Interview with William Sexton


  • Identifier1978 OH 114
  • Date5/19/1978
  • InterviewerHay, Charles
  • IntervieweeSexton, William
  • DescriptionDr. William E. Sexton is a native Kentuckian born and raised in Harrison County. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky State College and received his Ed.D. at the University of Missouri. He has been employed at Eastern since 1957, serving as Chairman of the Department of Industrial Technology (1965-1969), Dean college of Applied Arts and Technology (1969-1975), and Vice President for Public Service and Special Programs since 1975.
  • LocationRichmond, KY
  • Duration2:06:31
  • Time Summary0-0:50 Interviewer's introduction
    0:50-3:00 Early recollections of Martin. First met in 1960. Martin said he was an activist.
    3:0-4:50 Faculty reaction to Martin selection as president
    4:50-10:20 Eastern campus situation before Martin came. Difficulty in funding programs and lack of long range planning. How Martin responded to challenges of the 1960's.
    10:20-11:50 Martin's philosophy of education. Total education of the individual from birth to death
    11:50-21:0 Characterization of Martin's administrative abilities. Discussion of Industrial Education and Technology program in the 1960's. Program planning for the future. Dean of Applied Arts and Technology and Chairman of Faculty Senate. Martin's quick response to new proposals. Martin's uncanny abilities to see future trends in higher education. Non-traditionalist, innovator and pragmatic.
    21:0-22:0 How Martin kept up to date with new trends. Remarkable memory.
    22:0-25:30 Martin's attention to detail. Directed architects and campus landscaping. Martin's consuming desire to plan and organize.
    25:30-29:40 Martin's master plan. Campus view in 1960- poorly maintained. First priority to improve physical plant and then develop the faculty. Attract new faculty with the doctorate
    29:40-32:10 Martin's personality. Pragmatic reaction to problems
    32:10-39:10 Martin's relationship with the faculty. Major emphasis of Eastern is teaching. How Martin reacted to those who disagreed with him. Martin's distaste for faculty using Eastern as a jumping off point for a better position at another institution. Faculty dissent during the late 1960's.
    39:10-43:40 Martin's reaction to student activism. Martin's door always open to students.
    47:10-49:10 Ability to get federal funds. Philosophical commitment to develop a program meant commitment to get funds in whatever manner.
    49:10-52:20 Availability of funds in the 1960's. Buildings and equipment for instruction in those buildings. Educational administrator foremost- students and faculty needed equipment and Martin got it.
    52:20-54:30 Martin's understanding technological programs.
    54:30-65:40 Development of Law Enforcement program, and other vocational-technical programs. Career oriented education. Rivalry among state schools over Law Enforcement program. Extended campus classes. Funding for expanding program in the early 1970's.
    65:40-69:10 Development of Allied Health and Nursing
    69:10-71:30 Martin's relationship with the Council on Higher Education. Diplomatic with the Council.
    71:30-73:30 Martin's relations with various Kentucky College presidents
    73:30-77:0 Martin's reaction to increasing power of the Council and its encroachment on Eastern's autonomy.
    77:0-79:0 Martin's view of athletics in the total university picture.
    79:0-81:40 Martin's relationship with faculty professional organizations especially the AASCU.
    81:40-84:40 1974- SACS Self-Study and the development of new programs.
    84:40-93:30 Sexton's appointment to Vice President of Public Service and Special Programs
    End of tape 1
    0-1:20 The role of the Administrative Council
    1:20-7:10 Martin's relationship with the Richmond Community. Martin a positive force between town and gown. Influence of Eastern on the community.
    7:10-13:30 How atypical was Martin as a leader during the 1960's as compared to similar institutions during the time. Emphasis on career oriented program and increased funding. Martin read statistics well and could adapt.
    13:30-15:20 Martin's reaction to increased federal and state regulations. Problem of accountability of spending funds.
    15:20-17:0 Why did Martin decide to retire? Martin and politics.
    17:0-17:50 Martin and relations with Kentucky governors. Could separate politics and education.
    17:50-29:0 Compares and contrasts O'Donnell, Martin, and Powell presidencies
    29:0-31:30 Interesting stories. Martin humor with Les Leach.
    31:30-33:30 Martin's view of his greatest achievement at Eastern development of the faculty
    33:30-34:20 What history will remember about Martin
    End of Interview
  • Restrictionsno
  • RightsContact Special Collections and Archives, Crabbe Library, Eastern Kentucky University for reproductions, rights and permission to publish.


“Interview with William Sexton,” William H. Berge Oral History Center, accessed May 18, 2024,