Segment Synopsis: Dr. Frederick von Ende discusses how he came to write the report for the LULAC v. Richards case.
Keywords: Al Kauffman; Carl Parker; Gilberto Hinojosa; Miguel Nevárez; Norma Cantu; South Texas; the Valley
Subjects: M.A.L.D.E.F.; MALDEF; Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Pan American University; Texas A & I; Texas A&I – Kingsville; Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; University of Texas--Pan American
Partial Transcript: “He was tough on me. He started off by asking me about my statistical expertise. He asked me if I had a doctorate in statistical analysis, and I said ‘No sir, I have a Ph.D. in Medieval English Literature.’ He looked like, ‘What are you doing up there?’”
I mean, if [the disparity in education] was obvious to an English teacher, it ought to be obvious to anybody.’”
Segment Synopsis: Von Ende used statistical analysis to determine what to put in the report. The report was eventually published early, and the third section of it was never finished. When he was called as a witness, he was forced to defend his role in writing the report.
Subjects: Hispanic Americans--United States; Hispanics (United States); LULAC v. Richards; Texas A & I University; Texas, South
Segment Synopsis: Von Ende often found himself in positions in university administration, though he did not seek out or even want many of the roles. He ended up working in administration, concurrently with teaching, for most of his career.
Keywords: Rio Grande Valley
Subjects: Pan American College; Pan American University; Ralph Frankling Schilling [Jr.]
Partial Transcript: “I decided my first day in college to be an English major. Everybody assumed that I was going to be a teacher – everybody except me. My parents were both teachers, and I didn’t think I wanted to be.”
Segment Synopsis: Von Ende discusses his childhood and his family. He talks about first jobs, how he found teaching and how he met his wife and started their family.
Keywords: McMurry College; Texas State College for Women; Texas Women's University
Subjects: Pan American College; Pan American University
Segment Synopsis: He gathered evidence for the report and documented facts for it. He states that the statistics were fairly obvious and easy to come by. The fact was that there were as many as 400 doctorate programs in the Dallas-Fort Worth/North Texas area compared to one such program in the Border area.
Keywords: Kingsville, TX; Miguel Nevárez; Rio Grande Valley; South Texas Border Initiative; the Valley
Subjects: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Partial Transcript: “I live in the Valley. I’ve retired. A lot of people asked me, ‘When you retire, where are you going to go?’ I said, ‘I’m going to go here.’ This is where I live, this is where my house is, this is where my children were born. This is where I worked most of my life. I like the Valley, and so I want it to continue to make it better better.”
“I don’t think I was surprising anyone with the information that I found. What it did was confirm what they already knew and felt. And so I think, sometimes, it’s just a question of gathering the information you need to support the point you’re trying to make.”
Segment Synopsis: Von Ende has a deep affection for the Valley and he wants to continue to improve educational opportunities in the region for as long as he can.
Keywords: LULAC; Rio Grande Valley; the Valley
Subjects: South Texas; South Texas Border Initiative; University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Voces Oral History Project
School of Journalism
University of Texas at Austin
Interview Subject: Frederick (Ted) von Ende
Interviewer: Hwa Jin (Jina) Chung
Number of Recorded Segments: 1
Interview Length: 01:33:49
Introductions and Overview (Report)
00:00:00 - 00:00:23
Introduction of Dr. Frederick (Ted) von Ende.
00:00:23 - 00:01:56
An overview of Dr. von Ende's life as it relates to the changes that came aboutas a part of the South Texas border initiative.
"I was involved in the beginning when I was asked to prepare a presentation or areport, back in 1987."
The Presidents of the five state universities in South Texas were asked to puttogether a presentation for the Texas Higher Education coordinating board to express what they felt was lacking in higher education in South Texas.
Dr. von Ende was working at Pan American University at that time (currentlyUniversity of Texas -- Pan American), and President Miguel Nevárez asked Dr. von Ende to attend the meeting of the five presidents. He did so. They decided that Dr. von Ende should put together the report for them.
"They wanted to provide some background that would explain why we needed moreresources in South Texas than we had."
00:01:56 - 00:04:39
Dr. von Ende talks about the process in which he took over the writing of the report.
"I don't want to cast any aspersions on them, but they didn't give me a wholelot of direction."
However, he agreed to do it, and was paid for his work. This happened in lateApril or May of 1987. He had that summer off, and he spent that summer doing the report. He devised a three part background study, looking at the demographics of the South Texas area as compared to the rest of the state, in terms of ethnicity, age, educational attainment, poverty, level of income, and other information of that nature.
"I did most of that research in the Pan American library, using mostly census statistics."
In his second "chapter," he compared the higher education opportunities in theSouth Texas border area with what was available in rest of the state, focusing primarily on the variety of degrees available, number of graduate degrees, graduate programs available (particularly doctoral and professional programs such as medical school and law school.)
