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Who, Exactly, Are These People?

Students in public history professor Tammy Gordon’s HI 596: Introduction into Public History course, in collaboration with the Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries, have spent the fall semester exploring NC State pioneers — familiar names like Katherine Stinson, George Matsumoto and Irwin Holmes — whose impact was ground-breaking and long-lasting.

Their project was to research each of these NC State “firsts” and produce a two-minute video on each. On Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 2-3:30 p.m. at 232 Withers Hall, they will debut the 23 videos. The event is free and open to the public.

“The project required students to match historical resources and information to current campus community needs,” Gordon says. “The biography of Katherine Stinson, the first female graduate of the College of Engineering, for instance, addresses undergraduate retention for women in STEM fields.”

There are other inspiring stories. Matsumoto, one of five founding members of the College of Design and NC State’s first Asian American professor, went from a World War II Japanese internment camp to become a highly decorated architect and educator. His video relates his journey to issues of current migrant internment.

Cathy Sterling, the first female student body president, was a strong advocate for student engagement in campus affairs.

“Together, these 23 video biographies show the richness and diversity of campus history, the connections among individuals’ lives and larger historical themes, and the relevance of history to contemporary issues,” Gordon says.


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