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Date: Sep 17, 2010
Hofstra Oral History Project launches website to celebrate 75th Anniversary
Audio and video interviews chronicle experiences of faculty, staff, students, alumni and local residents across seven decades
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY - A year-long project to compile an oral history of Hofstra University's first 75 years has reached a milestone of its own: launching a website that features slideshows, audio and video clips that tell the University's story through the eyes of those who lived it.
The project, led by history professor James A. Levy, Ph'D, and Geri Solomon, assistant dean of special collections and university archivist, involved 11 student interns who were trained as oral historians during the Fall 2009 semester and then embarked on interviews with more than 100 people during the Spring 2010 semester. Highlights of their work, in the form of photo essays, slideshows and audio documentaries, can be found at www.hofstrastories.com.
The entire project, transcribed and processed, will eventually become part of the university's Special Collections and serve as the basis for a permanent, expanded oral history collection.
The project selected subjects from a group of over 350 people affiliated with the university in some way in an effort to compile an oral history that spanned seven decades and represented a broad range of constituencies. Levy and Solomon will continue to accept suggestions for additional subjects through December.
"This was a labor of love as much as it was an academic endeavor," Solomon said. "I am so proud of what we've accomplished, and how much students were involved in putting this all together."
The stories are, by turns, deeply moving, intensely personal and often funny accounts of Hofstra's history through the years, as those closest to the university describe how Hofstra shaped them, and how they helped shape Hofstra.
Novelist Nelson DeMille, Class of 1970, describes his experience at Hofstra during the Vietnam war era, and how much the campus changed between the time he began his studies, and when he returned, after serving in the Army. English professor and alumnus Barbara Bengels recalls what it was like, as a pregnant faculty member, to get stuck in the middle of a student protest. And President Stuart Rabinowitz recounts how, as a young law school graduate who had never lived outside New York, he applied for faculty jobs across the country, only to end up being captivated by a fledgling law school on Long Island.
"The effect on the students was amazing," Levy said. "The way they stretched themselves, what they learned about interviewing people, and from the subjects themselves, was extraordinary."
For more information about Hofstra's year-long 75th Anniversary celebration, go to www.hofstra.edu/75
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from about 150 undergraduate and more than 160 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business; engineering; communication; education, health and human services; and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. The University also provides excellent facilities with state-of-the-art technology, extensive library resources and internship programs that match students' interests and abilities with appropriate companies and organizations. The Hofstra community is driven, dynamic and energetic, helping students find and focus their strengths to prepare them for a successful future.
Related Link: Hofstra Stories