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Interview of Carl D. Riggs
by Professor Horace Bliss
February 1, 1981
Page 3

Horace Bliss: What was the administrative arrangement for the first session, Carl?

Carl D. Riggs: Well, remember I was still a relatively new person at OU and so I was named Acting Director of the Biological Station and I had an Advisory Committee which consisted then of Larry Snyder who was Dean of the Graduate College and Howard Larsh, Chairman of the Botany/Microbiology Department and Teague Self who was Chairman of the Zoology Department. We all were very compatible group and worked well together with the aid of Mr. Gunning, again, we did manage to do all the logistical things to make possible beginning the session.

Horace Bliss: What was the first session or first couple of years, how much were you able to do down there?

Carl D. Riggs: Well, I can't remember in detail without checking back on some records the exact number of students that we had those first two years, we didn't have a large number. I think we had something like twenty-five or thirty the first year and moved up in the mid forties the second year and most of the students we had did come the first two years from the University of Oklahoma. Our faculty, the first year, with one exception, came from the Botany and/or and/or Zoology Departments at OU and some of the faculty members, Elroy Rice, John Goodman, Teague Self, served for a number of years on the faculty of the succeeding sessions.

1951 Group photo

1951 Summer Session

1952 Group photo

1952 Summer Session


Horace Bliss: What sort of courses were you able to offer and where did the students live while you were down there?

Carl D. Riggs: Well, the courses that were offered were Botany/Zoology courses and they were such courses as: fishery biology, ornithology, natural history of vertebrates, natural history of invertebrates, parasitology, entomology, good basic field biology oriented courses. Both students and faculty lived all in that one main building, which had two laboratories, one dining room, and one little recreational area and the rest were divided up into a men's dormitory which was a large single room with a common bath at one end of it with about forty beds in it and then a women's dorm which was upstairs and divided into individual two and three room apartments, and faculty quarters in apartments on the first floor of the building. All of the personnel then lived there and the meals were cooked in the kitchen, which is still there. You know the kitchen right behind the dining room and served in that dining room, and the students and faculty paid a common board bill for the entire board and room bill for the entire summer. Because of the newness of this sort of activity to me and others who were there, we did our local food buying in the town of Madill or in the town of Kingston for dairy products and we did arrange to have a local dairy deliver milk into the Station. I remember that well because unfortunately that first July it rained twenty-seven out of thirty-one days and the road way into the Station became impassable and the milk truck had to be pulled through by a tractor every day that it delivered and every day that it left. That experience resulted in building a new road before the second summer and that road was built my my walking along an imaginary contour being followed by a large bulldozer that the Army Engineers furnished and that then became the permanent road into the Station and is that today.


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15389 Station Road
Kingston, OK 73439-8744

Phone: (405) 325-7430 OR
Answering machine: (580) 564-2478
Fax: (580) 564-2479

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Updated December 8, 2014 by Donna Cobb, dcobb@ou.edu
Friends of the OU Biological Station, fuobs@ou.edu