Nominate someone who’s made an impact at UC Berkeley and we’ll interview them for an oral history
The Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library has been around since 1953 and we’ve been documenting the history of UC Berkeley ever since. Is there a Berkeley faculty, administrator, or staff person — past or present — who’s made an impact on campus? This is your opportunity to nominate someone who has made an outstanding contribution to campus life — or to the teaching, research, or public service mission of the university — and we’ll interview the selected candidate for posterity.
They’ve made a difference at UC Berkeley. Who are you thinking of right now?
Nominations for the “Class of ’31 Oral History” are due by June 30, 2021. (Nomination form.) If you have any questions, please contact Oral History Center Director Martin Meeker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Selection criteria for nominees include willingness of the nominee to participate, uniqueness of the nominee’s story, and level of contribution to campus life, among others. This oral history honor has been made possible by a generous endowment from the class of ’31.
A spirit of gratitude
Upon the fiftieth anniversary of their graduation, hundreds of members of the Berkeley class of 1931 “joined together,” as class president Lois L. Swabel put it, “in a spirit of gratitude and admiration for their alma mater” — endowing an oral history series through The Bancroft Library. Their goal was to recognize the university for the “strength and skills” gained through a Berkeley education, and honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the community. Past interviews have celebrated campus leaders as diverse as Fred S. Stripp Jr, rhetoric instructor who has been described as the “heart and soul” of the Berkeley Debate Team, Anne DeGruchy Dettner, pioneering researcher at the Berkeley Radiation Lab (now Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), and our most recent honoree, Susan Graham, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, whose oral history is currently in progress.
Documenting UC Berkeley’s contributions through oral history
Over the years, the Oral History Center has interviewed hundreds of UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and alumni. You can learn about their experiences through The Berkeley Remix podcast series, including the episode Once in a Career Fire, about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, and the Let There Be Light season, including Berkeley Lightning, about game changing technology developed by Berkeley Engineering faculty and students.
Honorees interviewed for the Class of ’31 Community Leaders series can be found within the Education and University of California – Individual Interviews and throughout our collection. Oral history projects about UC Berkeley consisting of multiple interviews include: Athletics at UC Berkeley, The Free Speech Movement, UC Berkeley History Department, The Originals (African American Faculty and Senior Staff), and SLATE (student political organization, 1958–66). Even more interviews of Berkeley alumni, staff, and faculty can be found in various projects throughout our archive. Reaching back to the class of 1895, these include narrators who were influential as educators, labor organizers, suffragists, scientists, community organizers, philanthropists, novelists, artists, and much more. More than 200 of these can be found in our Berkeley Women 150 oral history collection guide.
Find these and all our oral histories from the search feature on our home page. You can search by name, key word, and several other criteria.