About the Project

Photo, Hokie Pride

The Virginia Tech LGBTQ Oral History Project had its beginnings in the Ex Lapide Society members’ concern with documenting their history. Latanya Walker, Director of Alumni Relations for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, facilitated early meetings on discovering this history.

In fall 2014, David Cline, Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Public History, taught two courses, Introduction to Oral History (undergraduate) and Oral History: Methods, Theories, and Practice (graduate), both of them focused on LGBTQ history in the South. As part of these classes, students conducted 18 original oral history interviews with Virginia Tech faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Dr. Cline and University Archivist Tamara Kennelly also conducted oral history interviews and they, as well as several of Dr. Cline’s graduate and undergraduate students, are continuing to interview through spring 2015.Dr. Cline’s fall 2015 undergraduate class, Introduction to Oral History, will again focus on LGBTQ Southern/VT history and will again conduct oral history interviews.

An additional 9 oral histories were conducted in the summer of 2015 by Megan Lee Myklegard, winner of the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Creativity and Innovation grant for undergraduate research and creative scholarship. Oral histories from this project, titled: “Bridging the gap between LGBTQ alumni and current students,” will be made available as part of this exhibit in the coming months.

Jean Elliott, Communications Director for the College of Liberal Arts and Science; Sharon Leon, Director of Public Projects at Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and Associate Professor of History at George Mason University; and Mark Weber, class of 1987, are on the project’s advisory board. Kennelly is Project Coordinator. The timeline and website was designed by Adrienne Serra, Technical Archivist in Special Collections.

If you have materials to donate, questions, or concerns, please contact University Archivist Tamara Kennelly (tjk@vt.edu). Physical materials will be made available through the reading room of the Special Collections Department of the University Libraries, which is located on the first floor of Newman Library.

This online exhibit was built using several free and open source tools. The website was built in Omeka, a platform created by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. The timeline was built using TimelineJS, a tool created by the Knightlab at Northwestern University, and the oral histories were synchronized, indexed and displayed using the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer created by the Louie B. Nuun Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky.

A special thanks to everyone who has worked hard to help put this project together, including (but not limited to) Tamara Kennelly, David Cline, Latanya Walker, Adrienne Serra, Claire Gogan, Bryanna Tramontana, David Atkins, Megan Lee Myklegard, Laurel Rozema, Anthony Wright de Hernandez and Francis Kayiwa.