is James Sweeney of the Old Dominion University Archives. I am happy to
be interviewing Professor Dorothy M. Jones of the School of Business Administration
at Old Dominion University. Professor Jones has just retired from active
teaching and has been granted the rank of Emeritus Professor by the Board
of Visitors. First question, Professor Jones, would you tell me about
your background, that is your family and education and early career interests?
A: I am one of a family
of four. I have a brother. I'm all in the family that's left right now.
We have always been scholastically interested. My father was a schoolteacher
in his early days. As far as my early career goes, I--very normal. Went
to Randolph Macon, got two fellowships: one to University of Pittsburgh
and one to New York University. I took the one to New York University
and was off and running on a career in business in New York University.
Is that as early as you want?
Q: Yes. Well that's
good for background.
A: All right.
Q: You mention that
you graduated from Randolph Macon Women's College in 1932. You had a degree
in abnormal psychology. I was wondering why you did not pursue graduate
work in that discipline and also when did you acquire a degree in music
from Randolph Macon?
A: As for the degree
in abnormal psychology, I was fascinated to the degree that there was
just nothing else in the world at that time but abnormal psychology.
I wanted to enlarge my scope rather than going ahead with the only thing
I really knew in the world. Therefore, I laughingly tell businessmen
at this time, since business is my life right now, that my career in
abnormal psychology at Randolph Macon was a perfect preparation for
business. Which they think is hilarious, and so do I. Why did I--when
did I acquire a degree in music? In 1932, in piano. I could not play
tiddlywinks at this point but no one could ever take away from me the
marvelous appreciation of music that I do have. It was well worthwhile
the time and money invested.
Q: In 1933 you were
awarded a Masters degree, as you mentioned in Marketing from New York
University. I was wondering why did you choose to enter that field when
the national economy was mired in the worst depression in our nation's
A: I really didn't
know any better. And all New York City was spread out in front of me
and I intended to do something with it and about it. And I was very
fortunate to have the best contacts in the world to go in business situation
having just been graduated by New York University and the contacts from
that university almost made it seem as if there were no depression going
on. It was simply matter of luck and a great deal of interest and hard
Q: Would you tell me
about your career in business covering 21 years between 1933 and 1944.
What positions did you hold? First, we can talk about that, the jobs that
A: I am afraid this
might be a little bit lengthy but I'll get it down to skin and bones.
When I was graduated by New York University with a Masters in Marketing.
I was retained in Sterne Brothers as Assistant Buyer in fashion departments.
I had a marvelous time doing it but being very ambitious I couldn't
see that I would immediately Buyer, so I transferred to Lord & Taylor
in 5th Avenue, where I had the same experience of be--doing a great
deal of assistant buying for the fashion departments. It was a marvelous
opportunity for me to have New York City spread out and learn from it.
I also had tremendous pleasure in opening a comparison department, which
means how did Lord & Taylor stack up against all the other stores
in New York City. Or how did Sterne Brothers stack up against all the
other stores in New York City. It's an instant ability to grasp marketing
and be able to translate that knowledge to the other Buyers who would
put it into action. At that time I had an opportunity to go with an
organization named Consolidated Millinery Company, which is largest
leasers (sic) of departments--millinery departments in the world. We
had them from coast to coast and internationally and if you would like
to be your own boss, to make a lot of money, go in to this sort of thing
because it's your own baby. I stayed in New York in the Resident Buying
Office with Consolidated. I was transferred to Massachusetts, I was
transferred back to West Virginia. Stayed in West Virginia fourteen
years managing millinery departments in which you are responsible for
every facet of business in the whole world: buying, selling, advertising,
hiring, firing, etc, etc, etc. You are also your own merchandise manager
than which nothing is more important. About that time, I began to have
trouble with a foot and it evolved into surgery on a foot. Therefore,
after sixteen years and the marvelous experience, I decided that it
would be better get off the foot and come South and turn my experience
in merchandising and marketing into teaching. What I so thoroughly enjoyed
in New York, Massachusetts and West Virginia. Therefore in 1954, I was
fortunate enough to form an association with the then Norfolk College
of William and Mary, which through 1976 is been a most blessed experience.
Q: You hear a lot today
about women's liberation and different evaluations of people based on
their sex. I was wondering if you found your sex a hindrance in matters
of promotion and salary increments during your business career?
A: During business
career, no! Then, in the active business world there was no discrimination
whatsoever when it came to salary increments. We were not thought of
as women. I was one of the few women in the organization. We were treated
with a great deal of respect and rewarded significantly. Should I talk
about Old Dominion University at the same time?
Q: Yes please!
