BRYAN KESSLER: This is Bryan Kessler interviewing Dr. Allgood in her officeon November 14, 2012. And so we will start with some of the introductory questions. Where were you born?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: In Decatur, Georgia.
BRYAN KESSLER: Decatur, Georgia. And let’s talk a little bit about your lifebefore you came to Howard. Are there any sort of memorable moments from your early childhood or high school age?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Well, my, we are going back a long time. I was just listeningto an audio novel as I drive back and forth to campus. It has to do with the Second World War and what was going on in Europe and the bombing. And I’m thinking, “You know, I’ve lived long enough to remember that.” And some of these experiences that they’ve described, what I remember in the first house where I lived until I was five. I remember having to close all the blinds, close 1:00all the shades because we were having a blackout. And that’s what they did. It was a practice, I guess, for a possible invasion. And so at a certain time on a certain day, you had to turn out all the lights in the house. And not even let one tiny bit of light shine and dark on the streets and stay inside. And so we did that. I remember how scary that was to me, and how Mom and Dad would come and sit with me in my room. And they told me it would be okay. “We’ll be able to turn the lights back on but this is a blackout.” And I thought, “What in the world is a blackout? What is this all about?” And later on they explained that to me. Our country was at war and we had to practice in case we were invaded. We didn’t want anybody to be able to see us from above in an airplane, and then later I noticed that up the trees on the sidewalk were painted white, up to about head high of a normal person, not a child. And I wondered for a long time what those were for. And somebody said, “Oh well, it 2:00must be insecticide.” And then somebody else said, “No, they painted those trees during the blackout so if anybody happened to be caught outside they could at least not walk into the trees.” So, I guess, one had to know that this was coming. Whatever routine time it came so that you would go inside and not be in your car driving around, because you could not turn on your headlights. So, as I listened to that novel, I thought, “Yeah, you know, what a little tiny of bit of that war we experienced must have been, just to imagine.” And then in my literature class right now, we are studying the Spanish Civil War which is a 3:00prelude of the Second World War and everything you read students will say, “Well, why is there so much death here?”, “Why is there so much blood?”, “Well, if you live in the middle of war going on all around you, that’s part of your reality and an author writes according to his own circumstance and that’s what comes out.” And so between that and the novel I’m listening to about the people living in Germany during the bombing of Berlin and having lived underground and coming out of that hole where they were safe for weeks and months at a time and looking at the devastation of their city. And, I guess, on a related subject, I’m not sure at all if this is what you want to hear. I’ll just respond, you can take it out if you don’t want it. Growing up in Atlanta and being born in 1939 and that was about the time of “Gone with the 4:00Wind” and my Mom and Dad had tickets. I was too young to go, of course, at the time, having just been born. But later on as I walked down the streets of Atlanta and having seen “Gone with the Wind” several times and hearing them tell about the premiere and how fabulous it was and thinking, “I’m walking down these streets where all that happened. I’m walking down Peachtree Street.” What must that have been like? And then other than that about childhood, I just grew up at a wonderful time. Graduated from high school in 1957 when life was gentle, innocent. You could go anywhere, do anything. There was a moral standard that everyone lived by, and you could just enjoy life without too many complications. And then I came here.
BRYAN KESSLER: Now on that, you’re growing up in Atlanta.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Actually, Decatur. It was a suburb. So, we had it great bothways. Decatur was just right down Ponce de Leon from Atlanta and so it was a small townish sort of place and yet you were just ten minutes from the Fox 5:00Theater to go to a movie, or walk down Peachtree or enjoy all the great opportunities that Atlanta offers.
BRYAN KESSLER: Now, how does a child from Decatur end up at Howard College in Birmingham?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Well, that’s very interesting. A lot of them come now, butthink my roommate and I were the first two, at least from our church, or from our area. Well, it was just destiny. Most of my college classmates tended to go north and eastward toward the Carolinas or to the University of Georgia, or the guys to Georgia Tech, but there was this nice corridor from Atlanta to 6:00Auburn, but that was all I knew about Alabama. But growing up a Baptist, my parents were enthusiastic about me choosing a Baptist school if I could. I spent a weekend retreat at Tift, which was an all girls’ school in Forsyth. It is no more, but in those days it was one of those places to be. And city girl that I was, Forsyth, was just an all girls’ school, no. In a little town like Forsyth, no, this is not it for me. I didn’t know what I did want to do. I mainly knew what I didn’t want to do. But I grew up in a high school that had sororities and fraternities and that was fun, very innocent fun and I learned a whole lot from that participation, just learning leadership skills and all kinds of things. And we also had excellent athletic teams at one state championship. So all of those things, I didn’t want to walk away from when I left high school. I was looking for a college that had it all, but I wasn’t finding it, and I went for a weekend to Converse because some of my friends were going there and to Queens because some of my friends were going there, but nothing. Saturday 7:00classes, all girls, no. And Mom and Dad said, “Well, how about Agnes Scott”, that’s right across the street from my high school. No. I wanted a full college experience and nothing, you know, nothing was surfacing. Mercer, no, they don’t have athletics, and they were down there in Macon. I grew up down there, going down there to visit grandparents. So, no, I don’t want to go too far away but I don’t want to be across the street from the high school. So, one day I was flipping through a Beta Club journal. This was in 1956 or something like that. There was this tiny little blurb about Howard College and it had a picture of the library and it had all the things listed. Teacher education, and I knew that was what I wanted to do, intercollegiate athletics, Greek organization, Baptist affiliation, I thought, “yes.” All the things 8:00on my checklist right there. Let’s go see it. And so I told it to my best friend, who was also in the same condition of not knowing where she wanted to go and not really able to go to most places--she needed a little financial help. And she said, “Well, of course I know where that is, my sister and brother-in-law, who were married at the time, came over and lived and “Oh, that’s the same place they went.” “Yeah.” “Well, if you’ll go, I will.” I said, “Okay, we will.” And we did. And we came over one summer. Those were the days when you could just drive up and enter. It was not the big details, long range plan that we make these days. So Mom and Dad and my 9:00friend and I got in the car, and I’m thinking it was on the July 4th or some or the 3rd or the 5th, anyway. We came over looking for the old campus because that was the summer before the move here, and that’s where the administrative offices still were. But we got lost and wound up driving up this hill and looked down and said, “There it is. There’s that library that’s pictured in my Beta Club journal.” So we turned around and came down here. There were some people beginning to move into the Administration Building. The girls dorm which is now Vail, but there was one girls dorm and one guys dorm, which is now the Divinity School. Friends who were there said, “Oh, they must have had to have an exorcism before they made that into a Divinity School.” But anyhow, they were still finishing up. So we walked through and got to look at it. It was not a rainy day like it was in the Fall when we came and it was mud for a whole semester. But we thought “Oh, this is so beautiful. We just can’t wait to get here.” We went down to the Administration Hall, to the Administration building and they said, “Well, you are going to still have to go, yes we’re 10:00here we’re beginning to function over here, but in order to enroll you’re going to have to go over to the old campus.” So they gave us good directions and we got there. And when we got there, they were having a watermelon cutting under Sherman Oak, so I at least got to know Sherman Oak before the college was no more over there. And went in and signed up and that was it and we were done. And I thought going home, “Man, we’re surely are glad we saw the new one before we saw the old one” because we may never have taken the next step because it was falling down and then we came in the fall. And all the upper classmen were just weeping and wailing, they so missed the old campus. And then the sorority, they said, “Okay come on we’re going to go clean out the sorority house and move over to this place where all we have is a little room”. And so we went and we packed things up and they were crying and I’m 11:00thinking, “Why?” But it’s tradition. Wherever you are and wherever your experiences are, that’s the place that’s dear to you. Be it ever so humble. It was home. So for those folks that were sophomores and juniors and seniors coming over here it was a difficult transition. For us, as freshmen, we were blissful. We didn’t know what we’d missed but apparently missed something but that smaller college spirit was just something very special, and that’s one thing that no matter how many changes have taken place here over the years, the one thing that remains the same is that same spirit, that whether you know people or not, you smile at them and you greet them as you grow up together and when you see each other after a long time there’s this big embrace because, you know, you’re friends. You grew up together. So that’s how I got here. And I have always known that’s where I would go to school. And I loved it from the day I set foot on campus. It was home to me. 12:00
BRYAN KESSLER: So when you did get here and you mentioned sorority. I dowonder what kind of activities you were involved in while here at Howard?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Okay. Well, the sorority, and my sorority was Beta SigmaOmicron, which doesn’t exist under that name any more. When Mrs. Wright came, when the Wrights came, when I came as a freshman Major Davis was president. He was my first president and he moved us from the old campus to the new. For sophomore year Dr. Wright came. His wife who was like our mother. They both were. They just adopted us all. We had no swimming pool facilities, we had no nothing. Their house was right down there where First Baptist Church is right 13:00now. And we just hung out down there. Their whole basement was covered with pictures of students’ activities and we hung out there. We enjoyed their pool because it was pretty bare over here. But she was a Zeta Tau Alpha and was not happy that there was no chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha here and so, my guess is that beginning right then she started working because BSO was fabulous on this campus. There were only about thirteen more chapters around. So nationally it was not strong and so she arranged over time, it took several years to do that, but right after I graduated, the year after I think, is when Zeta took us in, and they mainly did it based on the strength of this particular chapter and the personality of Lola Wright who insisted that this happen and it did. So I’m sort of a Beta Zeta, all the songs that I know and all of the things that I remember, I remember as being a BSO, but when I see students wearing and I have a BSO bend because when I came back to teach two years later after I graduated those students who were my pledges--I was a pledge trainer when I was a senior 14:00and those that I had trained up as freshmen then initiated me into Zeta. So it’s really neat. This sort of split personality thing that sorority changed and then the name of the college changed. When I left it was one thing and when I came back it was still that thing but in a year or two it was Samford University. And so it’s, that name change I think, it was a good thing. It had to be. But the fact that we’re celebrating our, we’ve already celebrated our 150th anniversary and are about to celebrate 175. And the history from here only goes back to 1957. So you’ve really got your hands full, going all the way back to 1842, right? Are you planning to go in that direction, go all the way back or are you just?
BRYAN KESSLER: We’re doing various stuff actually right now. The interviews15:00are giving some extra light to them.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: One thing I loved about being a student here is that you kneweverybody. And the one thing I particularly appreciated about the Greek system is that if you were in it fine and if you weren’t, fine. I just made friends outside as I did inside. There was just always something to do and always somebody to hang out with. I enjoyed—I was a cheerleader in high school and aspired to do that again so I did. And was a cheerleader for, fact is, when Dr. Wright left and cleaned out his office he took all those pictures off his wall and sent them, everything he had in his file, having a picture of me on it, he sent it to me. So this is as far as it has gotten. But there’s my cheerleader picture and here is this one of graduation of Wayne Flynt and I, at graduation 16:00he got the “he” award and I got the “she” award. But anyway, I enjoyed doing all that and so those were my activities. Cheerleading for three years and various offices including pledge trainer, and president of my sorority and president of Panhellenic. I enjoyed being a student. I loved my major. I loved my major professors. So I excelled academically and participated in lots of church related activities. Dawson was my home church at the time, and I sang in the BSU choir and traveled around a lot. And did lots of fun things. That was a great experience. So I stayed very busy. 17:00
BRYAN KESSLER: It sounds like it.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: I stayed very busy. But it was a challenge to keep my gradesup and do all that but I just learned how that worked. I had a couple of roommates that didn’t do so well scholastically and as they were leaving the campus they said, “Well, but you never studied, and you make A’s all the time.” I said, “Yes, but I do study, but you don’t see me. You’ve been asleep and I’m sitting somewhere down the hall at 2:00 in the morning, deciding that I’m going to finish this before I go to bed.” It just took a lot of discipline but it was just great. I enjoyed every minute of it. And when I went to graduate school just down the road in Tuscaloosa--most weekends 18:00I’d come back because I was very attached to our athletic teams and cheered them on for a long time. So those people at Alabama thought, “What? You’re leaving here and you’re going to go there and watch Howard College play instead of here in Bryant-Denny Stadium?” “Yes, those are my friends.” Those are people that I know, when you watch them play and they are people that you know, then it makes a whole lot of difference. Anyway, and then, well, I’ll just stop right there and let you ask the next question.
