30/10/2017
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Oral history project charts history of University of Stirling

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A ten-year project to record memories of life at Stirling University in Scotland features stories from staff, students and public figures including former First Minister, Lord Jack McConnell, and one-time Labour MP, Tam Dalyell.

The audio and visual interviews, which have been gathered over the past decade, tell the story of the university from its founding in 1967 through to the present day.

Organised by the Stirling University Retired Staff Association (SURSA), the project and its content is now available to the public through its website.

Remembering the early years

Professor Angela Smith, who worked at the University from 1970 until 2006, is a founding member of the SURSA Oral History Group. She said: “New university staff, students and their parents probably don’t spend much time imagining what the Stirling campus was like when the first building, Pathfoot, was a huge hole in the ground.

“But our oral history project sheds light on those early days through the words of those people who were present at the time. It explains how Stirling – then Scotland’s first brand new university for more than four centuries - established itself as a leader in higher education in Scotland, the UK and across the world.”

University of Stirling community

Lord McConnell, who served as First Minister from 2001 until 2007, graduated from Stirling in 1983 in Mathematics and Education. During his time at the University, he served as Student President and President of NUS Scotland.

Lord McConnell, an honorary graduate of the University, said: “Everybody who leaves here leaves with the feeling that they were part of a community and I think that’s a very special feeling. To be honest, I can’t think of anywhere else in the UK where that is as true as it is here.

“It is so consistent – I meet ex-Stirling students all over the world and every single one speaks about how they felt part of a community here, and long may it continue. Although the University has grown in size, I think having this campus as its core and having that sense of community among students and staff, and the sporting and cultural elements as well, makes this university very special.”

Visit the SURSA oral history website to search the audio and video clips by particular names or events.

(image copyright University of Stirling)

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