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The University of Texas at Austin


The Shirley Bird Perry
University of Texas Oral History Project

Project Overview

The University of Texas has been shaped by people—fascinating, visionary, controversial, dedicated, diverse people. In order to capture the firsthand experiences of some who have helped build and mold the institution, the Office of the President and The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History have collaborated on The Shirley Bird Perry University of Texas Oral History Project. The effort is designed to expand and enhance the university’s archives by recording the viewpoints and perspectives of some who have been centrally involved in its growth and development. The resulting interviews provide primary source material for students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers, and anyone interested in Texas and higher education. These candid and detailed interviews capture not only the extraordinary experiences and insights of those who shaped The University of Texas, but they also capture the very spirit and character of the State of Texas itself.

Oral historian Erin Purdy interviews Norman Hackerman for the UT Oral History Project. Dr. Hackerman served as president of the University from 1967 to 1970. Photo by Marsha Miller, UT Office of Public Affairs, CAH; di_03375.

Interviewees include individuals who had an enormous impact on the University over the second half of the twentieth century.  Among those interviewed are former presidents and vice presidents, distinguished faculty, longtime administrators, staff members, active alumni, and several members of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, as well as former UT System chancellors.  Interviewees are selected by the project team from a comprehensive database of potential candidates. The audio and video tapes of the interviews, as well as transcripts, are available in the University Archives at The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Supported by UT President William Powers, Jr. and former UT President Larry R. Faulkner, the project was founded by Shirley Bird Perry, and is directed by Don Carleton, director of The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Oral historians Erin Purdy and Erica Lies conducted the interviews in the collection.  Ralph Elder and Mary Ellen Oliver coordinated archival research and provided special support. Please direct any inquiries about the project to Erica Lies (

Selected Topic List | Completed Interviews List