BRYAN KESSLER: I have a couple of things maybe we can follow up on. First ofall on the Greek life--I do wonder how big was the Greek life on campus? I know you said there was a lot of interplay between Greeks and independents. Even if you don’t know necessarily a number, or estimate, how strong was the Greek life?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Strong. Each sorority and each fraternity, there were just19:00four of each. And each one had its own identity but each one was strong in its own way. And we were friends, all of us. We all had a room in the dorm and the fraternities began to have houses off campus before the Fraternity Road, which also does not exist anymore. Before that old Fraternity Road, Sigma Nu was there, Lambda Chi was there, Pikes had a house over on Green Springs. But we had lots of social encounters—so you got to meet a lot of people. There were pledge swaps every week. We had a formal. I don’t know whether they do that anymore, but we had a formal every spring. The guys had a formal every spring. We had beach trips. What did we call them? The word is going away, the Spring? Anyhow, some weekend, we all went together to the beach, took dates. That was fun. But I don’t know. Give me another follow up question. And we were also 20:00very active in intramurals. The intramural system was very strong. Sometimes we had to go—those early years we either had to go back to the old campus so we could borrow Shades Valley Stadium, when Shades Valley was over there. Across the street we may have played sometimes. I don’t remember. It took a long time to build all the fields and all the field houses that are over there now.
BRYAN KESSLER: What were the big intramurals? Do you remember?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: We played flag football. We played volleyball. We playedsoccer, I guess. I don’t remember.
BRYAN KESSLER: Was basketball a big one?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Yes, I think so. I played when I had to. That was not my21:00forte. And others, my big sister and others were P.E. majors so they were really good. So they just drug the rest of us off the bench when they had to or somebody got hurt. We just sort of the rest of us formed the cheering squad. But you know the competition was stiff. There were all kinds of things that were campus wide. Sigma Nu, for instance, always had a Sigma Nu competition day of some kind. There were races and competitions for decorations and some sorority—we competed with one another a lot. At homecoming, well, if you’ve talked to others from those days, the dorm life was not the same as it is now. We had to sign in and out. We had to keep phone watch and sit by the phone in the hall. And we never got to stay out past midnight, except on homecoming eve, where we could stay up all night. And so we did. And we decorated. We all drew lots for a place to decorate. We’d do that hill in front of Samford Hall or the hill on this side or up in front of the library. There were places all 22:00over campus. There were competitions among, sororities, the girls’ groups. There was a prize, a first and second. The fraternities got the first or second. Anyway, just always something. They were very, very active and very, very involved with the rest of the university at large, not isolated. And I attribute a lot of that to the fact that we didn’t live in houses, we lived in the dorms. The guys lived in the guys dorm and women lived in the women’s dorm. We had a room where we had our meetings, but we got together in the larger campus community and interacted with people from all areas, Greeks or non-Greeks.
BRYAN KESSLER: I do wonder on the formals--Samford like a lot of BaptistColleges did not allow dancing on campus. Were they allowed for events like formals, if it was off campus?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: If it was off campus.23:00
BRYAN KESSLER: And it was still, so even though it may have been in a Samfordauthorized event, it would still have been okay?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: I guess so, because we did it. I don’t know that much wassaid about it. It was some particular individual arranged for the place and they were not called dances. They were called lead-outs and we had a dinner and an arch and our names were called, and we and our date walked through the arch and were led out. And there was never, we never used the “d” word. There just happened to be a band there and we did whatever we wanted. And there was always a faculty sponsor. When we went to the beach for a weekend, we always 24:00had our faculty advisor go with us. So it was quite open. But I remember when Dr. Corts came, and he was—one of the first things he did when he came was to go around the state and to talk to those of us that had been here for a long time and see what are the things that need to be changed? And, I guess, a lot of people said, “Well, you know it’s kind of hypocritical for the Greeks to have to go off campus and call it a lead-out when it really is a dance. Wouldn’t it be nice? Just look at that beautiful dining room. We could push those tables back and actually have a dance on campus.” He just listened. But it happened. And then we started having homecoming dances on campus. And he and Marla would attend. So it’s so nice to be out in the open, out of the closet--actually to be able to do that. So, I guess that’s the answer to that question. We did that but it was always well sanctioned, well chaperoned. No 25:00alcoholic beverages. It never dawned on us to think about that. It was all very above board and we were all comfortable with it. And the sororities were full of MKs and preachers’ kids and we were all here because this was a Christian place. We just wanted to enjoy our fellowship and our college time within this Christian context. We behaved ourselves as Christians, but still enjoyed life. That’s the way it worked.
BRYAN KESSLER: You mentioned Dawson was your home church when you were here.With the move to this campus did that become sort of the main church that students on campus would go to? Did it function almost as an unofficial Samford church or were there other places around that you knew the students were going to?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: There were others. Shades Mountain was just teeny at thetime, but there was always a Samford student leading the music or something like 26:00that. But Dawson was the closest and Shades Crest. I think the three that most of us went to were Dawson and it was huge. It was big. And Shades Crest was a little smaller and so was Shades Mountain. But those three were the three major ones. But what I remember about the very first Sunday we were on campus—it was like being at rush again. Because all the churches around came with their bus and they came back—parked their buses behind Vail, the dorm, the girls’ dorm. Because, at that point we came and went out of that back door, that opened on the street. And they were there like hawking, “Oh come with us.” They had their coolest young people there standing by the bus. “Come, come with us.” So the first one I went to was to Shades Crest but then other people 27:00that I knew started going to Dawson and so I don’t remember at what point I decided to do that but I did and enjoyed it a lot. It was great.
BRYAN KESSLER: Were there many students, I know, when it was over at theEastlake campus, Southside was a big church.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: And so was Ruhama.
BRYAN KESSLER: And so was Ruhama.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Ruhama was really the college church over there.
BRYAN KESSLER: And were there students that still maintained those ties or didyou sense sort of a shift?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: I don’t know that I noticed that. I would guess that upperclassmen that had been going over there for two or three years still did that. I don’t know. Everybody I knew went to Dawson, and some to Southside. I had forgotten about Southside. It’s a little further. But that was always the thing to do—get up and go to church, dress, gloves, hats, high heel shoes as we did in those days. Go out to lunch with your friends, come back and stay. 28:00But it was a very integral part of our lives.
BRYAN KESSLER: And I wonder if that sort of transitioned into being the chapelservices on the campus. Called convocation now, was it called convocation back then?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: No, they were chapel. And we had assigned seats. And onthat first year it was in the attic of the library. That’s the only place that we had it in and you were lucky if you didn’t have to sit behind a post. In fact, that’s where Step Sing was that first year. And where some classes were in the attic. We were scattered all over the campus trying to find places to have class and to have events when there really wasn’t much place to have events. Football team practice back on the old campus. We had some of our games that fall at Shades Valley and back on the old campus until they tore it down. Now what were you talking about before?
BRYAN KESSLER: The convocation or chapel service.29:00
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: The chapel service. It was not convo. It was chapel. And itwas definitely chapel. You sang a hymn, you had a sermon, and it was like going to church. And you went once a week, every week. And then it was Monday, Wednesday, Friday. And you chose--I don’t know whether we drew lots. I don’t remember how we got one. But we had an assigned seat. We had to go sit in it on that particular day and there were people going up and down the aisles checking to be sure we were there. Now you know there are always ways to get around the system. Now it’s one of the things that pledges got to do in sororities and fraternities. “All right you pledged, go sit in my seat for chapel.” So, that happened some. But yes, we had chapel.
BRYAN KESSLER: And were the speakers mostly pastors on campus, in the area, ordo you remember? Are there any memorable ones that stuck out from your time?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: What I remember most about chapel is that every, other than30:00the first part of that question was who spoke? I think the Religion faculty sometimes did, pastors from around, anybody who was a visiting missionary on leave, just whoever they could get that was out there. Birmingham’s a big place. And we had lots of resources. So they just lined up whoever. It was always great and different every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But every spring we had what was called Christian Emphasis week or sometimes it was called Christian Focus week but we had a whole week of convo. You went to your regularly scheduled one, the ones that you were required to do. But we would have several people, a group of people would come stay for a week. It was kind of like a campus style revival. You know not a revival per se, but they were very informative studies. And they met in the morning during chapel time. And because those people were at our disposal for us for the week, they would have afternoon sessions, some for girls, some for guys talking about everything you 31:00could think of that would be of interest to college students. And they would have evening services as well. It was great. We had some really wonderful people come. Don’t ask me the names of any of them. But they were great--both women and men. It was really wonderful. I wish we had that again. That went on for a very long time.
BRYAN KESSLER: I’ve heard other people mention that Christian Emphasis Week.That’s interesting.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: A memorable thing there.
BRYAN KESSLER: Sure. Very much so sounds like.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: And Step Sing, of course.
BRYAN KESSLER: That was going to be my next question. What was Step Sing likeback then?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Certainly not like it is now. But, I think, our class or atleast my generation started the shift toward something other than standing on risers and singing a song. I think it really was back on the old campus. Again, this is lore. I can’t attest to it personally but, I think it was Step Sing 32:00because they stood on steps and sang at Old Main or whatever building had steps. And it was in the spring sometime. We had a lot of things going on—we had Spring Fling where we dressed up like babies. We did a lot of silly things. And the classes were very much involved in it and all organizations—BSU choir did one. But the one I remembered were risers again up there in the roof, in the attic of Samford Hall. And it was mostly--the only thing we did in the way of costumes was everybody wear a black skirt and a pink blouse or something like that. But we did one, one year where there was a little hand movement, or they 33:00turned the lights off and we had gloves. I don’t remember whether it was a BSU thing or class thing or sorority thing. But some group that I was in, we did that. And one thing led to the other and because there was such fierce competition then everybody wanted to one up the group before and before you know it, it’s what it is now--but no accompaniment, for the most part. Maybe we had a piano but it was somebody in the sorority or fraternity of the group playing the piano, you sang along. I remember what was called the “H” club. I guess we do have an “S” club. We didn’t for a long time. It was all the athletes sang. I can see them now all lined up wearing their Howard College football jackets, whatever jackets with the “H”.
BRYAN KESSLER: The letterman jackets.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: The letter jackets lined up on those risers with the hymnals34:00turned upside down, just for effect and singing “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley”. And nobody in tune, of course. But they brought the house down because they had never done that before. Anyway, It was just a fun time.
BRYAN KESSLER: Now, if you were a member of different organizations would youhave participated from each organization?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: You could.
