Greg Scott Interview
Interview with Greg Scott
Date of Interview: April 14, 2004
Interviewer: Amanda Carl
Transcribed by Taryn Curry
Date of Transcription: April 22, 2004
GS: I was admitted to Rutgers in 1966.
Q: Where you a New Jersey resident?
GS: Yes, I was. I lived in Mt. Holly New Jersey. Went to [Note: check school name] Valley Regional High School. Came to Rutgers for the Ag School. I actually only applied to two colleges, Trenton State College, because that's where my brother was, and Rutgers. I actually didn't know any other schools. I came here my freshmen year and Dick Merritt was one of my advisors. He was a great advisor. I don't know what he saw in me because there were times where, had the standards been fully applied, I would have been packing to go home. My freshmen year was an eventful time and a strange time because I was under the influence. The probation was... and my grades were not good and Dick Merritt stuck with me for another semester and then also stuck with me after the next semester and another try in the second year. He was a good counselor. He is someone that I visit with frequently. At the time, Charlie Hess was the Dean of the College. He was Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science. There were no dormitories other than the wonderful Helyar House. I participated in Helyar House that first summer, working and living in Helyar House.
Q: Just that first summer?
GS: I think it was just that first summer. I did not live in Helyar House during the academic years. I lived on the Rutgers College campus and at that time there was only Rutgers and Douglass, there was no Livingston . I guess at that point it was not even a thought in Dr. Mason Gross's mind that the Busch campus, at that time, consisted of the College of Engineering , the physics building, Waxman Hall, the golf course, and football fields and that was Busch campus. Then there were a lot of old Air Force and Army barracks.
Q: How did you get back and forth from different campuses? What was the transportation like?
GS: It was the bus. It actually wasn't bad. There was a bad thing about it because you could never use bus service as an excuse for being late or cutting class. The bus service really was not bad. There were times where if you timed your departure from the Commons, which was where we had our meals, to catch a bus to get to class without having to wait more then five minutes you would sometimes be one of those who just couldn't get on the bus. The bus service was there earlier. We could have better planning, but we thought otherwise. So we wouldn't plan as well as students. As a matter fact, I only had one class up at the Heights. The engineering students had to go up there frequently for classes. I had two classes here and the other classes were on College Avenue .
Q: So your major was agriculture?
GS: Well, my major when I first entered was pre-vet. I was going to become a veterinarian. Of course, I didn't know you had to take organic chemistry and, at the same time, I didn't realize how competitive veterinary schools were. I'm not sure it would have changed my decision, but organic chemistry did. So after that, my major changed twice. After pre-vet, when I was counseled into another major, I eventually ended up in Environmental Science, with a horticulture emphasis. And then the teaching emphasis--I actually got my teaching certificate at Rutgers . I can't remember my counselor's name; it'll come to me.
Q: Was it Bill Smith?
GS: No, he taught environmental horticulture and he.... I want to say he was in Martin Hall. Dick would know.
Q: So what was the overall experience like around Cook Campus? Anything from student life to academics, interactions between the professors.
GS: The interaction between the professors was good. It really was. As I said, I lived in Tinsley Hall and then you were either a Douglass student taking the Ag program or you were a Rutgers College student although you were attending the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science. That was really the faculty, because, as I said, you really weren't on the campus, but it was so easy to contact the faculty and talk about the lecture or class or get involved with some other academic activity. They were so busy, but yet so easy to see. In fact, it amazes me more as each year passes that people did as much as they did. And I'm not just saying that because Bonnie is here. So I think the faculty members were very approachable and very much interested in each student. In fact, I sense in some hindsight that there was some competition among faculty members to attract students into their major. Because we really weren't on the campus, so it's kind of like they had to reach out to the students and for those few students who hadn't really said for certainty, “I'm going to be a pre-vet student” or “I'm going to be in horticulture or landscape architecture,” I think they sensed that that was their opportunity to introduce a new area of learning to students.
So I think that may have been part of it, other than I think the other part of it is there is a unique culture that Cook College had. I can't say it has it now because I'm not a student or faculty member, but it was because.... I think it's embodied in part of the history of the state experiment station, the agriculture college, and having a program where faculty members actually encounter, I think more frequently, the real world and doing that I think they have a better understanding of what the students are thinking and going through. And so I think that was one of the aspects of it.
I think the other aspect was that in some respects Rutgers College kind of followed the Ag School's structure. So I think in that regard and here on a campus that was kind of isolated from the College Avenue campus, I think it built camaraderie among those faculty and students. Good question about classes.... Our courses were actually either at Douglass or College Avenue .
Q: Do you think you sensed that unique pressure even while you were here at Cook or is that something you felt later?
GS: No, I think I had a sense of it. You know when you get back to the dorm and someone would ask where were you or why weren't you taking this class? Oh, you're an aggie. You have some conversations and I think I had been fortunate; I had ag students on my floor. I don't think that was necessarily true in every floor if you lived in the dormitories in the college, so that was helpful. I wasn't this unique specimen of some academic training that people thought they would never encounter and now want to know more about me because why would you be an ag major?
Q: In your classes, how many women were in your classes from Douglass?
GS: Very few. My guess would be no more then ten a year. And there weren't that many of us, even from the men's side, but far out-numbered the women. So I'm guessing about ten a year, maybe it was a little bit higher but that seems about right. I guess there were, I couldn't tell you the number of men. I think probably a hundred.
Q: Do you have any recollection of how the few women that were in those classes were received by the male students?
GS: I honestly don't know.