've thought that's carried through for a lot of my life.


RM: Right. Well, see, Dot was a graduate here [Class of 1948].

AP: So I'm probably indebted to you for my life -

RM: No, no. She was before my day. But - and it's been real interesting. And it's sort of controversial because a lot of people feel like that the affective domain is important, but that we don't have any business teaching it, and we certainly don't have any business grading it. And I would agree on the latter part. But that doesn't mean that - well, for example, when I taught my golf classes, I wanted them to appreciate the environment and the aesthetic experience of playing golf. And also I wanted them to understand that it was a social game. And we'd work on skill and the rules, but we would also work on the accoutrements of the game so that they would have this affective feeling about themselves in that setting. And there have been some scales and things developed to get at that thing. Or really, I guess, to make the student more aware of what 17:00they're doing. Now those three things relate to the student. The other side of the picture is measurement in relation to the program, so that, in effect, you can say, "Well, if I have a good program, I'm going to produce good students," or vice versa. You can say, "If I have good students, I must have had a good program." And so, sometimes we just assume that we have a good program. And now there are instruments that we apply, and so you look at the qualifications of your faculty, the adequacy of your facilities, your philosophy admission statement, and your budget and your resources and things like that, so that just like public schools are accredited - you're probably aware of those things. There are instruments now where people focus on the adequacy of the program as opposed to what's happening to the student. And so my measurement area has been in those kinds of things.


AP: Well - when you - well, your formal study must have been - was that some of the first formal study in measurement, say, in the country. Was that just beginning?

RM: Well, the only reason I went to Iowa was because Gladys Scott was there, and she had already published, she and Esther French - and Esther French was the head of the department at Normal, at Illinois State where I got my master's. And so Frenchy was saying, you know, "Well, if you really want to concentrate on this, well, go to Iowa and study with Gladys Scott." And so that was sort of the mentoring route that I came through. But it was real interesting. When I got there, Gladys Scott was all booked up with students, and I worked with Elizabeth Halsey, who was the head of the department and more of a philosopher than a measurement person. But she let me do a measurement study.

AP: I see. Well, I'm impressed with the fact that your teachers and your mentors were women, you know, and that you came here to a place which was a 19:00woman's college. And you said, you know, we did have a very strong, nationally-recognized undergraduate program. Tell me more about that mentoring, you know, for women even in your own life, or the strength of women as leaders and as teachers and as students here. Just, I guess I'm saying, tell me about women, you know.

RM: Well, see, when I, when I was at Iowa, it was one of the premier doctoral programs in physical education for women. Now, they took - I took some courses in the men's department, but the two departments didn't get along, and they didn't like you to go over there to take their courses. But McCoy was a big man, and I wanted to study with him, a big name. So I took a few courses over there. Then I felt like after I left there, not because I left, but later, it's kind of like a wave. These programs kind of go up and down. And then Halsey retired, and 20:00Scott retired and some of the other big people who had sort of built that program. Well, just about the time that that was happening, Miss Martus was collecting all these strong women here like Celeste Ulrich, you've probably heard of her, and Gail Hennis. And I was in that sort of group of new doctorate women with a lot of energy and commitment to help it. And Miss Martus was a woman of vision, you know. And she sent us off to all these meetings, you know, and got us involved with professional organizations so we would be known and our program would be known. And she molded us.

AP: Yeah, so you were strong as individual women and as scholars and as teachers, but you came here and worked with a strong - a woman of vision, and so the strength sort of added to the strength.

RM: Right. Miss Martus was always a little resentful that she didn't have a 21:00doctorate and that we did.

AP: Oh, oh my.

RM: And I guess that's why I was so pleased a couple years ago that the university gave her an honorary degree, because what she did over the years would have earned several doctorates. But in her time, she was a graduate of Wellesley, which was a strong woman's school, see. And she was told at that time by Dr. [Chancellor Walter Clinton] Jackson that she didn't need to go get her doctorate. That, you know, we needed her here to head up the department. Miss Coleman had died and she had picked up on that, on that leadership role. And at that time it wasn't important for, see, the woman heads to have doctorates. And 22:00that was poor advice.