BRYAN KESSLER: Okay. It’s not like now where you pretty much have to stickwith one because the time committed, the practice committed.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Right. You could never do that now. I couldn’t imagine youdoing it now. It was bad enough then. But we didn’t practice. We’d practice in sorority meetings. We’d say, “Here’s your music.” Somebody sat at the piano. “Let’s practice.” AD Pi always seemed to have a lot of music majors and they always were the ones to beat for a while. But then we caught up with them and beat them a time or two. But it was much simpler. Life was simpler then, as they say back in the olden days. It was more spontaneous. 35:00But it was fun.
BRYAN KESSLER: So we can maybe transition to academics as a student. Youmentioned you really liked your major. What was your major?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Spanish. Imagine that. When I came it wasn’t. When I cameI was going to major in English and be a high school English teacher. But I fell under the spell of Grace Weeks Márquez who was my Spanish teacher in 201. I placed into 201. And she was wonderful. And because it was a wee, tiny little department just she and one other, a part time teacher. I had her over and over and she was so great. And I loved my English classes as well. But I just kept being drawn, and before I knew it I had a major in Spanish because I took a course every semester. So I wound up, I was going to double major and something happened that there was one English course that I couldn’t get that, the History of English language or something that was taught at the same time as something else I had to have. So I wound up getting an English minor though I had the right number of hours to have an English major. I was getting a teacher’s certificate. And it was cool to have two teaching possibilities. And then I went to Mexico for the first time, the summer after my sophomore year and an English professor, Grace, who is still my mentor at age 89. And she 36:00taught half of us in the department and lives right across the street. She was just a magnetic personality and made us love it and she taught us early on that most of the, lots of the best language learning happens outside the classroom, interacting with the community. Back in those days there was no Hispanic community in Birmingham. We had to drive to West End, eat at El Charro restaurant just so that we could even taste something authentic. But she was always finding ways. If there was anybody anywhere around, some speaker, they were here and they were with us. She, got us, founded a chapter of the National Honor Society, got us involved in teaching and in the National Organization for Spanish and Portuguese teachers. So she trained us to be professionals from day 37:00one and to be attune to what was going on in the Spanish speaking world. And so when her friend, Francis Hill, found out about a school in Monterrey, Mexico, that actually the second time I went down there, Dr. Wright and his wife came down and were accredited by our accrediting association for some reason. It’s in North Mexico. The Wright’s came down as accreditation visitors my second summer down there. Ms. Hill was trying to get a group together and finally we got together a group of six or eight. I was there and just, it was just like the whole world opened up, wow. This language that I loved to learn out of a book. It’s really something living and breathing, and I can see myself sitting there and watching little children jump into the pool. And they were 38:00chattering back and forth with each other in Spanish and I’m thinking, “How hard I’m working to master this language and here they are six years old and just suddenly to see and breathe and live.” Monterrey is a big city now, but it wasn’t so big in those days. They had little dances in the duck pond. They drained it every Friday night and had a band playing Mexican music and they invited young people to the community and so we got to interact with them. They had been told that they needed to invite the girls to dance and there was a dance class, and we had to perform. Anyway, they just got us really involved with the community so that we got to know people. And it was just great. If there were ever any doubts in my mind as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, that did it--that first trip. And then that became the first of many. The year after my senior year I went back and worked in the dean’s office and 39:00participated, still got classes. Then I went to the University of Alabama for graduate work. And after my one year there, just for me I’m convinced, the School of Education had just formed a partnership with the National University of Mexico in Mexico City and they were going to send two people from Alabama from the School of Education where I was not. I was in the School of Arts and Sciences in romance languages, but they wanted graduate students to be sure the students who went could function at the university level because everything was in Spanish obviously, so they asked for two graduate students and so an unmarried friend of mine and I, also unmarried, loose and free, wanted to go—so we went and that was another just wide open door to be able to do 40:00that--so we both had exchange scholarships. It was while I was down there, living with a family, that one day the phone rang. Talk about calling. This was a calling, in both senses of the word. This is Dr. Wright on the phone calling to say, “Okay, Professor Weeks, your mentor is going on sabbatical. Would you be free to come in the fall and teach for her?” I thought, “Of course, yes I just can’t imagine anything more wonderful.” My time there was from mid-summer through December and this would have been the next fall. So, I just went on about my business, taking my classes, enjoying myself down there. And it wasn’t long before the phone rang again and it was Dr. Wright again. “Well, we found somebody else to take Professor Weeks sabbatical, but we want 41:00you to just come and stay because the other Spanish teacher, the part time Spanish teacher has decided she’s going to retire and if you’d just come and stay, that would be great.” And the rest is history. Here I am fifty years later. So, the mama called as Dr. Wright said. I came home and so here I am. That’s how I got here.
BRYAN KESSLER: So what was the department structure like? I know it’s vastlydifferent from what it is now. You mentioned there were two Spanish teachers.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: One and a half.
BRYAN KESSLER: One and a half.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Well, yeah. But we taught, you know, we taught five courses.That was the load. There was not a push to publish. There was hardly a push to publish at all because in those days we were very closely tied with the Baptist Convention and there was a discouragement of getting federal grants for anything. We wanted to stay apart from that. So that was also, I suppose, a 42:00justification for giving us high school teacher type loads. You know five courses, five three-hour courses. So that would have been enough for a person and a half then would be enough now for about three, but just over time we grew. My first classes were on the third floor of Samford Hall. When I came as a freshman on that third floor of Samford Hall was the language department, the whole School of Education, which was then the Department of Education and Psychology was there, and all on that little floor. So it was there in all that little floor, so it was small. Our first language lab was right up there where the alumni office is. You always wonder where you were if people say “Here is where I was when President Kennedy was shot.” I was heading for class. I can see myself right there. Before I went into class somebody said something on the hall, “The President has been shot.” It never entered my mind that he would 43:00die. I thought, “This is impossible, somebody winged him, or something.” So I went into class and told my class, it came out “He died.” And it was just, this couldn’t happen, this is the United States--things like this don’t happen. So it was surreal. It was just a real blow that what’s going to happen to our country? This is not what we do. But that’s where we were right there on that floor.
BRYAN KESSLER: So was it the Spanish Department?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: No, it was always Foreign Language.
BRYAN KESSLER: Okay, it was always a Foreign Language Department.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: And, at that time, Dr. Wheeler Holly was the chair. My44:00freshman year Dr. Acton. After that, I think he stepped down as chair, and Dr. Wheeler Holly, whose name our awards that we give ever spring are in his honor. He was chair. But my mentor, Dr. Weeks Marquez was there running Spanish. But in those days German and French were the strong languages. There were some in the sciences. Don’t take Spanish, take French and German, and so we just had to struggle to keep a pace in Spanish with what’s going on in French and German. And then we moved to this building in the late 1960s. This building was built in 1958. I watched it because the fall of 1958 it rained. It seemed 45:00to rain in Birmingham all fall. The fall of 1957 it rained. There was no grass. People have told you this?
BRYAN KESSLER: The mud.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: The mud. We lived in mud. They had a pathway to the concretewalkways but they were always covered with mud because there was no grass and it rained and so they were always out there shoveling mud so we could walk to class. So we lived in raincoats and boots. The fall of 1958 it also rained a lot. They had just dug the foundation and so we could look down into this deep pit, shaped like an “E”, like this building is. And the water was up to the surface and stood that way for months. I think now, “Had I known then.” Little did I know I was going to live down there in this hole, and that it would be invaded by water over and over again. But, in fact, we did (I think it was BSU choir maybe) Step Sing. Some clever person wrote us a script (there were a 46:00lot of talented people in BSU choir) about we redid Oklahoma. But we put new lyrics to Oklahoma. And the line I remember is “We built a brand new chapel, seven stories deep. As deep as any chapel ought to go, hey!” And because it was just full of water. But it finally dried out, and here we are now. But it became a department only in 1989. It was not meant for human habitation because it was just a basement. Before Harrison Theater was built it was the Arena Theater. So before Dr. Hull brought me down here in 1987, spring of 1987 or 1986. He said, “We are going to move you downstairs. We were upstairs. Because Beeson’s coming, Divinity School’s coming. We have to find a place to shoehorn them into this building. So we are going to build you a new floor. 47:00You may be in the basement. It’s going to be the most beautiful basement you ever saw. It will be yours and you can hang your posters on the wall and you don’t have to go across campus to find a place to hold your classroom. So they went on that side all the way up and down. And we were down here. But before that we had been in this particular building since late 1960s. Because obviously administration grew as well and there was no room. But before it was ours, it was the Arena Theater and they painted all the windows black. So that if they had a matinee it would be in the dark and right about here, right over there in the middle was this cool little theater and it was in the round. So there were seats all around it, and they lit it and all the pipes were showing, just like they did in the third floor attic of the library. All the pipes were showing, but that’s okay. But everything was black so it was very cool. So 48:00when I came down here with Dr. Hull to walk through this, all the windows were black. “We’re going to clean the windows. And we’re going to put the offices where at the time there was this strip of offices. All the offices will have a window.” So he and I grew in a healthy faculty relationship. Meanwhile the department just kept on growing. And I have some theories as to why all that happened but you don’t want to know all that at least not at this point.
BRYAN KESSLER: I do sort of want to know that. But I want to come back tothat. I’m trying to remember where?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Academics. You said let’s talk about academics. How didyou choose your major?
BRYAN KESSLER: Yes, that’s right. And then you answered my question a littlebit about class load as well. I do wonder types of classes that you were as a student expected to take and then you mentioned some of the ones you took with 49:00the English and then your Spanish class. The required classes--what do you remember about that?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: I remember that I didn’t have to take math because I placedout of it because I had three years in high school. It didn’t happen for long, I was just in that little piece of time where that was my reality, “Oh, you don’t need to take math.” Everybody took religion. We took two courses. We took Old Testament and New Testament. Those were the only options. And I had Dr. Davidson, the chair of the department for both of those. He lived right down in that little house, which I guess is gone by now, when we started building over there. Besides being a wonderful teacher and a great preacher, he was also a carpenter. And he built a podium, podia, for everybody in the 50:00Religion Department. And there are two right across the way in the classroom. And every time I stand behind it and try to peer over it I remember him, that he did those in his little workshop and brought them over. And they’re high, because they were all men. There were no women in that department. And there were very few women on the faculty, really, when I came, very few. So that’s a relic. Those are antiques. And, for whatever reason, two of them are in that classroom where I teach. They have a history. But we took that and we all had to take English. We all had to take a history course and a science. I took two science courses. It was just the basic menu, 101 of everything. And we lived with that until 1990 when we did our curriculum renewal to celebrate our 51:00150th birthday and Dr. Hull declared that we shall have curriculum renewal. And he called me to his office and said, “I want you to be the chair of the committee.” All the faculty were all divided up into twelve different committees, studying every aspect of university life. “I want you to be the chair of the Gen Ed committee and create us a new forward looking, creative new curriculum.” I said, “I want to work on the International studies, that’s really what I need to do.” “Well, we’ve got Marlene Rikard working on that. I really need you to do this.” “Okay.” And he gave me a whole lot of stuff to read. And so in a few months time we created and everybody said, “Dream big.” And so we did and we dreamed so big. We made something so 52:00magnificent and so hard and so expensive, but we did what we were told. And now what we have is a curriculum as what Dr. Chapman calls, “Cornerstone Light”, just trimmed it a little bit, a lot. But those years that we did it and naturally, okay we put it together, we presented it to the faculty. The faculty after hours and hours of talking about it—“Oh no, surely you don’t expect all the athletes to take foreign language.” “Well, actually, yes.” “You are selling them short.” They are student athletes. They are students first and I have a classroom full up there every time I teach. But we did that. We called it Cornerstone and we piloted it and I have had the privilege of directing that. We piloted it. We had an Alpha Beta Gamma Delta. We edited it for four years, four cohorts. But we did it with a select group of students 53:00that chose themselves to come through. And anybody that taught it--if you talked to anybody that taught it, they will tell you that was the best academic experience they have had since they were here. Because you had a classroom of adventuresome students and intrepid students who were willing to step out and be guinea pigs and to take part in something that was brand new and very challenging. Team taught by people teaching outside of their fields but working with one another and arguing with one another in the classroom. It was just fabulous, but it was too expensive to try to do, so it was whittled down. But anyway, there are too many stories to tell, so you go on to your next part. But now, let’s see, but where were we? We were talking about the curriculum and what I took. That menu of everything 101 was the general ed requirement for 54:00decades and so that was our challenge. No more menu everything 101. Make it interdisciplinary, make it interactive, make it student centered, make it globally centered. So we wove all that stuff into it, and it was something else. It got us substantial grants. It put Samford’s name on the map and gen ed circles all over the country. I was asked to be on the Board of Directors. We would go places. We would tell our story that our president told us to dream big and they would say, “Who? What is his name? What is the name of your school?” They had never heard of Samford University. So that was a great time. That was my adventure of the 1990s. It was great. Did I ever finish 55:00answering your question about what we took?