"The demographic analysis showed that the majority of the population in theSouth Texas border area was Hispanic. At the same time, the evidence showed that the educational level of attainment was below the rest of the state, the poverty level was higher, and sort of things like health and things of that sort also showed disparities between the South Texas area and the rest of the state."
00:04:39 - 00:05:19
"As far as higher education opportunities were available, people had to travelfurther in South Texas to get to where there were graduate degrees."
He gives an example that there was only one doctorate in the whole South Texasborder area at the time, at Texas A&I Kingsville (currently Texas A&M University -- Kingsville.)
"It was a doctorate in bilingual education. There were no professional degrees available."
00:05:19 - 00:06:11
They presented the evidence in a booklet. Dr. von Ende wrote out a narrative.
"The idea was that this was going to be the background information forpresentation that the presidents were supposed to make for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in July."
As July approached, he was told that they had postponed that presentation untilOctober, but that he should continue working on it. He did so.
"I made graphics, I made tables, I made charts and things like that thatillustrated the evidence that I was finding."
00:06:11 - 00:07:44
"I wrote an introduction to what I consider to be a third part, which was: basedon what we found in the first two parts, what do we think we need to create greater opportunities in South Texas?"
However, the work was put on a back burner. Dr. von Ende says this was becausecollege presidents tend to focus on the most immediate problems.
"Dr. Nevárez always referred to it as 'putting out fires.' And apparently theyhad other fires to deal with. The coordinating board, apparently, had lost some of its interest in getting this presentation done."
As August arrived, Dr. von Ende needed to get ready to go back and teach.
"So I asked President Nevárez, 'What should I do with this material I puttogether?' He said, 'Well, just write it up and send it to me.'"
So Dr. von Ende wrote the report and sent it to him. He then went back toteaching in the English department.
00:07:44 - 00:08:38
Later that year, he got a call from the president's secretary, telling him theywere getting ready to print the report, because they wanted to distribute it.
"I said, 'Wait a second. That report is not finished.' I said, 'It ends in themiddle of a sentence.'"
The secretary talked to the president, and president asked Dr. von Ende to, "Goahead and finish it up anyway."
"They liked what it had in it, that it would be useful."
Dr. von Ende was also asked to write an executive summary, and he did so.
"Since it was fairly long, the summary ended up being about 10 pages long."
00:08:38 - 00:09:49
"The next thing I knew, [the report] was printed, and then sent out to people.As I understood, it was sent to all of the legislators, all of the Texas state legislators, I guess other education officials in the state. I know that, eventually, I got calls from Arizona, California, asking for copies of it."
"And I was really kind of embarrassed about it, because it wasn't finished.Because nobody had ever told me what they wanted to put in that third part. But I assumed that it was the statistical analysis that demonstrated that there were disparities between higher education in South Texas, particularly where the Hispanic population was heaviest."
Involvement in the Lawsuit
00:09:49 - 00:11:24
He was contacted a year after that by the people at MALDEF in San Antonio. Theytold him they were interested in his report, and wanted to know if they could use it in the lawsuit that was being filed on behalf of Hispanic students in South Texas, against the state.
"I was a little hesitant about that, because it turned out that the university Iworked for was one of the defendants. I wasn't really sure what my status was, in that regard. Whether I would get fired, reprimanded, or what, if I was to deal with it."
He contacted Dr. Nevárez and said, "Listen, they want to use that report inthis lawsuit. And we're part of the defendants."
Dr. Nevárez told him to go ahead and let them use it.
"I think this is going to be a case where if we lose, we win."
00:11:24 - 00:13:09
Eventually Dr. von Ende was notified that he would be involved in the lawsuit.He was subpoenaed to be deposed on it.
"I came down to Brownsville for a court trial in the court of Gilberto Hinojosa."
"I was nervous, because I wasn't real sure what we were going to do."
"During the trial, the lawyers from MALDEF, included Norma Cantu who wasactually a graduate of Pan American college, and Al Kauffman, who was one of the lawyers from MALDEF, were the ones who presented me. My concern with them was that they presented me as an expert on higher education. I thought that might be a bit of an exaggeration, because I have a PhD in medieval English literature, and [the court] was wondering what in the world I was doing, testifying about higher education."
00:13:09 - 00:16:33
Dr. von Ende was cross-examined by one of the assistant attorney generals of theState of Texas, as the state was one of the defendants in the case.
"He was tough on me. He started off by asking me about my statistical expertise.He asked me if I had a doctorate in statistical analysis, and I said 'No sir, I have a PhD in medieval English literature.' He looked like, 'What are you doing up there?'"
"And then he said, 'Well, did you take courses in statistical analysis in yourdoctoral program?' I said no. I mean, I did a little bit of statistical analysis, but I was doing technical analysis of medieval poems, in which I was looking at their rhyme schemes and things of that sort."
