Interview with Charles E. Barnhart, June 24, 1997

Project: Charles Elmer Barnhart, Jr. Oral History Project

Interview Summary

In this session, Dr. Charles E. Barnhart discusses the declining emphasis of agriculture state-wide in terms of the University of Kentucky's land grant mission. He also talks about the separation of the community colleges from UK and being placed under a different board. Barnhart describes the structure of the state budget, where the university fits in, and how each college negotiates with Central Administration for funding. He talks about the fundamentals of a great research institution, the incompatibilities of the community college program with research opportunities, and the separation of research from instructional programs, i.e. people getting where they need to be in terms of academic opportunity. Barnhart says he was troubled by this controversy and the lack of support for what he saw as "a program not serving the best interests of the people", and wanted to go on record as saying that "the university was not created for the benefit and convenience of the faculty". He talks about other community college systems and how forty years ago, U.K. and the state were already concerned about the "brain drain".

Barnhart describes his plans for the Agriculture College once he becomes Dean in terms of reorganizing the administrative structure, being a hands-on administrator, and focusing on the graduate program. He talks about the Main Chance farm controversy, where several prominent Thoroughbred horsemen, Rex Ellsworth, Joe Johnson, Arnold Pessin, vied with U.K. to purchase the farm for a training and horse sale facility. He mentions the suspicion, especially by Joe Johnson, that the Keeneland Association, a Thoroughbred racing and horse sales facility in Lexington, Kentucky, conspired with U.K. to prevent competition from this venture. Barnhart describes how U.K. devised a plan of bidding on the land as a business investment for the Kentucky Research Foundation, freezing out these businessmen and obtaining the property. He talks about the plans drawn up for use of the land in preparation for the subsequent lawsuit that followed, U.K. winning the lawsuit, and his continued relationship with these three businessmen. He mentions the development of Spindletop Farm after being assigned to the Agricultural Experiment Station, and the development of the Kearney Hills Golf Course by the city of Lexington, Kentucky at the Blackburn Correctional Facility rather than at Spindletop.

Interview Accession

1997oh053_af568

Interviewee Name

Charles E. Barnhart

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1997-06-24

Interview Rights

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.

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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Barnhart, Charles E. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 24 Jun. 1997. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Barnhart, C.E. (1997, June 24). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. Charles Elmer Barnhart, Jr. Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Barnhart, Charles E., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. June 24, 1997, Charles Elmer Barnhart, Jr. Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt73tx353x5z