BRYAN KESSLER: You did. That was great and I appreciated the physical sidetour as well. You mentioned on this the other academic question I wanted to touch on--but the professors and their relationships to students. And this can be both when you were a student and especially those early years when you were a professor here.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Well, we were very close to them. Particularly, the ones inour major department because we were a small place. In my case, in a small division of a small place, we had the same professor over and over. And therefore, we got to know one another as students because we had classes together. And we got to know the professors because we had them over and over again. But even the ones that we just had once or twice. We got to know them well. So we were just sort of like a family here. And our professors went with 56:00us on trips and they were our faculty sponsors for all of our organizations, for the BSU choir when we traveled, for any organization, any departmental organization we always had a faculty sponsor, and that was not in name only. They worked with us. They came to our meetings, went with us on trips and for that reason. Tell me if somebody has already told you this. But in my student generation there were three bachelor professors. Sigurd Bryan in Religion, known as Saint Sigurd. Everyone dared he walked on water. Hugh Bailey who became Dean, but he was my history professor. Remind me to tell you about his history classes. And Lee Allen also in history. But they were bachelors and 57:00grown up and old enough to be married. And they all married young women from my student generation. Sigurd met Sarah on the BSU choir trip because he was traveling with us wherever we went. And he took his turn around with sitting with various of us but we kept noticing that he sat with Sarah more than anybody else. Now he waited until she graduated. After everything was done quite properly but it was a surprise to no one. You’ll have to get them to tell this story. They just live right up there.
BRYAN KESSLER: I have interviewed him. I have not heard this story.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: And he didn’t confess that. And Sarah didn’t?
BRYAN KESSLER: He told about the BSU choir trips but he did not.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: I can’t believe he didn’t. He fell in love with his wifeon the BSU choir trip.
BRYAN KESSLER: I’ll have to go back for a second interview.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: You might. And say well you get a chance for a rebuttal.58:00This is my take on it and all of us who were there. And then Hugh Bailey married Joanie Seever, whose dad was pastor of that big old Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile. Again after she graduated and she became an Episcopalian like him. And I thought, “Oh.” In those days it was a mixed marriage if a Baptist married a Methodist. And I can’t believe her dad approved of her becoming an Episcopalian. But she has made a very good wife. He just died. I talked to her a few weeks ago. He was such a great person. Oh my goodness. I had him for History 101 at three o’clock on a Tuesday, Thursday afternoon in a classroom in the basement of Samford Hall. He was lone, tall, gangly fellow—sat cross-legged on top of the table in the front of the classroom and royally entertained us from 3:00-4:30 every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. He 59:00could spin a yarn like nobody else. He was just wonderful. And then he went on to be chair of the department and then to be the Dean and then he was lured away to be academic vice president, and president of college. That’s where he finished his days at Valdosta State. I’ll have to tell you one other story about him later--a seventies story about him. And then Lee Allen married Catherine Bryan and she went on to be the director of the women of WMU. And he went on to become dean. He was just a history professor in those days but cast his eye on Catherine and so we took care of the bachelor faculty members. Which is an odd spin off about what was a relationship like and this is sort of a 60:00bizarre example but just because--Dr. Westmoreland is wonderful to open his home to all of us. But Dr. and Mrs. Wright were really special about that because we didn’t have much interaction space here. And we just stayed at their house. They had a big basement. That was our place and we could go anytime and enjoy it. And as I mentioned, the walls were covered from top to bottom all the way around all the way up the stairs with black and white photographs that Lou Arnold, who was the university photographer for decades. You need to dig in his files. But Dr. Wright kept those. When they moved to another house, I guess he just took them all down and sent them all out to whoever he happened to have along. But he was so great to also write notes. I have some that I treasure. 61:00“Oh we’re so proud of you for doing this.” Or this or this, whatever because he was like a dad. And she especially--she was an adopted cheerleader. And she would dress—she didn’t get out on the field and jump around—but she was right on the front row. They were at every event, and they kept our mascot. The Duke, he was called, the Duke of Samford, he was a bulldog. He lived at their house. So my job before every football game was to go get him and bring him. And we ran out on the field and I got to take Duke and he was always chewing on my socks. I almost fell over him several times. But it’s just that kind of relationship. She took her seat right, there was no press box in those days—she took her seat right on the front row, right behind the coaches, right in front of the cheerleaders and she yelled. She knew every cheer, and she yelled as loud as we did. You know they were just really 62:00special. I don’t know whether that set the tone but I don’t think so. I think the old campus was like that. It was just a Howard College thing.
BRYAN KESSLER: Now where was their house in relation to Samford?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: The Wright’s house?
BRYAN KESSLER: Yes.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Right down the street where the First Baptist Church is. Theytore that house down. It was a big, old white frame, I think, with tall columns and a pool in the side yard. And when we moved over here in that summer of 1957 and Major Davis was the president. He chose to live in his own home up on Red Mountain. And I got to visit over there a lot because, thanks to my mentor and my freshmen class 201, they were going to, Major and Mrs. Davis were going to the Baptist World Alliance, which I think was in Chile or Argentina and she 63:00wanted to learn a little Spanish. So she called up and asked Grace, “Okay, can you send me a student to teach me a little Spanish?” And I got nominated. So I spent lots of wonderful afternoons at their house on Red Mountain. I didn’t have a car. She’d either send a car for me or come pick me up. I don’t remember. But we sat in her little living room and she learned to speak Spanish. But anyway they lived on Red Mountain and that’s where they continued to live. So when Dr. Wright came he needed a place to live and that house must have just come available to be purchased. The University bought it, it was his home. Then as quite often happens someone will leave the University a house in their will with the stipulation the president has to live there. I guess that’s part of writing a will so it works that way. So it’s a gift to a university. It’s a charitable contribution, whatever. He had to go live someplace else down on Cherokee Road or somewhere. It was in the 1960s when 64:00First Baptist Church split over racial issues and other things. And so First Baptist moved out here and the other half became the Church of the Covenant downtown. So, that split came at interestingly enough where the president’s house was--where one half of the church started another church and kept the name. And the others, which the Baptist Church of the Covenant now is, is full of Samford Faculty. That’s where they lived. But they were accessible to a simple walk, students can walk down there. And Lakeshore Drive was just a two-lane road. Maybe a stop sign, no lights, no Brookwood Mall, no Brookwood Hospital, no big deal. It was just over the mountain, just barely over the 65:00mountain. Vestavia was the last outpost. Oak Mountain was way down there. And the Narrows where Chelsea is now was halfway to Auburn. That’s what you did where old Lloyds was way down there, what’s now the Narrows. It was a half day’s drive to get down there. So we were kind of pioneers. I’m telling you more than you want to know.
BRYAN KESSLER: No, it’s fascinating. You hit on a little bit of this withsome of your personal experiences. I do wonder, I always try to ask as a student, your sense of how students in general felt about the president and the 66:00board of trustees. You talked a little bit about Dr. Wright but I do wonder, in terms of institutionally, how they felt about this man was in charge of the school.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: When I was a student?
BRYAN KESSLER: When you were a student.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Now this was before all of the racial upheaval flared when Icame back. It was a relatively paternalistic organization but that was okay with us. They were good to us. They treated us well. It was very authoritarian. This is what you do. This is what you don’t do. And the trustees were, too. And they said their piece. They were not happy when things didn’t go according to the way they thought. We had a certain expectation of behavior. Should I tell this story?
BRYAN KESSLER: Yes, you should.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Well, my first year as a cheerleader, my sophomore year we67:00were playing in Shades Valley football field and this was when cheerleader outfits as you saw in that picture came down to the knee and we had tights underneath and we just did cheers. We didn’t do gymnastics. But another cheerleader and I started doing some gymnastics and it was he and he would do some holds and some lifts and on occasion or two I was up and my skirt was down, you know all that, handstand kind of thing. Well, I found out about that the next day. Thou shalt not, the trustees wives are not happy because you could see your tights and your skirt was down over your head and your big wrapping hair, that was not very lady like. Don’t do that again. So, all that to say, 68:00is the trustees and their wives were very paternalistic as well. And they went to things. What does this say? How many trustees and wives go to a football game and sit in the press box, which my husband helped build. Yeah, I went over there. Spent lots of afternoons over there, too. But anyway, but it, I thought nothing of it. I thought, “Oh, woops. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend anybody. I was totally covered up for the rest of the time.” And this day it’s a laugh but in 1959, 1958 it was not the thing to do. And they made their policy and no one questioned it. And when the president said, “Here’s 69:00what we’re going to do.” That’s what we did. I’m sure there were other people that like Wayne Flynt and others who were more politically in tune than I. I was enjoying being a college student. But especially when I came back to teach, things were quite different. But Birmingham was quite different then.
BRYAN KESSLER: I’ve taken a lot of your time today. This sort of comes tothe conclusion of the student portion of your interview. So my question is would you like for me to come back and do a second interview later on the professor part of your life?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Well, what about your time?
BRYAN KESSLER: I’m perfectly fine.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Well, I’m good for a little while. We’re not talkingabout another hour, are we?
BRYAN KESSLER: I don’t think so.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: We’ve been at this for a little over an hour.
BRYAN KESSLER: It should not be that long. And we can stop it whenever.70:00
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: I’m fine. I might have to go get some water. Are you okay?Do you need a break?
BRYAN KESSLER: I’m perfectly fine. I just wanted to make sure with your time.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: It will be hard. You know as we get closer and closer to theend of the semester, it gets tight. So, let’s just roll on and then if we both just say “enough,” we’ll just both agree to call it whenever we get tired.
