University Libraries Records George Mason’s History

Posted: May 17, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Kate Passin

The young age of George Mason University provides historians with a unique opportunity–the chance to speak with George Mason community members who have been at the university since the early days of its existence. Special Collections and Archives (SCA), a department in University Libraries, has taken advantage of this singular perspective by creating the George Mason Oral History Program.

The purpose of the ongoing program, which formally began in the fall of 1999, is to acquire information about the university’s physical, social, and academic development by recording and preserving the oral histories of George Mason community members who have been at the university for a significant amount of time (about 25 years) or who have made an important impact on the university’s history.

Paul Koda, SCA librarian and head of the project, stresses oral history’s importance. “If we don’t capture people’s memories, their experiences, their understandings and observations of the university, then we will lose that forever,” Koda says.

Through the assistance of Robert Laws, a graduate research assistant in the department, nearly 50 university personnel have already been captured on tape, and as the collection grows, the program will be expanded to cover more angles and different points of view. “Our primary responsibility right now, however, is recording the university’s history, because if that disappears it will be impossible to recover it,” says Koda.

See the full story in the May issue of the Mason Gazette.

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