Interview of Carl D. Riggs
by Professor Horace Bliss
February 1, 1981
Horace Bliss: Were there any faculty from Oklahoma State University?
Carl D. Riggs: Yes. I was able to attract Bryan Glass an __________ from Oklahoma State and George Moore an axiologist from Oklahoma State. George, particularly served on the Station faculty for a number of years until he retired from active work. He and I collaborated in teaching classes on a number of research projects. We directed, or co-directed the masters and doctoral candidates and we published a number of papers together based on work done at the Station.
Horace Bliss: When you're down there and it isn't too easy to get in and out, what kind of recreation can you have down there?
Carl D. Riggs: Well, the academic pace at a field station, a good field station, is very intense. Our classes, for example, met all day two days a week. That is one particular course would meet, let's say Monday, Wednesday from eight in the morning until 11:30 and then we'd have lunch and then they'd go back and meet until five. Another class would meet Tuesday and Friday and another class would meet Wednesday and Saturday, and we had several of those going on those two day arrangements like that going simultaneously. Most students took more than one class so that of the five normal school days of the week, they went at least four of those from early in the morning until late in the afternoon. Breakfast was at 6:15 in the morning and if you were late for breakfast, you didn't get it. And because of the pace, the physical pace, people got hungry, so they got up and ate breakfast and then they went to class bright and early and worked hard all day. So recreation became very important. We had horseshoes, we had a volleyball game going every afternoon virtually when it didn't rain out in the front yard, we had ping pong in the building and later built an outside pavilion for ping pong, we had a fine swimming beach down directly in front of the main building of the Station for those liked to boat and fish they could do that too and so there was a lot of good wholesome recreation at all times. One of the particularly gratifying things was to see the children of those faculty that stayed there for a number of years grow up virtually every summer at the Biological Station, with so many good things to do all day that were good for them physically, good for them intellectually, no way to really get into any kind of serious trouble. I think that there is still a great deal of paternal relationship among those young people who were there and who lived together every summer for all those years.
Horace Bliss: One Fourth of July you certainly had something going. Tell us a little bit more about how you managed that?
Carl D. Riggs: Well, Fourth of July usually came on a week day and the University had a holiday on that day but we never did. George Cross closed his eyes and let us go ahead and ignore University rules and regulations because of the special nature of the Station's activities. But one of the things that we did do is we let classes out at 4:00 on Fourth of July and then all the students and faculty and the staff and anybody in the local community who wanted to come were invited to a big dinner on the grounds and we always had fried chicken and we always had watermelon and we had lots of contests and a soft ball game and a volleyball game and a horseshoe pitching contest and we ended up with fireworks that night, mostly shot off by yours truly, but also we would involve all the kids with the Roman Candles and Sparklers and that was always one of the highlights of the summer for, again for the young people at the Station.
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