A: I have not found
this to be true at Old Dominion University and I'm sorry to go on record
as saying that but it is true. Up until last year when affirmative rights
came out.....there was a tremendous discrimination in salary adjustments
for the men and the women. I do not know whether I speak from purely
personal experience but I think I do not. I am the biggest booster of
Old Dominion University. I am an organization person, my rewards have
been terrific because I have been paid by the students. However, when
it comes to a one and one salary adjustment for a person teaching exactly
the same subjects that I do, with the exactly the same educational background,
the person in--who complements my area is paid several thousands dollars
more than I and does not make one feel good. However the rewards have
been most beneficent in other areas and I feel that I should pay the
institution rather than their paying me.
Q: Did you find your
business career to be fulfilling experience?
A: I am God's luckiest
person. There is nothing in the world exciting as a hot game of marketing.
And also, to be able to put--to be able to teach what I learned through
the business world, I couldn't ask anything more out of life.
Q: Could you comment
anymore--you've already touched on it, but I'd like to perhaps pursue
further your decision to leave active business and why specifically did
you chose--choose the struggling Norfolk Division of the College of William
and Mary to begin your career--your teaching career?
A: As I indicated
earlier, I had surgery on a foot and I made the assumption that business
was more demanding physically than education. Far be it from me to say
that is true at this point because education is just as demanding physically.
However, I am delighted that I did make that assumption, erroneous as
it might have been. As a North Carolina girl, with my family living
in New Bern, North Carolina, having been away from home, physically
but not in spirit, all of my life I thought what a marvelous opportunity
to come South again and enjoy seeing my family. Therefore I made application
into the schools that were closest to get to New Bern, North Carolina
frankly. And by dumb luck I ended up in the best one of all, which turned
out to be Old Dominion University.
Q: What was your first
reaction to the college and its students?
A: Fun! I had the
privilege of being associated quite intimately with the executives of
the university at that time. You could hardly escape it because we only
had three or four. There were only six of us in the School of Business.
Therefore to have a university faculty meeting we could sit around over
a cup of coffee and that was it. Very informal, we cared about each
other, we grew together. We took care of each other, it was a fun thing
and we worked like mad.
Q: Your first appointment
was as Assistant Professor of Distributive Education in the Department
of Business Administration. What--well, two questions that are very much
related. First of all, could you define distributive education and tell
me what courses you taught in that area?
A: Distributive education
has a lot going for it. I think it performs a very useful function and
at this time is now coming back to be one of the 'in' things. Distributive
education is simply a fancy name for marketing. However, it is marketing
on a much lower level than we teach in the School of Business Administration.
I learned a great deal from the distributive education. I met some fine
people, they do a good job. However, I wanted to broaden my horizons,
going out of pure business work into--instead of how do you do it, I
wanted to know the answer to why do you do it, which is the difference
basically in the School of Business Administration and distributive
education. In distributive education the big plus to me was being forced
to go out in the community and meet the businessmen. A habit which I
acquired at that time and which has been a boon in my life in the School
of Business Administration. What did I teach? Everything coming down
the road. Advertising, salesmanship, mathematics, marketing, English,
anything in the world, personal relations, human relations, communications.
I have had classes as many--with as few students as one student in order
to get the thing going. When I resigned in '59 to come into the School
of Business Administration, I had built it up from practically nothing
to the fact that they had to hire two people instead of D.Jones. At
this point it is a going concern, it is limited to, basically, to the
education for teachers rather than junior executives and they're doing
a very good job.
Q: You were soon named
to head the merchandising department in the Department of Business Administration,
and I'd like to get clear what is--when the distributive education left
off, you said that was 1959 and then you went into merchandising--all
A: Then I went into
the School Business of Administration.
Q: Did you go into merchandising
at the--at that time?
A: Distributive education
Q: Was merchandising!
All right. You say you built that up from the beginning. Could you discuss
any more specifically your role in planning the curriculum? Exactly what
courses you thought would be most beneficial to the students?
A: This is an interesting
question. However, it was not one of tremendous concern to me, because
we have not mentioned yet that distributive education, which was a department
of merchandising, is a state program. Distributive education is sponsored
by the national government, not by the state of Virginia or by Old Dominion
University. Therefore the curriculum was more or less set up by Richmond
rather than by the coordinator at the Norfolk College of William and
Mary, which brings up the one reason for getting out of the department
of distributive education or the department of merchandising. Marvelous
people in it, learned a great deal from em. Wouldn't give anything in
the world for the experience, but it was the most awkward situation
I found to have two bosses to report to: to report to Richmond and to
report to Old Dominion Univ--to report to the Norfolk College of William
and Mary. Therefore, I selected the one that I thought I could contribute
most to in philosophy which was the Norfolk College of William and Mary
rather than the Commonwealth of Virginia as reported in Richmond.
