Interview with Robert Hensley


  • Identifier1977 OH 017
  • Date3/25/1977
  • InterviewerEllis, William E.
  • IntervieweeHensley, Robert
  • DescriptionMr. Robert Hensley is a businessman and was a member of the Board of Regents of Eastern Kentucky State College from 1958-62.
  • LocationRichmond, KY
  • Time Summary0-6 Introduction
    14-22 First recollections of Martin
    23-38 Martin's relationship with Clements, political protégé of Clements
    38-50 Hensley's lack of knowledge concerning Chandler-Martin rift over surplus property
    69-74 Martin's role in adoption of Minimum Foundation Program
    74-83 Evaluation of Martin's tenure as Superintendent of Public Instruction
    84-90 Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction should remain elective position
    90-132 Reaction to Martin's management of Combs' gubernatorial race while Superintendent of Public Instruction; Martin's effectiveness as political campaign manager
    133-148 Martin's qualifications for Commissioner of Finance
    148-157 Hensley's recollection of when Martin first expressed interest in presidency of EKU
    157-174 Chandler's choice for presidency of Eastern; Clyde Reeves
    175-180 Hensley's lack of knowledge concerning Attorney General's opinion regarding appointment of a successor to O'Donnell
    181-235 Board of Regents meeting of April 13, 1960; Martin's election to presidency of Eastern: Regents concerned with selection of most highly qualified individual; conclusion of some Regents that Eastern ready to expand its mission and function, become a regional university
    235-265 Strengths of Martin's candidacy; previous educational experience determined experienced educational leader; political effectiveness and experience important in Martin's success
    265-279 Relationship of politics and education in Kentucky, necessity of the relationship
    280-310 Comparison of Martin and former President O'Donnell, attributes of O'Donnell's administrative abilities; characterization of Martin's personality
    342-389 Martin's first months as president; immediately began laying foundation for development of Eastern into a multi-purpose regional university
    390-429 Activity of Board of Regents during Martin's first 2 years in office; expanded role for Board developed by Martin; lack of any major problems; opponents of Martin's election quickly become strong supporters of Martin's administration
    430-452 Martin's strong management of fiscal affairs
    453-456 Relationship with Martin since Hensley left Eastern's Board of Regents
    456-479 Relationship with Kentucky governors: Combs, Clements, Chandler
    479-501 Martin's relationship with the press
    501-541 Characterization of Martin's political philosophy "right in the middle"
    545-576 Characterization of Martin's educational philosophy; teaching philosophy would be related to political philosophy
    576-594 Description of Martin's personality
    595-669 Comparison with other university and college presidents in Kentucky
    619-688 Martin's main contribution to education in Kentucky; development of Eastern into a multi-purpose regional university
    689-722 Major changes at Eastern since Hensley attended Eastern in 1932
    723-799 Summary- Martin's transformation of Eastern
    799 End of interview
  • Restrictionsno
  • RightsContact Special Collections and Archives, Crabbe Library, Eastern Kentucky University for reproductions, rights and permission to publish.


“Interview with Robert Hensley,” William H. Berge Oral History Center, accessed February 1, 2023,