Members of UTSA’s Retired Faculty Association (RFA) have embarked on an oral history project to record and preserve testimonies of the university’s early history, recalled by the very individuals who helped shape it. The recordings will become part of The Institute of Texan Cultures Oral History Collection housed at the UTSA Libraries University Archives.
The goal of the project is to capture and archive faculty statements in regards to UTSA’s development, making them accessible for future historical reference and interpretation.
“We are just collecting the data and our stories are being stored in the University Archives for historians and their students who would like to examine them later,” said Marian Martinello, RFA president. “The older this university gets the more these early days are going to be viewed as significant precursors of where its gone, to see things we can’t see now, but can only be seen in hindsight.”
In spring and summer of 2013 Sarah Gould, lead curator at the Institute of Texan Cultures, trained 11 RFA volunteers to conduct interviews and record oral history. The RFA has since recorded 28 interviews. The recordings are then shared with the UTSA Libraries where they are saved to the digital archives and can be accessed online from around the world.
“As a relatively young campus, UTSA is in the fortunate position of having living faculty who can discuss what it was like building a new university from the ground up,” said Julianna Barrera-Gomez, digital archivist. “Through coordinating the collection of oral histories with these retired faculty members, the RFA is making available a rich and highly valuable trove of multiple memories and viewpoints to scholars and the community.”