Professor Frank Doto

May 21, 2008


Interviewed by Ann Kelsey

Filmed by Michael O’Hagan

For the County College of Morris, Learning Resource Center

Randolph, New Jersey

County College of Morris 40th Anniversary

Transcribed by Jardee Transcription, Tucson, Arizona


Today is Wednesday, May 21, 2008, and this is an interview with Professor Frank Doto.  Professor Doto is being interviewed at the Media Center, County College of Morris, Randolph, New Jersey.  The interviewer is Ann Kelsey, Associate Director, Learning Resource Center, County College of Morris.  The interview is being filmed by Michael O’Hagan, Producer, Learning Resource Center, County College of Morris.  This interview is for the County College of Morris’ 40th Anniversary Oral History Project.  Professor Doto is one of County College of Morris’ founding faculty.

Kelsey:   When and where were you born and raised?

Doto:     I’m a New Jersey boy, through and through.  Born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1946.  Raised in Newark, East Orange, Livingston, and then finally westward to Morris County.

Kelsey:   Where did you go to college?

Doto:     Went to Rutgers in New Brunswick, at the time an all men’s school.  Difficult to get in and I was very surprised, having been accepted to Rutgers and not accepted to Montclair State.  So I did choose to go to Rutgers University.

Kelsey:   And when did you graduate?

Doto:     I graduated Rutgers in 1967, immediately went off to University of Massachusetts for graduate school.

Kelsey:   What degree did you earn at Rutgers?

Doto:     Health education and physical education, at Rutgers.

Kelsey:   And at Massachusetts?

Doto:     Same, University of Massachusetts.

Kelsey:   And that was a master’s?

Doto:     That was a master’s degree, yes.

Kelsey:   Why did you decide to go into teaching?

Doto:     It was really based on the inspiration I got from several of my teachers, two in particular, in high school.  When I went to Rutgers, I was still quite a little undecided.  I thought maybe education would be a good path, and I originally started in that path, but then I met a professor at Rutgers who inspired me even more, and he became somewhat of a mentor to me, and then after graduation, actually a colleague and friend.

Kelsey:   How did you find out about County College of Morris?

Doto:     That’s interesting.  I was home from just finishing my master’s degree.  An acquaintance of my dad, who he played golf with, was a fellow named Jim Gilsenen.  My father mentioned to me that Jim Gilsenen was the new dean of academic affairs at a new county college that was going to start up in Morris County.  And so I had already accepted a teaching position with the Wayne Township Public Schools, and I reached out to Jim Gilsenen who actually decided to meet with me at my folks’ house, and interviewed me for the position here.  I later went to the original offices of County College of Morris, which were nothing more than offices over a drugstore in East Hanover, and had a more formalized interview, and I was offered a position here.  And so I quickly declined the position at Wayne Township Public Schools, and took the position here at CCM.

Kelsey:   County colleges were a new thing in the sixties.  What drew you to a county college specifically?

Doto:     I knew nothing about county colleges.  I don’t think many people did, in the 1960s.  I think community colleges were considered a California phenomenon at the time.  The whole concept was new here in the state of New Jersey.  What intrigued me was the notion of building an institution from nothing.  In fact, I recall one day in the summer, prior to the first academic year in 1968, driving what seemed like an interminable amount of time westward on Route 10, until I finally arrived at this location, where CCM was going to be.  And I looked over the grassy area, which had some bulldozers and things moving some dirt around, and I thought, “Wow, this is really something.  This is actually going to be a college, and I can be on the ground floor to help build it.”  So it was just exciting.  And frankly, I didn’t know much about the concept or mission of community colleges, until I got here and started to learn.

Kelsey:   So describe a little more what the physical campus was like.  You talked about what it looked like initially.

