Page 21 - Shared Vision

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the deans and other faculty would resent our friendship, I
used to sneak into the back of Morris’s house for breakfast.
AG: I lived for two years in Doyle Hall. My room on the
third floor overlooked Morris’s backyard, so I can imagine
you sneaking in. But by the time you came, I had moved
into the Chautauqua Barracks with five other guys. Little
did I know that complex was later to become the home of
the design department.
HLC: You know Morris was a planner. He got the campus
rezoned to include the sororities and fraternities so they
could no longer be segregated. He and I worked together
to start a new bank in the black section across the tracks.
Junior Hatchett ran Jabbo’s Barbeque. Of course, we got
involved with the whole community. Our students knew
the best and cheapest food in town was across the tracks,
so we often ate there with them. And, as I said, we did
community outreach projects like helping found a bank
there. It wasn’t long before some of the black kids began
to apply to the design program. I started a film festival
at one of the local movie houses with Tony Luckenbach
in cooperation with the SIU English department. And
bringing B. F. Skinner was easy because he and Morris got
their doctorates at the same school in Iowa.
Yes, the town was small, but I liked the open air and
the woods. Dean Burnett Shryock put his biases aside
and supported us. I always met the incoming speakers,
including Margaret Mead.
Newly designed tents at Little Grassy camp for handicapped children, 1956
Department of Art, 1955.
Standing, left to right:
Moishe Smith, Milton Sullivan,
Harold Cohen, David Manzella, Leonard Kitts, Eugene Bunker Jr.
Lauritzen, Robert McMillan, Elizabeth Wallace, Marjorie Dennis, Harold Schwarm.
AG: You must know by now you made quite an impact on
your students’ lives, including mine.
HLC: Thank you. I got a letter from Dave Miles and one
from Ron Bishop saying that. But it was mutual; I learned
a lot from them, too.
AG: You had the help of key administrators.
HLC: True. Morris, of course. And Shryock, Vernon
Sternberg of the SIU Press (although he at first didn’t want
to publish Bucky’s books), Vice President Robert MacVicar,
who later became president at Oregon State University;
George Kimball Plochmann, head of philosophy (his
wife was a watercolorist and painter); and Dr. Harry T.
Moore of the English department, who was a leading
D. H. Lawrence scholar. Moore was denied tenure and
left SIU. I spoke with Morris and asked him to reverse
the decision and bring him back. Moore returned. Vice
President Charles D. Tenney was not an ally. The dean of
education didn’t like the Experimental Freshman Year. But
we wanted to offer a real education, and you need more
than a building.
AG: Looking back, what do you consider your greatest
achievements at SIU?
HLC: Besides establishing the design department, my
number one was the Experimental Freshman Year. It