Oral History Center

The Oral History Center is a project of the History faculty in the Social Sciences Department at Robert Morris University.

Growing out of a joint effort between Robert Morris and Moon Township to get a local neighborhood included on the National Register of Historic Places, the Oral History Center facilitates research into recent American history, allows students to get involved in oral interviews, and serves as a repository of archival materials.

The Center is currently conducting the Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project (IAVP), which aims to preserve first-hand, on-the-ground histories of America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Center is run by Professor of History Dr. John McCarthy.  The Center is located in 328 Patrick Henry Hall, on the RMU Campus. For more information, email Dr. McCarthy at oralhistory@rmu.edu.

Iraq/Afghanistan Veteran Project

The Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project (IAVP) aims to further historical understanding of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Global War on Terror from the veterans’ point of view. Veterans of these wars interested in sharing their stories, or anyone who wishes to refer a veteran who may be interested, please fill out this form.

Interviews can take place on campus, or remotely with a laptop or smart phone. Questions will be provided in advance, and veterans can remain anonymous.

The project preserves first-hand, on-the-ground oral histories of America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Global War on Terror, while memories are still relatively fresh in the minds of the participants. It involves interviewing at least 100 veterans, transcribing the interviews, and creating an online repository of materials open to researchers throughout the country. 

Support for the project has generously been provided by the Jacob Ferree Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Wal-Mart, and other donors.

Past Events

Constitution Day 2017:  Timothy K. Lewis

Friday, September 15, 2017, 1:00-2:00
Rogal Chapel
Former federal appeals judge Timothy K. Lewis spoke on campus.

Timothy Lewis

Constitution Day 2014: Interview with Carl Walpusk

On Constitution Day 2014, the Oral History Center sponsored an event with the Serb National Federation and the RMU Center for Student and Civic Engagement.

That day, World War II Veteran Carl Walpusk spoke on campus. After the event, Historian John McCarthy interviewed Mr. Walpusk to more fully capture his story. That video is above.

Mr. Walpusk entered the service in 1943. In July 1944, when he was 19 years old, Walpusk and his crew were returning from a raid when their plane was shot down by the Germans over Serb territory. The gunner was killed, but Walpusk and the remaining crew parachuted out. Rescued by a band of Serbian fighters, they were kept hidden for 33 days until they were finally rescued by airlift, the largest ever from behind enemy lines, and an event chronicled in the best-selling book The Forgotten 500.