First in the Family

 East Carolina University's Centennial Oral History Project

East Carolina Teachers College 1932 Commencement photograph

"This website features twenty interviews conducted in 2008 as a cooperative effort of the University Archives and East Carolina University's Cenntennial Task Force to document the experiences of first-generation graduates of the university. With funding provided by the North Carolina Humanities Council, the project's planning committee met with Dr. Lu Ann Jones, professor of history at the University of South Florida, to develop a theme and procedures for the project. The interviews were conducted with alumni who were the first members of their families to earn a four-year college degree. Interviewees were selected from the following time periods: 1909-1945; 1946-1965; 1966-1985; 1986-2005. The interviewees represent the spectrum of students on campus during each time period. Trained interviewers asked alumni to discuss their family background, home community, college experience, and the impact their education has had on their lives.

The interviews demonstrate how these students, with the help of dedicated teachers, expanded their horizons, grew in wisdom, and contributed to the betterment of their communities. They document East Carolina University's key role in the cultural, economic, and political development of Eastern North Carolina. The university hopes that these interviews will aid students, faculty members, and other researchers who are interested not only in the history of ECU, but also in the experience of first-generation college students."
Statement by Maurice York, Assistant Director for Special Collections in 2008

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