Interview with John G. Irvin, December 15, 1975
Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project
Interview SummaryJohn G. Irvin was a student at the University of Kentucky right before and after World War II. He was born in Carlisle, Kentucky, but explains that he grew up all over central and eastern Kentucky because his father traveled testing cattle for tuberculosis. Irvin came to Lexington in September of 1941 and attended Transylvania for one year before transferring to UK. Irvin states that he joined a reserve program for enlisted men which enabled him to avoid military service until March of 1943. He came back to UK in the Spring of 1946 to finish his degree. He majored in journalism and recalls professors including Dr. Neil Plumber, Victor Portland, and Mr. Macaulay. Irvin talks about the fun that he had in the journalism department and explains that he even married a former editor of the Kentucky Kernel, the student newspaper.
Irvin describes social activities on campus mentioning that he was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity. He recalls that Professor Frank Dickey would often chaperone the Kappa Alpha events. Irvin states that he noticed few differences on campus before and after the war, including the benefits of the G.I. Bill, and the fact that the veterans were somewhat more serious students. He describes taverns and restaurants near campus which were frequented by students. He talks about the student government and regulations toward women on campus. He particularly recalls negotiating with the Dean of Women, Sarah Holmes, to allow the women to stay out later when there were bands like Jimmy Dorsey, and Stitch Henderson visiting campus. He also describes his involvement when Ruby Graham attempted to climb an aerial trapeze on Memorial Day in 1949. Graham barred from the graduation celebration, due to this stunt.
Irvin recalls the ground-breaking for Memorial Coliseum, and talks about the role of athletics at the university. He states that he enjoyed the courses that he took in history and political science mentioning "tremendous" professors like Thomas D. Clark and Jasper Shannon. He remembers participation of student in politics, describes a controversial speech professor, and talks about his belief in academic freedom. He explains the effect that UK had upon his life, and states that his education was not nearly as useful as the people he met while attending UK. Irvin also tells stories about working at the Phoenix Hotel. He discusses significant changes to the campus since he graduated including building of the A.B. Chandler Medical Center. He also mentions his involvement with UK's Alumni Association.
Interview LC SubjectIrvin, John G. Irvin, John G.--Interviews University of Kentucky University of Kentucky--History
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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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Irvin, John G. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 15 Dec. 1975. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Irvin, J.G. (1975, December 15). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Irvin, John G., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. December 15, 1975, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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