"Then he said, 'Did you major in statistics in your undergraduate degree?' and Isaid, 'No, I was an English major.'"
"And he kept bearing down on how little statistical experience I had."
"At some point, he finally asked me, 'So why do you think people should acceptwhat you've done as evidence of a disparity in the resources?'"
"And I said, 'Well it seems so obvious.' I said, 'One of the things that I hadfound in the statistics was that there was one doctorate available in the South Texas area' -- the one I talked about at Texas A&I -- Kingsville -- 'and 400 available in the North Texas area around Dallas.'"
They asked him where he got that evidence.
"I said, 'From the coordinating board. It was in their reports. All I did was goin and count them.'"
"Again he said, 'Why should we pay any attention to your analysis?'"
"I said, 'Well it seems so obvious to me. I mean, it was obvious to an Englishteacher, it ought to be obvious to anybody.'"
Dr. von Ende says he remembers Judge Hinojosa nodding at the bench after hearinghim say that.
"And that made me feel good."
"By the time that phase of the trial was over, I felt like I could walk outunder the door without opening it, because they had made me seem so small."
"But the MALDEF people thought I had done fine."
00:16:33 - 00:18:13
Later, Dr. von Ende testified before a higher education committee at the statelegislature. He talked about some of the things that he had written in the report.
"Again, I was pretty nervous, this is not something that an English teacher istrained to do."
He remembers Senator Carl Parker asked him what it was that he wanted.
"I said, 'Well, I wanted what everybody else wanted down in South Texas: morehigher education opportunities. We thought that would improve everything across the board if we could get that."
Senator Parker replied, 'What if we gave you this? Then would you be satisfied?'
"I remember that I said, 'Senator Parker, I'm an English teacher. I would neveradmit to being satisfied with anything. There's always room for improvement.' I don't think he really liked that."
Career and Work in University Administration
00:18:13 - 00:21:12
Dr. von Ende talks about his involvement with the university's administration.
"I had gone down to the Valley to teach at Pan American college as an Englishteacher, but in the course of that I got involved in college service. I had been on the faculty senate. I was chairman of the faculty senate three times, so I had worked fairly closely with the president, Dr. Schilling at the time, who was a fairly gruff man. He was a very big man; he was an ex-professional football player. He was about 6'4" and weighed over 300 pounds. And he was intimidating for many of the faculty members."
"When I went on to the faculty senate, which he didn't particularly like, we metin an obscure room that seemed to be hidden away from anything. And the chairman of the faculty senate, when I first went on, kept saying, 'We shouldn't take that up, the president wouldn't like it.'"
"And I thought that was kind of chicken. And so I said that a couple of times,and the next thing I knew, I was chairman. Which, I'm not real sure I really wanted to be chairman, but I was. And it seemed to me at the end of faculty senate meeting after that, they would pass a resolution saying that the chairman of the faculty senate would go talk to the president about this particular issue. And so I was over there quite a bit."
Dr. von Ende said he and Dr. Schilling got along fairly well.
"He kept telling me that everything we kept asking for was stuff that they haddealt with years before, and it kept coming back up."
00:21:12 - 00:23:23It wasn't too long after that when Dr. von Ende received acall from the president's office to come and join his office for a year, because the Board of Regents they had at the time didn't have a real manual to go by. They wanted an actual Board Manual, and asked Dr. von Ende to write that, which he did. By the time he had finished it, they had other things for Dr. von Ende to do, and he stayed on in this "temporary" administrative position for four years.
During the last of those years, Dr. Schilling had decided to retire, and theyneeded someone to help run the presidential search. Dr. von Ende was asked to do that. The result was the appointment of Dr. Miguel Nevárez as president. When Nevárez became president, Dr. von Ende asked to go back to teaching full-time. This was in around 1981.
00:23:23 - 00:24:25
About halfway through that, they were involved in the institutional self-study,which is how they received their accreditation. The person that was supposed to be writing the self-study, who was one of Nevárez's closest friends and personal advisors, passed away after a heart attack. President Nevárez asked Dr. von Ende to step in and be the editor for the self-study. Dr. von Ende agreed. Afterward, he went back to teaching.
00:24:25 - 00:25:25
Dr. von Ende received another phone call because the English department washaving a "civil war."
"All English departments constantly have civil war."
"The person who was the chair of the department at the time needed to beremoved, and they didn't want anybody who was already involved to do it."
Dr. von Ende was asked to be the department chair. He had been departmentchairman before and didn't really want to do that again.
"I'm not that inclined to do administrative work."
Dr. von Ende was asked to take over for just one semester, which he did. Afterthat semester, he was able to go back into teaching.
"I got back to teaching, which again was my preference."
00:25:25 - 00:28:22
He received another call asking for Dr. von Ende to be the chair of theStrategic Planning Committee, after the merger with the University of Texas system.
"And so I started being the chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee."