BRYAN KESSLER: Of course. So, you’ve taken us through a little bit of howyou got back to Howard. So, I guess we’ll start with when you did arrive back--and that experience of just two years after being a student, now professor on campus. And I wonder the culture shock and was there a change in mindset as well coming back to the school?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: I found it pretty much the same place I left, but then I71:00wasn’t totally gone. I stayed in touch with friends that were still here. It was, I wouldn’t call it culture shock, because it was coming home. It was different. And what I had to do was to maintain a professional distance. When I came back I had to find an apartment and the people that were my friends and sorority sisters were still here and I had one come and join me and split the expense of my apartment over here, and then I discovered, “Well, I don’t think this is going to work because she had friends come over and sometimes they were people out of my classes and they would just hang out in the apartment. This is, I can’t do this. This isn’t going to work. There was just a little too close.” And then there were those fun times. To get a check 72:00cashed you had to go to the Bursar’s office. There were no ATM’s in those days. So, I’d have to go to get my check cashed. They didn’t cash checks for students. So I had to always show my ID before they would cash my check. What’s really funny is when I look at the prices of things back in those days. I’ve got lots of stuff. I’m a packrat and I have all these little things. I was digging through some of them and found my bill for a semester. You know what it costs to go for tuition and room and board, maybe it was just tuition? $150.
BRYAN KESSLER: A little bit different than when I was here.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: And first year’s salary was $4,500. But then a loaf ofbread was fifteen cents. 73:00
BRYAN KESSLER: Right.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: But I still have my first paycheck. They just offered me$4,000. I said, “I’m teaching my one semester I taught in high school. I came back from Mexico before I came over here in the fall and taught and they paid me $4,500 without my Master’s yet. Now I have my Master’s.” “Well, we’re sorry, $4,500.” And that was perfectly fine, you know. That was quite generous for those days. Now what question was that the answer to? What was it like to be back? The most difficult thing was to find ways to interact with the people that were here that I still knew but still maintain the type of distance that I needed to, to be professor. Sometimes in the class I had sorority sisters or people that were seniors that were now seniors that used 74:00to be freshmen that I knew. But then I was a senior when they were a freshman. So there was already a bit of distance. So it wasn’t a problem. It was a fun thing to me. And there were not very many like me in that category and so it was just feeling of a special thing. I was just so grateful to be here. There’s just nothing that I could have invented in the farthest reaches of my imagination being able to come right back here--a place where I spent probably the four best years of my life and stay here forever. Who could ask for anything more. And the first day back on campus I ran into a fellow, a Sigma Nu that I had known and dated some my freshman year. And then I went some directions, he 75:00went another direction, and during his senior year, his guard unit was called up and he went to fight the battle in Paris and Berlin and was gone. But he had just come back and was trying to finish up. Now he and a bunch of people of our generation had joined the guard, the Alabama National Guard so as not to get drafted, so they could actually finish their college education. Well, guess what? The Guard was activated, the 117th, and off they went to Europe for a year. I knew him and we were good friends. I dated his fraternity brothers. He dated my sorority sister. You know, good friends. So I was doing registration on the top floor of Samford Hall, and we sat at a table and we had this stack of cards. You get in a line and you come up and “Okay, I want to be in your class.” “Okay.” Well, I tear the card in two. Here’s your 76:00half, here’s my half. Put your name here and you’re now in this stack. So after doing that all morning, I was walking up to the caf to get something to eat. And I walked to this door down here and there he sat playing bridge. And what was called the snack bar in those days, and he looked at me, jumped up, ran up and gave me a big hug. “What are you doing here?” And I told him. I said, “What are you doing here?” And he said, “Well, I’m just back from Europe and I’m trying to finish up my degree.” “Well, where are you staying?” “Well, I’m staying out with Martha my friend and the sweetheart of your fraternity (‘x’ years ago) until I can find a place to live.” “Well, I know where she lives.” “Is it okay if I come over and see you tonight?” And within two or three months we were married. So I met my husband when we were freshmen and married him my first year here. So that was another nice side. I mean just destiny. So that first year I was adjusting to being a 77:00faculty member and being a married person and finding a house to live in. It was a pretty momentous time.
BRYAN KESSLER: Now you said your course load was five 3-hour courses.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Yes.
BRYAN KESSLER: What?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: What did I teach? Probably, maybe four, no we didn’t havethat many. Probably two sections of 100, two sections of 200 and a literature course. Or maybe, I really don’t know. That’s a good question. Somewhere in some drawer around here are all my years’ worth of grade books. I do remember that I had a literature course every semester. I just drug out all of 78:00my graduate school stuff and taught like I’d been taught and loved every minute of it. It took a lot of preparation. And either, I think, as it turns out the other person that they hired to take Dr. Weeks, Marquez’s sabbatical, a friend that I had not known in graduate school, she was a year ahead of me, but a mutual friend had her notes, that we used to study for our finals and so I knew her even though I didn’t know her and here we were together teaching. And she became my best friend and so we decided, “Okay, now you take this one and I’ll take this.” And we just divided it up and taught that way. She was teaching part time. That one semester full time, then she went back to part time. So it was a time of a lot of change in my life. A lot of new friends and new relationships and it was a very pivotal year. And then in the years that 79:00ensued and just one day at a time and one step at a time and before I knew I had been year five years and then ten years, and then fifteen, my goodness. You know there were a lot of changes and probably a lot of people you talk to will tell you about the, I won’t say anger, but dissatisfaction with the university’s response to civil rights upheaval in Birmingham. The fact that we didn’t play a stronger role, but for me, as a newly married person and before long expecting a child. You know my life was so full of other stuff. I’m relatively apolitical, anyway, my interests lie in other areas. But I 80:00felt the battles in my own way. And let Max Gartman and Wayne Flynt and others stand in faculty meeting and speak out and make the president angry. He was always like my dad. Anyway, so other than that I just had to let my life go. But it was a very difficult time. But because we were over at the mountain--really, unless you wanted to get involved, all that happened right downtown in Birmingham. It didn’t happen over here. It didn’t happen in Homewood. It didn’t happen on Lakeshore Drive. It could have been a hundred miles away unless you just happened to want to get in the midst of it. And be involved for conscience sake or just because you wanted to, and then we had already by then moved down to Shelby County just because we wanted land, horses, 81:00and all that. We really were physically far removed. This is as far north as I ever got and that somehow was not involved in that. But there were some hot discussions that took place in faculty, formal meetings and wanting us to stand stronger, and wanting us to take the lead but the churches around us were not. So it was a tough place to be. Before long it had all blown over to a degree and churches were open, life began to move forward and so the fray was over, and we’ve still got a long way to go for all groups--we, at least were taking our stand about immigration law, and having open forums. Life is very different 82:00here from where it used to be, and the faculty is very diverse, whereas it used to not be and so it’s just a different place. After all it has been fifty years. It’s time for some change. But it was never overtly painful to me. But I was really thrilled when we began to see faces of different colors on campus, although it was a long time coming, too long.
BRYAN KESSLER: Another faculty battle that I have been reading about thesixties and I think the early seventies, there was a movement to make it an official chapter or join the official American Association of University professors. I know that there were petitions that were presented to the Board 83:00of Trustees and to otherwise. I remember reading Dr. Wheeler’s involvement and that he was still somewhat faculty affiliated, even as he was transitioning into being in the administration. And I just wondered, did you have any, do you remember any of that particular event and some of the things going around, you know, I’ve been able to read some of it but not necessarily get a faculty perspective of what was going on.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Well, there are other people that could give you betterinformation than I. Because again, I was very involved in other things and not those sorts of things. I was within my comfort zone and letting those that enjoyed those kinds of discussions and do that. But I know that there was a lot of, it was stressful. Anytime you move into new ground or take a stance that’s 84:00not popular or that is controversial there’s going to be a controversy, and so there was. But for a long time our faculty meetings, we did not have a faculty senate until relatively recently. After fifty years, when is recently? I don’t remember, but somebody else will remember and tell you when our faculty senate was founded. It wasn’t long ago. Under Dr. Wheeler and under Dr., whoever came, we sat in a seat and announcements were made and we were told what to do, and we had meetings but it was not here. We had committees and we did our committee thing, but the big decisions were not made. There was no 85:00representative of faculty governance until a couple of decades after you had been on campus. I can even remember when we did it and John Mayfield had not been here that long and he helped write it, it seems to me. There are a lot of people--Lee Allen wrote a history of Howard College, or history of Samford already, and so you can find things in there that would help you. As you say, you’ve got access to all those dates, but we just never had that kind of democratic government, where the faculty actually controlled anything but the curriculum. And then everybody had their own little territory staked out, with everything 101 for Gen ed and so nobody wanted to rock the boat until 1990 when 86:00Dr. Hull made us do that. And if we’re going to do it, doggone it, we’re going to do it and we’re going to do it right, and it made a lot of people mad. It was very controversial because there were people that did not want to change. But they had their little piece of the pie. They had their students coming in for this course. They needed them to be there so that they would then have students to go on into the minor and on to the bachelor. That’s understandable. It was turf, turf battles. But we had for a long time, it was peaceful. Nobody treaded on anybody else’s turf and we all had our little share, and so there was not that much, other than non-curriculum related. The biggest things that we helped change probably was like the academic calendar going from two regular semesters to the Jan term. And there was a faculty committee that studied that. We decided, “Well, okay, why not?” Although 87:00there were a lot of people that didn’t think we could it and we don’t do it the way we used to. When you have an eighteen week semester and you cut it down to fifteen there’s no way you can cover the same amount, even though your course is now. The other thing that we did was change all the courses in Arts and Sciences to four hour courses instead of three and all that pacing was in our hands and we did a lot of all that and we have had fun doing it. A lot of painful times and a lot of not happy conversations but they were fruitful and they produced something really good. What we were able to do in eighteen week semesters was to enjoy Christmas in our department and we were able to sing Christmas carols in class and that’s how our convo that we do every year got started when we first got to this new campus. We were on the third floor of 88:00Samford Hall and we were singing Christmas carols, and so it occurred to my professor, “Well, why don’t we go downstairs and serenade the president’s office?” So we did. And then we did it again and again and then French students started doing it and the German students started doing it and then we moved over here and then we started doing it for one another and then we started borrowing the chapel and then the next thing we know, “Well, why don’t you invite, let’s just make it for chapel for convo credit, invite other people to come listen.” So it’s like Step Sing, it kept on getting bigger and bigger. So you’ll need to come and see it November the 29th, the first time we’d ever done it. And now it’s a big deal. But we were able to do that. We have a hard time doing it now because we have it--it’s a crap shoot every time we go and sing it because it’s the first time we’ve never rehearsed. You did 89:00it as a student didn’t you?