Doto:     Well, the first time I saw it, it was nothing more than a farm with some woods surrounding it, and some bulldozers moving dirt around.  But that was probably in the late spring, early summer, of 1968.  When we actually arrived on campus to start in September of 1968, as I recall, the start of the college semester was delayed several weeks because the only building, which is now Henderson Hall—we called it the administration building in those days—Henderson Hall was not quite complete.  We finally had to have a faculty meeting—and actually I believe it was like the third week in September, so it was quite late—in a room with workers scurrying about, trying to put the finishing touches on the place.  We had our faculty meeting, and started classes the following week.  There were classes held in the Dalrymple House, which had not been renovated.  It was simply—the interior was painted, and some chairs and furniture were placed into several rooms to make a couple of makeshift classrooms, with offices upstairs.  And we had, of course, a few classrooms and offices.  Everything else—the library, the classrooms, offices, cafeteria, and administrative offices—all in what is now Henderson Hall.  So it was a little cramped that first year.

Kelsey:   What was the cafeteria like?

Doto:     It was nothing more than a large room with some long tables, a few vending machines, and I recall a television for recreational purposes.  I believe that was the year the Mets were in the World Series, so people were interested in watching the World Series.  That was the extent of the recreational area that was available for students.  The [cafeteria] became a place to hang out.  And that was interesting, because it wasn’t just a place to bring your lunch and sit and chat with your colleagues, but it was a place the students hung out, it was a place the administrators hung out, so that entire college community congregated to that one area.  And as a result, in very little time, people got to know each other very, very well—faculty, staff, and students.

Kelsey:   What was the library like?

Doto:     Oh! a little room.  The books were on makeshift shelves at first.  And it was an informal place.  It was also a place where a lot of people would gather, chat.  It wasn’t a “library” in the sense that it was a quiet, respectful place where people studied.  But it was a place where people tried to study.  But of course it was pre-technology, and so there was no computer access and terminals and such.  It was just a place to go for books and journal articles.  It was rather meager at the start.

Kelsey:   What were the rules regarding smoking on campus and in the classroom?

Doto:     Anybody could smoke anytime, anyplace.  I had a bad habit in those days of smoking a pipe.  I tried not to smoke in the classroom.  But of course things were much different in the 1960s in terms of attitude about smoking.  It was not quite understood how serious it was as a health hazard—second-hand smoke, and even being a smoker yourself.  But I recall that there were some professors that asked that, “Please students, don’t smoke in class,” but many did anyway.  But I think back to those days, it’s quite a different climate now—both socially and every respect, but certainly on campus.

Kelsey:   What was the general atmosphere like on campus during that first semester?

Doto:     A lot of confusion and a lot of excitement.  The confusion related to the fact that we had no policies and procedures for anything.  Things had to be invented on the fly, so very, very often decisions had to be made at the last possible moment about any number of things, including such things as when do classes start, when do they end, how often do they meet, what is the schedule going to look like?  We as professors had absolutely to build every course from nothing, so we had to teach the courses fresh.  So we had a lot of scrambling to get things together for our courses; students had a lot of scrambling to understand what the requirements were, and where to be when.  But the enthusiasm that all of us had was such that it enabled us to, in a collegial way, gather both formally and informally, and help the college make the kind of decisions to operate in an effective and efficient way.

Kelsey:   1968, politically and culturally, was a year of serious turmoil.

Doto:     Sure was.

Kelsey:   How was that exhibited on the campus, and in what kinds of ways?

Doto:     There were student demonstrations on campus, anti-war demonstrations against the Vietnam WarFaculty members joined in.  There were meetings held—informally—among students and faculty and others who were interested in discussing the issue.  Sometimes arguments in the cafeteria between folks—not fisticuff arguments, but arguments nonetheless—which was typical of the time, and not too atypical of our times today, in terms of differences in political opinions on things.  And of course we all recognized, even then, that Morris County was a conservative area, politically speaking.  And so there were a significant number of students who had the opposite point of view than some of the anti-war sentiment that was here amongst some students as well.

Kelsey:   And how did those two groups interact?