The administrative officer that they were supposed to work with decided to leavehis position after a semester, and there was no one in that office.
"All of a sudden we had reports due to the state and to the UT system on ourstrategic plans. Again, I was asked to take a temporary position in the administration in the Office of the President. This was supposed to be half-time for one semester, then it turned out to be three-quarter-time for another semester, and then it turned out to be full-time for 12 years."
"I had never once in my life applied for an administrative position. That wasn'twhat I wanted to do."
He became the director of Institutional Research and Planning, which evolvedinto Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. He was the university's chief planning officer, chief assessment officer, and in that process, became responsible for the university's involvement in the South Texas border initiative. He went to meetings and wrote reports on the university's progress in the South Texas border initiative.
"Most of my involvement in the South Texas border initiative, although it wasrewarding, was all kind of accidental. It wasn't something that I went out and sought to do. I am proud of what happened because of it, but I think it was mostly accidental."
00:28:22 - 00:28:59
After 12 years in the Office of the President, Dr. von Ende asked if he could goback to teaching, because he was getting fairly close to the end of his teaching career.
"I'd like to finish as an English teacher, that's what I came to be."
President Nevárez stepped down a year later.
Summary of the Impacts of the South Texas Border Initiative on his Life
00:28:59 - 00:30:08
Dr. von Ende summarizes how his life was impacted by the South Texas Border initiative.
"That's how it affected my life. In particular, I learned the road to Austin alot better than I ever had before."
People around him said to him that he had a really cool job, because he got totravel to Austin all of the time.
Dr. von Ende says that in reality, he just went up to Austin, checked into ahotel, went down to the State Capitol and stood around "for hours and hours," and went back to the hotel.
"And a couple of days later, you drive home. It's not that exciting."
"But I did learn a good bit about the political side of higher education."
As he had a career in teaching English, he knew about the academic side, butthrough the experience, he learned a lot about finance, buildings and other things that really made him "understand the whole complexity of higher education better."
00:30:08 - 00:30:53
Dr. von Ende describes his childhood as "very ordinary."
He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but "almost immediately started moving south."
"And that process has continued through most of my life."
They moved soon after he was born, to Bethany, West Virginia, where his fathertaught music. Then they moved to Denton, Texas.
00:30:53 - 00:32:51
Dr. von Ende started his education at a demonstration school at Texas StateCollege for Women (currently Texas Woman's University).
Then the family moved to Abilene, Texas, where his father taught at McMurryCollege. He went to public schools in Abilene. He had to walk to school every day by crossing a creek.
"It was only about 200 yards and the creek was almost always dry, but I still walked."
He went to Davy Crockett Elementary School which a brand new school that wasacross the street from where they lived. He went to South Junior High School in Abilene, and then to Abilene High School.
"I did not like high school. We were a very overcrowded high school and we hadto go in shifts."
It was either early in the morning or after dark at night. He was in the earlymorning shift.
"I don't have any real pleasant memories of high school, because of, I guess,the way that high school was."
00:32:51 - 00:33:20
"I wasn't really involved in much extracurricular activities. I was in the bandin junior high but I couldn't play very well. So I was not invited to continue in high school. My father was a music teacher, so I'm sure I was a disappointment in that my musical talent was very limited."
00:33:20 - 00:34:26
Dr. von Ende started working when he was a boy. His first job was a paper boy,and he had a paper route.
"We didn't get an allowance when I was growing up, but any money we earned awayfrom the house was ours to keep. And although we had a lot of chores to do, those chores were limited if we were working outside the home. So it didn't take very long before we learned 'go get a job and you get that money.'"
He also took odd jobs, such as painting houses, picking pears, doing yard work.
00:34:26 - 00:34:56
He then got a job in the grocery store, which he kept all the way through highschool and college.
"When I was graduating from college, I was offered an opportunity to go into amanagerial training program with the grocery store chain that I worked at. But I didn't really want to be a grocery store manager."
00:34:56 - 00:35:20
"I didn't know what I wanted to be, but I went to college in Abilene. I went tothe school where my parents taught."
His father was the head of the Fine Arts department, and his mother was aceramics teacher.
00:35:20 - 00:36:38
Although there wasn't a great epiphany, he decided that he needed to take hisstudies seriously in college.
"I didn't have to do very much in high school."
He focused on his studies while continuing his job at the grocery store. He wasalso a student aide to one of the foreign language teachers. He was involved in one of the social organizations, edited the school literary magazine, was the President of the English honor fraternity Sigma Tau Delta, and was a part of student government.
His extracurricular activities helped him get a fellowship to work on adoctorate at Texas Christian University.
"I don't think of anything as being very unusual about my growing up."
00:36:38 - 00:37:28
"My family expanded our little house, doubled the size of it, doing most of thework ourselves. My father was the builder and my brothers and I were the labor."