BRYAN KESSLER: Yes, in Latin.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: And since Classics came, and even before classics came we hadLatin in our department. And so we all did that. And as you know everybody gets a piece of paper. You practice in class and then you get up there and you stand up and the musicians hit the piano and the organ and you sing. And it’s great. Anyway, the way it got started—I don’t know if it had ever gotten started had it not gotten started during the old system where we spent at least a week talking about Christmas customs in the Spanish speaking world, learning a whole sheet of Christmas carols and just sing. Now we can’t, we have to barrel towards final exams, it kind of takes away your Christmas spirit. But we get it when we do our Christmas Around the World. If nothing gets us in the Christmas spirit, that does. Okay, I’m chasing too many rabbits here. 90:00
BRYAN KESSLER: I have a note you have a Hugh Bailey story from the 70s?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Okay. As I look back on my five decades, each one has somenew challenge. And I would say of the sixties, what was left of the sixties, that first decade I was just getting adjusted to being a faculty member and to having a family and doing all that. And the fact that my mentor retired and moved to Mexico and left me with the department literally. “Okay here’s my stuff, you carry on.” But when we moved over here in 1968 or 1969 something like that, how did it happen? That’s the book I’m working on now. In 1975 the then chair of the department, Max Gartman, is also a Samford graduate, he 91:00could tell you some stories. You need to find Max Gartman, he’s in Chattanooga. He’s past his fifty year mark and still teaching. He came the year after I did, but we were students together. And he was a good friend of Wayne Flynt and they were the agitators of the 1960s. He stayed until 1982 when he left to go elsewhere, where he could feed his family better, and he went to be chair at UNA, and he left me holding the bag at that point. He also left me holding the bag: “You be chair.” But back in the 1970s he came into my office upstairs on the second floor, where it was at the time and said, “Hey, I just heard about something called the Rio Grande River Ministry out in Texas.” And it was started in 1968 as a response to whatever that hurricane was that blew through and just wiped out that lower valley but apparently Texas 92:00Baptists got mobilized to go down and help and when they got down there they discovered, “You know, there are things going on here that were going on before the hurricane, they’re going to be going on after, there are people that live in these pockets of poverty all along this border and so let’s form, rather than just every rancher leave his ranch on one day a week and go down and help, to keep us from walking all over one another to try to do what we now feel called to do. We’re going to form a division of the Baptist General Convention of Texas called the Rio Grande River Ministry and the coordinator is going to be the person that coordinates, not slows you down. You don’t have to ask permission. You just need to go through this office and we ask that you do it, do it certain ways, and so that we are all on the same page and we don’t do more harm than good.” So, Max who was in addition to being chair of the department, a professor of French, music director at Raleigh Avenue 93:00Baptist Church, was also the tennis coach, and then also minister of music. And as the minister of music and youth, he took a youth trip. He took his kids somewhere and when he heard about the River Ministry he took a group from his church, Raleigh Avenue, out there one summer. And he came back and said, “Man, there is just so much need, but that I can’t do it. I’ve got a family. I’ve got a church to attend to. This is hard work and it requires people that speak some Spanish if you’re going to really be effective and I’m taking old people from my community and we have to ride out on Blue Bird bus and they’re wiped out before they even get there, but you know, I think our students will be great at this.” And I’ve done some preliminary inquiries and they say, “If you’re willing to come out to this orientation that happens in February, which they do every February, that’s one of the 94:00requirements, if you’re going to work down there, you’ve got to go to orientation, to be sure you know what you’re doing and you understand what’s going on there in that area where you choose to go. If you’re willing to go out there and check it out, I’ve talked to Hugh Bailey in the Dean’s office and he said he’s got a little bit of money left over in supplies and expense and he’ll buy your plane ticket to send you out there if you’ll go.” So I went and for the next twenty-five years we had students going out there every summer doing the most incredible things. And so in this my final year I’m compiling archives that I’ve stored that I didn’t realize what all I had stored until I got in there. I said when I retire, there are two things I want to do: I want to pull together an archive of all the stuff that our students did, record this little bit of history from this department and Arts and Sciences, store it in Special Collections, but put together in an album of some 95:00sort all those newsletters that I did every year, all the letters that the students wrote to me and all the journals that I read, and excerpted on the tail end of my little annual newsletter and I want to send it to Hardy Simmons because they have created an archive there for River Ministry and dedicated it to Elmond Howell that we worked with for twenty-eight years sending our students. Basically he said, “What’s holding you? Come on.” What a good Texan he was. “Come on. Just let me know what you’re doing, and I’ll come to you and I’ll orient your students.” So every spring he would come. The students would come to my house, sleep on the floor, and we would have a weekend with Elmond and he would talk to them, sit in the rocking chair and just tell them, “Here’s what we want you to do this year.” Then we piloted a literacy program. They were trying to do Bible studies in little towns on the other side of Big Bend, no electricity, no running water, living in little huts, 96:00adobe dirt floors. I said, “Have you ever thought about it, you can’t teach Bible study if people can’t read.” So we want you to put together a team. We’ll go down there and let’s start a literacy program to teach these people to read. And we did it for three or four years until we worked ourselves out of a job. It was just an incredible thing for our students. And they came back totally transformed. Just like I did the first time I went. You know, it’s just such, right there on our border. And some, even on our side of the border. Let me show you a picture. This is where the girls were. No road. On somebody’s horse or mule. One year they built an outhouse instead of having to go to the bathroom in mesquite bushes.
BRYAN KESSLER: Is that where the bathroom is?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Yes, right there. “How about that Samford students made the97:00adobe and built an outhouse?” If it hadn’t been for Hugh Bailey willing to say, “Here’s a plane ticket.” This place money has always been tight. And that’s why we don’t charge nearly what we ought to. But we still charge way too much for some people who would love to come and can’t, but of the twenty-four years I was department chair it was just squeezing blood out of a turnip trying to make the budget to the end of the year because there was just not enough to do anything. I appreciated the fact that he said, “I’ve got a little bit of money to go.” This was February and he had to live until May on that budget. But anyway he did that. And you know it’s just all that it 98:00takes is one person stepping up to say, “Yeah, I’m willing to support this initiative. Go do it.” And we just did wonderful things. So that kept me entertained until Max left in 1982 and made me department chair. And I went to see Ruric Wheeler. He said, “Yes, we want you to be the chair, how fast could you finish your doctorate? We’re not hurrying you or anything but how fast can you finish?” “Well, I don’t know.” “Well, we’re going to make you interim chair. If you’re going to teach full load, you’re going to run the department, and you’re going to finish your doctorate.” I did in 1985. In three years I was done. The department was weak at that point. We had one Spanish teacher and a half, one German teacher, and one French teacher and a half and a part-time German teacher. About that time we learned about Critical Languages program. So anyway, there are just things, opportunities just raise their heads and if you are willing to see the possibilities there and if 99:00you’ve got good people that are supportive of an idea, then you can have such fun doing such great things. And that was that way with Critical Languages program that we have in the evenings. I was sitting next to Dr. Corts at a dinner and said, “You know I’ve just learned about this Critical Languages program. We could teach anything. It’s a certified program. It has national recognition.” I described the system to him, and we could teach Hindi, we could teach Arabic, we could teach Chinese, Japanese. All it takes is, now here we are in Birmingham, is an international place. All it takes is a native speaker and then you rig up, you have a person who’s in some big place that teaches, like Ohio State, which teaches twenty-five languages. Somebody who is a professional, sets the pace, your class comes at the end and gives oral and 100:00written exams to the students. And you have an accredited program and you can teach all these wonderful things that otherwise you couldn’t teach. He said, “Oh, go talk to Laverne Farmer about that next week. If you can do it without it costing anything, if you don’t spend any more than what your income is from tuition, it’s okay with me--sounds like a good idea.” So, we have a Critical Languages program, have had since 1985 or 1986 because there’s this resonance with an idea and someone willing to back it. So that’s the way the department has evolved, the Critical Languages program. And our shift in teaching pedagogy—you were asking, I think, somewhere back there about from such a little department how it grew to be the largest department in Arts and 101:00Sciences and probably one of the largest departments anywhere in a private school. But as we have gone through, it’s just been a wonderfully collegial department made up of good people who want to do new and innovative things, to provide the best program we can for our students. And so way back there somewhere, when we started Critical Languages and we’re teaching traditional ways and about that same time within our profession they started and created a protocol for giving oral exams that were internationally understood. It was like the Monterrey, California Defense Language Institute that you’d go get an internationally understood rating by being administered an oral interview 102:00that’s a protocol. It’s not a prescribed list of questions. It’s an individual interview like you’re doing with me, you take it wherever it goes, and you push, push, push until you take the student as far as they can go and you know where their ceiling is and you establish floor and ceiling and then you can nail a rating and you can say, “Okay, you are an advanced low, you are an intermediate mid because you can do this, this, and this.” You can’t do this, this, and this and therefore you’re not going to hire that so we all, several of us, four or five of us at that time, where the department was at that time. We decided “Well, we all can do that and at the time the State Department of Education, again we were at the right place at the right time, the State Department of Alabama, Alabama State Department of Education was beginning the scholarship program where they sent students out and faculty. They were 103:00trying to improve professional development for language teachers. But we need to be able to justify what they learn when we send them abroad. If we’re going to convince the legislature to give us money, to send this fledging French teacher to France, we’ve got to know if they’re going to learn anything while they are there, of course we all knew they would but the legislature certainly didn’t. So okay, what we want to do, is give them a test before they go and then when they come back, give them another one. “And would ya’ll at Samford mind going and getting certified? And if you will, we’ll pay for it.” Well, you know, “Okay.” So Miss Coleman and I went in Spanish, Tom Hinds, who’s already retired, went in French and Ursula Hinton, who retired long ago in German. I think that’s all. The four of us went and we then served the state for two or three years doing that. It’s a grueling process and in that process you learn how to do it. And then before you get 104:00certified you have to do twenty samples of interviews, tape them, grade them, and send them in. And if you don’t rate them right, you don’t get certified. And so we had to find people at every level, you have to have samples of novices and intermediate, advanced, superiors. So we thought, “Oh well, you know we’ve got students at those levels and here’s this really good student whose making an “A”, and I’ll just fill in the blank tests, “I’m sure that person’s going to be an intermediate.” So when we’d sit down and just start having a conversation, they can’t do it and we thought, “Oh, dear.” We’re assessing ourselves while we’re assessing them. Here we think we’ve done great things and we have prepared them well but as far as them carrying on a real conversation, they can’t do it. And that makes us look really bad and so we better find some new ways to teach, and so we got another grant, and another grant, and another grant, participated in a lot of national sorts of grant-funded projects called Improving Foreign 105:00Languages in University Classrooms of the U.S. or something like that. So we went around and studied and we talked to other people and we compared notes and found a lot of people who were out on the cutting edge of new pedagogies and one dear lady from Hunter College in New York, she was our mentor. She came down and said, what we’ve discovered up here, my colleague and I, two little German teachers, she was a British lady so we loved to listen to her talk. And if you will teach, never mind the textbook from cover to cover, especially at the upper level, not just reading text to read text, if you make the students speak in every class and if you target the activities to their level, and you keep pressing them to speak and to write and to read, and you’re developing their 106:00skills not just covering whatever’s in the textbook on that particular day. It’s not what they know about the language, it’s what they can do with it. And if you’ll start teaching all your classes that way, you’ll have a line out the door. And that came to pass. We got it. We watched them do it, and she said “No, we can’t convince all of the other people out there to do that. We do it in German and we don’t care what they do. They’ve got big numbers in Spanish. We’ve got to be sure they’re our students, we’re committed to doing it.” So, we were small enough to say, “We’ll do it. We’re going to do it this way.” And then all of a sudden our upper levels when I look at that board, they’re majors and minors and we used to have 4, 6, or 8--it’s just as long as you keep the focus on productivity and keep 107:00students talking. Well, if you have some Latin it’s a little harder to connect, but Classics have their own challenge. What they do so well over there is take you to that place and even though somebody’s not speaking to you in that language, you’re seeing what evolved from it and all those wonderful, magnificent places where you’re walking. It’s the culture. And you know what we also learned in all of that period of study was language is the medium but culture is the message. These people want to be able to work in the medium but they’ve really fallen in love with culture. And the people speak it. As long as you do the four skills but you also have a heavy emphasis on the culture and you get your students involved in the community, get students outside the 108:00classroom, using it just all of a sudden, it all comes together. It has. It really has. That was the project for the eighties. And then the nineties came Cornerstone, and the curriculum upheaval and more tweaking. And first we did Cornerstone and Gen Ed and then once that was established, “Okay”, says the Dean, “the next thing we are going to do is work on majors. We’ve got a new base and so we need to be sure that what’s happening in the minor, what’s happening in the major is really up-to-date, is really cutting edge.” And so that’s when we all began to study and rewrite. That took about a decade. So we’re still riding, riding that wave. Whenever anything comes up we try to anticipate and do it and get our students abroad. We just know all of our own 109:00professional experiences are you’ve just got to get them out there. To some now it is how can we create more scholarships? How can we find programs that don’t cost so much money? And now happily a lot of churches are taking mission trips. There are lots of ways to volunteer, so that you don’t have to spend, you don’t have to take your eyes out and sell them in order to be able to afford to go and spend the summer or to spend the semester. There are a lot of ways to do it. We’re still not there yet because there are a lot more people that need to go. Everyone of our majors, we wish we could say, “Everyone must go.” We want everyone to go but for some people it’s not possible. Either it’s a financial thing or it’s a family commitment thing or it’s a work thing. But there are short term things. There are summer things and there are 110:00week things. When I look at my profiles, we do it with every student that comes through the first day, I’m sure they get tired of it but we take a look at the profile the first day of class. “Okay, what all have you had before? Where have you traveled? What are your goals?” And almost everybody says, “I want to learn this language better so I can speak it. I want to travel.” And when we ask, “Where have you been or have you been outside of the country before. Have you used this language? Where, When?” A mission trip in the summer with my church--over and over and over again. So they’re helping us teach. These churches that are taking mission trips into some area. It’s easier to do in Spanish than it is some of the other languages because it’s real easy to go out there and we used to joke with the Texas people. “Well, we don’t have come out there anymore. Mexico has come to us.” The border has moved over here, so we have all these great opportunities and some of our upper level Spanish classes the students work with Hispanic children and help them in after 111:00school activities help them with their homework as part of what they get credit for. They can do internships. They’re just out there doing it and it’s exciting to watch, and it’s exciting for them because it’s a nice thing they can put on their resume. The important thing is they’re learning to use language in its own cultural context, which is the secret. As they told us long ago, they’ll come to you and they do.
