View of three women sitting in a couches near a table in the Sunken Lounge in Centennial Hall. Completed in 1971, Centennial Hall, named in honor of St. Cloud State's establishment in 1869, served as the campus library until 2000.
In an oral history conducted by St. Cloud State University Archivist Jerry Westby on June 11, 1990, Ludmila (Mil) Voelker discussed her background. She was born in Dodge, Nebraska in the 1920s. Her father emigrated from Czechoslovakia, settling in Nebraska and later South Dakota, where he lost his farm during the Depression. The family eventually moved to Litchfield, Minnesota. Voelker attended the College of Saint Benedict, where she received her Bachelor's degree in English, with a minor in speech and philosophy. She then taught English for three years in Holdingford, Minnesota, until 1954 when her future husband Fran, returned from Korea. They married that December, and for the next 10 years Ludmila stayed home to raise their five children. In 1965, she began working part-time at St. Cloud State while also beginning work on her Master's degree. She eventually began teaching full-time at the St. Cloud State. Voelker worked as teaching assistant while pursuing her master's degree, but because of the surge in enrollment, had to take on more freshman composition classes than originally planned. Voelker discussed how important it was for faculty to be involved in other activities besides teaching. This led to her involvement with the Inter-Faculty Organization (IFO), as well as the publication of a book on Mass Media with her husband Fran. Voelker talked about the changes undergone by the university as well as the impact of some important national events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Voelker chronicled the highs and lows of her career at St. Cloud, claiming that being selected as the university's affirmative action officer was a great high, while getting burnt out on teaching was her low. She then discussed the rise in percentage of women professors on campus as a result of affirmative action, and her feelings on that subject in general. Finally, she offered some thoughts on the progress St. Cloud State University has made, calling it a wonderful institution, but also suggested some areas for improvement.
In an oral history conducted by St. Cloud State University Archivist Jerry Westby on May 21, 1990, Robert Coard discussed his educational background. He detailed his college and graduate educational background at the undergraduate and graduate level. Before arriving at St. Cloud State in 1960, Coard described his various teaching experiences, and explanations for why he chose to move on. After five years at the Minot State Teacher's College in Minot, North Dakota, he taught for three years at the University of Alabama, but grew ever more uncomfortable with the tense racial situation and integration. Needing a more stable work environment, Coard accepted a position at St. Cloud State. Coard described his time at St. Cloud State and the changes that occurred on campus. He said that there was no English department when he first arrived, and discussed the power George Budd had in expanding the curriculum and faculty. He also described the physical changes undergone by the campus. Coard briefly described what the campus looked like when he arrived and then what changed. He also mentioned Fifth Avenue South, where he lived for 30 years, and how it really went from a peaceful residential area to what he terms an area in ""shambles."" Coard explained his ideas about students at St. Cloud State University, and how they have changed. He claimed that the university used to be much stricter with students, taking attendance and sending grades to parents if the student was under the age of 21. Overall, he felt his work with these students was a positive experience. Coard retired in 1990.
In an oral history conducted by St. Cloud State University Archivist Jerry Westby on May 15, 1990, Herb Goodrich explained his family and educational history. He was born in Manhattan, and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His father emigrated from Russia, while his mother was from Poland. Goodrich attended the City College of New York, where he received his bachelor's degree in Education. Goodrich then went to Penn State, where he received his master's degree and then earned his doctorate in Mass Communications from the University of Illinois. He highlighted his upbringing in the very urban Brooklyn, New York, and the vast differences between that world and St. Cloud, Minnesota. Goodrich arrived at St. Cloud State in 1964. He discussed his first years at St. Cloud State, comparing them with the university in 1990. For instance, he talked about how the huge growth in student population was accompanied by a failure of the state of Minnesota to provide sufficient funds and resources to deal with that growth. He claimed that the growth contributed to a decline in familiarity and personal connections among staff, as well as a greater focus on publishing rather than the classroom. Goodrich described how the students themselves changed during his time at St. Cloud State. He claimed that when he arrived in the 1960s, students were very demanding and not afraid to question what was being taught. In 1990, he felt that students were much quieter, and that there had been somewhat of a withdrawal from active learning. Goodrich discussed the St. Cloud State's perception as a ""party"" school, and how that has affected both students and faculty. Goodrich discussed the relationship between the university and the community of St. Cloud. Here he felt his ideas about universities was often seen as a threat to a conservative community, and how St. Cloud State fit into that idea. Goodrich discussed the highs and lows he experienced as a teacher, and how both relate to his impact, or lack thereof, on his students. Overall, he gave an insightful analysis of how the school changed, both on a large scale, and on a smaller scale by discussing changes within his own department, and credited the university for 26 years of wonderful academic and teaching experience. Goodrich retired in 1990.