"I guess I learned from that. I liked building things, I liked making things. Icontinue that to this day as I do wood working. I have done a lot of the remodeling at our present house myself."
Career and Teaching
00:37:28 - 00:39:26
When asked what influenced his decision to be a professor at University of Texas-- Pan American, Dr.von Ende answered: "I think not knowing anything else to do."
"I decided my first day in college to be an English major. Everybody assumedthat I was going to be a teacher -- everybody except me. My parents were both teachers, and I didn't think I wanted to be."
He majored in English and minored in foreign language. He received the NationalDefense Education Act Fellowship, which was intended to increase the number of people gaining doctorates in the arts. It guaranteed him three years of tuition and fees at Texas Christian University.
"I still didn't have the idea that I was going to be a teacher. But when you'rein a graduate program, and particularly in something like English, there are not a whole lot of other professional job prospects out there. As a graduate student you kind of eventually make your way to the other side of the desk. Before I knew it, I was a teacher."
00:39:26 - 00:40:53
After he finished his fellowship, he taught a year at TCU as an instructor whilehe did most of his research for his doctorate dissertation.
When it was time to start looking for a more permanent position, two friends ofhis who he had known at TCU had gone down to Pan American college. They encouraged him to apply there, and he was offered a job that "looked pretty good" because they didn't have a lot of teachers with either advanced degrees or close to advanced degrees. They had been trying to build that into their program, because they wanted to become a university.
He told his wife they would go down to the Valley for one year or two, and thenthey would go someplace else. She agreed with him.
"Forty-two years later, I said, 'I'm going to retire now.' And we never did leave."
00:40:53 - 00:41:41
"I really enjoyed teaching, I found out. I got to do much of what I wanted tobecause there was nobody else in medieval literature. So I got to create courses, I got to pretty much plan my own schedule. As I said already, I got involved in the service side of the university so I got to be on a lot of committees, the faculty senate, and then a couple of administrative jobs. I was department chair once, and then I was department chair again by accident."
00:41:41 - 00:42:45"But I had a marvelous time. The students were good. I alwaysfelt like the students I got to teach at Pan American benefited more from their education than the ones that I had at Texas Christian University. I don't know that those that I taught at TCU changed their social standing or things like that very much."
00:42:45 - 00:43:20
"The majority of the students that I taught at Pan American were firstgeneration students. They truly benefited from it. They would go from families that were very poor to families that were at very least middle class. They had professional opportunities. It was a rewarding kind of experience.
00:43:20 - 00:48:14
He taught a class on Harry Potter in his last three years of teaching before he retired.
"I enjoyed creating new classes."
His daughters had been reading the Harry Potter books and he felt like he shouldread them to see what the big deal was. He observed how the books got thicker from the first book to the last book.
"They kept growing and growing, and yet people were standing in line, childrenwere standing in line to read these books. And it really intrigued me."
After reading them, he was fascinated in the way that the characters in thestory grew.
"I offered the course, and it was a sellout."
Students were begging to get in, and he wasn't sure how to deal with that.
"It was a lot of fun. My experience had not been that you could expect the wholeclass to have read the lesson when you went to class. Boy, this time, they knew more than I did about these books."
"It was a really fun teaching experience for me."
Dr. von Ende and his wife Catharyn are going on a trip to England later thisApril, and will visit the Warner Bros. studio to see the making of Harry Potter.
Meeting His Wife, Catharyn
00:48:14 - 00:50:44
"We met at college. Actually, we are said to have met when we were younger.Catharyn's father was a Methodist minister, and the college that I went to was a Methodist supported college. For a period of time, he was the minister at the church that first met at the college and then built a church right across the street. They tell us that we probably did meet when we were six, or seven, or eight. Eight or nine?"
He started college in 1960. He was a junior and had come back from a conferencein Vermont, New York and western Massachusetts. He had heard that one of his club brother's identical twin sisters came to college. One of the sisters was Catharyn.
"For our first date, I asked them both out."
They went to a Chinese restaurant, and had coffee.
"Which was about as much as I could afford."
Catharyn appealed to him more, and they started dating. According to Mrs. vonEnde, another date was their first date.
"As I explain to her, I paid for the coffee, so it was a date. Even if it wasboth sisters."
00:50:44 - 00:53:06
They got married soon after he graduated. They set the wedding date for August1, but realized that both would have to quit their jobs. They were getting ready to leave so that Dr. von Ende could go to graduate school. They did not have much money at this time, so they postponed the wedding date two weeks. Mrs. von Ende's father was to be the one who married them, because he was the minister. He had put their wedding date in his appointment book in ink. It was the first thing he put in his appointment book in ink.
"And we had to change it. The second time it was in pencil."
They married and went to Fort Worth, Texas. They lived in a universityapartment. Mrs. von Ende worked as a secretary in the music department, and Dr. von Ende studied in graduate school.