Doto:     There was no formal interaction.  I think most of it was just discussion, either in class or in the cafeteria, and the few demonstrations that were on campus were rather small—small by general standards, maybe forty or fifty students would carry a few placards and a flag around a little bit.  But it wasn’t quite as vociferous as it was on many other college campuses.  I mean, there was no effort to take over the campus, as they did at Columbia University, and other things.  So we were very busy, and very distracted I should add, by trying to build the place.  Not only trying to build it euphemistically speaking, but literally speaking, because everywhere you turned, there was somebody with boots and overalls on that was nailing something to a wall, or painting something, or moving a bulldozer or….  While we were in the process of conducting classes, the rest of the campus was being bulldozed and buildings were started.  So it was a pretty confusing place.

Kelsey:   What was the demographic of the student body and faculty and staff like?  Were there a lot of women enrolled or working there; races; ethnic groups; age?

Doto:     The students, as I recall, were mostly young, fairly fresh-out-of-high-school students.  We didn’t have very many of these nontraditional students, as we call them today—older folks.  There were very few minorities—in fact, I only can remember one in particular.  The staff was fairly homogeneous, really—staff and faculty.  So we didn’t have the cultural diversity then that we strive to have now.

Kelsey:   What was social life like for the faculty and staff that were working at the college?  Did you all go out after work, was there a local hot spot?

Doto:     Well, there were a couple places that we would occasionally gravitate toward.  There was a hamburger place across Route 10 where the A&P shopping center now stands, called Buxton’s, and it was a popular place to go for lunch if you wanted to escape the cafeteria, and we often did.  I had a standing lunch appointment with another faculty member and the director of student activities—Henry Found, one of the first faculty members, and Randy Rucker, who was the coordinator—or whatever they called him—of student activities on campus.  And Jerry Luboff, an English professor.  We would gather over at Buxton’s probably just about every day for lunch.  But after hours it was more or less if faculty members wanted to have a social gathering at their home, oftentimes some students were invited.  But there weren’t any real social activities scheduled on campus.  There wasn’t any room for them.  So everything that was of a social interaction was really more off campus or in the cafeteria informally.

Kelsey:   And that was true of the students as well?

Doto:     Yes.  I don’t recall any specific student social event that was held that first year.  I may be wrong, maybe there was a student social gathering or dance or something in the cafeteria, but I don’t remember it.

Kelsey:   How did people dress to go to work in 1968?

Doto:     Well, both from the student, the faculty, and the staff perspective, much more formally than today.  I was never told what I had to wear, but let’s put it this way, after my first visit to campus, I went to a men’s shop in Morristown and bought myself a couple of three-piece suits.  It was that formal, for most of the faculty.  Some were much less formal, but for most of the faculty and staff, it was a tie and jacket every day.  And the students dressed without ties and jackets, but the students dressed in a more formal way as well, than, comparatively speaking, they do today.  But again, that was reflective of culture in general, as opposed to County College of Morris culture.

Kelsey:   Would you say—you mentioned before that this was a more conservative area, generally—that that had something to do with the dress?

Doto:     Yes.  And there were some students who would wear tie-dyed shirts and bell bottoms, and they were considered the hippies.  But again, by today’s standards, that would not be considered anything approaching radical.  But in the main, I think it was a much more formal dress “code,” if you want to call it that, even though it wasn’t in writing.  It was an informal code that translated into a formal code, if you know what I’m saying.

Kelsey:   How did people get to the campus?