In an oral history conducted by St. Cloud State University Archivist Jerry Westby on May 10, 1990, Patricia Hoffman described her upbringing and education, including some discussion on her life as a "change of life baby," a child born late in her parents' lives, and how that affected her life decisions. Growing up in Indiana, Hoffman discussed her college education, and how she moved from Indiana to Minnesota to attend Carleton College, marrying soon after. Hoffman also discussed what led her to return to school at St. Cloud State after having five children, and how that led her to gain employment there. Hoffman described her career as a counselor and faculty member at St. Cloud State, and how things changed in the 25 years that she worked at the university. She claimed that faculty used to be much closer and familiar, and that there never used to be as much confrontation as she perceived later on. Hoffman claimed that the students she counsels now tend to have much more serious problems than those students she worked with in her earlier years, citing drug use and institutionalization as frequent among those students. Hoffman explained her ideas about the relationship between St. Cloud and the university, stating that the college had a greater impact on the town than vice versa. She also discussed how during a time of rapid growth at the university that the lack of planning had a negative impact on students. Hoffman described the highs and lows of her counseling career. She claimed that the years during the Vietnam War were very difficult, as she would often talk to young men who were going to fight for something they did not believe in. She said that her favorite part of the job was working with and talking to her clients, the students.
In an oral history conducted by St. Cloud State University Archivist Jerry Westby on May 1, 1990, Donald Sikkink described his early educational background and career. He was born in 1928 in Minnesota. He grew up on a farm in southeast Minnesota, just south of Rochester. He graduated from Harmony Public High School in Harmony, Minnesota, in 1945, and then attended a Dutch Reformed College, Central College, in Pella, Iowa, until he was drafted in April 1946. Sikkink attended the University of Minnesota on his G.I. Bill. He received his bachelor's degree in 1949, his master's degree in 1951, and his doctorate in 1954. After teaching for two years at Stanford in Palo Alto, California, he received a job in the Speech Department at South Dakota State University. Sikkink arrived at St. Cloud State in 1963, explaining his first impressions of St. Cloud State. He claimed that he was surprised at how reluctant students were to speak up in class and express their thoughts and opinions. On the other hand, he was also surprised by how freely and openly the faculty spoke of their beliefs, causing him to believe that there was a greater sense of freedom among the faculty at St. Cloud than at the previous schools he had taught at. Sikkink discussed St. Cloud State president George Budd and his policies. In addition, he described the ways in which the speech department has changed. Sikkink explained the way that the city of St. Cloud had changed thinking of St. John's as their university to adopting St. Cloud State as the city's college, due to the tremendous growth and change undergone by the school during Sikkink's time there. Sikkink described what he considers to be his highs and lows while at St. Cloud State. He mentioned certain classes he enjoyed, such as the class he taught on parliamentary procedure. He also talked about the establishment of bachelor of Elective Studies degree, which he says was done as sort of an experiment. He explained his work in administration over the years. Sikkink expressed disappointment at the then-current situation where the faculty and administration were not getting along, claiming that the fighting was hurting the institution. Finally, Sikkink shared some anecdotes that describe some of his most memorable experiences at St. Cloud State University. He retired in 1990.
In an oral history conducted by St. Cloud State University Archivist Jerry Westby on April 24, 1990, Lawrence Smelser discussed his family and educational background. He was born and raised in the Ozark Region of Missouri in the late 1920s. He was encouraged to attend college by his family, and after he graduated from high school, he took an exam and was licensed to teach in rural schools in Missouri. While he did this, he took classes at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardo, Missouri, before transferring to Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. After graduating with a bachelor's degree, he taught fifth grade in University City, Missouri, for 12 years. While doing teaching, he attended St. Louis University for his master's degree in Educational Administration. Smelser then earned his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. Smelser who arrived 1969 at St. Cloud State, chronicled his time at the university and discussed some of his favorite things. He mentioned how much he enjoyed working with graduate students, as he was able to work with them more closely and get to know them better than undergraduate students. He also mentioned taking a group of students to London for the 1979-80 academic school year, where he directed a program. In addition, Smelser described his experience of being a division leader in the Learning Resources and Technology Services. He expressed how the library changed from books to electronic equipment, and how the college has grown along with that change. Smelser discussed the changes that occurred at the university, as well as the highs and lows during his time there. He talked about developing new programs in Information Media, such as the three-track program. Smelser believed that the growth in enrollment was very positive thing for St. Cloud State, and improved many programs available. As far as lows, Smelser claimed that some budget and equipment problems as difficult to deal with. Smelser felt that he had an incredibly positive experience teaching at St. Cloud State and living in the city of St. Cloud. He retired in 1990.