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Date: January 20, 2005

Lieutenant Governor Launches Veterans Oral History Project

“Lest we forget.” The Veterans Oral History Project, a joint university and community venture, will ensure that the voices and memories of Vancouver Island’s veterans are preserved for future generations.

The Project, initially offered as a special course last year, is now a regular part of UVic’s history curriculum, thanks to a partnership with the Royal United Services Institute of Vancouver Island, a non profit organization that includes serving and retired officers of the Canadian and Allied forces and the RCMP.

The Institute and university have teamed up to enable undergraduate students in the new “Veterans and Oral History” course to interview and archive the personal stories of veterans, including peacekeepers and veterans’ families. The Institute is matching ten history students, currently in the new course, with veterans, according to their areas of interest. Their stories will be available in UVic’s library as research material for other students and historians.

“The veterans’ record of oral history is vitally important, because it is their own story,” said the Hon. Iona Campagnolo, at a special ceremony with university staff, veterans and students at UVic this afternoon. “In some cases, they have now revealed what was once too painful to speak about in the years immediately following the conflicts in which they participated. We are indebted to every veteran who has contributed their personal memories to the history of our province and country that they have served with such distinction.”

The Lieutenant Governor was on campus to honour UVic history professor emeritus, Dr. Reginald Roy, who served with the Cape Breton Highlanders and helped to write the official Canadian history of the Second World War. As a professor at Victoria College and UVic from 1958 to 1988, Roy encouraged his students to use oral history as a research tool. Now his earlier research and the oral histories collected by the new project housed in UVic’s McPherson Library special collections will be named “The Reg Roy Military History Collection.”

“I’m proud to recognize Professor Roy for his valuable contribution to the University of Victoria and for his part in helping to preserve this country’s collective historical memories,” said university president David Turpin. “The foundation that Professor Roy has laid in partnership with the university and the veterans in our community will allow this significant work to endure.” The Institute is participating in fundraising for the course and assisting the UVic library in indexing the materials to make them publicly available. Eventually the Institute hopes to expand the project up Island to interview veterans living in Nanaimo, Courtenay, Comox and Campbell River.
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Media contacts:
Dr. David Zimmerman (History) at (250) 721-7399, (250) 595-1826 (H) or email dzimmerm@uvvm.uvic.ca
Col. John Eggenberger (Vice President and RUSI communications officer) at (250) 382-3491 or email jeggen67@shaw.ca
Beth Haysom (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-6248 or bhaysom@uvic.ca


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