The GLBTQ Alumni Oral History Project was a project of Prof. Stephanie Crist’s Sociology 299: Intro to LGBTQ Studies course in the spring semester of 2015. Ideas for this project emerged from conversations between alumni involved with the GLBTQ Alumni Network and current members of the Holy Cross faculty. Through these conversations it was clear that many people were interested in continuing the important work of preserving the memories and recollections of GLBTQ Holy Cross alumni.

While listening to or reading the oral histories here, it is impossible to miss the ways in which the landscape has shifted for GLBTQ-identified students at Holy Cross and in the United States, more broadly. Horacio N. Roque Ramírez and Nan Alamilla Boyd (2012), editors of a collection on queer oral history write,

Creating a new vision (and version) of history requires a leap of faith. It means taking narrators’ voices and oral history methods seriously. While the self-understood and often unspoken validation of narrators’ subjective perspectives does not entail taking every recorded declaration as factual truth, it does require that researchers commit to listening carefully for what narrators’ recollections reveal about their time and place in history (5).

One of the exciting features of this collection is that it contains interviews with alums who graduated over a range of decades. Listeners and readers of the oral histories will encounter an array of memories and experiences that were shared during semi-structured conversations facilitated by pairs of Holy Cross students. Alumni generously discussed their memories of times at Holy Cross and life after graduation. Many listeners and readers will come away with an impression that during some time periods it was not easy to be GLBTQ at Holy Cross. In fact, many of the alumni interviewed here were not “out” while attending the College.

This oral history project, like many other queer oral history projects, is not just about the collection and preservation of history. The very act of doing a project like this matters as well. In listening, the audience is able to hear the voices of a group of people who, until recently with the formation of the GLBTQ Alumni Network, did not have the visibility or a dedicated public space from which they could share their experiences.

The mostly cross-generational interviewing experience shared with the alums was an exciting moment of connection for the student interviewers. Students benefited immensely from the entire process, but largely from facilitating the storytelling that is now preserved here and will provide an interesting window into GLBTQ life at Holy Cross over the last several decades.

Many, many thanks to the alumni and students who participated in this project and also to James Nickoloff (Emeritus, Religious Studies), editor of In, Out, and About on the Hill, for publishing this powerful collection of narratives in 2010 and for providing a model and inspiration for this project.

Note: Student interviewers transcribed these oral histories. There may be some inaccuracies in the transcripts due to difficulty hearing words, background noise in the recording, and/or interpretive decisions such as deleting extra “ums.” In some instances, identifying information was redacted to protect the confidentiality of interviewees or people and places referenced in the interviews. The experiences discussed in these interviews belong to the interviewees (and student interviewers) and do not represent the views of the College.