“I ended up square dancing with Nobel laureates,” one alumnus recalled. “I just witnessed a footnote!” said another. “The day you start as a professor here … people call you as though you are an expert in whatever it is they want you to talk about.”
Over the course of its history, Harvard has been home to hundreds of thousands of people who have as many stories to tell. As it celebrates its 375th anniversary, the University is launching Harvard Stories, a video oral-history project that showcases engaging personal narratives from members of the Harvard community.
“This project enables Harvard community members to tell their own stories about the impact the University had on them,” said Christine Heenan, vice president for Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. “Harvard Stories is a mosaic of compelling individual tales that reflects the remarkable diversity of talents and accomplishments Harvard has fostered.”
For many of the interviewees, the Harvard experience changed expectations — about the people they met, the lessons that they learned, and even the campus that they encountered. The project began recording interviews in February. More than three dozen are already available online, and many more will be released over the next year.
”More than just an archive, Harvard Stories uses the power of technology to connect alumni across the map, and across time,” said Tamara Rogers, vice president for Harvard Alumni Affairs & Development. “It gives our community a new way to share their Harvard experiences.”
The Harvard Stories project has collected nearly 100 personal tales so far, and it will continue to collect interviews at alumni and campus events throughout the year. By May 2012, the project will expand to include videotaped stories submitted by faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Members of the Harvard community who are interested in telling their Harvard story are encouraged to visit http://stories.harvard.edu/contact to learn more.