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					                    SUFFOLK COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
                INTERVIEW: Dr. Albert Ammerman (President 1961-1982)
                         INTERVIEWED BY: Neal Robbins
                                  January 2006


 NR: Dr. Ammerman, please tell us how and when you first became associated with community
colleges in general and with Suffolk County Community College in particular.

AA: I first became associated with what we call the community college today in about 1939.
That was called the Fordson‟s Junior College. Fordson was the name of the high school in
Dearborn, Michigan where the college really started on a small scale in the Fordson High
School. Then the name was changed to Dearborn Junior College and after the war, when I came
back, they started it up again and it was called Henry Ford Community College due to the fact
that Henry Ford had given about 100 acres of land and the Fairlane Estates and a nice sum of
money to help the Board of Education of the college get started. I was chairman of the building
committee of Henry Ford Community College when we were located in the high school and the
renovated elementary school. That was my first association with a community college and I was
excited about the possibilities. I went to war in about ‟44 and ended my naval career as a
lieutenant. I was in Okinawa. Following Okinawa, I went into Japan and the occupation for six
months. Back to Dearborn after the war: it was Dearborn Junior College and it became Henry
Ford Community College and that was my first contact with a “real” community college.

NR: What did you do at that community college?

AA: In the first couple years, I taught political science and worked as admissions officer,
registrar and anything else that they wanted done. We didn‟t have a lot of people working for us
so we would even put chairs in classrooms. I became Assistant Dean of Instruction. We didn‟t
have a president in those days. It was under the Board of Education so the headman was the
dean and I was the assistant dean in charge of faculty and instruction. Does that give you
background?

NR: Yes. Now you‟ve got to tell us how you got from there to Suffolk.

AA: Well, how I got from there to Suffolk. One day, I was in my office and I got a telephone
call from Mrs. Dorothea Atwood and she said, “Would you be interested in being interviewed for
the presidency of Suffolk County Community College?” That kind of took me by surprise. I had
just received my doctor‟s degree from Wayne State University after my bachelor‟s and master‟s
in Michigan and I was interested in moving and doing something else and getting out of, let‟s say
Dearborn, and getting and forming a college of my own and I said, “Yes, I might be.” I had
looked into one in Florida, a big one down there and I was interested a little bit in Philadelphia
but Suffolk County intrigued me. I don‟t know why because I didn‟t even know where Suffolk
County was. And then I learned it was on Long Island and I didn‟t know where Long Island
was. And so I went home and I told Ruth what we were going to do; she was all for it and we
got the atlas out and looked where Long Island was located and where Suffolk County was
located. And Mrs. Atwood had received a letter from Bill Stirton, who was Vice President of the
University of Michigan. Atwood was asking Bill Stirton to recommend an individual, as she had
been given Stirton as the person to recommend a candidate. And he says, “No, I wouldn‟t
recommend that person but I‟ll tell you the ideal person.” He told me this himself because I
knew him real well. He says, “Al Ammerman, who is a dean at Henry Ford Community
College, is in his forties and looking to move up.” Ruth and I were interviewed the day after
Kennedy was elected president and I‟ll always remember that because the Board of Trustees of
Suffolk County Community College was all Republicans. They didn‟t look very happy that day.
About a week after I had my interview, I received a letter. They had another meeting and told
me that they would like me to be the president and quoted a figure for money and I took the job.

NR: Very good. So, how soon were you able to move down and in what state was the college
when you got there?

AA: Well, I couldn‟t move right away because I had another job. Henry Ford Community
College set me free for a few months to make a study for northwest Wayne County to see if they
needed a community college and could handle one. I worked with Dr. Young at the University
of Michigan. I had to complete that study. After I had completed the study and was back at the
college (Henry Ford Community College), I came to Long Island in March 1961 and that is
when I started.

NR: Had the college started classes before you got there?