BRYAN KESSLER: And my final question is--I do like to ask of someone whospanned three different presidents.
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: Four, actually.
BRYAN KESSLER: Four from start to finish. Three as a faculty member which hasa different side of the presidents than students see. I do wonder are there particular things that stood out that separated a Wright era from the Corts era 112:00from the Westmoreland era?
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: You know I’ve already addressed this topic. Do you getSeasons? A couple of years ago they did an article. You might want to look at that article. Because they asked three or four of us that are senior faculty not far from retirement those very same questions, so you’ll get Brad Bishop in Law and Joan Nelson, who’s retired now from Music, Bill Nunnelly, who edits Seasons and me. So they put together this article. It’s a year or so ago. But anyway there’s that article. Let me see if I can recap. You know each one has his own style. And as long as we have presidents we’ll have a new style. Each one has strengths. I’m sure they all have certain, not weaknesses, but 113:00points that are not their strongest point. But each one did wonderful. In my view, each one did a magnificent job, leading the university at the particular juncture that they stepped into this moving stream. Major Davis moved us. He got the money to build this campus. That was a miracle and it was through his connections. That’s what he did best. And he was wise enough to step back and bring in a younger guy who would build the campus. And when Dr. Wright came he was told, “Okay, it’s your job.” Here’s this, I don’t know where it is now, but what we looked at every day when we went to the cafeteria to eat, was this big model of teeny, tiny buildings, like a model train, but the whole campus of the way it was envisioned. It didn’t evolve quite that way but it looks remarkably similar to that and I’m told that it’s here somewhere. But 114:00anyway, we’d walk by that and look and that’s what they told Leslie Wright. “Okay, here is the vision that the trustees have for this campus. Major Davis moved you over here, got it started. Now you are to build the campus, this physical campus. We’re bursting at the seams, we need new buildings, we need money to build the buildings. And so hold the steering wheel tight because it’s going to be rocky. We’re going through some tumultuous times, but keep it in the road, keep us afloat financially, and raise enough money to build these buildings.” And he did that. He did it wonderfully well. And he had a wonderful relationship with students. Especially during his early years when he got his own kids. You know when he came his son, Steve, was at Baylor and he had a younger son, John, who was maybe twelve or fourteen. So they had two kids 115:00and they knew how to relate to them. Especially college students because their son was at that level. And they visited Baylor a lot, and so they missed their own child, and they wanted us to come and spend a lot of time with them. But they were just very, very involved in all that went on. Now I never saw him moving students into the dorm. It was not that. And you never saw Tom Corts doing that. Never saw Tom Corts with a baseball cap. But each one was his own personality. Each was his own man. Each one established his own relationship with the Board of Trustees, chose a staff that they could work with. Sometime a new guy came in some people had to go because just like the president of the country. You’ve got to have people around you that you trust and who share your vision and are not loyal to the other vision. Never mind that we’re all inter-connected. You’ve got to have a close staff that you can work with and 116:00you can trust and you can know that this person is going to be doing this. They know what they want you to do and they’ll do it. I don’t know what else to say about Dr. Wright except he was great. The older he got he was less involved, maybe. A sad day was when the trustee that was the strongest supporter of athletics and the university was in very tight financial condition--and we live from crisis to crisis financially. In an attempt to keep it affordable for as many people as we could, but when he killed football, back in I can’t remember what year but my husband can tell you, it was a sad day. We had homecoming around a basketball game. It just wasn’t the same. You can’t go build a bonfire. You can’t decorate the yard. It just wasn’t 117:00quite the same. So when Corts came back among the things that everybody said to him was “We want to be able to use the ‘d’ word. We want football back again.” And they convinced him of that. I remember him saying, “There’s just nothing like being outdoors at a football game on an October afternoon in Alabama.” He caught that, the Yankee that he was coming down here. I don’t think he was particularly interested in it. But he saw the possibilities of doing that and what it meant to alumni and what it meant to current students and what it could mean for the male/female ratio on campus. You’re not going to attract that many red blooded male persons except the fact that there are a lot of girls here unless you have athletic possibilities. And it was hard to stay 118:00in our conference when you don’t, you know you’re limited to a certain number of conferences if you don’t have a football team. You’re limited. So he found a way, somehow to bring football back. So Tom Corts is everybody’s hero for doing that. He was a hero for me for my husband who was an athlete here, an athletic director here for twelve years. So I expect that’s why I spent so many Saturday afternoons at the press box. But now I’ve gone astray. Where was I going? Back to presidents. And Corts was just, he loved it. He was not particularly interested in Southern style football but on a Saturday afternoon at the press box, he really got excited. He would stand there at the window, the athletic director’s box is here. Have you been up there?
BRYAN KESSLER: I have.119:00
MYRALYN ALLGOOD: It’s here and then there’s a wall but you can see.There’s a glass where you can see what’s going in the president’s box and you can see him, jump. He was always so cool and so unruffled and rarely showed an emotion. But he could really get it. You know, I guess it was good it was not like his image that everyone had of him. He was always without a wrinkle. I remember his daughter saying once, “He really does wear pajamas. He doesn’t always have on a coat and tie.” But that’s the image that students have of him, pristine always. That was his demeanor. That was just his image. But he could get excited. And on some of those dances that he came to, Steve and I were dancing once. And he came up to us, “Say, y’all are really enjoying this, aren’t you?” “Yeah.” “And you do it really well.” “Yeah.” You know I never saw him shake a leg but still he--I think 120:00he learned some things from being in the South. And it took him a little while but he was so open to ideas and my own experience with him with Cornerstone, he was very enthusiastic about it, until he began to look at the bottom line and then he had to back off a little but he always resonates with all the things that are important to me--particularly, the international. And the other thing that he did besides opening things up for entertainment and bringing back football are two of the great things he did was—One was to allow the faculty to choose when we wanted to have spring break. We could actually have spring break when our children had spring break. And he said, “Well, why have you not all this long?” Well, because Dr. Wright wanted to have it another week when the trustees could come. And so my child grew up when her spring break, 121:00playing out in the yard drawing on the board while I was in school and then she, you know. That was so unnecessary and Corts just said, “What, I have no problem with that if that’s what everybody wants to do. Sure, we’ll do it. We’ll have the trustees meeting some other time.” And the other thing was his international interests--so among the very first things he did was to buy the house in London. And to be very supportive of us when we started our program in Spain two years later. I started it in 1985 after the house opened in 1980. He came in 1983. I think the Daniel House opened in 1984. We took the first group to Spain in 1985 even though we’d been sending students individually all over the place before. We took the first escorted group in 1985. And I went to talk to him about it and he said, “Talk to Laverne and y’all work out a budget. Sounds great. It’s not going to conflict when there are only a certain number of students that can go. And if London 122:00doesn’t do anything this summer, y’all are going to do yours in the summer. It’s not going to be any conflict of interests. I think it’s a wonderful idea.” So we did that and two years later. “Okay, we need one in France. Here’s the idea. “Yeah, do that.” Just every idea that we had, I talked to him about. “As long as it doesn’t cost any money. As long as it covers itself. As long as it pays for itself by the income that comes in. As long as you live within your budget. I think it’s great.” He had his very strong ideas about how, what we could or couldn’t do. We used to just have one five week program in Madrid and then we always had students that wanted to stay longer. So one year I let a student stay longer and he got sick and he was in the hospital. And his parents were over there. They sent money that got lost and finally he said, “You know, let’s just not do this again. I understand 123:00y’all can only stay so long but let’s have a faculty as long as we have got a student. Let’s have a faculty member over there.” And so that’s what we did. Of course, all of that has changed. But he had, he felt very responsible about a lot of things. But he would catch you. I would see him at a basketball game and he would say, “Say,” that was his opening phrase. We were called the Department of Foreign Languages from my time as a student until 1992 when we changed it. So he was here eight or ten years. And I know that he said it to me more than once. But finally once he really said, “Say, this foreign language, can you think of a better name than that? It’s just kind of, you know a lot of people look at the word ‘foreign’ and think pejorative. It’s just off putting. Think of something else.” Oh we said, “Well okay. 124:00It doesn’t sound negative to us. We kind of like it. But, okay.” So that’s how we came up with World Languages and Cultures. Just because he had a perspective we didn’t have. And I’m sure he was right. So he was involved in that kind of way. And if he saw something that, a hole here he wanted to fix, he decreed it to happen. Like there was no JMC when he came. He was a journalism major. He knew that was important and so he said, “Thou shalt be one.” And it was created. Lo, it came. Build it and they will come and he did and they did. It’s a huge major now. And Classics, he’s was also classically trained. And when someone offered, whether they made the overture, whether he suggested it, it came forth, we’ll never know. But someone endowed the Classics Department. Up to that point the Religion Department taught Greek 125:00and we taught Latin with a part time teacher. But someone, some nice person said, “If you’ll build it, we’ll pay for it.” So they paid for it and we built it. And went out to Baylor and got Randy Todd. And he really built it. It took somebody with a lot of energy and Todd created vision to do that. But he knew, Corts knew. That was his involvement. The things that he knew were the purview of the faculty. He let the faculty do, like creating this new, he gave us ideas, turned us loose, but if it wouldn’t fly, he was willing to be the person, who had the courage to say, “You know we just can’t afford it 126:00this way. We are going to have to find a way back to the drawing board. Find a way where we can take this program across the board to everybody and afford it and not go in the hole doing it.” So he just kind of threw out bait to see who went for it. And he was good at that. He raised lots of money for all these buildings. So then he retired. And then came Andy and I think just the fact that we call Andy instead of Dr. Corts. If anybody—he told us to call him Tom but I don’t know anybody except the inner circle that called him Tom. I think my husband did because he worked right under him. And I did sometimes. But in a meeting I often called him “El Senor Presidente” which is a very lofty term in Spanish. Presidents in Latin American countries wield a lot of 127:00influence or the Pres, or something off hand. I had a hard time calling him Tom. But everybody calls his, his demeanor is just so totally different. So safe facey, he doesn’t mind showing emotions. If he gets choked up he just does and you never, now again Corts was a trained orator, speaker, eloquent. Nothing ever came out of his mouth that wasn’t perfectly honed, and whether he had scripture or not he was so like Bill Hull. He was eloquent and did not, the only faculty members I knew to get in trouble under him were people that did not use chaste speech, particularly in the classroom. That was the fastest exit 128:00door for anyone was for that to happen, and I knew that to happen. Because language to him ought to be beautiful and eloquent and to stoop to use terms that were not, especially in this place, no, that’s not. And if he believed if what you were doing opened doors and let things happen and if you went through normal channels would never happen. We had two very good, one particular year when we were hiring, we had two very good candidates and we were going to have to choose between them, and you know the process is you bring them to campus and we sent both of them over to his office, and he interviewed them both. And he called me up there one day and said, “You know they’re both 129:00really great, can you use two?” “Well, yeah, we told you how many times, many times that we have way too many part-time people; and you know that, you’ve read all the reports I’ve written to you every year.” “Well, let’s just take both.” So we did and it’s, you know. I would never in my wildest dreams