AP: I wonder if a woman had been advising, if that advice would have been the same, you know. Although we don't know -

RM: But I always admired Miss Martus for the fact that she pushed us, and she collected a strong women's group for her faculty to do this master's program. And ultimately we started working on the doctorate and, well, that was a struggle, of course. See, [The University of North Carolina at] Chapel Hill was fighting us. They didn't want us to get it, and really blocked us a couple times before we got it.

AP: But they wouldn't have had that many women, I mean, even women in education -

RM: Well, by that time see, we were coed. So we were getting master's students and doctoral students, both men and women.

AP: So there would have been competition from Chapel Hill.

RM: Yeah. The doctorate program at Chapel Hill was in education and just sort of a little side interest in physical education, where here see, it was the main thrust of the degree. So we had to do a lot of politicking. And Miss Martus would gather up Gail and Celeste and me, and we'd go over to Chapel Hill at 23:00these meetings, you know, and then they would - and make these presentations, and we'd work on these documents. And just over the years and years and years, she just kept plugging. She kept plugging, and she got that degree.

AP: She didn't let go and had that vision and power and strength.

RM: Yeah, had that vision, right.

AP: So when you did this lobbying, was that mostly with, you know, Chapel Hill faculty or higher administration there, or the North Carolina State legislature, you know, where - ?

RM: Well, it was with the administrative office at Chapel Hill [General Administration]. You know, we had to get degree programs approved. And we had to show that we had the faculties to support it and Chapel Hill didn't. We couldn't say that, of course. We said we had it, and then they're supposed to understand that if we have it and they compare, that Chapel Hill didn't have the strength and that we had the facilities, and we were developing the labs and things of that sort we needed to do that.

AP: It's so important. It's really intriguing. It's an important part of the 24:00history to think about. Maybe an important part of the politics to think about, too, you know.

RM: Yeah, well, I think it has ingrained in me, over the years, my dislike for Chapel Hill. And I realize that it is the flagship and all this kind of rot, but over the years what they did to us was unbelievable - the politics. And I think it's because we were the little women's college sitting down there and wouldn't give us the support that we really needed and were qualified to have. But by durn [sic], Miss Martus kept fighting that battle. And you know, she would use us in whatever way she could to help promote that. You know, writing these documents and reports and, you know, working on them herself. I don't mean she wasn't right in the middle of it. But she was sure that we had visibility all over this country and had significant roles in professional organizations and, 25:00you know, we were supposed to teach our classes and be good teachers, but we were supposed to be of service to the profession and to get this program known, keep it known.

AP: Well, I've heard - you know, talking about Chapel Hill - I've heard that some don't - that the feeling at Chapel Hill was that they considered, you know, Woman's College a little sister. And I'm wondering how much of that was a male-female concept or the fact that maybe Chapel Hill was supposed to be the center of the universe, which may or may not be, and just plain old jealousy or even lack of recognition.

RM: Well, I think it was probably both. You know, I don't think - you know, at that time, we didn't even know what a chauvinist was. But that's what they were. But I don't think they consciously realized that, and then, of course, they were protecting the great Chapel Hill and really fighting us for that program.

AP: So for you all to fight here as women, as administrators, was a very strong 26:00- was a really very courageous thing to do and a tough thing to do. I mean, you were fighting city hall.

RM: It's been interesting, too, because see, Miss Martus employed the first man on the faculty and got Frank Pleasants in, and he was a doctorate from Florida State [University]. And in subsequent years, see, he's joined the faculty at Chapel Hill. He heads up their research, but he was a physiologist for us and a fine, fine man. And we've, you know, been friends over the years. And since we've gotten these programs, some of that feeling has mellowed. But at the time, Ollie Cornwall was head of the department over there at the same time Miss Martus was head over here, and they were supposed to be great professional buddies. Well, he was stabbing her in the back the whole time.

AP: So there was some feeling about the difference between Chapel Hill and here?

RM: Well, there was a lot of feeling that they were not being supportive. In 27:00fact, they were doing everything they could to keep us from growing. And yet we were a much stronger faculty than they were.

AP: With different visions, different backgrounds and the strength. I mean, as you said, you had the strength here to do the things. What about the women, were most of the young women, say, in undergraduate and graduate programs from the state, or from out of state? Could you guess about the percentages?