AA: Yes, the college started classes on October 3, a little late, 1960. Sachem Jr./Sr. High School
in Lake Ronkonkoma was about 10 miles from the Selden campus. They had a dean and a
faculty of about 10 or 12 people and some part-time faculty. When I came on the job in March, I
took over as president. They had a dean and a small faculty and started laying plans for the
development of the Selden campus on a TB sanatorium property, which was closed down
because there was no need for a sanatorium any more. The windows were out of the buildings
and it was in bad shape and hadn‟t been used. Just one building was still being used by the
Health Department as a small clinic. They moved out and immediately after I got there most of
my attention was on developing the Selden campus, which in 1983 became the Ammerman
Campus. We started building about eight buildings, tearing down a lot of old ones and going
from there. First I built the Islip Liberal Arts building so I‟d have classrooms. I had an art
facility. I had a music facility. I had a beautiful theater and it was a very nice building. It still is
a nice building today. We go there quite often to certain events. At the same time, I started the
Brookhaven Gymnasium. I have been told if you want something get it in the early part of your
building career rather than later because later they may not have the money.

NR: That‟s good. How about getting started with the supervisors? Were they unanimously in
favor of starting the new college?

AA: That‟s an interesting story. I want to say right off the bat that the Board of Supervisors of
Suffolk County gave me full cooperation and support and Lee Dennison, who was the county
executive and a graduate of the University of Michigan, said, “Welcome aboard.” He was a one-
of-a-kind type of person. The second year I was there I asked for $50,000 more for books for the
library. He called me and he said, “Al, what the hell you doing, asking for $50,000 more for
more books for the library? I got you a book last year!” And I said, “Next year, I‟m going to ask
for $100,000.” But Lee Dennison and I became very close friends over the years. He was
county executive for 12 years and I was president for 22 years. The County Board of



                                             Page 2 of 11
Supervisors approved the Suffolk County Community College on December 18, 1959 by a six-
to-four vote. There were five votes out in the east end that weren‟t very hot about the college,
where the wealthy Hamptons are located. Not many kids. And the five towns at the western end
of Suffolk County were for it, with lots of kids. The vote was six to four and the smallest town
was Shelter Island. The supervisor of that town was Evans Griffith. Roy Van Nostrand
presented the proposition to the Board of Supervisors. He is a lawyer and was an outstanding
chairman of Suffolk Community College Board of Trustees for 12 years. He knew the difference
between policymaking and administration. Evans Griffith also graduated from the University of
Michigan. Dennison was from the University of Michigan. I was from Michigan. We had
something going. Evans Griffith, although he came from the smallest town in the east and
probably didn‟t have 20 kids who would go to college, voted for the college. When I first met
him, he says to me, “Give us a good one.” Dennison said, “Welcome aboard.” And I said, “Go
Blue, go Blue.” (Laughing). They all knew what I was talking about – the University of
Michigan. One of my stories is that I was playing golf one day with a gentleman from the
County Board of Supervisors and Dennison and one of them says, “Doc, what‟cha gonna build
next?” I had already built the Islip Arts Building and the gymnasium and now I was building the
library and student center. And I said, “Well, I really have two I would like to build but we‟ll
only do one now and it‟s going to be on the side of the hill.” And I said, “I‟ll build the
technology building next. On one side, I‟ll have the medical, dental, nursing and technology. In
the other building, when we build it, I‟ll have the mechanical, communications, computers, etc.”
And one of the men says, “Why don‟t you build them at the same time? We‟ve got to excavate
that side of that hill. We‟ll have to do that twice and it might affect the foundation of the first
building.” I said, “That‟s a pretty good idea. About a week later I got a call from Dennison and
he says, “We‟re going to build both buildings in one building.” Now you‟ll come in the
crosswalk in the middle of the building called the Southold Building and on the right-hand side
were the technology programs and the health science area. On the other side were the
mechanical, computer and things of that nature. That shows the type of cooperation I got from
the County Legislature and the County Executive, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and
various members. A pleasant surprise. I thought I was going to have to dig for money and it
came rather easily.

NR: Did that have anything to do with your playing golf with them, do you think?

