Interview with Lewis W. Cochran, February 26, 1985

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

Interview Summary

In this interview, Lewis W. "Bud" Cochran, University of Kentucky professor and administrator, discusses the controversy surrounding Frank Peterson, the selection of John Oswald as university president, and changes in the university structure in the early 1960s. Frank Peterson was Comptroller and Vice President for Business Affairs at the university. Cochran explains that Peterson was an outstanding business manager, who had become involved in some ethically questionable business practices.

Cochran recalls that a committee was set up to investigate the charges against Peterson. He explains that Clifford Smith, a Frankfort lawyer, was on the committee and wanted to get rid of Peterson for political reasons. Smith began to raise questions about Peterson's involvement in the university's purchases of land around the campus area. He explains that Smith put forward the motion to suspend Peterson and that it passed on a close vote. Yet, the Board of Trustees did not accept the committee's decision. They named a new committee and decided that the committee would meet after charges had been developed. The major charge against Peterson regarded his involvement with a vending machine company that had a contract with the university. Peterson admitted an error in judgment and was suspended for over a year at which time he would reach the normal retirement age.

Interesting enough, the Peterson issue came at the same time as Dickey's resignation. Cochran remembers that the university faculty knew that Peterson's influence needed to be modified in order to attract a decent new president. Cochran remembers that the meeting over the retirement benefits that Peterson would receive was one of the worst meetings of his career. The final decision was to award Peterson the standard percentage of an associate professor's salary. He talks about the decision to name the new business service building after Peterson.

Cochran also discusses the controversy surrounding Abby Marlatt, the head of the Home Economics Department, who became involved in the push for desegregation, and was subsequently demoted. Cochran then describes the search for a new university president in 1963. He explains that the proposal of rotating departmental chairs and deans was already on the table before Oswald came, although Oswald did put these changes in the university's organization in motion. In January of 1963, Cochran was appointed Associate Dean of the Graduate School, and he recalls working the A.B. Kirwan, the Dean of the Graduate School.

Interview Accession

1985oh047_af204

Interviewee Name

Lewis W. Cochran

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1985-02-26

Interview Keyword

Bud Cochran

Interview Rights

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Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Cochran, Lewis W. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 26 Feb. 1985. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Cochran, L.W. (1985, February 26). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Cochran, Lewis W., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. February 26, 1985, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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