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Celebrating excellence and opportunity—150 years of UW Oshkosh history

About the UW Oshkosh Campus Stories Oral History Project

The Campus Stories Oral History Project is a multi-year project designed to collect the memories of UW Oshkosh alumni, faculty and staff as a way of helping document the past sixty-five years of campus history.


By conducting oral history interviews, we are able to engage the past by tapping the unique and very personal perspectives of people who experienced it.  When interpreting the events, lives and ideas of the past,  historians make use of original records created by individuals from earlier times.  Conducting oral history interviews allows us to go beyond these records and ask new questions, discover new interpretive angles, and recover fascinating untold stories untold.

In 2021, UW Oshkosh will turn 150 years old. In that Sesquicentennial year, much focus will be made on our institution’s rich history.   To help celebrate and interpret that history, UW Oshkosh will use the Campus Stories Oral History Project.  Doing so will hopefully help us fill in holes in our institutional history and, equally important, allow individuals tied to the campus to get their perspectives recorded in their own words.  

Throughout the next several years, UW Oshkosh students enrolled in QUEST III courses, will act as oral historians for the Campus Stories Oral History Project.  These students will engage former students, faculty and staff through one-on-one recorded interviews.  As these Quest III students interact with those who earlier inhabited the campus, they’ll hone important critical thinking skills as well as take responsibility for a lasting addition to the campus historical record.     

150 years of UWO:

In 1871, UW Oshkosh was formed as the third state teacher training institution in the state.  Over the years, as the school grew in size and mission, it was known by several names.  In the school’s centennial year, Oshkosh, along with its sister Normal schools, joined the University of Wisconsin System, thus becoming an integral part of Wisconsin’s unique network of public higher education institutions.  Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, UW Oshkosh will celebrate its place as one of the oldest institutions in the city as well as one of the five oldest “masters universities” in the state.     

Individuals involved with this project:

  • Joshua Ranger (University Archivist) – Coordinator of prospective interview subjects and responsible for collected and preserving recorded interviews.  Contact Mr. Ranger for your general Campus Stories questions.
  • Jeffrey Pickron (History lecturer) – Instructor of the Quest III course. Lead trainer of student oral history methods.
  • Stephen Kercher, Ph.D. (Edward H. Rudoy Professor of History and History Department Chair)-Project consultant.

Types of Narrators:

The Campus Stories Oral History Project seeks individuals willing to share their stories about attending or working at/with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh from 1950 to 2015.   We hope individuals will share stories about topics such as Greek life, the experience of student nurses, the work to change the University’s calendar and improve quality, meaningful classroom instruction, Model UN, the impact of Title IX on athletics, dorm life, and the establishment and growth of the Multi-cultural Education Center, among many others.  No story is too small.  

Narrator Experience:

Interviewees, commonly called “narrators” by those who practice oral history, will be invited to participate in oral history interviews at the UW Oshkosh Alumni and Welcome Center.  Free and easy parking will be arranged for all narrators.  Narrators unable to visit campus could be interviewed in their homes or over the telephones.  Interviews will typically take 45-60 minutes to complete.  After the completion of the interview, narrators will be asked to donate the oral history interview to the University Archives where it will be preserved for use in University historical research projects for the Sesquicentennial and beyond. Use of portions of the interview could include, but may not be limited to, audio video projects, articles and books. A copy of the interview will be provided as a thank you for the narrator’s time and effort.  As is common practice in oral history, narrators will be asked to identify themselves as part of the interview.

Take a listen to many of the interviews that have already been recorded by visiting the Campus Stories website from the University Archives.

Nursing Students
Anti-apartheid rally
ROTC Class
Titan TV