Q: Do you ever think
about a four-year degree program in Merchandising. Did you play any role
in advocating that?
A: In distributive
education again that question is answered by the state. There is a four-year
degree in distributive education but it is for teachers of distributive
education not for junior executives as such. The junior executive worker
is prepared on a two-year level, the teacher on a four-year level. There
is also a five-year level, when it comes to distributive education.
All that is controlled through the office in Richmond, therefore there
was no--we were consulted, yes. But when it comes to making the major
decisions, the plans are made in Richmond.
Q: Did you see any concrete
effects in business in the community, which were a result of having this
distributive education or merchandising program?
A: I certainly did.
The merchants in town are most tremendously enthusiastic about distributive
education. It was an excellent source of getting young qualified supervised
youngsters to come and work for them. It was also an ... a plus in their
favor to be able to get the coordinators to come to the store and be
able to advise and help. I might say again that the people that I worked
with in the tidewater community in the sales and marketing executive
club have been valuable friends through my tenure at the School of Business
Administration after transferring from the department of distributive
education. It is a good program and the merchants do benefit greatly
Q: How much would you
say that practical business experience contributed to the success of your
A: Probably ninety-five
percent. In fact, I am little bit conceited about the fact that I was
taught how do it, but I also went out and did it. And when you stand
on your own two feet and do what you are talking about it gives you
a little bit more authority, a little bit more conceit, a little bit
more confidence. And I believe it's a two-way street whereby the students
know that you not only can preach you can do what you have been preaching.
Q: Do you recall the
month-long seminar at Richmond Professional Institute that you attended
during the summer of 1956?
A: I recall that with
a great deal of pleasure. For the first thing, I had never spent any
time in Richmond and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and took advantage
of it. I enjoyed the people I was with, the other coordinators, a real
up-and coming go-go group. However, the real plus to me out of that
situation was the fact that I did not really have to take any course
work because I had already qualified for all my degrees. However I spent
six weeks writing, and I wrote a little ditty called "Step Back,
Please" which is a monograph on--very tongue-in-cheek--on merchandising
display. It has been distributed to all buying offices in New York,
all department stores in the Tidewater community and still is in demand.
And that is the summer that I sat down to a typewriter and dripped words
concerning display and merchandising. It was a fun thing to do, and
Q: I believe you have
a copy of that for the archives - we'd like to have _______. Would you
tell me about the cooperative program involving Distributive Education
students and area merchants which you instituted and supervised in 1957.
A: At that time, students
were--and incidentally it's coming back into vogue, for a while, the
how-to things went out of style. Now, in the School of Business Administration
we are toying with the idea of internships, which basically is what
D.E. is doing, which says that in high school--and it's mostly a high
school program, there are about four colleges that had them at the time
that I came in--a student is given credit for supervised work on the
job in some marketing institution, such as a student going to Hofheimer's
in the afternoon to work might receive three credits towards his high
school or college degree provided that the coordinator actively supervised
his work experience at that time. That is the danger: you get a coordinator
who is trustworthy, the store gets their money's worth. You get a coordinator
who never does it, the store gets - shall we say rooked.
Q: Were these students
paid for their work, or what--
A: These students
received higher benefits monetarily than the regular people working
there because they were thought to be superior people. I'm going to
question that a little bit because some students in Distributive Education
in the high school and the university level simply took it as an easy
way to get a part-time job to live on while they got some kind of degree,
not really caring what kind of degree it was. Sorry to say that, but
I've seen it happen a great deal. The students were paid and considered
excellent people, which most of them were.
Q: How did the businessmen
react to the cooperative program?
A: They loved it!
Because they had somebody to go out and get people to work for them.
And you can get a lot of people coming to do your job, but unless you
have the right one you're throwing away your money. To this day, I have
closest contact with Hofheimer's, Mr. Milford Stein calls at least three
times a year and says send me a manager. It so happens that in the students
that I have in Marketing I have a great many men of maturity who do
want to settle down at this time, find a niche in life to hang a hat
on. Therefore Hofheimer's has at least eight managers of their units
that I have given them simply from interest. And this is the sort of
thing that Distributive Education basically does is to place the student
in the right position where he may have a future and contribute to the
success of the organization.
Q: Could you discuss
the training sessions which you conducted for students seeking Christmas
A: Sure would! Just
because I thought it was fun, I suggested to Dr. Webb at that time that
since most of the students were going out and get part-time jobs during
Christmas that I have a community-wide or at least a acade--a collegewise
or universitywise ... What I'm trying to say is for the whole campus,
and train these people how to go out in the first place, how to conduct
themselves during an interview. There are some things you do and some
things you don't do. Therefore in the old cafeteria, which is now part
of the science building, at noon meetings in which most of the students
of the college -- at the college at that time would turn up and we'd
go through practice sessions on how to interview people. I never did
go directly in to the sales, how to's, outside of giving overall tips.