AA: The golf course came in very handy for me. I was a student of golf, played a pretty good
game, joined St. George Golf and Country Club about 10 miles from the campus, became
president of the club for several years and played a lot of golf with Dennison. In fact, he joined
the club. And I played…that‟s where we talked about this big building…the two buildings to
make it one and do the excavation in the side of the hill at one time.

NR: Yes, it sounds like you were certainly involved heavily in the building. Did you have good
people helping you to take care of the faculty and the students?

AA: That part didn‟t bother me. I had been involved in the building of Henry Ford Community
College on the Fairlane Estates of Henry Ford. I wrote the educational specifications with the
dean and two faculty members. Actually, I did most of it myself, giving the specifications to the
architects and to the trustees. I wanted air conditioning in the buildings. The County Board of



                                           Page 3 of 11
Supervisors didn‟t think it was necessary and the Board of Trustees didn‟t think it was necessary.
So since that time, they‟ve had to go along and put in air conditioning in most of the buildings
and spoil the view of the buildings because of putting compressors outside and things of that
nature. But nowadays, without air conditioning, it would be unthinkable. The other thing I
wanted on the Ammerman campus was a swimming pool attached to the gym. You go into the
locker room of the gym and you‟ll see a place in the wall where there was to be a door into a
swimming pool. They told me they could do their swimming in the North Shore or the South
Shore. They didn‟t support that. And they stated they didn‟t support it.

NR: So you never got the swimming pool.

AA: Never got the swimming pool in the Ammerman Campus. The campus on the west, called
the Grant Campus now, they built a swimming pool there. I helped lay out the educational
specifications for the western campus at Brentwood and I put in the swimming pool. Well, after
I was gone, they enlarged the swimming pool and gave one-third of the building as a police
academy for the police department. The state was willing to go along with that, so the
Brentwood Campus has a large olympic-size swimming pool, a quarter-mile inside track and
classrooms and the police academy, which the college has nothing to do with except get along
with them. They‟re still going full tilt in the police academy.

NR: Teaching the policemen how to swim if they need to.

AA: Yes, as part of their training. That‟s why they got the pool. They had to have a place where
they could learn to swim if they didn‟t know because a lot of the police have the shoreline duties.
We‟re surrounded by water. The academy has proved to be very valuable to Suffolk County.

NR: I want to ask you about some of the people who worked at the college. Where did you find
your faculty and staff and who was especially helpful?

AA: Well, a lot of people were sending me names of people.

NR: Who were your deans?

AA: We advertised in the New York Times and I got plenty of applications, plenty of people and
selected the faculty. It was the deans, dean of administration, three or four faculty members that
had been there a while and myself. And when Dale Lake went to Ulster, John Saal came on as
the Dean of Faculty. He had a very good background and he was a very good dean. I‟m sorry to
say he died of cancer about the time I left the college but, as the college got bigger and bigger, I
couldn‟t interview all the candidates, so John Saal and the vice president in charge of business,
Robert Kreiling, would interview the other people. I asked them to write a one-page summary of
why they thought this man or woman would be a good candidate for a particular job. They
brought the candidates up to see me and I talked to them for a while. This was after four or five
years. In the beginning, I was very much involved. I would shake their hands, ask them a few
questions and Saal and John Harrington wrote the summaries. I presented it to the Board of
Trustees and they approved all of them that I ever sent up except one.




                                           Page 4 of 11
NR: Except one?
AA: Except one. So, I had a good faculty because my philosophy for the community college as a
teaching institution is, if your main interest is research, you‟re at the wrong place. There‟s no
ivy going to grow on the walls of the buildings on the campus. I stressed teaching, teaching,
teaching. For 10 years, I talked to the faculty and two or three times a year in the theater I would
talk about the philosophy of the community college and what we were trying to do. We worked
together as a great big family. We were very close, all of us. That‟s how I got the faculty.

NR: You mentioned a dean of finances or business.

AA: Dean of administration, I called it.

NR: Dean of administration.