have thought that he would do that. Because you have one line and if somebody retires you can replace that one line. He just said, “Okay, we’ll just.” So he used his presidential perks to do what he felt led to do. But he could tear loose and let us do what we wanted to do as long as it was affordable. He was a wonderful person. And Marla was very busy raising three 130:00children. She was certainly not Lola Wright because she was busy at home with little children, and she raised them. But today, although she’s by herself, if there’s an event that requires a Corts presence, she’s here, very brave, very courageous because he left us way too soon, and way too abruptly. After he had spent their whole married lifetime working 24-7, first for universities and then for the President of the United States, came home when they were hoping finally to enjoy retirement, and he goes to breakfast and collapses and was gone. Man, that was something awful. But she has borne it with the same grace 131:00that he bore all the vicissitudes that he had to deal with. The biggest coup he pulled off is this slight disassociation, not total, but the slight disassociation from the convention to preserve the integrity of the university so that no longer would the trustees be just nominated from the floor of the convention trying to push particular ideologies, very polarized convention as it was at the time. So he arranged a way legally to do it so the trustees now re-elect themselves. They do it looking at candidates and their loyalty to the university and not just because they happen to be adherent to a particular view that, you know, Baptists are very democratic, sometimes way too much so, so that 132:00anybody can nominate him, somebody seconds him, they were all in favor. The aye voices are loud because they’ve been told to vote, then you’ve got somebody that may or may not care about really what happens in the university as long as this particular ideology is going to prevail. So that secured us when a lot of schools were going under or losing their identity and all that. So he did a lot of very good things. And Andy is doing a lot of very good things, too. His interaction with students is just incredible. And the fact that he’s willing to be himself and open his home 24-7 he’s there. When he gets out of bed in the morning, the first thing he sees when he looks out the window is this place and the last thing he sees before he crawls inside the bed over there, looking out the window and the lights on down here below. That’s a rare thing that he 133:00kind find some personal space within what is really a cage that he lives in and has people in. They love to do it. And Jeanna is a perfect counterpart for him. They just do it so well. They entertain so well. They open their home to everybody. And as far as what his interaction with the faculty, now he has Brad Creed. Until the latter days of Corts’ era, we had an academic vice president Ruric Wheeler and others that came along the way, when Bill Hull was named provost, and he chose, maybe they chose it together. He chose to be a provost rather than an academic vice president because he wanted to be an intellectual leader rather than an administrative person. And so it has taken on that sort 134:00of tone and now Brad Creed is following in that footstep. So there’s somebody, a very strong somebody between the president who has to deal with everything and the faculty. So the provost actually leads the faculty, but faculty leads itself, but the provost will get in there, and say “Okay, I think I just feel that they have to do this.” Every new provost, “Okay, we need to look at Gen Ed again, we need to look at something about the curriculum again because that’s what I’m supposed to do, I’m the provost.” Anyway, we don’t see him that much. But then we don’t have meetings as much as we used to. With the advent of email and instant communication and his wonderful Monday morning message that he sends out to us--we kind of stay on track with what he’s thinking. But back in the olden days we had at least once a month 135:00we gathered and we had a devotional and we had announcements, we had committee reports and now the faculty has a senate once a semester. They do the work and then commit the committees to do their own thing, and we don’t have that kind of interaction on a constant basis. They just sort of turn the faculty loose to do it. But I’m sure there’s some very fine lines that have to be maintained. But I think it’s working well. I haven’t heard anybody complaining about not having to go to so many meetings. Anyway, I don’t know if that is the sort of answer you were looking for.
BRYAN KESSLER: I appreciate so much you letting me talk to you and you sharingsome stories. It has been so great.
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Partial Transcript: And let’s talk a little bit about your life before you came to Howard. Are there any sort of memorable moments from your early childhood or high school age?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Myralyn Allgood describes her life growing up in Decatur, Georgia.
Keywords: "Gone with the Wind"; Decatur, Georgia; World War II(WWII)
Subjects: Alabama--History--1951- Georgia--History
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Partial Transcript: How does a child from Decatur end up at Howard College in Birmingham?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood talks about why she decided to go to Howard College, as well as here first experience with the East Lake and Lakeshore campuses.
Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Auburn University; Decatur, Georgia; Howard College; Sherman Oak; University of Georgia
Subjects: Campus visits Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Location Universities and colleges--Students
GPS: Location of the East Lake Campus of Howard College
Map Coordinates: 33.560351,-86.724934
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Partial Transcript: So when you did get here and you mentioned sorority. I do wonder what kind of activities you were involved in while here at Howard?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood describes some of her activities as a student at Howard, particularly her experience in Greek life.
Keywords: Baptist Student Union (BSU); Beta Sigma Omicron; Harwell G. Davis(Major Davis); Lambda Chi; Leslie Stephen Wright; Sigma Nu; Wayne Flynt; Zeta Tau Alpha
Subjects: College students--Education Intercollegiate athletics Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Students University campuses
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Partial Transcript: I do wonder on the formals--Samford like a lot of Baptist Colleges did not allow dancing on campus. Were they allowed for events like formals, if it was off campus?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood discusses the issues surrounding student formal events and dancing on campus.
Keywords: Thomas E. Corts
Subjects: Universities and colleges--Students University campuses University presidents University professors
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Partial Transcript: You mentioned Dawson was your home church when you were here. With the move to this campus did that become sort of the main church that students on campus would go to? Did it function almost as an unofficial Samford church or were there other places around that you knew the students were going to?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood talks about student church life at Howard.
Keywords: Dawson Baptist Church; Ruhama Baptist Church; Shades Mountain Baptist Church
Subjects: Campus ministers Universities and colleges--Buildings Universities and colleges--Students University campuses
GPS: Dawson Baptist Church
Map Coordinates: 33.47459,-86.806924
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Partial Transcript: And I wonder if that sort of transitioned into being the chapel services on the campus. Called convocation now, was it called convocation back then?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood describes what Convocation, or Chapel, services were like during her time as a student.
Keywords: Christian Emphasis Week
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Partial Transcript: That was going to be my next question. What was Step Sing like back then?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood relates what Step Sing was like during her time as a student at Samford, and how it was developed.
Keywords: Baptist Student Union (BSU); Old Main; Step Sing
Subjects: Universities and colleges--Students University theater
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Partial Transcript: So we can maybe transition to academics as a student. You mentioned you really liked your major. What was your major?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood talks about her studies at Samford and her major in Spanish.
Keywords: Grace Weeks Marquez; Leslie Stephen Wright; National Honor Society; National Organization for Spanish and Portuguese Teachers; National University of Mexico; University of Alabama
Subjects: Academic majors College students--Education Education--Alabama Universities and colleges--Students University professors
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Partial Transcript: So what was the department structure like? I know it’s vastly different from what it is now. You mentioned there were two Spanish teachers.
Segment Synopsis: Dr. Allgood talks about the creation and structure of the World Languages and Cultures Department, and her early experiences in it.
Subjects: Academic department heads (Universities and colleges) Academic majors College administrators Education--Alabama
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Partial Transcript: And then you answered my question a little bit about class load as well. I do wonder types of classes that you were as a student expected to take and then you mentioned some of the ones you took with the English and then your Spanish class. The required classes--what do you remember about that?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood talks more about her academic experiences and the general curriculum during her time as a student at Samford.
Keywords: Baptist Student Union (BSU); Cornerstone; Grace Weeks Marquez; Wheeler Holly
Subjects: College students--Education Universities and colleges--Students University professors
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Partial Transcript: That was great and I appreciated the physical side tour as well. You mentioned on this the other academic question I wanted to touch on--but the professors and their relationships to students. And this can be both when you were a student and especially those early years when you were a professor here.
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood talks about the general relationship between the students and faculty at Samford during her time as a student.
Keywords: Andrew Westmoreland; Hugh Bailey; Lee Allen; Leslie Stephen Wright; Sigurd Bryan
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Partial Transcript: You hit on a little bit of this with some of your personal experiences. I do wonder, I always try to ask as a student, your sense of how students in general felt about the president and the board of trustees. You talked a little bit about Dr. Wright but I do wonder, in terms of institutionally, how they felt about this man was in charge of the school.
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood describes how the students viewed Dr Wright and the board of trustees.
Keywords: Leslie Stephen Wright
Subjects: Universities and colleges--Students Universities and colleges--Trustees University presidents
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Partial Transcript: Of course. So, you’ve taken us through a little bit of how you got back to Howard. So, I guess we’ll start with when you did arrive back--and that experience of just two years after being a student, now professor on campus. And I wonder the culture shock and was there a change in mindset as well coming back to the school?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood describes what is was like returning to Samford as a professor.
Keywords: Birmingham, Alabama; Grace Weeks Marquez; Sigma Nu; Wayne Flynt
Subjects: College students--Education Universities and colleges--Students University professors
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Partial Transcript: I just wondered, did you have any, do you remember any of that particular event and some of the things going around, you know, I’ve been able to read some of it but not necessarily get a faculty perspective of what was going on.
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood discusses some of the battles between the Samford Faculty during her early years as a professor, such as the dispute over joining the American Association of University Professors.
Keywords: American Association of University Professors; Howard College; Lee Allen; Samford University; Wheeler Holly
Subjects: College administrators Universities and colleges University presidents University professors
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Partial Transcript: I have a note you have a Hugh Bailey story from the 70s?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood relates an episode of how Hugh Bailey helped to launch a program for Samford students to serve and learn in Mexico.
Keywords: Baptist General Convention of Texas; Hugh Bailey; Raleigh Avenue Baptist Church; Rio Grand River Ministry; Thomas E. Corts
Subjects: College administrators University presidents University professors
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Partial Transcript: I do wonder are there particular things that stood out that separated a Wright era from the Corts era from the Westmoreland era?
Segment Synopsis: Dr Allgood discusses here views on the four different Samford Presidents that she witnessed, both as a student and as a professor.
Keywords: Andrew Westmoreland; Harwell G. Davis(Major Davis); Leslie Stephen Wright; Thomas E. Corts
Subjects: Universities and colleges--Buildings Universities and colleges--Students University campuses University presidents University professors