Interview with Ralph Whalin


  • Identifier1978 OH 113
  • Date5/14/1978
  • InterviewerEllis, William E.
  • IntervieweeWhalin, Ralph
  • DescriptionRalph Whalin is a native Kentuckian, born in Edmonson County. He attended Western Kentucky University and did graduate work at the University of Missouri. He came to Eastern in 1936 and worked 37 years, retiring in 1973. Thirty of those years he served as Chairman of the Department of Industrial Education. He was the first faculty member of the Board of Regents.
  • LocationEddyville, KY
  • Duration1:16:51
  • Time Summary0-01:0 Interviewer's Introduction
    01:0-3:30 Pause in Tape
    3:30-11:30 Whalin's prepared remarks on his 37 years at Eastern. Campus under Robert R. Martin had little bonded indebtedness and Martin took advantage of this by a massive campus building program. Martin didn't over build dormitories. Whalin served on Faculty Committee to give recommendation for O'Donnell's successor. Martin's greatest achievement was program development and improvement of the faculty "Professionalizing of the staff." Martin had a clear master plan to develop the campus. Eastern is a career oriented institution of higher learning. Martin wanted those people around him who shared his philosophical view. Some faculty from liberal arts didn't perceive the career oriented trend of Eastern's educational mission. Martin and politics. Martin developed cooperative relationships with the community and region. Martin retirement.
    11:30-13:0 Whalin discusses himself. Native Kentuckian, Edmonson County. Western Kentucky University graduate. Graduate student at University of Missouri. Came to Eastern in 1936.
    13:0-13:20 Responsibilities at Eastern Industrial Education Department
    13:20-14:40 How got job at Eastern. Recommended by T.C. Smith at Western to Donovan
    14:40-15:0 Recalls Western Kentucky days
    15:0-17:0 How ended up in Eddyville and why retired
    14:0-29:10 Compares and contrasts Donovan, O'Donnell, and Martin. Martin's difficulty in securing good faculty members.
    29:10-30:50 Discusses Martin's personality- forceful, dynamic, activist. Excellent background for the presidency.
    30:50-32:0 Recalls first meeting with Martin. Remembers Martin in Kentucky Department of Education
    32:0-36:0 Martin's appointment to the presidency. Whalin's role in Faculty Presidential Search Committee. Faculty sentiment to Martin's appointment.
    36:0-39:40 Some opposition by faculty to Martin. Response to Vietnam War. Whalin's disagreements with Martin, but once a decision was made Whalin remained loyal.
    39:40 End of side 1
    53:0 Pause in tape
    53:0-58:0 Programs offered during the Martin years, changes in programs, specifically Industrial Education. Increased specialization
    58:0-72:10 Recollections of faculty members and administrators- Dr. Donovan, Dean W.C. Jones, Mr. Mattox, G.M. Brock, Dr. Farris, Dean Moore, Turkey Hughes, Dr. J. Dorland Coates, R.A. Edwards
    72:10-88:30 Characterization of students at Eastern. Chairman of Student Disciplinary Board. How students have changed over the years. Discusses his outstanding students. Homer Davis, Joe Morgan, William Sexton. How Martin handled student dissent during the 1960's.
    88:30-92:50 Final Remarks
  • Restrictionsno
  • RightsContact Special Collections and Archives, Crabbe Library, Eastern Kentucky University for reproductions, rights and permission to publish.


“Interview with Ralph Whalin,” William H. Berge Oral History Center, accessed June 17, 2024,