AA: He prepared the budget and looked after the buildings and grounds as we got into it. His
name is John Harrington and he was an excellent Dean of Administration. He still lives around
here. We go to the same church together. He is an excellent person. Bright. In fact, I asked
him the other day, “Where were we building when you arrived?” And he said, “The library.” So
he got in on about five or six of the Selden Campus buildings and planning and building the west
and east campuses. We were thinking about the eastern campus and I went up in a helicopter
with Dennison and Don Donati, the county architect, looking for sites. And we found a site.
Let‟s say Dennison found the site. I approved of it. About 150 acres of nice flat land and no
trees. It had been a potato patch. We worked from there on and wrote the educational
specifications for the eastern campus. We had trouble on the eastern campus. We got a builder,
the lowest bid naturally, and he went bankrupt after about a year and a half. That threw the
eastern campus back about two years because it had to go to court and, well, you can guess
whole story. The eastern campus didn‟t open when it was supposed to but they eventually got it
opened after the delay.

NR: Were you there when it opened?

AA: That opened in „77. I think you were one of the speakers at the dedication. The western
campus opened in ‟74. That‟s a unique story.

NR: Yes, I was there in ‟77, but tell us about it.

AA: Several politicians, the Board of Trustees and I met out at one of the mental institutions,
which had been closed, but the property that we looked at was the farm for the Central Islip area
mental institutions. We decided that would be a good place for the college, a good location and
it had a dormitory on this farmland, a three-story dormitory. Naturally, I had to renovate that,
make that into classrooms and so forth. They wanted the college to start immediately. I don‟t
know what the politics were there but they said, “Al, can you start up in September?” That was
about six months away. I looked at a man by the name of Smith, who had been designated the
architect for the western campus, and Don Donati, who was the county‟s architect, and Don
Donati says, “Sure, Al, you can do it.” Smith talked to me and he says, “You can rent a building,
lease a building.” Now this was not a Quonset hut. This was a real building, if you know what I



                                            Page 5 of 11
mean. So, we got busy and I figured out what we needed in this building. We got a chemistry
lab, a physics lab, a biology lab and a number of classrooms and brought that building in and
opened it to 2,000 students in that building and then the renovated dormitory building.

NR: How many students?

AA: About 2,000 in the first year.

NR: I guess they did need this college, didn‟t they?

AA: Yes. It will be the biggest of the three someday.

NR: Is that right?

AA: But it will be, I say this quietly, minority-type enrollment. Latino. Lots.

NR: I‟m sure it is sorely needed.

AA: Every Saturday, we fill every room in the west campus with Latinos and everybody else
who is trying to improve their English. We use this in the service. Where Selden campus was
about 5% non-white, on the western campus there were not very many minority groups. There
are more now than there was then. They‟re moving out that way. At the western campus, Bob
Kreiling put up a library and a theater. Well, he was President in the years following me and that
big gymnasium came along with that little deal.

NR: Now, he was the president who followed when you were done with your career.

AA: He was Executive Vice President. He was a very knowledgeable person. Bob had been at
Dutchess County Community College and was good with us. He had worked there with Jim
Hall, who is now retired and lives in Cape Cod. I‟m 91. My memory slips me.

NR: I think you are doing great! Well, how about town/gown problems? Did any of the people
say that your students were too excitable and get mixed up with anything in the towns?

AA: No. There were no problems between town and gown, absolutely none. There was so much
distance between the college and most of the students. The reason that the State said that they
needed three college campuses on Long Island in Suffolk County was distance, putting all the
kids within about a 30-mile radius of the campus. It is not a square box where you can just make
three same sections but it is a large county and a long county. I had no problems with that. One
of the things that I remember was when we opened during the first year we were at the Sachem
High School and then, the next year, we were on the Ammerman Campus and the first year we
had, when we were up in the High School, 171 full-time students and 355 part-time students, a
dean and about 12 faculty members and some part-time faculty members. When we moved over
to the campus, immediately the enrollment began to jump. My wife, Ruth Lennox Ammerman,
thought it might be nice to entertain the freshmen and so we invited all the freshmen each of the
first five years to come down to the house for some refreshments. We had a campus house, a big