But the ventures were very very successful, and part of the early contributions
towards the overall health of the working life of the student. That
of course is taken care by Ms--in the Work Placement Office now--Mason,
who is doing a very very good job elaborating on the same things that
we did voluntarily years ago.
Q: In 1959, you directed
your students to survey advertisements in the newspaper and then go to
the stores and ask for the advertised merchandise. What were you students'
A: They found nothing.
Pardon the expression! But this made Wall Street Journal first page.
We didn't really intend it to be so big but it was. The point is we
very innocently started out as a class assignment, to see how many people
in a particular department store knew the location of advertised merchandise,
the price of it, or even had heard that it was being advertised. Forgive
me, but we shopped all the better stores and some of the stores that
were not so better. Nobody knew nuttin. Sorry! But it made great splashes
over the front page of the Wall Street Journal and I think we proved
our point, although we were sorry for the results.
Q: What do you mean
that no one knew anything -- what-- they knew very little about the advertised
merchandise or the advertised merchandise wasn't on sale?
A: The advertised
merchandise was on sale, all right! But nobody knew that it was on sale.
For instance you walk in to the street floor of a department store and
say, "Where are the dresses that were advertised?" Then the
sales person has to say to you, "What dresses? Where were they
advertised? How much were they?" All right now, the customers are
not supposed to inform the sales people. The sales people inform the
customers, therefore the sales person rightly should have said, "The
dresses that were advertised today are on the third floor in the better
dresses. They are x-brand goods, and I have seen 'em, and I think they
are charming. Why don't you go up and look at them." Nobody could
give us any information. And most people did not even know that the
ads had been run. Sometimes you would find that to be completely true
when you got to the department itself. Nobody knew that the good was
on sale or even advertised. Most discouraging but we think we had an
impact on people's getting some value out of merchandise that was advertised,
because if nobody knows about it, you are throwing your money away.
Q: In 1959, you began
work on your doctorate at the University of North Carolina. Could you
tell me about your course of study at Chapel Hill?
A: It was an amazing
thing. Here I was going and majoring in marketing. It was basically
a course in economics, which is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing
for me. Because at Randolph-Macon we had --didn't even admit the fact
that there was any such thing as economics. We just assumed that everybody
had enough money to go around or if you didn't you didn't mention it.
Therefore economics was simply left out of my life altogether. Before
I got to New York University then on a doctoral level I started all
over in economics and statistics which was biggest plus I could have
possibly have had. Because if I had had economics in thirty-two when
I was having Randolph-Macon experience my education in economics and
statistics would have been outdated by the time had I gotten around
to use it. Therefore I am very grateful to the University of North Carolina
for insisting that everybody had a very healthy dose of economics. Outside
of that, of course I've had every course in marketing and every course
in management that Chapel Hill does offer by the most competent and
interesting exciting professors and one learns really as much from the
student as--from peers as professors on that level. What I basically
remember is stat and economics because actually the marketing and the
management was a review of what I'd had in business and what I had already
been teaching. It was a marvelous experience.
Q: Why did you give
up your chairmanship of the Merchandising Department in 1961?
A: For personal reason
and professional reason. I felt that it would be less divisive to work
for one institution rather than for two institutions. Therefore I decided
to work for the Norfolk College of William and Mary rather than the
for the--from--for the Department of Distributive Education in the Commonwealth
of Virginia. No hard feelings! No nothing! I just wanted to concentrate
on one area and not two areas. What was the next question? What was
the next question? I was also--had been in the practical how-to's of
business most of my academic life in working all my life and in placing
and working with students in the Tidewater community. I wanted to do
some writing. I wanted to do research, I wanted to know the why's rather
than just the how's and I felt the School of Business, and I was right,
it's more--it's more excellent in that area.
Q: Distributive Education--which
one--Distributive Education was shifted to the School of Education in
1965. What was your reaction to this move?
A: I think it was
put exactly where it should be put because the emphasis is on teaching
rather than training junior merchants, and I think it has done a marvelous
job in that area and the emphasis there is basically on getting coordinators
with a four-year degree to go out and teach in the high schools. Doing
a real good job.
Q: Did you ever consider
joining the School of Education?
A: No sir. I--at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when I was a student at
Randolph-Macon I went to summer school there just for--because Randolph
Macon's a woman's college and I wanted to see what the university was
like. I took courses in Education, and forgive me, I didn't find that
they were gutsy enough for my practical soul.
Q: Did you change your
emphasis in the courses you taught after the switch of Distributive Education
to the School of Education?
