The history of the University of Southern California represents the combined creativity of talented faculty, staff, and students for more than 125 years. Today, USC is a world-class university. Thousands of men and women have contributed their scholarship, research, teaching, mentoring, and administrative skills to create our institution. In addition, their contributions were preserved for posterity in historical treatises, books, research papers, and written recollections. Today we live in the information age with myriad ways to digitally preserve people, events, and thoughts with the latest technological resources.
The Emeriti Center is the campus locus of retired faculty and staff who are the living embodiment of the historical evolution of the university. Their minds are the repositories of the past and their talents created it. To preserve and codify this historical mosaic, the Emeriti Center, and the H. Dale Hilton Living History Project has videotaped many key campus contributors over the past 25 years. Those who are videotaped are retired faculty and staff of USC who have collectively made the university what it is today. The interviews are eclectic remembrances of major campus events from the 1940s to the present: the evolving academic environment, administrative restructuring, and research/teaching accomplishments.
When the funding for the H. Dale Hilton Living History Project ran out in 2005, Louise Ball took a leadership role in securing an unused USC endowment established in her son’s honor, and had it transferred to the USC Emeriti Center so that the interest would help fund Living History interviews. The endowment funds approximately two to three interviews per year. We are indebted to Louise for helping to establish this special endowment.
The selection committee consisted of Chair Louise Ball; Interview Coordinator Christine Shade; Campus Facilitator Claude Zachary, University Archivist; and a board of seven emeritus staff and faculty during the years prior to 2010. Currently, the Emeriti Center is generating new members for the committee in conjunction with Jerry Walker, Dick Martin, Jean Ewing, Claude Zachary, Casey Kazlauskas, and many others. All interviews are recorded with the assistance of the staff of TrojanVision and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and we are very grateful for their technical expertise.
Most of the interview collection was digitized in 2006, and current protocol calls for the immediate digitization of any new interviews to make sure that all interviews are available in the DVD format.
A select number of Living History interviews can also be viewed online at USC’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/usc). Scroll down to the “Videos” box, type “USC Living History” into the search field, and click the “Search” button. You will then be able to access the interviews currently available on YouTube. Additionally, USC Employee Gateway has posted the latest 30 videos online: bit.ly/USClivinghistory.