                                           Page 6 of 11
house with a big living room, a big dining room table, and they came in, had some goodies. Of
all the things that some of them remember, I told you that I was at a meeting last Friday and
three of the men (they are men now) said, “We always remember coming to your house and
having some goodies and listening to some music.” That was an excellent thing to do for the
students, we felt. And it was. With faculty, we had a faculty party one time in the house. We
had so many that we couldn‟t have that again because we couldn‟t move. The kitchen was full
of bottles, not Coke bottles. Then we had lunch for the faculty. It was about a three-acre plot of
land where this house was located and a large back lawn and we entertained the faculty back
there quite a few times but it just got so big that it was impossible to handle some of those
parties.

NR: You mentioned that your enrollment went up quickly. Can you give us an example of how
it was five years after you got there or something like that?

AA: Oh, I can‟t remember, but in five years it doubled or tripled. It would be hard to make a
chart because it would go right straight up. It was mainly by word of mouth that we advertised.
The kids came, they liked it, they liked what they were seeing and they liked the administration.
I worked with the maintenance a lot. I got to know all the maintenance and all the secretaries
and everybody was a big family, an extended-type family, the students, faculty, maintenance,
secretaries. We had a lot of fun.

NR: Did you have an athletic program?

AA: Yes. We had basketball. We did not have football. They still don‟t have it. We had
basketball and a team two years ago won the National Championship. The girls two years ago
won the National Championship.

NR: Both in the same year?

AA: Both in the same year. When you go into the main entrance of the campus, you‟ll see this
big sign about the championship teams. We had lacrosse. Three guys came to my office one day
and I didn‟t know what they wanted. Boy, they were big. They were carrying clubs. I didn‟t
even know what lacrosse was. They said, “How about starting a club for a lacrosse team?” I
said, “What is lacrosse?” They had their clubs with them, the ball and so forth, and they tried to
show me and I said, “Sure, go ahead.” So, today, they have a very good lacrosse team. The girls
have their teams. My great disappointment as president was not to finish the east campus. It
hasn‟t quite been finished today. They need a gymnasium and a pool. I wanted to get that but
they need a library and they need a Student Center and I have been pushing hard, since I‟ve been
back, to get that going so that they will get it done.

NR: Al, we‟re coming down to the end of our tape. I have about two or three more questions.
I‟m going to change the tape and then I‟ll get you back for our last three questions. OK, Al, we
have our new tape. Do you have any more stories for us? That‟s what I like to hear.




                                          Page 7 of 11
AA: You got the story about Ruth and entertaining, both faculty and students. I was all over
Suffolk County to Rotary Clubs telling them about the college. I got an invitation to go out east,
way out east to a Grange Hall. Do you know what a Grange is?

NR: Oh, yes…been there.

AA: Farmers. That was the first time I got out that way. Ruth and I went out. They had a big
spread, good potato salad, you know, the whole works. We ate well and then I was to speak and,
after I had talked about the College for a while, I noticed that they were looking at their watches.
So, I began to tell them about my boyhood working on the family farm in Michigan, about 10
miles from Coldwater, Michigan. Then I said, “I went to the first three grades in a one-room
schoolhouse.” Well, the other half of them woke up. We talked about how many bushels of
potatoes we get per acre, we talked about farmland and I talked about accounting and how to
keep your records and that the college was going to be a help to them. Many of them were
fishermen and we‟re going to have the College do programs in technology as far as the ocean
and fish were concerned. At the end of the meeting, one fellow says, “Well, we‟re going to have
a college in the east end, huh?” He‟d almost popped a button off of his vest, he was so proud.
He said, “Well, good luck to you,” and things of that nature. That‟s how I turned that situation
around.

NR: Well, that was a good one.