"It was one of the lucky parts of my life. To run into her."
They've been married for fifty-two years.
"I was going to say fifty-three, because time flies when you're having fun."
First Impression of the Border Region
00:53:06 - 00:54:40
"I think the first impression was, are you sure there's anything down here?"
Pan American college consisted of about seven one-story buildings. They had comefrom TCU, which had had a nice campus.
However, he says the experience of working at UTPA was very great.
"And it was growing. I don't think I'm solely responsible for its growth, but itgrew a whole lot while I was there, so I had to have done something."
00:54:40 - 00:55:06
"Now the campus is huge. They're always building something new. We now have anew medical school that we didn't have before. So it has had a major impact on the area."
"But our first impression was: this is going to be tough."
"But it turned out to be good."
Reasons for Examining the Availability of Advanced Degrees in the Border Region
00:55:06 - 00:56:41
"It was one of those things that everybody that I knew, knew, that the resourcesand the degree programs and things of that sort were not comparable in the South Texas area to what they were in the rest of the state."
"The same thing was true with things like highway development and other stateprograms for the area. It didn't have the political power, it didn't have the economic power and so on, in the South Texas area to cause the state to look at that area. It was particularly true with trying to get more higher education resources. And in that we mean both programs and resources like libraries, buildings and so on."
00:56:41 - 00:57:19
"I think one of the things that happened because of the report is that it put itdown in ways that people could understand. 'These are the characteristics of the people that live in this area, and these are the statistics that show what kind of higher education resources they have.'"
"There was a general feeling that if we can raise these resources, the lives ofthe people who lived here would be better."
Disparities in College Experiences
00:57:19 - 00:58:16
"I think I knew from the first time I went to college that graduate study, orprofessional degrees, were an option beyond. I knew that, even as an undergraduate, if I had wanted to major in something, I could pick a school where it was available. It didn't turn out for me, because I was pretty much limited to the college where my father taught. But I knew that they were available within reasonable distance."
00:58:16 - 00:58:50
"What was true here, for the vast majority of our students, I think, they werethe first to go to college. Their families couldn't really afford it. Luckily, about the same time, financial aid became more available. Many of the veterans coming back from the Vietnam War had the GI bill to go to school on. So they were beginning to get those opportunities, but they were limited."
00:58:50 - 00:59:30
Pan American College became a university in 1971.
"I remember it being difficult trying to get our programs approved by thecoordinating board. There was also a good bit of rivalry among the institutions in South Texas, because we didn't really get together to present a unified front. And I think that was one of the efforts that this booklet was supposed to help do."
00:59:30 - 01:01:08
"I know that early on, as I was an adviser for English majors, I would discoverstudents that I knew who took my classes that I thought would benefit by going on to higher levels. Frequently, the response was, 'I can't, because I'd have to go someplace else and my family can't afford it.'"
One of their responses that impressed him a lot was when they said they couldn'tpursue their masters or get a doctorate because they'd have to let their siblings go to college first.
"'I can't just keep on going while they're not being able to go at all.' Sothey'd graduate, go to work, many of them as teachers, and then help put their brothers and sisters through [school.]"
With the South Texas initiative, they began to add more programs likeengineering and more science programs. They also added more master's and doctoral programs where they didn't have to travel so far.
At one point, they had to go 250 miles to get to where a doctoral program was available.
Further Information on the Report
01:01:08 - 01:03:04
Dr. von Ende was careful about having some sort of evidence when puttingtogether the report.
"I don't want to say that I had already come to a conclusion before I started,but it was pretty obvious that the people in the Valley weren't as wealthy; they didn't have as much education."
"I looked for things where I could back up what I had to say with statistics --that were not things that I made up. Things that I could find in official reports. That's one of the reasons I went to the official census. I also went to the metropolitan statistical areas because they became the best kind of comparative."
01:03:04 - 01:03:38
"I don't have any background in statistical analysis, but the stuff I found wasso obvious. The level of educational attainment was so much lower in the Valley than it was in the rest of the state. And they weren't my statistics; they were the ones I found."
01:03:38 - 01:03:53
"I think I was just trying to provide some credible evidence for what everybodyalready seemed to know."
01:03:53 - 01:05:32
To Dr. von Ende, the discrepancy in the number of doctorates was the mostintriguing piece of information that he came across while gathering evidence for the report.
"I had no idea. I mean, I knew there weren't any at our school. At that time,there weren't any really other places in South Texas except for the one at Kingsville."
He said that when he start looking at the coordinating board's evidence, he feltthat they were very proud, for example, at the dozens of doctorate degrees in music at North Texas. However, they counted each doctorate degree in cornet, trumpet, and trombone as a separate doctorate.
When Dr. von Ende counted what degrees were available, there were 400 in theDallas-Fort Worth, North Texas area. And there was only one where they were.
"I said, 'You can't deny that kind of evidence.'"
