Alumni Oral History Project
of the University of the District of Columbia
The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2026. To mark this historic occasion, the University will embark upon an ambitious campaign to collect oral histories, photographs and artifacts from alumni and their family members. Members of Firebird Nation are being asked to please participate in the first phase of the project, Alumni Oral History.
Every alum has a story, and the University is very interested in hearing yours. With every passing moment that we do not capture reflections and memories, we lose an opportunity of engagement, we suffer erosion of our legacy, and we allow others to control our narrative. This project will explore the personal journeys of alumni and the historical moments that sparked innovation, creativity, and activism on our campuses. We are especially keen to engage viewpoints and memories from alumni of our legacy institutions: Miner Teachers College, Wilson Teachers College, D.C. Teachers College, Federal City College, and Washington Technical Institute.
Please do not allow your stories to depart this earth untold. Let us come together to esteem our time at the University of the District of Columbia and our contributions to public education in the District of Columbia!
Why this project and why now?
Established in 1851 by pioneering educator and abolitionist, Myrtilla Miner, the rich history of the University of the District of Columbia is the history of public education in America. As the pinnacle of public higher education in the District of Columbia, the second oldest HBCU in the nation, and an institution that reflects the diversity of the District, this project will elevate conversations about the University in thoughtful presentations representative of our 175-year legacy.
The University understands that there will come a time when alumni from our legacy institutions will transition, taking with them institutional knowledge. Please participate in the project to inform prospective students and their families of our rich history, and remind District residents, our mayor, and DC Council of our significance as the only public and affordable institution of higher learning in the District of Columbia.
We will also use this opportunity to update contact information for alumni. As UDC is the keeper of alumni graduation files, please help the University maintain current records on its graduates.
Your Participation is Critical
Oral histories capture significant, and oftentimes, forgotten, historical events, people, and places.
We invite alumni to share memories celebrating the people and events that have impacted their educational journey. The University is hoping to uncover reflections surrounding some of the questions below:
- What year was your Homecoming and how did you celebrate?
- Did you pledge Greek life while in school?
- Was your time on campus enriched by a profound encounter with faculty or staff?
- Did you find your soul mate during your matriculation?
- Do you have friendships that have lasted the test of time?
- Are you a legacy graduate? Have other members of your family also attended the University or one of our foundational institutions?
- There was a time when schools were segregated. Can you recall the conditions of your classroom settings and teaching environment?
- Social justice movements are a part of the fabric of this great nation. Can you recall a moment when you were compelled to get involved in current events on and off campus?
No Cost Obligation to Participate
This project is being done at NO COST to the University. The UDC Alumni Oral History Project is completely funded by the alumni who elect to purchase the University of the District of Columbia Oral History Anniversary book. Various book packages will be offered at the end project. PCI will also offer you the option to purchase Firebird branded merchandise. You are welcome to purchase these items, but you are not required to do so to participate in the project. Again, we’d never be able to embark on a project like this without the support of our amazing alumni and friends of Firebird Nation. We sincerely thank every person that participates and chooses to purchase the Oral History Anniversary book.
Our Project Partner
The University has partnered with Publishing Concepts, Inc. (PCI) to expand our repository of transcripts, and recordings. PCI’s skilled staff and editors will conduct interviews with alumni, faculty, and staff, and assemble stories into a memorable, bound publication in preparation of our 175th Anniversary. With limited resources, this strategic partnership extends our reach allowing for more participation and storytelling.
What are next steps?
Please expect to receive emails, phone calls and postcard correspondence from the University and PCI with instructions on how you can participate in the project. Once you receive the postcard or email, please contact PCI to schedule an interview. This is also a great time to update your contact information and alumni record. If you do not receive an email or postcard, please contact PCI at 1-1-800-784-1053 to update your contact information and schedule an interview.
The PCI Team will collect stories from February 17, 2023, to August 31, 2024. Please schedule a session immediately by calling the University’s dedicated help desk: 1-800-784-1053.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact Pho Palmer Murphy (’05), director, UDC Office of Alumni Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org / 202-923-0660.
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for additional information.
- Building 52, Suite 104E
- Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:00
Ways to Give