Zhang: So what made you decide to major in French?
I went to college, I thought that I was going to major in
I was very interested in science and I had some image of
wearing a white lab coat and doing something, not exactly sure
So I told the college advisor that I was majoring in
But I had had a lot of French in high school.
We had a very progressive school system that had more
usual amount of language study. So
I was already fairly advanced in the study of French, which I
when I was a freshman, I went into an intermediate level French
and then I was taking my biology class.
And when the midterm advising period came along, my
professor said, “Now, you need to sign up for calculus next
semester.” Well although
I could do mathematics, I never enjoyed it a great deal and
same advising period, my French professor said, “You know, you
real talent for French. I
think that you should major in French.”
So I thought that sounded pretty good and I said, “If I
in French, do I have to take calculus.”
She said, “No.” I
said, “Fine, I’ll major in French.”
I don’t know how I thought I was going to be a biologist without
taking advanced math. Maybe,
you know, as a freshman you haven’t really thought that sort of
through. So I told my
parents that I was intending to major in French.
I was the first person in my family to attend college. Although there were teachers in my family, but
to go and get
a four-year liberal arts degree, I was the first one. So my parents said, How will you make a living?
And I said, “Well, I don’t know.
I guess I’ll teach.”
here I am, many years later, making a pretty good living
(laughs). And I think that it follows a long
with what Joseph Campbell
says in his books. He
always says, “Follow your bliss, do the thing that you like and
and you’ll be much more likely to be successful.
And so I liked French and I majored in French, I became a
Zhang: Could you share with us some of your educational background, where you went for grade school and college?
attended grammar school in Spartanburg until the fourth grade.
And then my father was recalled into military service
Korean War and we were sent to Fort Brag, North Carolina.
So I had two years of grammar school in Fort Brag, North
Carolina, and then we returned to Spartanburg where I attended
junior high school and Spartanburg high school.
I then went to Coker College, which was at the time a
college. It’s located in
Hartsville, South Carolina. I
received a scholarship to go to college and I was graduated
first in my
That’s wonderful. Is
that Coker College a liberal arts college?
And in fact, my education there, I think, had a great
on the development of my interest in further education as well
things that I like to teach.
They had a curriculum that was a, they called world
And it was a course that you took all four years.
I should say that, in fact, I finished college in three
started in 1960 and finished in 1963.
But the course was designed so that you had lectures by
from a number of different areas and there was an effort made to
you background about a historical period and all of the things
on at that time.
Not only the political events, but what was happening in
and what was happening in science, and so that there was a real
understanding of each period as you worked through it.
And I think that that course is no longer taught, but for
was a wonderful way to learn.
I think that I got more out of having that type of course
would have if I had by taking a lot of individual courses on the
Zhang: So in 1992, you became the Dean of Brevard campus. Can you tell us about your experience there?
that was quite an interesting experience because all of the
the Brevard campus were adult students, or at least they were
for their degree in the evening, which meant that most likely
working and so weren’t going to school in a regular full time
The group of faculty who worked with those students and
headed up the majors that we had, are really remarkable people;
dedicated, very interested in the students’ progress.
We had Maggie [Margaret] Dunn, who’s still with us, who
up the English program; Larry Holt, who now runs the computer
major in the Holt school; Professor Ed Harold (??), who
history; Sandra McIntire, who’s now left Rollins, she retired,
ran the psychology and organizational behavior major.
And there were others as well.
But the faculty who were truly dedicated to what they
and really knew how to inspire their students; it was a
learning community. And it
became much smaller because we were no longer able to offer the
major, which had to do with the Crummer’s school accreditation
ACSB. So we had to disband
the business major.
And one of the more interesting things I’ve ever done in my life was to move a college. We actually moved our campus from a, sort of a warehouse in Rockledge to a very nice facility in West Melbourne, and I got to help redesign the interior of the building. We had very high hopes for having that campus continue to succeed. But the growth of the University of Central Florida in Brevard County finally made it necessary for us to close down. So I had the opportunity to help a program move with the hope of growing and the sad duty and responsibility of closing it out.
Lancaster Talks About a Trip to Martinique
the first year I was here I got an unexpected opportunity to
group on a study abroad trip. The
woman who was the head of the French section, Eleanor
Miller, had organized a winter term course, because at that time
a four or five week January term. And
she was taking a group to Martinique in the French West Indies.
And it was a large group. The
idea was that some of the students, if they were more advanced,
and live with the families in Martinique and others would live
villa and would have instruction in intermediate level French.
she called me just before Christmas and said, “Do you have a
passport?” And I said,
“Yes.” She said, “I
have pneumonia and I can’t go to Martinique in January, can you
take the group?” (Laughs)
I said, of course, “Sure, why not?”
And so there I went, off with about forty Rollins
Just me, yes. I did
have a sort of student work-study helper.
But it was quite an experience, very interesting.
And we went again the next winter and then we also had a
program and tour of France that I was involved with for a couple
Yeah, I took students to China last year, twenty
I feel it’s a large responsibility, I just cannot imagine
taking forty students all by yourself.
(Laughs) Well the most interesting thing about that trip
we were there for about ten days without any money (laughs).
So how did you survive?
There was a group of Martinique who had, they called
something like the Cultural Association, and they had arranged
for us to
have this place to stay in. It
was a large, old house, it had no hot water, but it had a very
view of the Caribbean. And
they paid for the initial food cost for those of us staying
And I had gone there with a cashier’s check for a large
money. You know a
cashier’s check is supposed to be the same as cash.
You should be able to just go to a bank and walk away
money. Well the bank in Martinique
didn’t want to accept this
cashier’s check, and it was drawn on some New York City bank. And they said that I would have to wait a week
and come back
to get my money. So I
waited and I went back, and they said, well no, they hadn’t
the authorization yet. And
I said, “You know, you really don’t need an authorization, this
the same as cash” “Well,
you know, we can’t be too careful.” Essentially,
the cultural group that had helped to organize
it, kept advancing the money to feed us until I got the check
They had their share of cultural shock.
It was a terrible culture shock.
A couple of the young men in the group rented Vespas.
And we lived in a suburb outside of the main city ______,
seems to me that between this villa we lived in and ______, was
much down hill all the way with a lot of hair pin turns and a
going over the other side. One
of the fellows would put me on the back of the Vespa and we
into town and see if we had any money yet.
Sometimes I went on the bus.
But it had a happy ending: we finally got our money
Zhang: So what is most challenging about being the dean of the Holt school?
think making sure that you maintain the quality of the
experience of the students, because you want them to have the
possible instruction. And
sometimes when you have many students who want to be in the
you don’t have enough full time Rollins faculty to serve the
all of those students, then you have to make sure that the part
faculty we’re hiring have its sufficient, you know, education
experience to be able to do as good a job as a full time Rollins
member. That’s always a
challenge. You work with
the departments who also want to be sure about that.
with adult students is great. Many
of them are so excited to have the opportunity to be in college
they are just very highly motivated to have a great experience.