RM: I don't remember the percentages, but we had quite a group of out of states, even undergraduates. And Miss Martus was anxious that we place our graduates in good schools out of state as well as in the state, and that was our recruitment network. And the same would be true with our graduates. In fact, I'm sure we had more out-of-state graduates, graduate students, than we had - but undergraduates was a mixture. Probably more in state, but some out of state, which gave it a richness, you know. That was back in the days when you would 28:00graduate, and Miss Martus would know all these other heads, you know, all over the country, and they would call each other, you know, "Do you have a good strong candidate you can send to Texas?" And in that day, Miss Martus said, "Well, I have a job for you at the University of Texas," like she did with [Sarah] Sally Robinson [UNCG faculty]. I don't know if you've met her or not. And Sally went, you know. And over a series, we were counting the other day. I was visiting with Sally, she's our assistant dean now, but in the meanwhile, you know, she's gone off and done her doctorate at [University of] Wisconsin [at Madison] and really established herself. But we were visiting the other day, and we traced back that seven of our undergraduate students - and nearly always the strongest one in the class - she placed at Texas. And you know, like a lot of times you'd finish school, and you'd go teach in a junior high school somewhere. 29:00She placed them as instructors in these college programs. And that's because they had the network, you know. Miss Martus would call, you know, Anna Hiss [director of women's physical education, University of Texas], and Anna Hiss would call her, "Well, I need such and such." And she'd call Sally in and say, "Sally, you're going to Texas." [laughs]

AP: So Sally went.

RM: Yeah. Sally went.

AP: God called and you went.

RM: And of course, the kids wouldn't do that this day, you know.

AP: Well, maybe that tells us something about education - I was going to say women's education, maybe how things have changed. Or the times have changed, I'm not sure, in or out of the university. I wonder about some of those changes over time. So when you came here, of course it was all women. Did you see resistance to, you know, men coming here? What was your feeling or what was the feeling on campus about men being admitted to the school?

RM: Yes, I think there was considerable resistance. I've been interested in the articles in the paper about Mills [College, Oakland, California]. You know they 30:00finally fussed enough that they turned that around. But the students went down to the legislature and lobbied, and they just got the alumnae groups to lobby, and it just wasn't the time and there was a lot of resistance to it. But there again, Miss Martus had vision. She says, "Well, if this is coming, we're going to be ready for it." So that, you know, she employed Frank Pleasants, and she employed Jim Swiggett as one of our early men instructors and our first men's basketball coach and things of that sort. And so that's what I mean, like for being a woman of vision. And so she saw what was happening, and so, no need us being bitter, you know. Get on the bandwagon, and make it as good as you can make it. But the thing that I feel that has happened most was the loss of leadership development among the women.


AP: I've heard that.

RM: The women were strong, like student government and presidents and house presidents and things of that sort. And gee, it didn't take any time at all before all the student government officers were men.

AP: Really?

RM: Yes. And they just - and the whole integrity of academic excellence and integrity, like the honor policy and things of that sort, were just gone overnight, you know. I worked in Coleman Gym for all those years and never locked my office. None of us did. You just walked into that building, and your door was open for a year at a time, you know. My lord, you wouldn't do that these days. And the whole campus changed when we became coed.

AP: I guess it really makes us wonder about the why of that or how this has 32:00happened. I mean, is it society?

RM: Well, I have to admit that I think that we have better facilities because we have men. There's no doubt in my mind that we would not have that gym today if we didn't have men's athletics. Now that's sad.

AP: Yeah, it is sad.

RM: Yeah, because you see, Miss Martus was fighting all these years, and she fought --til she got that Coleman Gym built because we had a strong program. But all these years we weren't getting what we needed done to the fields and then, you know, all of a sudden, athletics becomes important, and then you've got to showcase it for the world, and you get facilities. But that's a condemnation to me that you don't get it because of your educational excellence in the program you want to have. You get it because you have athletics.

AP: There's a big difference. It's a sad difference.

RM: And I'm supportive of our athletics here. And when we had the faculty vote, 33:00I voted for it, and most of my colleagues in physical education voted against it. And if we're going to do it, I want us to do it well and not cheat all the time, you know. And I think we started that way, and that's one thing that worries me, though, about going Division I. I wish we could have stayed Division III, but that doesn't seem to be in the works. So if we're going to do Division I, let's do it with integrity. And so I hope that we can play that role just like I think we were - everybody says we were an outstanding women's college. We're a mediocre university, which is sad to me.