Doto:     Well, just about everybody traveled to the campus from the eastern part of Morris County.  So the westward trek on Route 10 was just about everyone.  I lived in Morristown, many of the faculty lived in the area around Morristown.  And at that time, remember, it was much more rural in this area of Morris County Denville was considered Western Morris County in those days.  You had to travel quite a distance up Route 10 to get to Denville, let alone Randolph.  That’s why I said earlier my first visit to the campus just to see where the campus was going to be located, it just seemed like an awful long trip westward on Route 10.  But that trip was less in terms of time, than it is today, with the traffic signals and the traffic.  But Route 10 in this area was a four-lane, but it was still a country road.  Route 80 wasn’t completely finished, 287 wasn’t completely finished.  So if people wanted to go east and west, Route 10 and Route 46 were the two ways to get there  In fact, I remember back in high school—I went to Livingston High School—and I remember the occasions when Livingston played RoxburyHigh School in football, and we would drive from Livingston all the way to Roxbury High School.  And without realizing that I would be working nearby in Randolph, at the time when I was in high school, I remember thinking, “My goodness, how far out in rural New Jersey is it?!”  So originally the thinking was that this was pretty rural.  And of course if you look at a map, this is actually central Morris County, where we are.  It’s in the center of Morris County.

Kelsey:   What kind of car did you drive?

Doto:     I drove a third-hand used car, of course.  I was a young married fellow with a new family on the way, so we couldn’t quite afford to drive anything fancy.  It was actually a Ford Falcon that needed a lot of work.

Kelsey:   Do you remember what year it was?

Doto:     I think it was a ’62 or ’61—something.

Kelsey:   Describe a little more what Route 10 looked like.

Doto:     There was nothing on Route 10.  As you moved out of the Morristown area and started west on Route 10, if you know where the Hilton is now, that used to be a dairy farm with an ice cream place on the corner.  And in fact, from what I understand, that was the first area that was considered for County College of Morris location.  That farm area, where all those office buildings are now, was thought—or was considered, at least—to be the first location.  I think, thankfully, they moved it west.  By today’s standards, this is a better location than there.  As you progressed further west from there, there were no strip malls.  It was just a few houses and a few farms and this country road, really.  No traffic signals.  I mean, I could get from my apartment in Morristown to County College in the morning in twenty minutes—and in the evening go home with no trouble whatsoever.  Of course even the traffic going the opposite direction in those days was much, much, much less.  So even if you were traveling from western Morris County toward Morristown in the mornings in those days, it was not a problem.

Kelsey:   You mentioned Buxton’s was on one corner.  What was on the other three corners of Center Grove Road?

Doto:     Well, the intersection of Center Grove Roadwas a busy intersection, and busier because of the college.  In terms of this area, that was probably one of the busiest intersections.  There was a little, I guess you would call it a greasy spoon restaurant, called Rudy’s, that was on the corner where the diner now sits.  And that would be a place to go if you really wanted to clog your arteries with a greasy hamburger.  But it was also the place where if you wanted to mail a letter, that’s where you went, because they had a little post office at the counter.  So it was the post office, and nothing more than a little luncheonette.  And the fellow who operated it, of course, was named Rudy, and everybody knew Rudy and said hello when they walked in to buy stamps or get a hamburger.  Across the street there was a gas station, and diagonally where Buxton’s was, where the A&P shopping center now is, there were a few stores in a strip mall.  There was a drugstore and Buxton’s and the A&P.  I think that was about it in those days.  So that was the hustle and bustle of that intersection.  That was it.

                        Center Grove Road was not as wide as it is now.  It was just a little lane, really, that you turned off of Route 10 onto.  And of course with all students arriving at the same time, the place where there was any congestion to get on campus was Route 10.  We didn’t have a Dover Chester Road entrance in those days—it was only Route 10.  So if you had 400 students and 50 faculty and staff arriving essentially at the same time, with minimal parking in front of Henderson Hall and in front of the Dalrymple House, that’s where the traffic would occur.  So I would usually get to campus very early.  I would get to campus by 7:30 in the morning to beat that—just to be able to park and get to my office and do some work.

Kelsey:   Some things never change.

Doto:     Exactly.

Kelsey:   Describe a typical day in the classroom.