A: Yes, I changed
it to management rather than just marketing itself. I had a bigger role
to play which meant that I had more subjects to which I would be exposed.
Marketing has been my expertise. But I have had a privilege of teaching
general business, introduction to business, personal finance, mathematics,
which is the best course in the world you could take as well as marketing
and communications. I've had a bigger life to lead, and I'm delighted
for the change for that reason.
Q: What courses have
you taught during the past fifteen years?
A: I believe I have
just enumerated that when I did not want to. But basically I want to
make one emphasis: instead of teaching the courses I have really felt
that I have been teaching students. No matter what the discipline is,
your basic concentration is on that student in reference to the discipline
of course. I am strictly -- At this point I am teaching English, because
in communications which is my area now as well as marketing we go in
to the written word as well as the spoken word and the students are
eager and I am going to say anxious to learn to write. In their junior
and senior year in college, they don't know how and they want to learn.
And it's a gratifying experience to have the background to teach 'em
and meet their enthusiasm with my enthusiasm.
Q: During the
Q: You have achieved
special recognition from the American Marketing Association for your sponsorship
of the ODU Chapter of the Association. Could you describe the activities
of the group over the years? And how have you been able to maintain student
interest in the club?
A: I think I am going
to have to backtrack a little bit on that and say that some years the
student chapter is good and some years it's not good. Depending upon
the type of leadership you have in the student. All the members of the
faculty co-sponsor, although there's a major sponsor, all the students
in marketing, although it is an invitational thing. Simply because you
major in marketing does not mean that you have to belong to the marketing--Collegiate
Chapter of the American Marketing Association. In being awarded the
plaque I felt that I had done very little for outstanding, really, outside
of showing a genuine interest in students help them get speakers for
the meetings, try to make contact with them in town and in general be
a liaison person between the student and the community and it was a
Q: Would you discuss
your involvement with the Tidewater Sales and Marketing Executive Club?
What kind of surveys did you conduct for the club and how did you involve
your students with the club?
A: This is my favorite
topic. When Mr. Eisenhower, General Eisenhower, Mr. Eisenhower to me,
was President along came a depression or recession and Mr. Eisenhower
decided to himself that there is no reason that we should have a recession.
Therefore he said ,"Look World, you're simply not selling."
Therefore at that time we had a Sales and Marketing Club and still do
have. A most energetic, worthwhile group of businessmen, who are really
go-go-go men. Being the sort of person who always says "yes"
when asked to do something Lewis Webb called one day and said, "Jonesy,
will you do something?" and I said "Sure, tell me!" He
said the Sales and Marketing Club wants to--of which he was a prime
minister-- member--wants a survey conducted by the Marketing Department.
"Since you are the Marketing Department will you do it?" The
point was the Sales and Marketing Executive Club which I shall refer
to as SME gave each student $25 to go out in the community and keep
buying as long as someone suggested to the student that he buy. For
instance, a student might go into a store and say "Ah-h, I've just
gotten off the plane and I left my makeup kit and I am having an important
appointment in just a few minutes. I don't have a bit of makeup! Where's
some lipstick?" If the customer--if the salesman will say, "Here's
a tube of lipstick," which probably at that time cost a $1, the
young lady would pay the dollar, take the lipstick and leave. She had
24 other dollars that she would had been glad to pay if somebody had
simply suggested, "well you not only need lipstick you need face-powder,
mascara, you need rouge, you need curlers, you need everything, you
are a mess." As it happened we sold only--at least we were sold
only twenty-three cents out of every dollar. The repercussions of this
really were something. It hit the front page of New York Times, it was
copied in Raleigh, North Carolina by the New York City Club. All the
Sales and Marketing Executive--not all, but many Sales and Marketing
Executive Club copied our idea. It was a beneficent thing that we did
because we had a good group of marketing students at that time, whereby
I trained 'em and trained 'em and trained 'em and trained 'em on what
their hypothetical situation would be, what to ask for when they go
in--went into a store, therefore there'd be so uniformity of the results,
not simply "well I did this, and I did that!" But how for
the student to make a concrete evaluation of the experience he had been
placed under. It was so--the Sales and Marketing Club asked us to come
up to the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club and give a report to the membership.
Believe me, it was some meeting. The students really walked away with
the show. They told the merchants to them face what had happened. Each
merchant went back to his particular store next day and I am delighted
that I didn't have to attend those meetings. However, the--the whole
endeavor shook the Tidewater community so much that the next year they
asked us to do the same thing. We went through the same rigmarole of--we
were given $50 to each student this time, I think we sold something
like 37 cents out of a dollar. Therefore the first sales effort apparently
had been worthwhile. Back to the country club, back to telling the merchants,
merchants go back to the stores. They asked us to do it to a third year.