Someone said to him, "Well that's not really true, we don't have that many doctorates."
To which Dr. von Ende replied, "Well the coordinating board says."
"It was almost as if they didn't want to admit that that was true."
01:05:32 - 01:08:08
Explains why he decided to approach the issue from the issue of race.
"One of the things that was pretty clear to anybody who lived in the South Texasarea was that the Hispanic population was the majority population."
"I could look out at my classes; the majority of the students in my classes wereHispanic. The people who lived in our neighborhood were Hispanic. The people you ran into at the grocery store were Hispanic."
"It was obvious, from the time I first went to work at Pan American, that themajority of my students were Hispanic."
He remembers working very hard at learning to pronounce the names properly, sowhen he called roll on the first day of class, he wouldn't mispronounce their names. He went to the secretary who was Hispanic, and asked for help so he could say them as well as possible.
"It's not something you ignore, it's there."
"It didn't take me long before I found ways of incorporating the nature of ourstudents into some of my assignments."
For example, in his freshman composition classes, he had students writedefinition essays on Spanish words that were migrating into English, so that they would show up in English publications, but as Spanish words, like barrio.
"It was a fact of life."
01:08:08 - 01:09:08
"I enjoyed my time working for Miguel Nevárez. I guess I wouldn't have stayedwith him for 12 years if I hadn't."
"I guess I wanted to do my part to help improve the lots of the people I lived with."
01:09:08 - 01:11:37
Response to the question of how being his race/ethnicity factored into his experience.
"I knew that I was not Hispanic, but I had been around Hispanics, certainlybefore I came here."
Two of the people he worked with at the grocery store in Abilene were bothHispanic. He admired them the most, because they worked harder than anyone else. One became the store manager after he had been passed over more times than he deserved. The other was a very hardworking person who seemed to be teased, or discriminated against.
"I don't think of myself as a civil rights person by any means. When I firstwent to McMurray College, it was pretty much segregated. There were a few Hispanic students, there was one black student -- and he was the first. I guess I had enough civil rights urge in me to be part of a boycott of a drugstore across the street that wouldn't let Morris Baker eat there. And it worked; we got them to quit doing that."
He never had any problems with people of other ethnicities.
01:11:37 - 01:12:24
Explains why he was chosen for the task of writing the report.
"I don't know that it was important for my voice to be heard. I'm glad it was."
"I think I was picked for the responsibility of doing this report, because I hadworked with the administration before and I had produced when they had wanted something produced. And so I guess I was reliable."
"It certainly had more impact than I expected to in the beginning."
01:12:24 - 01:13:00
Talks about the impact of the report.
"I don't know to what extent it was responsible, along with the lawsuit thatMALDEF filed, of which mine was of apparently some fairly significant evidence, that it made the legislature start paying more attention to the South Texas area."
Changes in the Border Region
01:13:00 - 01:13:53
"The plaintiffs won here in Brownsville, but the verdict was eventuallyoverturned. But by the time it was overturned, the legislature was actually beginning to develop what turned out to be the South Texas Border Initiative. And they began to provide more money for degree development, for building development, and so on. For scholarships, and so on, for the South Texas area.
"And that has, in my mind at least, continued from that time on."
01:13:53 - 01:15:39
"We were 3,000 students when I went down to Pan American in 1968, and recently Ithink we were pretty close to 30,000."
"The need was there, we just had to make more opportunities available so that wecould handle more of the students."
During this time, a community college was also started in South Texas, nowcalled South Texas College. He was in a planning office at that time, and although many people expected them to oppose the community, for it would take away from their students, they predicted that it would actually add students in the long run.
"It broadened the base of higher education, while we were trying to extend theheight of higher education. And that has turned out to be the case."
South Texas College now enrolls far more than 30,000. Together, they've morethan doubled what has become available.
"I think a lot of is that change of attitude that South Texas deserves to havemore higher education resources."
Response to the Ruling being Overturned
01:15:39 - 01:16:31
His response to hearing that the ruling would be overturned.
"I was sad. I thought that there was a pretty good case. I think what thegeneral outcome of that was that the suit had been based on the idea that Mexican Americans in South Texas were discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity. The court eventually ruled that, yes, there was disparity, but it wasn't because of intentional discrimination."
"In the long run, it didn't make a whole lot of difference, because the impactof it was to make more resources available."
Reactions Regarding the Report
01:16:31 - 01:17:53
The responses that his report received.
"The only responses I got were from MALDEF, which liked it a whole lot, from afew legislators who said, 'This is what we needed as evidence.' I don't know that the public ever knew about it."
"I did get some calls from Arizona and California wanting copies of it, but forthe most part it was hidden. Even just about the time I retired, I went by the President's office and there was a shelf of them sitting up there. I have no idea what they did with them, I suppose they shredded them or took them to the recycling or something."