Doto:     Well, a typical day in the classroom was in the classroom all day.  I mean, we had classes, and of course we didn’t have contracts in those days—faculty were given teaching assignments, and those teaching assignments were quite rigorous by today’s comparison.  I would start in the classroom at about 8:30 in the morning, and I would teach, with a break for lunch, straight through ’til about 3:30 in the afternoon, or 4:00 in the afternoon.  And then, faculty would gather, either in various offices, or in the cafeteria, because we were setting up a college, and we were trying to organize things.  There were no committees yet, so we had info-meetings, where if you were interested in talking about a topic, you would come at 4:00 in the cafeteria, and a few of us would sit around the table, and we’d talk about something, to try to resolve an issue, or come up with a policy that made sense.

So our work days were five days a week, and as I said, I would arrive on campus at 7:30, and I’d get home at 6:00 or 6:30 at night.  It was a real job in the sense that you almost had a nine-to-five or more workday—different than today.

Kelsey:   What was the classroom dynamic like?

Doto:     The classes that I had were large.  My classes all met in the living room of Dalrymple House.  The living room was narrow and long, so we oriented it so that as I faced the students, I would see left to right, a wide view maybe three or four rows deep.  And I had forty students or so in a class, with a blackboard.  There was a lot of interaction.  As a young teacher, of course starting here as young as I did, I was the youngest of the original faculty.

Kelsey:   How old were you?

Doto:     When I started here, I was twenty-two.  Some of my students were not much older than me, which is one of the reasons for buying that three-piece suit, so that I could at least appear a little bit older and wiser.  But the kinds of interactions I had with the students were very lively.  We would talk about health topics at a time when health was not a major concern or a major issue.  Many had had experiences in health and physical education classes in high school, but of course we had no gymnasium, we had no other way to teach healthy living and lifestyle, except in the classroom.  So I tried to make it as interesting and stimulating as possible.  That was a time when LSD was big, marijuana of course, so we would spend a lot of lively conversations about drugs and drug behavior and marijuana use—which was endemic to the college culture then, of course.  Birth control was a big issue.  The pill had sort of just hit the market.  Of course the sexual freedom of the 1960s was an issue of discussion.  But as I mentioned earlier, smoking was not considered to be a major issue.  Weight control was not considered to be a major issue.  So we were able to hit upon some topics that were of interest to the students, because of their experience and their lifestyles.  And so I remember having some quite lively discussions.

I remember at one time a student in the class indicated that she didn’t know what I was talking about with this marijuana culture, because she said that she’d never used marijuana and never even seen marijuana.  And I recall a student sitting next to her just turning to her and saying, “Oh, you want to see some?  I’ve got some in my pocket,” and he took out a packet of marijuana and showed it to her.  Nowadays that would be a more immediate cause for concern, but I considered it an educational experience.

Kelsey:   Describe what was considered to be cutting edge classroom technology.

Doto:     A piece of chalk and a blackboard.  And if you were able to get a 16 millimeter projector to show a film, that was a real exciting time!  I did try to do that.  I wanted to have some films that I could show my students.  And so Bill Bunnell, the librarian—the first librarian we had—would arrange to get some films from the Morris County Library, and we would scrounge around for I think the only 16 millimeter projector we had.  We had no A.V. people to operate it, so we had to figure it out ourselves, and try to get that thing to work, and show a movie every now and then.  So that was cutting edge technology.  And we had telephones, so that was technology.  (chuckles)

Kelsey:   In the classrooms?

Doto:     No, not in the classroom.  I had an office upstairs with four other faculty members, in what was a bedroom in Dalrymple House.  I had a telephone and a desk.  The one thing I lacked, that I would have liked to have had, was heat, because the upstairs rooms of Dalrymple House were perennially cold.  And so we would sit up there with our overcoats and gloves on, and meet students, or just chat.  But really, if you had a telephone in your office, and you had a blackboard and an occasional 16 millimeter projector, you were set.

Kelsey:   What differences do you notice between 1968 and 2008, in terms of interactions with students, student behavior?