After that we had decided that had been enough. We had spent really
three years working on an endeavor, we thought we had proved our point
and when we were asked to do it again we graciously said "no."
At least we hope it was graciously. However, there has never been a
business expedition in Tidewater that has received the hoopla and the
fury and the commotion that that shopping event did ... that was sponsored
by the Sales and Marketing Executive Club, or you bet your boots. You
might be interested to know what happened to the merchandise after we
bought it, it was taken back. We did not have to take it back and face
some embarrassed person himself. Incidentally, we found the best salesman
in Norfolk to be a lady, an elderly lady who worked in a dime store
and she was selling ten-cent pens. She told the youngster why one package
of pens was better than another. That we did not find on all levels,
believe me! It was one of our major contributions to the Tidewater community.
Q: Over the past twenty
years, we've heard a great deal of a change in student attitudes towards
business -- especially during the late 1960's and the times of protest.
I wonder if you've noticed changing attitudes towards business and if
you could compare and contrast these attitudes over the period.
A: Very good question.
I'm glad I know the answer. When I first came here, we were just starting
up the School of Business in fact the schoo--the university was starting
up at that time. Everybody was welcome, the idea of having a school
of business, not knowing quite what it would be. Then in the middle
sixties I believe it was, business was considered sort of a dirty word.
Everybody wanted to go along to see what were their social benefits
etc. etc., and anyone who made a net profit was considered to be a sort
of subser--subversive sort of creature. That was reflected in the School
of Business Administration and we were not considered quite first class
professors etc., by the students. Let me be the first to shout from
the housetops that the students now see the light. School of Business
Administration is the fastest and largest growing division of the campus.
We intend to remain that way. Students are anxious to come over and
learn and the quality of students we have is excellent. Furthermore,
the antipathies, the antagonism, the assertiveness that were prevalent
during the 60's have vanished and we now have our same nice old good
guys that we started out with.
Q: As a teacher were
you able to keep abreast of developments of the merchandising field?
A: Believe me, my
students kept me abreast. Because you take a look at those young faces
lookin' up at you and if you don't have the latest thing at your fingertips
you are not comfortable. Outside of the fact that no matter what I teach,
it is not just a textbook course. I insist particularly in marketing
that the beginning of the class we have at least 5 minutes in which
the major developments in the world, not Norfolk are discussed from
a marketing angle. This we do in communications and people are very
frustrated when they leave the class and don't have anybody to go back
and tell about the wonderful things that are going on in the real world
in a particular discipline in which they have been accustomed to keeping
up. We are required and I require all students to read journals, to
read a newspaper, to listen to what's going on, and to be excited about
it. Those are orders!
Q: Now you've already
answered the question about sexual discrimination in personnel matters
on the college levels, so we'll pass on to the following question. You
have been involved recently in planning for a proposed chair in Marketing
for the School of Business Administration. Could you provide me some information
about that project?
A: I would be delighted
to and it's the only area of frustration in my experience with Old Dominion
University, not being paid the same amount of money that a peer doing
the same amount of job I can do. I really can't hold that against the
university because that is something that has been around since Adam.
And it's being corrected to this particular point. However, I am frustrated
in not being able to complete a dear dream of mine, which was to give
to the School of Business a chair in marketing and I could have done
it, but my time ran out. However, the two years of hard work that I
put on that in getting the structure is the most valuable contribution
that I could have made to the university. The methodology of doing it
was, that I--it started down again at Hofheimer's, I went down to see
Milford Stein and I said, "what do you think about the idea of
---would the businessmen support us? Could we get the money from a chair?"
He said, "Let's do it!" And every businessman that I talked
about even--talked with--I even went up to the potter in Williamsburg
and got money for them. Hofheimer's gave us money. There is not a businessman
in the Tidewater community who has not been approached on the subject
of supporting a chair in marketing. The final touch, my final gift to
the university was a luncheon in April of this year, whereby I had invited
the president of every organization going in Norfolk. Everyone was delighted
to come, we had faculty there and we had our presidents there, at that
time the dean assured the people who had been working on the proposed
chair in marketing that the structure was there. The interest was there,
it was not gonna die simply because I had come to the period of retirement.
I'm completely frustrated, however, not to see within my tenure the
formal presentation of the chair of marketing to the university, as
I had wanted that to be my gift. Two hard years' work on it has come
to one great point of fruition however which is that, the businessmen
believe in us, they would be glad to contribute money. Now that I am
not here and I'm the prime mover in it, I do not know what will happen
to the chair but the structure is there. Sorry about that, I really
Q: Do you think it would
have come to fruition if you had had more time?
