From the Director: Celebrating the Oral History Class of 2016

The 2015-2016 school year recently wrapped up at the Oral History Center with what has become a new and thriving tradition: the annual Oral History Graduation! In late April or early May over the past four years, we have hosted our commencement ceremony in which we celebrate the oral histories completed over the past year. This special event gives us an opportunity to thank our interviewees for the often considerable time they give to our projects and to the sponsors who make those projects possible.

This year we were especially honored to have many of our interviewees in attendance, including: former head of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission Will Travis, labor leaders Dave and Carole Sickler, former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, Emeritus Vice President for Health Affairs for the University of California Cornelius Hopper, jazz pianist Gildo Mahones, former City College of San Francisco president Del Anderson Handy, St. George Spirits founder Jorg Rupf, Berkeley legal scholar Jack Coons, winemaker Zelma Long, paleontologist Bill Clemens, and, last but not least, Bernice Grimes, Kay Morrison, Mary Torres, and Marian Wynn, who were interviewed for our Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front oral history project. We also were honored by attendance of Howard Friesen, who along with his late wife Carmel provided OHC with a substantial endowment that will allow us to develop ever more important projects in the years to come.

At this year’s Oral History Class of 2016 event I had the privilege of introducing our excellent staff members to the attendees. It is always a special occasion when we add a new person to our team and this year I was thrilled to introduce Todd Holmes as a member of our staff for the first time. Todd started with us in mid-April and in just six weeks time has already started to make important contributions to the intellectual life of the office. I encourage you to check out the “From the Archives” piece Todd wrote on our 1978 oral history with former California Secretary of State March Fong Eu. You’ll also want to see the excellent profile on Todd written by our now seasoned oral historian Paul Burnett.

Martin Meeker
Charles B. Faulhaber Director