Doto:     Well, let me back up and explain something that will preface my comment here.  One of the things that we, as educators at a community college—and I realized this early on in my career—were challenged with, which isn’t quite the same as what many of our four-year colleagues are challenged with, is a classroom spectrum of abilities that is vast.  In a typical classroom, which is the same today as it was then, you have students who could excel at any college or university in the United States and do very, very well.  They’re academically very, very competent.  You have students that struggle exceedingly, that may not really be ready for college—academically, socially, culturally—in many ways.  And then the spectrum in between.  And they’re all in the same room with you.  We still have that.

The difference today, I think, is that there’s an expectation among students that we as educators will try not to make their lives too difficult; that we will do everything possible to allow them to pass a course, or do well in a course, despite the amount of energy and effort that some of these students will put into it.  Now, I don’t mean to imply that this is a vast number of students that have this kind of an attitude, but I think that there is a segment of students that have this attitude that is different than the attitude I experienced in my earlier career.  Some of these students—and again, it’s a minority—create circumstances in the classroom and outside the classroom in the academic area, that make it more difficult for we as educators to do our jobs.  In a way, this small percentage of students feel entitled to a grade, as opposed to the need to work for a grade.  And the vocal nature of some of these students occupies a greater percentage of our time than it did in those days.

Now, one of the things I don’t want to sound like, is an old fogy who doesn’t understand what kids are like nowadays.  But after forty years of working with students that range in age, in the main, from eighteen to twenty-five—although we have a lot of nontraditional students, and I’ve experienced many of them at ages up to ninety.  I had a student that was ninety-two.  The majority of the interactions we have are with students in that age range of roughly eighteen to twenty-five or twenty-six.  I think that I know a lot about how they think, a lot about how they act, a lot about what their expectations are.  And so I’m saying this observation about students who feel entitled to a grade, that small percentage, being vastly different than in the 1960s and ’70s—even through the seventies.  And it’s made our jobs harder, it really has.  I have called it—and I say this with some degree of trepidation—but I’ve called it “the age of educational entitlement,” in the sense that some students just feel that they are entitled to get a good grade, no matter how much work they do.

And so I regret that I’m leaving my profession—because I’m retiring this year—at a time when that kind of thing seems to be happening more frequently than in the past.

Kelsey:   Would you say that the students in 1968 worked harder?

Doto:     Yes.

Kelsey:   And what do you think was the motivation for that?

Doto:     I don’t think there was any motivation except it was considered more the norm, that students would have to work hard.  If I assigned….  In fact, I did, I had a book list, and I assigned not only textbook reading, but students had to read anywhere from two to five books off a booklist in a given semester, and write a book review.  And nobody thought twice about not only reading the textbook, but reading several books for one class.  Reading books today, because, I think, of the experience that students have had over their years with technology, is something that students don’t typically think of as a meaningful educational experience.  I mean, literally, having a book that’s bound, on a desk that they open and look at, as opposed to doing research on the Internet.  And so that’s a big difference as well.

So I think that students came to the college in those early years, from a high school environment that was different.  And they were prepared to do the kind of academic work that we expected.  And of course I have to admit that when I started at the college, my expectations of my students were formed by the expectations that my professors had of me, just a few years before—having freshly finished my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.  And we were typically expected to read four, five, or six books per class, per year, per semester.  We were constantly in the library.  And so the effort here among the original faculty was to, I think, just continue on with that normal educational experience for our students.  And that’s different today—much different.

Kelsey:   Do you think that maintaining a draft-deferred status in that time period in the sixties affected the motivation, at least of the male students?

Doto:     Now that you mention it, yes, of course.  Yeah, the draft was in existence then.  If you were a full-time student in college, you probably could get a deferment.  I don’t remember if it was automatic or not.  I do know that if I taught in a community college that was a public institution, I earned a deferment.  Not very many people wanted to enlist in the army and go fight an unpopular war.  Sounds like déjà vu, doesn’t it?  But in any event, that was a motivation for some, I’m sure, to stay in school—or even to go to school.  But you know, again, in Morris County still today, I think the expectation is, and the rates of college attendance still today, among high school graduates, is very high in Morris County.  So the expectation then was, you graduated high school, you went to college.  “And oh, by the way, there’s a new one up the street called County College of Morris.  Let’s try that.  Because it’s convenient, and inexpensive.”  So I think that yeah, the issue of the deferment may have played a role in some, but they would have come here, and if we weren’t here, they would have gone to Rutgers or Montclair or what was then Paterson State.

