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Founding Faculty Oral History

Project provides historical record of memories, experiences during CSUMB's early years

Photo by: Steve Zmak
Group photograph of CSUMB faculty, staff and students taken in 1995.

SEASIDE, Calif., June 5, 2020 - Honoring our 25th anniversary, the university has completed the “CSUMB Founding Faculty Oral History Project: 1995-1998,” its first sponsored institutional oral history project. The project includes interviews with 33 retired and current faculty members and photographs taken during those formative years. Interviews and supporting materials are accessible through the Digital Commons @ CSUMB.

The project “aims to create and preserve a historical record, giving voice to the diverse perspectives, memories, struggles and achievements of the faculty, as it worked collaboratively and sometimes contentiously, crossing disciplinary and other divides, to build the academic heart and soul of the university,” according to its introduction page.

Photo by: Steve Zmak
Humanities & Communication professor Cecilia O'Leary on stage (center) with other faculty members including Qun Wang, Richard Bains and Rina Benmayor in 1995.

All academic areas are represented — arts, humanities, science, social sciences, education, business, technology, social work and service learning — at all levels, including lecturers who later became full professors and deans.

Project director Rina Benmayor said participants hope future resources will enable the project to continue and include a greater number of faculty and their experiences in subsequent years. The offices of the President, Provost, and the Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, as well as the Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library team, provided funding and support for the project.

The original recordings, hard copy transcripts and other descriptive materials will be archived in the CSUMB Oral History and Community Memory Archive, within Archives and Special Collections in the library. Interviews were conducted by an "insider" team of founding faculty, Benmayor said. The interviews run from 40 to 90 minutes each. All were audio-recorded, either face-to-face or via videoconferencing.

Interviews were professionally transcribed and lightly edited for clarity and readability. In keeping with professional oral history practices, narrators reviewed and revised their transcripts, signed release forms, and indicated how they wished their interview to be used or restricted. Restricted material is not publicly available.

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