A: There is not a
doubt in the world that I--if given another year I could have gotten
in the half million dollars that we needed. Because we had worked in
addition to teaching classes, there was not a day of a week that we
did not contact businessmen concerning this. We had gotten our committee,
we had gotten people acting, we gotten organized, we had made contacts,
all we needed was to go out and clinch it. But you can't buck City Hall
and you can't buck time. I am delighted to say that Mr. Littlefield,
who is here now is quite interested in helping with the depart--the
chair of marketing...proposed chair of marketing and if there is anyway
in the world that I can help Mr.Littlefield, and I know that I can because
my contacts are superior in the Tidewater community, I'll be delighted
to help him. But I feel that I should be approached rather than trying
to run his business, as a Professor Emeritus.
Q: Now what exactly
would this half a million dollars would it be for? Would it be the income
from the investment pay the faculty person's salary?
A: What we were going
to do, and it could have been so easily done, was to get from the community
and I had even written a little--we call them blurbs--saying that Tidewater
was good and the School of Business was good but we are not the best.
And if the Tidewater community and the School of Business got together
we could be the best in simply--instead of being fairly good. With a
half million dollars investment invested we could have attracted a national
figure in marketing to sit in the chair of marketing, he would have
attracted young growing good marketing professors. One of the prerequisites
of an industry coming in to the Tidewater is, that there is an excellent
Department of Marketing in some university available. We had hoped to
be able to give that status to incoming business.
Q: Could you compare
and contrast in any other sense than you already spoken the students in
your courses in 1954 and in 1976?
A: In my humble opinion,
I believe that students in 1954 and 72, personality-wise, be very comfortable
with each other. It was just the big gap in between, when students were
out of hand in the School of Business and it showed in all our relationship.
There's another sort of student that I have not mentioned, and that
is the business student. I have had so much fun going to so called quote
downtown unquote and teaching the buyers in those organizations. Having
been in the actual field of retailing for half of my life, I was accepted
as a person not who simply knew something out of a book but knew how
to do something for the community. Therefore, I went down to Center
Shops, I went to Rice's, I went to Smith & Welton's, I saw the presidents
on the fact that I would like to come in and teach their buyers, of
all things, how to do mathematics of merchandising which I knew that
they did not know and were running their departments by the seat of
the pants rather than mathematics. In these three institutions, I would
teach classes for eight or ten weeks once a week whereby the buyers
would come and sit and we would--it would be exactly as if it were an
Old Dominion classroom. They were highly motivated. They were not as
bright as our students because they had been out of the math for a long
long time but they were just delighted to have instruction and the respect
which they gave to an Old Dominion representative was most gratifying
and most humbling. Couldn't say anything that would be high enough accolade
for the students themselves at Old Dominion University. We have some
bad ones of course, but when it comes to character, when it comes ability,
you just don't get a better student than Old Dominion University and
the rewards that they give you from appreciation of your efforts with
them would top any amount of salary that you could get at any place,
whereby the student contact is not as direct as it is at Old Dominion.
Q: You already mentioned
about your book, Step Back, Please, was there any theme in that ...you
wrote about the art of display in merchandising. Do you think perhaps
that display is sometimes meant to deceive the customer more than to actually
A: Actually the suggestion
of the title is going to be explanatory because you put up a display
and then you step back and you look at it because what you want to do
is to have other people to look at it. And you are given seven seconds
whereby you are going to sell a customer, therefore you step back and
if you can't see the point of that display within seven seconds, you
just tear it down and start over again. I don't think I have mentioned
one of the nicest things that I have done, which is to work very very
closely with Mr. Maloney Senior at the pottery. Just because the pottery
was there and I wanted to know why it was there I started going up and
asking Mr. Maloney to tell me about himself and to tell me about his
pottery. And he did that, and for many summers I would spend day after
day after day at the pottery talking with Mr. Maloney about where did
the idea come from? Why are they successful? Why did a girl like Topsy,
etc, etc, etc. I have published many pieces on the pottery. They have
been published in the UNews. I will be glad to leave some to the Archives.
They have been copied by every other writer in the Commonwealth of Virginia
and many in Maryland. I'm delighted to say, however, that the writing
that we have done for the pottery, which we did not do it from mu--for
remuneration but just for fun, is considered by Mr. Maloney to be the
only authentic reporting that has been done on his pottery. Just as
a addendum, up at the pottery last week as a customer I went by to give
my fond greetings to Mr. Maloney and all that clan and it is a clan
and his first words were "Please come work for me." So I said,
"I'd be delighted to!"
Q: Are you going to
assume a full-time position at the pottery? No?
A: He was interested
in my going around to university to university to see what their particular
problems were in what he would like to have in his line put in what
particular university. It would be a spasmodic thing done mostly for
money and pleasure, or should I say pleasure and money. I cannot imagine
anything more exciting that to work with a man of Mr. Maloney's ilk.
