Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Observations and Reflections

 During a recent trip to Owensboro, Kentucky I had the opportunity to visit with friends and donors who have supported UK Libraries for many years.  Deirdre Scaggs, Associate Dean for Special Collections, and Greg Casey, Director of UK Libraries Development, joined me on the trip.

We first visited with John Hager, former Publisher of the Owensboro Messenger and a long-time Owensboro civic leader.  Over fifteen years ago, John donated the Hager Family Collection to UK Libraries.  The collection helps document Owensboro and Davies County history from the beginning of the 20th century forward.;cc=kyead;view=reslist;subview=standard;didno=hager&view=toc

Nearly forty years ago I conducted an oral history interview with John’s father, Lawrence Hager, who also served as owner and publisher of the newspaper.  I talked with him about his friendship with Fred Vinson who became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and whose papers are also in UK Libraries Special Collections.  Lawrence Hager and Fred Vinson had been classmates at Centre College. 

 I vividly recall Mr. Hager being very displeased with me for asking about Chief Justice Vinson’s skill as a poker player.  He obviously did not think that was an appropriate question about the former Chief Justice.  However, it was well known that Fred Vinson and his great friend Harry Truman held regular poker games in the White House!

The next day we visited the Owensboro Museum of Science and History which is the home of the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center.  The center was established at the same time as UK Libraries’ Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center and the two centers have explored collaborative projects over the years. 

Now, the UK College of Education is exploring a partnership between the Owensboro Ford Center and the college’s P-20 Innovation Labs.  Each lab has a civic education component and partner with Kentucky schools, businesses, community leaders, higher education, industry and government to transform classrooms to engage learners at an early age and create a pipeline of students well-prepared to go to college and obtain careers matching their skills and interests.

Later in the day we had lunch with Senator Ford, son Steve, and grandson Clay, who is a member of the UK Libraries National Advisory Board.  During lunch we discussed the P-20 Labs collaboration and plans for continuing oral history interviews with Senator Ford.

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