AP: Yeah. I've heard that Woman's College was called the "Wellesley of the South." Did you hear it called that?

RM: Yes, yes, yes.

AP: Was there that feeling for student body and for faculty and for administration here?

RM: Yeah. That's very apt.

AP: Yeah. Oh my, things do change. What about the - you know, I've heard that 34:00some of the very strong deans and women's leaders - some of them should have become chancellor, and we didn't have that.

RM: Well, of course, a lot of people felt like that Katherine Taylor was a very strong woman and also a great intellect, probably more so than Miss [Mereb] Mossman [former dean of faculty]. And that she probably should have been dean of the faculty and then maybe chancellor or something of that sort. But she was the dean of women. And she was the one, see, that followed in Miss [Harriet] Elliott's [dean of women] tradition of developing women and leadership roles. And so, in a way, she probably made a greater contribution in that line as far as the richness of student life, but she was academically capable of being dean 35:00of the faculty.

AP: And somebody, I guess, made the decision that she wouldn't be. I mean, even at such a strong women's institution -

RM: Well, see, I think she came in as a residence hall counselor, and, as a matter of fact see, I came in '54, and it was, I think, two years after that they decided that all the residence hall counselors should also be members of the faculty. And so Gail [Hennis] and Betsy [Umstead] and Celeste [Ulrich] and I and several of our, you know - and some young faculty in math and some young faculty in English - I spent two years at South Spencer [Dormitory]. You know, that was the largest residence hall on campus - 183 student - and teaching. And then - but it was that role, I think, that later on when Miss Taylor retired and Sadye Dunn [Doxie] came in as dean of women then Sadye left, that [Chancellor] Otis Singletary asked me to be dean of women, and I did that for two years. And 36:00- but, see, in the meanwhile, I had lived that two years in the residence hall, and I'd been advisor of the honor board and, you know, done a lot of things with student government. And so I had, I thought, a fairly good sense of the campus.

AP: I should say, yeah.

RM: And I didn't want to give up my teaching. And so I told the chancellor - this was right at the time that he was stopping and [Chancellor James] Ferguson was coming in, so I really worked with both of them. I stayed two years, one year with each of them. And I said, "You know, I'll do it if I can continue to teach my one - my measurement class." And I had to give up, of course, all my other teaching. I headed up the swimming program, I taught golf and, you know, you just teach whatever. And - but the measurement I didn't want to give up. But at the end of the second year or close to the second year, I'd been so busy as 37:00dean that I'd come to the point where I was teaching off the cuff. I really wasn't keeping up with my field. And I realized that for my own integrity - that if I had to do one or the other, that I either had to give all of my time to being dean of women or - and student affairs - or I had to go back to teaching and get myself geared up. And I made the decision to go back to teaching.

AP: Is that right? So that was always strong for you and very important for you. Well, of course, all of the other things that you did were important, too, and important here on this campus, and for you as a person.

RM: I think it's the type of thing that gives me that wholeness feeling, you know, that I was talking about when I was on the building committee. I think I have had a sense of the whole campus and not just my little niche. And that's probably why, see, we - Miss Martus was dean, and then Margaret Morty came in and then she left a year sooner than we thought she would, and so they asked me to fill in as dean. And so I filled in as acting dean of the school at - and I 38:00think was accepted because they knew that I wasn't just a physical educator, but that I was also interested in dance and in health, and in, you know, athletics and intramurals and all of those. At that time, see, athletics was under the School. It wasn't separate, and campus recreation was under the school. See, now it's in student affairs.

AP: I see. I see. So when you say, "Under the school," meaning -

RM: HPERD, the School of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. So you know, I never have sought administrative roles, but I have found myself there when the university needed me, like they needed me to be the dean of women, so I said, "Okay." And then later on, they needed me to be dean of the school and I said, "Well, okay." But the bottom line is teaching for me. And everybody says, "Well, you want to be an administrator because you want the power." Well, the heck with the power - the headaches, the ulcers, you know, the 39:00lonesomeness of it. And as far as I'm concerned, to work with the students and, of course, by that time we were doing a lot of thesis and dissertation advising and -

AP: About what year, say - well, when did you make that decision to just go back to the teaching whole hog, full steam ahead?

