OH! Queens College Oral History Pilot Project 

Project Coordinators:  Bette Weidman, Syd Lefkoe, Steve Barto

The Queens College Oral History Project began in Spring 2003 as a collaboration among Voices of Old Technology - A Museum in the Making, the American Studies Program, and the Rosenthal Library / Archives, with strong support from the Office of Information Technology (OCT) and Alumni Affairs.  It has expanded to include a broad-based group of faculty, staff, alums, and retirees.  We are very grateful to the many volunteers and friends of the project who have worked together in creative ways in order to make this project a reality and a success.

The mission of the Queens College Oral History Project is to document various aspects of life at Queens College throughout its history, and to locate and facilitate communications among related projects within CUNY.

We inaugurated the Oral History Pilot Project by starting to approach alums, retirees, faculty and staff, and current students on a small scale, seeking volunteers to participate in video oral history interviews.

We are beginning to post some historical documents about the college on this website.

We have also begun work on a  CUNY Oral History Consortium.

Formal Kickoff May 29, 2003
The formal kickoff activity for this Oral History Pilot Project was held on May 29th, 2003 with volunteer interviewees from the Class of 1953 who came back to be celebrated at Commencement, the 50th anniversary of their graduation.  Eighteen alums were interviewed on videotape that day --- some in groups, some in individual interviews.  Interviewers all began with a basic interview structure, and encouraged talk on a wide variety of related topics, such as academics, sports, faculty, social life, issues of the day, student activism, educational / office technology, the neighborhood, and anything the interviewee wanted to share.

Volunteer interviewers, schedulers, people movers, and videographers were all energized by the interviewees' perspectives on their experiences at Queens College, and by their enthusiasm, good spirits, and willingness to help us expand our understanding of our history in this way.

As part of Homecoming 2003 on October 4, 2003, President Muyskens presented a Certificate of Appreciation to each of the 18 alums we interviewed on May 29th.  May 29th interviewees who did not attend Homecoming will be mailed their certificates.

We are reviewing the results of those interviews, and will report on them and develop plans to move ahead with more interviews.  Additional volunteers with a variety of connections to Queens College have already generously agreed to be interviewed.  We hope to begin to solicit additional volunteers and conduct more interviews soon.

Thank You, Class of 1953!
We will always feel a special link to the Class of 1953 for its help in many ways during the first stages of this exciting new project.  Thank you, Queens College Class of 1953!

The following is the initial information sheet sent in April 2003 to the QC Class of 1953 as part of an Alumni Office mailer about the May 29, 2003 festivities for their 50th Anniversary Class:
           [ HTML Version]           [ PDF version (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)]

In the News / On the Web

FYI / Queens College Faculty and Staff News, November 2003, page 4 - left hand sidebar.

Alumni Affairs - Homecoming, October 4, 2003; pictures of Dining Hall Exhibits (History Room).  The Oral History Project shared the "History Room" with Voices of Old Technology - A Museum in the Making and with the QC Archives, creating a variety of perspectives on our history.

For more information, contact one of the Project Coordinators:

        Bette Weidman - Associate Professor, English Department; Program Director, American Studies;
                                        718-997-4633; Bette_Weidman@qc.edu.
           Syd Lefkoe  - Associate Director, Financial Aid Services; Curator, Voices of Old
                                        Technology - A Museum in the Making; 718-997-5115; syd@qc.edu.
                Steve Barto - Rosenthal Library / QC Archives; 718-997-3650.

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