Marymount Manhattan

Introducing the Marymount Manhattan Oral History Project

June 26, 2014
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    MMC Student Francesca Negron interviews Marianne Liegey ‘64 for the Oral History Project
Every spring, Marymount Manhattan College welcomes alumni back to campus for Reunion Weekend – a celebratory event for old friends to re-connect and new friends to be made. At each Reunion, there are opportunities to reminisce with classmates and to remember the special years in New York City as Marymount Manhattan students.

This year, the Office of Institutional Advancement collaborated with Dr. Lauren Erin Brown, Assistant Professor of History, and her students to make Reunion 2014 even more special. Dr. Brown welcomed the approximately 150 attendees to participate in her MMC Oral History Project, a student-led initiative to record and archive the experiences of Marymount Manhattan students throughout the College’s history.

Originally a two-year college for women, Marymount Manhattan has evolved over its 77-year history into a diverse, gender-progressive community of nearly 2,000 students representing 48 states and 60 countries. Through Dr. Brown’s project, the stories of alumni over the past seven decades will be recorded and preserved for future generations to learn of the College’s evolution – from the Great Depression and World War II, through the Civil Rights and LGBT movements, to today’s Internet-savvy, entrepreneurial, socially conscious students.

Three students, all history majors, interviewed alumni throughout the day: Quiniva Smith, Jailenn Morel and Francesca Negron. The students asked questions ranging from how alumni’s majors shaped their careers to their memories of the neighborhood, classmates, and professors. The students were able to interview 27 contributors to the project, some participating in groups with fellow alumni. Many of the participants spoke about their activities outside of the classroom, including those who protested the Vietnam War and many who were the first women in their fields. Following the experience, Jailenn Morel said, “This is the best thing I’ve done in my time here at Marymount Manhattan.”

“The MMC Oral History project is meaningful not just for capturing the history of our College – a notable women’s institution, now a progressive liberal arts school with a long and dynamic relationship with the City – but also for its ability to highlight amazing stories of change.  Political protest, the feminist and gay rights movements, the move of women into business and science – Marymount Manhattan graduates have, in ways big and small, made history. This project lets them tell their stories. We’re looking forward to documenting more and appreciate alumni support and enthusiasm so far!” said Dr. Brown.

In the coming year, we plan to share the MMC Oral History Project stories via a digital, searchable archive. If you are interested in being kept up to date on the MMC Oral History Project, or in being made aware of our next round of interviews, please contact Dr. Lauren Erin Brown at lbrown2@mmm.edu.

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