RM: Well, I was the dean of women - I'd have to check back. It's around '66 to '68. But that may be off a year or two. And then I was acting dean of the school for just one year, and I knew that that was acting. You know, I knew I would go back to teaching. I didn't have to make the decision then, but I did have to make the decision about being administrator of the dean of women, and, of course at that time, you had a dean of women. Now see, there's no title like that. There are all kinds of things in student affairs, but nothing called the dean of women and the dean of men.

AP: Which is a statement about this school. I mean, it's a statement about this 40:00university - what has happened over the years, where is the place of the woman student, you know, who is she, where is she, and what's the place of the woman, well, faculty member and administrator? I guess we're asking what has happened to the place of women over the past decades, you know, here.

RM: Well, see, [Vice Chancellor] Jim Allen in student affairs has a lot of women on his staff, and they have all different kinds of assignments. But the living setting in the dormitory is not - well, it's under residence life, you know, so it's just a whole new structure. And that's probably true generally over the country. You know you don't find many deans of women anymore. They have some other title. They do essentially the same thing, but they're not titled that.


AP: I was thinking of Lois Johnson, dean of women, who was a fine teacher, but exceptionally strong woman [and] came from a family of vision and educators and had an influence, an impact on all of us as students.

RM: Now she was at Wake Forest? Well, see, one of the things that I enjoyed the two years I was dean of women was going to the deans' meetings. And so I've met all the other deans of women in the state of North Carolina, and gee, what a group, really, just fantastic women.

AP: Just strong, strong leaders. And if we think -

RM: And they had to fight, see, because they were fighting for women's education and women's position and women's leadership role. And they were tough.

AP: And those were the days before we think of the women's movement. I mean, all your work and the work of other deans and women educators predated all of that - before the feminine mystique, before it got popular or a good thing to 42:00champion women's rights, and you all were doing it before it got to be talked about or written about. I mean you were women educators. You were strong.

[recording paused]

AP: What we're talking about is women teachers, administrators, living, you know, with the students. It was very much a day-to-day mission and vision and day-to-day occurrence that teachers - women teachers were a part of the life. And that changed the lives of women. I mean, it was a strength, a daily strength that was their base that was here, and that seems to have changed.

RM: Well, that really has. That, to me, is what I see as one of the big differences in the philosophy of [inaudible] in physical education. There is 43:00such a push to research and publish that the faculty now don't spend the time with the students that we did. In fact, some of these younger faculty have come in in more recent years and actually accused us of mothering our students. And yet it's the students of that era that have such loyalty here - because we really gave of ourselves for the enrichment of their program. And they look back on their undergraduate and graduate days here as the best days of their lives. And yet it was because we were right in there with them, doing their work with them. And now they come just so they can do the research that the faculty member wants done, not what they want to do. They're interested in that field, of course. But it's a whole different mentality about nurturing and mentoring, I 44:00think. And it's mentoring for cold, cold research. Get out there and produce and publish.

AP: And that's the name of the game.

RM: That's the name of the game. And that's sad. And I'm glad I came along before that day.

AP: Well, that's changed, so the nature of the student life has changed, the student vision and nature of faculty. If you think about the whole meaning of the word "to educate," to draw out, to change people's lives, maybe that's changed over the last decade or two.

RM: Oh, I think it has.

AP: Maybe not here, perhaps. Do you think that's a national trend in universities and colleges?

RM: Right. And I think it's because we've gotten away from the emphasis on excellence in teaching. And we emphasize getting grants, getting money, and 45:00that's important, and that helps finance some graduate students, so we can build our graduate program. And now you don't come to graduate school because you want to come to UNCG. You come to graduate school because you know a particular faculty member here who's willing, before you come, to say that they will work with you. Now that's ludicrous, you know. And if that particular faculty member will not take you on because they already have maybe three other graduate students, you don't come because no one's willing to work with you. We worked with whoever came.

AP: Yeah. yeah. And there was really a broader base, I mean, a -

RM: Well, there was a - not the specialization. We had specializations, you know, like Celeste was in the sciences and philosophy, and Gail was an administration major. I was in measurements. But you know, I've directed historical studies and physiology studies and measurement studies. Well, today 46:00they wouldn't let me do that. And I have no apology about those days.

