Oral History

Oral History

 

Overview

The Oral History Program records the real-life memories and perspectives of those who experienced the history of Carnegie Mellon University. These interviews do not just inform listeners of the events’ histories—they tell the story of how the events were experienced.

The Oral History Program is based in the University Archives and conducts, collects, and makes available audio and video interviews with CMU alumni, faculty, staff, and other members of our community. Archivists conduct the interviews and preserve them in the University Archives for future generations.

 

Interview Excerpts

The Oral History Program’s collection includes over 30 oral history interviews with new interviews being conducted and documented nearly every month. Watch the trailer for the program along with a few excerpts from our collection.

 

 

Anita Newell, who graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1947, studied library science at Margaret Morrison Carnegie College at Carnegie Institute of Technology, and she received her master’s in library science from Columbia University. She worked as a Librarian at Westinghouse Research Laboratories for more than 30 years. Newell provides insights into her experiences growing up in a Jewish family in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She discusses topics such as education and discrimination.

 

 

Vivian Davidson Hewitt, who graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1944, received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017. Hewitt studied library science at Margaret Morrison Carnegie College at Carnegie Institute of Technology, and after graduation, she became the first Black librarian in the city of Pittsburgh at the Wiley Avenue Branch of Carnegie Library. Later Hewitt served as Chief Librarian for the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Hewitt discusses her childhood and education, as well as examples of her experience with discrimination and prejudice.

 

 

Manuela Veloso, who received her Ph.D. in Computer Science School of Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1992, currently holds the position of Herbert A. Simon University Professor at CMU and is the Head of J.P. Morgan AI Research. Veloso is the founder/director of CORAL research group, which produced the Co-Bots and the CMDragons, CMU’s soccer playing robot team. Veloso is also the co-founder of The RoboCup Federation and founder and co-Director of the “V-Unit”, a project-based course for graduate students to have an opportunity to grow a vision on how technology can address and impact societal problems. Veloso discusses her childhood, education, and how AI is integral to the inventions and developments of her and her teams.

 

 

Podcast

Cut Pathways, a podcast developed by the Oral History Program at Carnegie Mellon University, showcases different pathways students and faculty take to navigate their experiences in higher education. This podcast draws on the Oral History Program’s growing archive of oral histories to take an honest look at higher education, exploring themes of culture, equality, and access to education, as well as catalytic points of personal growth, technological innovation, and creative development. Each recorded history is full of funny anecdotes, follies, triumphs, hidden connections, and, occasionally, in-the-moment realizations. Cut Pathways is hosted by Katherine Barbera and David Bernabo.

Listen to the first season of Cut Pathways on Podbean or your favorite streaming service.

 

Participants

The Oral History Program interviews faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Carnegie Mellon community about their life experiences. After the interviews, the oral history team processes, edits, and transcribes the recordings according to the procedures and best practices of the University Archives. We then share the recordings and the transcripts with participants before we open the files for research. We also send finished copies of the files to participants to keep for their own use.

We welcome nominations to the program and maintain an active list of more than 100 interview candidates. If you are a member of the Carnegie Mellon community and are interested in participating in an oral history interview or if you would like to nominate someone for the program, please contact Katherine Barbera, Archivist and Oral Historian and Director of the Oral History Program, at kbarbera@andrew.cmu.edu.

 

Donate

It is through the remarkable generosity of our supporters that we are able to record these oral history interviews. Please consider supporting our work by making a donation to the Oral History Fund.

For more information, or to inquire about specific giving opportunities, please contact Morgan Walbert, Associate Director of Development, at mwalbert@andrew.cmu.edu.

 

Contact

All oral history recordings are available through the Carnegie Mellon University Archives. Full interviews, including transcripts, are available by request.

For more information please contact Katherine Barbera, Archivist and Oral Historian and Director of the Oral History Program, at kbarbera@andrew.cmu.edu.