MOREHEAD—What wasn’t said at Morehead State University Tuesday was more dramatic than what was said.
Everybody stood around waiting to see if Dr. Adron Doran was going to hang it up on his 23rd anniversary. He looped into nostalgia and poetic rendition as would a man in a swan song, but came full circle and left everyone just where he found them.
Nearly four months ago word began filtering out that the long-time president of MSU was seriously considering retirement. Asked, he indicated he was thinking about it, but awaited a satisfactory budget for his institution from the General Assembly. Tuesday he praised that budget, so it must have been satisfactory.
Still, he hadn’t committed himself to quit. Only three days previously, his alter ego, Dr. Robert Martin of Eastern, had announced retirement. Word floated around Morehead that at the meeting of the Board of Regents he would retire and be replaced in interim by Dr. Morris Norfleet. Long-range speculation has been that Dr. Ray Hornback, now a vice president at University of Kentucky, will be Doran’s eventual successor, though that speculation rests on no surer footing than other concerning retirement. Nothing was said at the meeting about the matter.
There are some new factors, pro and con, for retirement, mostly designed to draw Doran out but more likely to cause him to draw his cloak more tightly about him. Martin’s announcement might amount to something of an upstage move if he followed so soon upon it, so that did not pull him out. The Louisville Courier-Journal has been calling for his resignation, based upon its feeling Doran has been using University agricultural show horses for his own aggrandizement. Whatever the Courier-Journal says, Doran is likely to do the opposite.
If and when Adron Doran ever does step down, Eastern Kentucky will lose its Camelot. His public parties, visiting grandees, performing troupers, and even his own smiling ride on the back of a MSU show horse are something out of King Arthur. There’s no one else around quite like him.
And when he addressed a breathlessly-anticipant audience on Tuesday, he spoke in those dulcet tones cultivated as a legislator-preacher-teacher, and most of what he said came in classic rhythm. Dramatically, he closed:
“When will the end come? Let me reply to you ‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep. I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.’”
And away he rode, still in the saddle.