AP: No. No, because teachers, maybe, and students were more generalists - I mean if we want to use just a great, big generic word.

RM: We had a strong committee, and we got on those committees - the expertise that we needed, you know. And the students asked the faculty that they wanted to direct their work. And see, that whole philosophy has changed.

[End Tape 1, Side A - Begin Tape 1, Side B]

AP: - strong here, as students, went into politics or went into roles of leadership throughout this state and other states because of their training here, and that seems to have changed over the last decade or two. When, in fact, we should, it seems, if we think of the women's movement that we - that women should have been getting stronger in every areas of their life, every area, but that hasn't really happened. We've sort of done a reversal. Is that the feeling?

RM: Well see, I think that all changed when we became coed, and now we lost so much of it. And we were so apologetic about being a women's college and having 47:00that background, but now they see that that was a rich heritage, and they're beginning to give a little emphasis to women's studies and things of that sort. But still, they'll never get that back, which is different.

AP: In other words, you can't really impose a structure or even a philosophy. I mean, as much as I care about women's studies you know - women's history, women in history - but it sort of - we threw the baby out with the bath water. Now we're sort of trying to get the thing back. And it may not be, never the same. It won't be the same.

RM: Oh, it won't be the same. But at least we realize now that we lost something, and that we ought to be giving women more opportunities for leadership and encouraging them to apply for student government roles and, you know, volunteer work and things of that sort. That there's more to coming to college than just going to classes, you know, and partying, and that they need to learn to be good, strong citizens. And that was what we were doing at that 48:00time, you know. And that when they got out, yeah, they were going to teach, but they were going to give leadership to that community.

AP: And the life, the way campus life was set up here - say when you came in the fifties and before that, a decade before, several decades - the structure of the university made it possible for women to establish their own personal identities and to be strong as leaders - the possibility, not that all women were or could or wanted to.

RM: No, or even wanted to. Right. But, you know, when you're coming along with the heritage of Harriet Elliott, you know, and then a Katherine Taylor, and, you know, those are really strong women and great role models.

AP: Yeah. Tell me a little bit more about Dr. Elliott - well, Harriet Elliott and Dean Taylor.

RM: I don't really know Harriet Elliott. She was before my day, other than the 49:00mystique of her, just like I never did know Mary Channing Coleman. But, you know, the stories about her are legion, and what a strong woman she was. And you could get some nice perceptions of her if you get to talk to with Miss Martus, Dean Martus. I still call her Miss Martus even though she's Dean Martus. But Katherine Taylor was strong. And when I was - by the time I became dean of women, see, she was in student affairs. In fact, I think she was running Elliott Hall at that time. So that was kind of interesting because, see, I had been on her staff when I was a counselor at South Spencer. And so I had worked with her, but she was always intimidating to me.

RM: Oh, how so? Why?

RM: Well, I don't know whether she was more of an intellectual than I was 50:00comfortable being with. I always felt like I never quite measured up. And I hadn't come from a strong woman's heritage.

AP: Well, I guess I wonder about personalities, too. Personalities were important in those decades just as they are now - in any decade.

RM: Well, Katherine Taylor was, of course, a tall, striking, handsome woman and had presence about her, and so she was no little neat thing. And I think her stature helped her, of course, in that she was tall and knew how to carry herself and how to dress well and how to speak well.

AP: I've heard someone describe how she looked when she came back in the uniform, which must have been very imposing.

RM: Yes. I can imagine it would have been.

AP: Well, I guess Dr. [Laura] Anderton [former UNCG faculty] mentioned that - the presence.

[recording paused]


AP In thinking back, what were some of your best times here, best experiences, and maybe some of the most discouraging or worst times, depending on how you define worst? What were some good and bad times as far as philosophy or actual teaching or administration? You know, what were some good and bad times here in your own career?

RM: Well, I guess two bad times. When I came here as a young assistant professor, Miss Martus was very difficult to work with. She was a strong woman. I admired her and I respected her, but she was very demanding, and, if you didn't do it her way, you know, you didn't - and I don't remember now, remember what I had done, but I thought I was right in what I had done. And I never shall 52:00forget, [Marjorie L.] Marge Leonard [Class of 1939, former faculty] - whatever I had done had caused a strain between Miss Martus and myself, and Marge Leonard said, "You go and apologize." And I said, "Marge, I'm not wrong." And she said, "You go and apologize." I never quite got over that, and it's taken me years to adjust to it. And it's been interesting because all those years I never lost my respect for the woman. But that's how strong she was. And I guess I rectified it in my own mind because I was the one who initiated the papers on her honorary degree.


