Dorlan D. Mork oral history interview 1, 2014 July 7
In this first of two interviews, Dr. Dorlan D. Mork, long-time employee of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and close friend and neighbor of Bonnie Cone, reflects on his own career and on the life and legacy of Dr. Cone. He begins by commenting on his early life during the Depression and tracing the history of his education and career before discussing how he came to UNC Charlotte in 1972 and came to know Bonnie Cone. Dr. Mork describes what UNC Charlotte’s campus was like in the 1970s, both in structure and spirit, and recounts the shaping of the university from the perspective of the administration, faculty, and students. He shares personal anecdotes about Bonnie Cone concerning conversations he had with her, some of her common sayings, and her relationship with his children and with the students at UNC Charlotte throughout her life. He describes her character and consistency and explains how her parents and upbringing shaped her values. He shares his opinion of the chancellorship going to someone other than Bonnie Cone and recounts the treatment of her by university administrators and the athletic department through the years. Dr. Mork also recalls his efforts to find her an office on campus around the time of her retirement. Other topics include the philosophy and development of the College of Human Development and Learning (later College of Education) at UNC Charlotte; the College Downs neighborhood where Dr. Mork, Dr. Cone, and Dr. Loy Witherspoon lived; Bonnie Cone’s relationships with Oliver Rowe, Elmer Garinger, and her great-niece Genevieve Barnhart; her affinity for roses and UNC Charlotte basketball; her fundraising efforts; her involvement with the Boy Scouts; her declining health in her later years; and her burial on campus.
Biographical / Historical
Dr. Dorlan D. Mork was an 82-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place in his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was born in Iowa in 1932. He was educated at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, at Western Carolina University, and at the University of Florida and was a National Science Foundation Fellow at the College of William and Mary, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Florida. He was employed as an instructor for the Continental Army Command Airborne and Electronics Test Board with the United States Army; as a high school teacher and Director of Adult Education for Independence Public Schools in Independence, Iowa; as an Instructor of Education, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor of Education at the University of Northern Iowa; as Research Associate and Assistant in the College of Education at the University of Florida; as Director of Learning Resources and Associate Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and as Director of the Charlotte Wildlife Refuge in Stanly County, North Carolina.