Oral history project captures alums Marywood memories

Committee members from left: Kathleen Munley, Ph.D., C.M.F.C., professor of history at Marywood University; Yeslene Rivera, undergraduate student; Ann Williams, M.A., director of alumni engagement; Leon John, M.A., associate director of alumni engagement; Sara Woolsey, network support technician; Denise Maurer, secretary for the social science department; and Sherry Frable, public relations coordinator.

Autumn Granza, Community Editor

With the centennial approaching, members of the Marywood community are working on projects that showcase Marywood’s history. One project in particular is seeking Marywood alumni participation.

The project, Memories of Marywood, will be an oral history of Marywood. Marywood alumni will be asked to call a special telephone number where they can then record one of their Marywood memories.

The project is a combined effort between the social sciences department and the office of alumni engagement. Dr. Kathleen Munley, professor of history and Leon John, associate director of alumni engagement, wrote a proposal for a centennial grant. These grants provide up to $2,500 for projects related to the centennial. Marty O’Connor, telecommunications manager, also assisted in the preparation for this project.

Sr. Anne, whose office offers the grants, approved the “Memories of Marywood” proposal last November.

Munley and John then formed a committee, whose members also include Ann Montoro Williams, director of alumni engagement; Sherry Frable, public relations coordinator; Sara Woolsey, network support technician; Denise Maurer, social sciences department secretary; and Yeslene Dijol, senior history major..

Phase one of the project is reserved for alumni. Their voices will be recorded via telephone. Phone lines for the project opened on March 1.

When an alumnus calls, there will be a voice recording instructing them to agree that they will be recorded and will then have a few minutes to say their memory.

The student spearheading the project is Dijol. Dijol will be in charge of checking the memories that come in and taking the recordings and storing them on a hard drive for future use.

“I think this is great,” said Dijol. “There are so many alumni all over the place, so the hotline to share a memory is perfect.”

Dr. Munley, professor of history, hopes that a second phase will take off and involve administration, faculty, and staff.

“I thought it would be nice if alumni would call in and briefly record their memories,” said Munley. “I am an alumnus and throughout the years, Marywood has changed and grown, and there are things that aren’t here today that were here in the past that were very nice. I would think that some alumni would like to call and say, ‘I remember when…”

Dijol will also attend alumni events with a digital recorder. to record alumni stories.

Dijol said, “The memories I’ve heard at the alumni events have been all really personal experiences…One in particular was a man who met his wife here and got to marry her on campus. It doesn’t have to always be about sports or classrooms… It’s like a spiritual experience.”

Once Dijol graduates, Munley said she hopes to bring another public history minor on board.

“I am looking forward to alumni calling in with their comments. I think the end result will be a very interesting history of the years of Marywood University,” said Munley.

The recordings will be available to the public when the project is complete. The project will be in Marywood’s archives and Munley said she hopes to eventually house it in the new Learning Commons. As of right now, she  said there is no official date as to when the project will be ready for the public.

“This project allows us to collect the memories from generations of alumni through their own voices ensuring their memories will never be forgotten,” said Woolsey.

Alumni interested in participating can call 1-800-338-4207 or (570) 348-6258. For more information visit, http://100.marywood.edu/memories