AP: That's very courageous and very generous, unselfish.

RM: And over the years, see, that has softened, but it's never really totally left me. The other thing that was, that's been most difficult is the new era. You know, I talked about the wave of when I was strong, and then it kind of declined and now it's coming back up. Well, we were very strong and then - I feel like that, with the new philosophy and so forth, that we've had sort of a dip and we're coming back up. But coming back up makes everybody who comes in, all the young fellows coming in, think that history started the day they walked in. They don't realize that they wouldn't be here if we hadn't worked hard to build it. And I retired early so that I wouldn't get bitter. You know, it's 54:00tough to have some fellow come in who's maybe thirty-two and think that work you're doing advising these doctoral students is inept. And, you know, I've written a measurement book. It's in its fourth edition. I know measurement. And it's a successful textbook. And to have them think that that's not scholarship, you know, that's tough.

AP: Because scholarship also involves who we are and how we think and our vision, and that's hard to measure.

RM: Right. A book has a philosophy about it, and you do all the research about what you're going to put in it, and what you're not going to put in it, is even more important, maybe. And that's just nothing.

AP: And how we live and how we relate to students is also part of the greater vision of scholarship.

RM: Right. And all they think about is their grants and their research and using students to help them accomplish that. Well, I just don't believe that. 55:00And that's tough. And so I decided it's time for me to go. And if things had been different, if I could have been happier, I would have taught for two or three more years, and so I retired at 61, 62.

AP: That is early.

RM: And I'm just 63 now, so - and I feel good about it. It was the right thing to do at the right time. And I'm supportive of what they're doing, and I want the school to do well. And I'm glad they have the new building, but I'm glad that I am not there.

AP: Yeah. It's like you're saying when someone asks you - I mean, it seems to me you're in tune with yourself. I mean this may sound trite and forgive me, but when someone says apologize, and you say "I'm not wrong," I mean you know your soul. You know your own life. And that's why you could nominate for the degree, 56:00I mean, even though you weren't forced or required.

RM: And in the meanwhile, see, thirty years have passed, you realize.

AP: Okay, but it seems to me that you're saying you had the vision for your own life and you knew your soul. And you were true to that vision and that that can enable you to do the sort of teaching you did and even, maybe even to retire when you did, because you said, "Okay, I'm making this choice." But it's a strong choice. Even though it was sad or maybe not something you wanted to make right at that time.

RM: Yeah. Well, it got to the point where it wasn't fun anymore.

AP: Okay.

RM: You know, and I just felt like that I wasn't respected - that I was not making any contribution or whatever I was doing was not worth doing. And you just don't invest thirty-four years in an institution and put up with that if 57:00you can help it. And just - fortunately my timing was so that I could get out. And so I did. But I had wonderful years here. I don't regret staying at all. So - but I've said the bad things. I should say the good things. And of course, the good things were the students and your colleagues. You know, one reason I wanted to come back this weekend was because of the alumni and see my colleagues.

AP: They told me you were coming back. They said, "She'll be here." And I thought, "Oh, good. I'll get this interview." But I had the feeling, too, yes it was an important time and obviously an important time for you to be here.

RM: Right. Well, I've been, you know, Dad's been sick a year, and I've been back now, this is the fourth time, but usually it's because I have to take care of my income tax or I have to come on a business affair. And this time I tried to work it out, you know, that I want to be here now because we're dedicating the building, and this is Alumni Weekend and I'll get to see a lot of people 58:00that I would enjoy seeing. And that's the bottom line. [laughs].

AP: I read or heard someone say, you know, be - whatever you're doing, be passionate about it, and it seems that you were. I mean, you did. You came here with a passion. You came here with this vision and this work. And you did do that. I know we could ask more about the students and student life and students walking downtown in their jackets.

RM: Yeah, right. [laughs]

AP: What was it like when students - ?

