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"Voices of University High: 50 Years Later" Receives National Oral History Award


The Oral History Association recognized “Voices of University High: 50 Years Later” at its October 2017 annual meeting with the Elizabeth B. Mason Project Award, which honors exemplary oral history work of significant historic, scholarly and social value.

Andrea L'Hommedieu,
University Libraries oral historian, and
Christian Anderson,
associate professor of higher education,
stand together in the
Wardlaw College courtyard.

"Voices of University High," a graduate student-driven project, documented the voices of alumni of the Columbia, South Carolina public laboratory school and training ground for teachers that opened in 1932 and operated out of Wardlaw College at the University of South Carolina.

The project developed through conversations between Christian Anderson, associate professor of higher education at the College of Education, and Andrea L’Hommedieu, University Libraries oral historian.

L’Hommedieu visited Anderson’s Evolution of American Higher Education class prior to the University High project to give his students instruction on oral history as a method for historical research. In fall 2016, the 50th anniversary of University High School’s closing, they decided to take it a step further and develop a student project that would result in a cohesive collection of preserved, freely-accessible oral histories.

Read more about this
award-winning project in the
University Libraries'
Spring 2017 minizine.

Through the course of the semester, Anderson’s 35 students interviewed former University High School students, teachers and coaches, transcribed the interviews, created presentation posters documenting their findings, and then presented them at the USC Museum of Education.

“When we do an oral history project, we ideally want a large number of diverse people to tell their story. Those stories form a mosaic that gives us a thorough perspective on events,” L’Hommedieu said. “Oral history is unique in that it’s a one-on-one conversation with history. We are truly hearing the voices of the past."

Anderson and L’Hommedieu received the Elizabeth B. Mason Project Award at the Oral History Association’s annual meeting in Minneapolis. It is the third national award L'Hommedieu has received for her work since 2008.

Many of the University High School Oral History Collection interviews are accessible online at