He started with nothing. He's a multimillionaire at this point. You
see him; you think he wouldn't exactly know how to go out about anything.
He can sit down under a tree and dream a dream and have that dream come
to fruition within two weeks. He's a man who knows what to do.
Q: Just as an interesting
point, small digression. It seems to me that there is very little in the
way of display, advertising, in the Williamsburg Pottery?
A: That was a gross
error on my part. I was thinking in terms of the pottery rather than
on display. However there is display at the pottery because if the thing
is not there for the customer to get then you might as well not have
it. But as far as the art of display they do go into display too because
they deliberately do things backwards. They will say, they will misspell
words, they will put it out of sight anything in the world to attract
attention. It is the antithesis of what the well-bred merchant should
do but they don't claim to be well bred. They claim to sell seconds
and do they sell 'em. No, I would not go for a full-time job anymore,
I don't think at this point. However, it is a wonderful feeling to have
the pick of many part-time jobs and I'm grateful for what Old Dominion
has given me in that direction--a background.
Q: How do you plan to
spend your time in retirement?
A: I will be always
a worker. At this point I think my main objective is to get my apartment
so that it looks like a human being lives there. After I do that, I
want to go back to the idea of having people in for lunch, I want to
read, I want to travel, I want to live it up a little bit and not be
tied to the alarm clock and have a little bit of time for creativity
rather than routine. I will always be doing some sort of work, however,
because I'm not addicted to the social butterfly route. And I consider
that I am so blessed with good health and contacts ... and I shall look
forward to part-time work and consulting work and the time to go to
Florida and see friends. Normal routine of retiring. I don't know exactly
how to be a retiree yet, but I'm learning.
Q: Could you discuss
the so-called vocational crisis which affects today's college graduates,
mainly unable to get kind of work that they believe to be meaningful?
A: I do not believe
in that and I am sorry to say that and I probably am wrong. But I too
have been in the crush of ill times and I think it's an attitude that
is unfortunate when people know that they cannot get jobs. In my placing
of students here, I have placed im--unpla--students who were unable--unemployable
students. You say that I say that I don't know what I'm talking about.
Yes there is har -- there are hard times now, it's hard to get a job.
But it can be done, and if your attitude is such that the right job
is out there and I am gonna get it you will get it. I once had a little
girl who was really not with it -- a student who was not with it when
it came to being able to control her mind. I was told that I could never
find a job for her, I found one for her at Good Will, where she was
tremendously happy. They were tremendously happy and I believe if there
was just a little bit more honest pounding of the pavement and a little
bit more elbow grease, we wouldn't have quite as big a crunch. Now I'm
not trying to play down economic conditions, and I know things can be
tight but I know that is no reason for assuming that you will not get
a job 'cause the jobs are there.
Q: What significance
do you attach to emeritus status?
A: Basically I would
have been very unhappy, if I had not had emeritus status. I think it
is not the fact that you have lived long enough to be retired it is
a fact that you've lived long enough productively to have been awarded
some recognition. What I am so pleased about that forever I shall be
on the rolls of the academicians at Old Dominion University. I will
have a permanent association with them; I will be part of them just
as they will be always part of my life. I will have an office, and if
I pay my 30 dollars I'll find a parking place.
Q: Before we get to
the final question are there any other areas of your associations with
the university that you might like to comment upon?
A: Yes, I have not
really talked about what the university does mean to me. I cannot imagine
a life spent in a more pleasing manner, which is not to say that I haven't
fought like you know what when the occasion demanded when it was necessary.
It is not an easy life, you do have to stand up for yourself particularly
if you are a woman and you learn to how to have a little bit of backbones
and a little bit of guts in so doing. But the friendship that is been
given to me by students, the privilege of working with young, eager
minds, people who appreciate what you are doing, who are moldable, who
you do not set out to mold but you are bound to have some influence
through the ages. It is an humbling experience, one for which I am very
grateful. However another blessing I have not mentioned which is: what
better situation could you possibly be in than to come to work everyday
with people with whom you are completely congenial, if not completely
you at least had a community of interest. I don't think there ever a
body, a faculty more pleasing more exciting, more knowledgeable than
the faculty of Old Dominion University, particularly I am going to say
the School of Business because they are my friends and I love 'em dearly.
Q: In summary then,
could you reflect upon on your decision to leave business and pursue a
A: I am the luckiest
person in the world. I not only did it I've taught it. I would have
been quite imp -- incomplete had I not been out in the business world
but I think to be able to be in a position whereby you stand in the
midst of a group of young people with a responsibility of passing on
to them the why's of a discipline is the most exciting area in which
one could spend one's life.
Q: Thank you very much,