AA: I went over on the east end again over to one of the towns on the beach. I can‟t remember
which one, anyway, it was at a Rotary Club. The reporter of the local newspaper –
Southampton, that‟s where it was located – he came up and he was very enthusiastic and he
asked about the college and I told him and I said, “Why don‟t you come out and see me?” He
says, “I never go farther west than the Shinicock Canal.” That‟s how the east and west were
divided. All right, give me your final questions.

NR: OK. In those days, after the law was passed permitting collective bargaining, a number of
community colleges had some difficulties. Was collective bargaining started when you were
there and how did it work out?

AA: Yes, yes, very well, no problem. One faculty member came over, one I respected, and said
the faculty wants to form a union under the Taylor Law. I told him to go right ahead and form
your union and it got started and we had some grievances back and forth and no problems
whatsoever as far as the union was concerned, as far as the county and so forth.

NR: Did you have any trouble finding teachers? You must have been hiring a lot of them.

AA: We hired a lot of teachers and they came out of the city. A lot of them came from
Connecticut, New Jersey, from all parts of the East. They were all very good. If they weren‟t
good, I fired them. I fired four faculty individuals. One was a dean of students. You can‟t do
that today. The one that was dean of students accused me of discrimination against the Jews
because he was Jewish. I didn‟t know it. I called my good friend Lila Zwiebel. She was Jewish.
I said, “How many Jews do I have on my faculty?” She listed them all and I brought him back in



                                           Page 8 of 11
and I gave him the list and I said, “I‟ll call each one of those people in if you want to go to court
or a civil rights hearing,” and he took off. There were faculty members, people in the faculty,
who were very happy to get rid of this person. Another had a mental problem. He had one
month to go and the math department said, “We‟ll teach his class but get him out of here.” So, I
got him up in my office where my secretary is, he was a mathematician, and I gave him some
figures to play around with and see how much it cost per student and things like that. He
couldn‟t answer and he went easy. Another wanted to say that I was discriminating because he
was Austrian-Italian. And I said, “Well, am I discriminating against the Austrians or the
Italians? Well, my father was Italian and my mother was Austrian,” and I said, “I think you had
better just go.” And he went. Those were the only problems I had as far as faculty was
concerned.

NR: Well, good. How about a foundation? Did you start a college foundation and how did that
work out?

AA: We started a college foundation and I started it with a golf tournament, naturally. This
spring, 2006, we are playing our 23rd golf tournament.

NR: Great.

AA: At St. George Golf and Country Club. We sold tickets to businessmen and things like that.
That was about the time I was ready to leave. I hadn‟t had time up until then. I have a
foundation and I told you last Friday I went to the foundation meeting and it is a big operation.
They have three full-time people working on it and it is a big organization. We took in $200,000
in March 2006. It was a golf game for about five years and it got bigger and bigger and then we
had a big party once a year where we had certain individuals. Now the former students are in the
foundation. The chairman of the foundation board is one of the early graduates, Bob Walther.
He was one of those that told me the other night he would never forget the meeting at the house
with Ruth and my son, John, who was about a 5-year-old, the good time they had. So, we have a
foundation. It‟s a good foundation, lots of business and industry. There was no one around here
to take care of air conditioning. It wasn‟t something they did in this part of Long Island. Now
air conditioning is in. We have a technology program on air conditioning.

NR: That was my next question, to ask you about the programs that have been added.

AA: Well, that‟s the last one. I‟ve been gone 20 years but we have 65 programs in health, in
engineering and in other fields. For every engineer you‟ve got, you need a certain number of
technicians. It used to be five. I don‟t know what it is today but we‟ve got 65 different programs
and we added them as we needed them. The one that I‟m the most proud of was when I got a
$25,000 grant from the Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, Michigan to start a nursing program.
Well, $25,000 is not much. Back in 1961, 1962, 1963, it was a lot then, though it wouldn‟t be a
drop in the bucket today. I hired a director and got some equipment. That is one example of
how they needed nurses. They still need them. We train about 300 nurses a year in the three
campuses and they still need nurses.

NR: Suffolk CC must be the biggest supplier of nurses in the county.



