Interview with Dr. Marius Carriere, current Professor of History and Political Science at CBU
Amber- "Hello! My name is Amber Campbell, and I am here with Dr. Carriere. We will be discussing the Kenrick Memory Project. As you know, Kenrick will soon no longer be. So the first question is “Why did you decide to become a teacher at CBU?"
Dr. Carriere- “Well back in the 1980s, CBU was one of the schools that had an opening in American History. So, I applied for it. And I interviewed for the job, and I got it.”
Amber- “Did you teach any classes in Kenrick Hall?”
Dr. Carriere- "All of my classes were in Kenrick. This is the first semester ever that I have not taught in Kenrick Hall."
Amber- “What was your first thought when you entered the building?”
Dr. Carriere- “It was ancient. It didn’t look too good. There were no carpets on the floors. There were hardwood floors, hardwood floors that squeaked badly. I like to walk around the room during discussion. I had to limit my movements because it squeaked so badly that students in the back couldn’t hear what I was saying, and I have a pretty loud voice. So that was interesting, and I can’t remember exactly when they started putting carpet down on the floors. But it was probably before the 1990s. I don’t think they did every room, just kind of pieced it. But the carpeting did help, it didn’t eliminate the squeaking but it did help a lot. Of course they lowered the ceilings to put in AC ducts, not in the classroom but in the hallway.
And transoms allowed light and ventilation, because I’m sure in 1940 when the building was built it didn’t have any air conditioner, so it was basically high ceilings and cross ventilation.
But those transoms were lost because they used most of them for the duct work in each room. And of course the hallway, my guess is that it was about three to four feet for the duct work to go down the first floor and the second. Well it lost part of its aesthetic value by lowering those hallway ceilings. What was also interesting were the lockers in the hallways. And some students, even up until this past spring 2014 still used those lockers.”
Amber- “What was your first Kenrick experience?”
Dr. Carriere- "The experience was of the noise of the classroom because that was the awakening to realizing that this is not totally acceptable. We used to administer the ACT exams. The vice-president was the administrator for the exam, and I helped her and I took over from her. CBU was initiating a large evening program, and the evening program also included Saturday classes. That’s when we gave the ACT exam. Often times their schedule and our schedule didn’t correspond. So it got increasingly noisier, and the ACT got complaints. So we finally shut it down. I guess it was sometime in the 1990s. We just couldn’t do it any longer because the evening classes would take breaks during the test."
"Now you’re a Memphian right? You know the name Xavier Crawford? Big football player. U of M recruited him big time. Another experience, I was administering the ACT exam, Xavier Crawford was taking the ACT here at CBU, and he was required to have photo ID. He didn’t have his photo ID. He said do you honestly need an ID for me, and I thought he was right. Everyone knew who he was so I said go right in and take the test. That was another experience that I had that was remarkable."
Amber- “What was your best Kenrick moment?”
Dr. Carriere- “My best moment was teaching an upper division history class. Several of the students were struggling, and I got them around after class one day, and I said let me explain what you need to do. I laid it out pretty clearly to them how they needed to work in an upper division history class. The ones I talked to all turned things around from maybe a low C to B’s and A’s. That was very exciting to see that all these people needed was a little talking to, a little experience to get back in to the groove of being in a college atmosphere. So that was a good experience.”
Amber- “What is the difference between teaching in Kenrick and in another building such as Buckman?”
Dr. Carriere- “Kenrick never had white boards when I first came here. A colleague of mine couldn’t teach in Kenrick because he was allergic to the chalk dust. He went over to Buckman early on. One thing that Dr. Broadwell mentioned to me was that we could walk over in a climate controlled access. In Buckman you have to get back out in to the elements. That’s a big difference."
Amber- “Does it feel weird being in another building?”
Dr. Carriere- “It does. It’s kind of an annoyance. I don’t know how the students like Buckman. But a lot of students like Kenrick. A lot of students were actually mad that they weren’t going to renovate Kenrick. I can understand the cost if it was going to be significantly different. It would have been nice to see it renovated. It’s an interesting building. It’s 74 years old now. The first room in Kenrick was the business office, and the education rooms were on the east side.
When I first got here there were only a couple classrooms, and I believe that was where the principal’s office was.
And maybe where the secretary’s office was on the south side. They turned that into office space, and one remained a classroom. It was a major change. Sometime in the 80’s they made an honors college room, for a classroom and a lounge area. Then they took some classroom space on the west side for offices and a lab for the psychology people. There have been some changes but nothing significant.”
Amber- “How do you feel about Kenrick being torn down?”
Dr. Carriere- “As I said earlier I would prefer that they renovate. Students would prefer that they renovate it. It’s too bad that they couldn’t do that. I like keeping history, especially architecture. It could have been renovated nicely and adapted to a 21st century use very easily."
"I have one more experience. I was teaching a classroom and it was balmy so the windows were up and a guy was picking up his girlfriend and blasting music. I went out there and started reaming him out. He got out and turned out to be 6’9, 275 pounds. He apologized and I said 'Don’t let it happen again.' I was happy because he could have beat me. I was just glad.”