He talks about how several of his reports had been shelved.
"That's just part of it. You don't hit a homerun every time."
01:17:53 - 01:18:56
Student responses to hearing that he wrote the report that was foundational forthe court case.
"Eventually I told students that I had participated in this. I don't know thatit meant a whole lot to some of them."
He taught technical report writing, and one of the things they emphasized inthat course was writing up the result of a statistical analysis. So they sometimes used some of the data used in his report. The students' tasks were to explain the data.
"That's the point. You can't just put the statistics out there; you have toexplain what they say."
"So those students knew about it."
01:18:56 - 01:20:22
The report was left unfinished in the third chapter. Dr. von Ende was asked ifhe thought it was necessary for another report to be done on higher education in South Texas today, and continue that chapter.
"I think it might be beneficial. I think one of the things it would show is whatI thought was going to be asked in that third part has actually happened."
There are more graduate degrees. At UTRGV, there are more engineering andscience courses.
"We have now a medical school, there's continuing talk of a law school."
"The difference between what was available back then and what is available nowis significant."
"And perhaps somebody needs to go in and say, 'Here's what we had then, here'swhat we have now, let's keep going.'"
01:20:22 - 01:21:11
His motivation to keep this case relevant.
"I live in the Valley. I've retired. A lot of people asked me, 'When you retire,where are you going to go?' I said, 'I'm going to go here.' This is where I live, this is where my house is, this is where my children were born. This is where I worked most of my life. I like the Valley, and so I want it to continue to get better."
"As an educator, I believe that one of the main ways you get better is by havingmore education. I don't think that'll ever quit being something that motivates me."
01:21:11 - 01:21:48
The main lessons that Dr. von Ende learned from this experience.
"I think sometimes the information is there, you just have to present it."
"I don't think I was surprising anyone with the information that I found. Whatit did was confirm what they already knew and felt. And so I think, sometimes, it's just a question of gathering the information you need to support the point you're trying to make."
01:21:48 - 01:24:01
How Dr. von Ende feels about the current status of the universities in theborder region.
"I think they're a lot better than they were when I came. I think they probablywill continue to get better. I think South Texas, sometimes for the wrong reasons, but many times for the right reasons, is getting more attention from the state than it used to. I think some of that comes from what happened because of the South Texas Border Initiative."
"As a part of all of that, the university I was involved with became part of theUniversity of Texas system, and that has meant a lot to the people in the Valley. The other schools became part of Texas A&M. Since those two systems tend to be kind of rivals, as everybody knows, Texas A&M is now opening a campus in McAllen."
"I think what people are saying is, 'There's a lot of people down there. There'sstill a lot of scrub brush between San Antonio and the Valley, but the Valley itself is growing rapidly.'"
"I think it's just making everybody more aware of what's here."
01:24:01 - 01:24:26
Of the changes, more opportunities in post-baccalaureate degrees gives him thebiggest hope for future change.
"As an educator, getting more advanced degrees available so that people can gobeyond the bachelor's degree, without having to leave the area they live in."
01:24:26 - 01:25:16
"I'm looking forward to the first of the students at the medical schoolgraduating. I think eventually we will get a law school some place in the Valley."
"The more opportunities there are, I think the better things are.
01:25:16 - 01:27:14
When asked which of his accomplishments he is most proud of, he talks about his daughters.
"We're proud of what they've done."
01:27:14 - 01:29:13
Dr. von Ende is happiest when he's reading. He says all of the books he readhave been influential in his life. He is a fan of the King Arthur stories. His one of the poems he worked on for his doctoral dissertation was from the King Arthur stories. He liked the stories of knighthood and chivalry since he was a boy. He made the study of the King Arthur stories one of his specialties.
01:29:13 - 01:30:55
He's always been sort of liberal, and he doesn't think that's changed a wholelot. He grew up in a family of teachers and they didn't have a whole lot of money. He then went into a profession that doesn't create that much money.
"Money has never really been a big thing."
"I don't know that my feelings have changed a whole lot. I still love the same woman."
01:30:55 - 01:31:35
"I think I became more sensitive to the disparity that existed. I didn't go outnecessarily and protest things or anything like that, that hasn't been my nature. I always felt like if you could just fix things that are right around you, you do your part."
01:31:35 - 01:33:48
Dr. von Ende expresses that he is glad the oral history project is being done.He shares his thoughts on why some of the things in Latino/Hispanic history has been left out of our "normal," "everyday" rhetoric.
"For a long time, the Hispanic population has not been great enough in thenorthern part of the state and the country to have made that much of an impact. It's certainly doing so now. There's more Spanish in the English language than there used to be. There's certainly more Mexican cuisine in the society than there used to be. You can look at ads now where before everybody was white, and now there are people of color in advertisements. It's obvious that progress is being made in a cultural way.""We've had it for years down where we live. It's time the rest of the world woke up."