Kelsey:   What do you remember as your most significant memory of that first year?

Doto:     I think….  There were a lot of blurred memories of the first year, because there was so much, the pace was so hectic.  But one of the significant memories was that this place was nothing more than mud from one end of the campus to the other.  I mean, we had to carry boots in the trunk of our car, so that if we did venture beyond what is now Henderson Hall, up the hill, to see the progress of building the HPE building and the original library, and the first of the academic buildings, and the student center, you just had to have your boots on so you could trudge through the mud and muck.  In those days, it wasn’t like our recent renovation of the student center, where the student center got walled off and nobody could go in.  In those days, you could wander among the workers inside the buildings under construction, chat with them—in fact, we got to know some of them—and really see the progress of building the place.  So I just remember the mud, I remember the confusion, I remember the workers, I remember the noise, the bulldozers, and all of that just happening all the time, all the time.  In fact, if you had a class here, down the hill in Henderson Hall, the building on campus got to be so noisy sometimes that….  You just had to put up with it.  It was just something that was a given.

Kelsey:   What do you think is the most significant change in CCM and its students between 1968 and today?

Doto:     Most significant change?  Hm.  (pause)  I can’t specifically say a single thing is the most specific change.  I think that in general we are a large, mature, institution now, that we never….  I mean, we expected in the early days that we would eventually become, quote unquote, “a real college,” in the sense that we had real buildings, and real parking lots, and lots of students, and lots of faculty.  But I think if you simply arrive on campus for the first time in your life, and just park your car and walk around, you might say to yourself, “Oh, this is a nice place, they have some nice buildings, and that’s nice stone.  There’s lots of students around, and there’s pretty plants,” and not understand that all of this came out of nothing.  That it had to have a beginning, and the beginning was a time when people made the difference.

Maybe I could point to the fact that now we’re an institution where policies and processes take preference over people.  Because then, if something needed to be done, you knocked on somebody’s door and you said, “Hey, can you do this?  Can you do that?  Can you set up that projector in my classroom for me?  Can you buy this for my classroom needs?  Can we change the wall in the design [for] that building, from this wall to that wall?”  Or you picked up the phone.  I mean, there was no formal writing of memos.  It was just interpersonal relationships that got things done; and interpersonal relationships that began to establish the policies that needed to be established.

Today, CCM is a much more institutionalized place in the sense that the policies and procedures take precedence over the people.  But still today, those of us who’ve been here for a long-enough period of time—and I don’t mean forty years, I mean just a few years—get to know the people that are the movers and shakers that can get things done.  So I think any of us now can pick up the phone and call those people and say, “I really need this,” or “I really need that,” and things happen, without the forms, and without following the policy guidelines.  And I don’t mean that we are in any way, shape, or form trying to do anything immoral or illegal in that respect, but just more expeditiously trying to get things done.

So if there is a change, it’s a change that we’ve become mature, we’ve become, I think, bloated in our policies and procedures, and our abilities to get things done.  The answer to moving ahead at the campus now is more often “it’s not in the plan,” or “it needs to be formalized in order to get into the plan, in order to get things done,” or “we already have policies about that—did you read, you know, Policy Number 368.3/2?”  And while that may make a difference from the standpoint of tracking the paperwork and dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s, this is still a place that runs because people make the difference.  So of the policies and the procedures and the people, I always choose the people as the way to get things done.  But I was a lower-level administrator as a department chairperson on this campus.  Perhaps if I were a higher-level administrator, I’d have a different feeling about that.  But I still think it’s a people issue.