                                           Page 9 of 11
AA: That is right. They asked me that. “Can you start a nursing program?” “That‟s candy to
me,” I said. Henry Ford Community College was one of the six colleges picked throughout the
United States to start an associate‟s degree nursing program. I spent a lot of time in New York
with Mrs. Rockefeller and I forget the lady at Columbia. I knew all about starting a nursing
program.

NR: They have 65 programs now.

AA: Sixty-five programs. I checked that the other day.

NR: One of the things that I heard you did was bring in faculty members to assist you in your
office that wanted to learn to be administrators. How did that program work?

AA: That wasn‟t a program that was well known. I would take certain faculty members that I
thought had possibilities in with me to Columbia University. They had a seminar on community
colleges about three or four times a year. That‟s where I got some of the administrators. You
know the fellow…

NR: Mike Brick?

AA: Mike Brick, yeah. He was always trying to get me a job someplace. We would go in and
see Mike and I would take these few people with me. One I took with me was Pete Spina. He
was one of the few that really took the bait and I was willing to give him some time off, a night
class instead of a day class and so forth. I did that with about half a dozen of the faculty
members, encouraged them to go on and get their doctor‟s degree. They all had master‟s
degrees. That was inside promotion of good faculty members.

NR: Pete Spina went on to become a college president, didn‟t he?

AA: He went on to become a president of Monroe Community College and he is retired now and
I think he is at the Institute of Technology in Utica as the interim president while they are finding
their next president

NR: So, he became one of your protégés who really went a long way.

AA: Yes, and Sal LaLima, who was on the campus, was another one that became president. I‟ll
tell you the name of the presidents: Ammerman, Krehling and Cooper. Put a big X after that
one. They don‟t even put his picture up. Sal LaLima was a protégé of mine and did a great job,
as did Kreiling. And as to the present one, they went off campus and they hired Shirley Pippen;
she is an African American and seems to be well regarded.

NR: What else should I ask you? How about Plan A?

AA: That was a funding plan that gave the county the ability to administer the budget to a certain
extent. And, that is a very close association with the county. Some presidents did not like it, but



                                           Page 10 of 11
I had a good relationship with the supervisors and other county workers. That is why I was
successful working with the county very closely. Kreiling and some of the other ones began to
think, “Well, we ought to be independent. We ought to do something that Plan C does.” That
was not what I thought. More power to the trustees and so forth. Well, when I left, they began
to take power away from the county and give it to the trustees. I think that was wrong but that is
just a matter of opinion. I ran a Class A community college as if it were a C Plan community
college.

NR: You liked the Class A.

AA: I liked the Class A. They gave me the power and the Board of Trustees and the county.
Since that time, the county has kind of roughed them up. They took away some of their powers.
I didn‟t care who had the power, especially because I was interested in teaching, not politics, but
I always tried to get along with the politicians.

NR: I guess so. My last question has to ask about your personal life. Did you have a good place
to have a home? Did your family like it there? You certainly had good golf but did Suffolk
County turn out to be a good place to live?

AA: Suffolk County is a wonderful place to live…if it didn‟t have winter, same as Albany. If
you didn‟t have winter, that would be a nice place to live. We had a nice house, a four-bedroom
colonial with a center stairwell on the campus. The only thing, it was a little remote from other
places and we had to take our children over to some other place where there were children to
play with. We were very popular, Ruth and I, with the county. We went to a lot of meetings and
a lot of programs. I think the biggest one; we had a Vice President speak at one of the hotels.
Living here was enjoyable. I worked hard and I‟ve got a lot to be proud of.

NR: You certainly do, Al. You‟ve got a lot to be proud of. You‟ve done a wonderful job and I
wonder if there is any final statement you would like to make.

AA: Suffolk County is my home and my baby is Suffolk County Community College and it‟s
growing all the time.

NR: All the time. That‟s great. Al, thank you very much. When I get it typed up, I‟ll send you a
copy. It‟s been my great pleasure to talk to you.




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