RM: Well, the reason we don't need a dean of women anymore, I guess, is because the kids don't have to sign out to go downtown. [laugh] They come and go as they want to at any hour.

AP: Or have students crawl in and out of the windows at any hour. I'm sure that goes on. So -

RM: I retired the same time that Marie Riley and Marian Solleder [both former faculty] retired, and they had a party for us over here. And Sally [Robinson, 59:00former faculty]] was telling a tale that - about one of the times I was in the dormitory, and somebody came to me and said that one of the students had a gun. And so, of course, I went to the student, called her in and we talked about it. And sure enough, she did have a gun, but it was down in her trunk in the storeroom. You know, it wasn't in the room. And so I said, "Well, let's go down and get it." And so we went down to the storeroom, just the two of us. I thought about it later, how stupid I was. And we took it over to campus police, and they gave her a receipt for the gun. And yet, I had to do that.

AP: Was it loaded?

RM: I don't have any idea.

AP: You didn't want to find out.

RM: No. But you know, it's little incidents like that you just kind of forget 60:00about, but I must have mentioned it sometime to Sally. And at the retirement party she was telling about one of the occurrences that had happened to me. And of course, most people didn't even realize I had been a counselor of the dorm, so -

AP: You did do a lot of courageous things, maybe even foolhardy, as you say.

RM: Yeah, right. [laughs]

AP: But that's all part of it. Maybe we all do.

RM: I've enjoyed our leadership. I came - I guess when I came, [Chancellor Edward Kidder] Graham [Jr.] was here. Not too long. And - but I worked closely with [Chancellor] Otis Singletary and really, really enjoyed my work with [Chancellor] Ferguson. He was a little too low key for most people and probably was. But he was certainly a good man and good to work for and had the interest 61:00of the university at heart certainly. And then I was on the selection committee for Chancellor [William] Moran.

AP: Oh you were?

RM: I was one of the faculty representatives when we picked the new chancellor, and I enjoyed that very much. Louis Stephens was head of the board of trustees, and, you know, got to work with some community people that I wouldn't have gotten to know. And so I feel like I've known the chancellors pretty well just because I've had these extra assignments. So that's been good.

AP: Well, that must have been interesting to see the different personalities and different management styles or leadership styles.

RM: And, of course, they're very different.

AP: Yeah, yeah. I've gathered that throughout the years.

RM: I remember one time when I was dean of women - if a woman student stayed out all night, you had to call the chancellor. The residence hall counselor 62:00would call me, you know, and we would see if you track them down, you know. But if we couldn't, you know, then I had to call the chancellor. And I thought, "Well, you know, I bet there hasn't been a residence hall call to Dr. Moran since he's been here." [laughs]

AP: I sort of doubt that - doubt that. Times have changed.

RM: I was the dean of women in the era when we stopped shipping kids home.

AP: Oh, for what reason?

RM: Well, if they came in late or something. I think one of the hardest things I ever did was to send a student home who'd stayed out overnight. And, of course, I had to do several of those while I was the dean of women. And the thing that impressed me most about [that] was whether or not their families would support them. Sometimes their families would just almost disown them they were so embarrassed. And others, I don't care what that kid had done - boy, that 63:00family was right there.

AP: Isn't that something? That must have been scary to think about.

RM: Oh it really was. And I think what I did to those kids' lives. And that was the rule at the time, you know. I had to execute the policy.

AP: Yeah, you didn't have a choice.

RM: I didn't have a choice on that. And then we got to where we had a little bit more liberal rules.

AP: About what year maybe did they stop shipping those girls home?

RM: Well, this was '66 to'68 that I was dean of women, and they may still be shipping some or some things they do. But, you know, it was alcohol, and now it's maybe drugs, I don't know what they're doing. But, gee, it was - that was part of - that was the hardest part of being the dean of women was the disciplinary action. But just a few girls who needed that. You know, most of them were wonderful - you know, working with them.


AP: I mean, there was a rule. They knew they were not supposed to or did not have permission to stay out, of course, but did and maybe flaunted that. Any other comments or things that you think about? Things we haven't covered or things that you want to say?

RM: No. It's been a good life. I'm glad they're doing this oral history. I think that's interesting.

AP: Well, thank you very much for granting me the time and thank you for your insights.

RM: Thank you.

AP: Okay.