Kelsey:   Is there anything else you’d like to add in closing?

Doto:     Well maybe I should sort of turn around what I just said a little bit, and end on a little more of a positive note, in the sense that I’ll be leaving the institution after forty years here.  This is my final academic semester.  And I do so with a great deal of regret—not because I’m not looking forward to retirement—I am.  I won’t miss the policies and procedures.  I’m going to miss the people.  I’ll miss my students.  I’ll miss the interactions I have in the classroom.  I’ll miss making a difference in even a single student’s life.  But I think this has been a terrific place to work.  Despite the fact that we have our problems, this is a magnificent institution.  It could be even more magnificent, and I think that there are ways and changes that could be made to make it better, but I think we have an excellent academic reputation.  I think we need to really capitalize, even more so, on our academic reputation, in selling this institution better to the community.

I think we really make a big difference in the culture of Morris County—certainly in the education of Morris County.  And if we didn’t build this college in 1968, this county and the people that this college serves now, would have to look to alternative places for the kinds of services that we offer.  So this has been, I think, one of the best things that has happened in Morris County in the last forty years.  I mean, Morris County has had a lot of growth.  It’s one of the richest counties in the nation.  But I don’t think that the typical citizen in Morris County recognizes the degree to which this institution has made Morris County, and helped make Morris County, as good as it is.

So as I said, I leave the institution with some regret, with a lot of happy memories, and a lot of good friends.  But it’s been nice being what others have called the pioneer, one of the original faculty.  I tried to outlast my colleague, who is the only other original faculty left, Professor Bob Gebhardt,  in the math department, but I decided that he’s going to stay a lot longer than me, so my parting comments to Professor Gebhardt just earlier today were, “Please turn the lights out when you leave, Bob.”

Kelsey:   Thank you very much.

Doto:     You’re welcome.  Do you have enough to use now?

Kelsey:   Oh, you bet!




A&P,  7, 11

Bunnell, Bill,  14

Books,  17

Buxton’s,  7, 11

Cafeteria,  4, 6, 7, 8, 12

Campus,  3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21

Center Grove Road,  11, 12

Classrooms,  4, 12, 13, 15

Colleagues,  4, 15

Columbia University,  7

Construction, 3, 7, 19

Culture,   6

Dalrymple House,  4, 12, 13, 15

Demonstrations,  6

Denville, New Jersey,  9

Dress,  8, 9

Drugs,  13, 14

Early Life, 1

East Hanover, New Jersey,  2

East Orange, New Jersey, 1

Faculty,  3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22

Family,  10

Found, Henry,  8

Gebhardt, Robert,  23

Gilsenen, Jim,  2

Grades  16

Henderson Hall,   3, 12, 19

Library,  4, 5, 14, 18, 19

Livingston, New Jersey,  1, 9

Luboff, Jerry,   8

Massachusettes, University of,  1, 2

Master’s Degree,  2

Montclair State,  1

Morristown, New Jersey, 8, 9, 10, 11

Mud,  19

New Brunswick, New Jersey,  1

Newark, New Jersey,  1

Offices,  2, 4, 10, 12, 15

Parking,  12, 20

Passaic, New Jersey,  1

Policies,  5, 20, 21, 22

Post Office,  11

Randolph, New Jersey,  9, 10

Retirement,  17, 22

Roxbury, New Jersey,  10

Rucker, Randy,  8

Rudy’s, 11

Rutgers University,  1, 2, 19

Selective Service,  18

Smoking,   5, 14

Social Activities,  8

Students,   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22

Demographics,  7

Teaching Assignments, 12

Technology,  5, 14, 15, 17

Transportation,  9, 10

Wayne Township Public Schools,  2



County College of Morris opened its doors in September of 1968. Join us in celebrating 40 years of connecting learning and life. Read about THE EVENTS that shaped the times, remember THE CULTURE, and join the founding CCM students, staff, and faculty as they share with us THE MEMORIES of those early days.