Dedicated Volunteers Enable Expansion of IEEE Oral Histories

Sadaoki Furui IEEE

“IEEE Life Fellows: Capturing Oral History,” the IEEE History Center’s major oral history project is in full swing. This IEEE New Initiatives Committee (NIC) funded project, captures the life stories and career experiences of some of IEEE most distinguished members. After they are processed, they are shared publicly on the Engineering and Technology History Wiki
The IEEE History Center conducts oral histories with leading technologists to collect and memorialize significant contributions. According to Senior Director of the IEEE History Center Michael N. Geselowitz, Ph.D., “Oral histories share spoken commentaries through recorded interviews and represent a primary source of raw data that contributes indispensably to historical narratives. They capture memories of those who participated in historical events that might not be represented in other forms of historical documents.” 

Besides positively impacting the number of oral histories in the collection of more than 800, another significant outcome of the partnership between the IEEE History Center and IEEE Life Fellows in collecting oral histories, is that it has developed the infrastructure to train and engage volunteers for peer-to-peer interviewing. “This partnership enables the scope to expand greatly,” said Mary Ann Hellrigel, Ph.D., Archivist and Institutional Historian, who has trained nearly 70 IEEE members and counting, to conduct oral histories. “We are so excited that IEEE members continue volunteering to be trained, and the matching of trained interviewers with interviewees continues,” Hellrigel added. Another training session will be held in September 2022. 

Recently, Senior Director of IEEE India Operations Harish Mysore recorded L.M. Patnaik’s oral history, K.V.S. Hari recorded Vasudev K. Aatre’s oral history, Tom Coughlin recorded Alice Cline Parker’s and Joseph (Joe) Decuir’s oral histories. Michael Geselowitz recorded Gerard (Gus) Gaynor’s oral history, and Mary Ann Hellrigel recorded Andrea Goldsmiths’ and Bishnu Atal’s oral histories. Gene Freeman, chair of the IEEE Computer Society’s Pikes Peak Chapter, will record oral histories of IEEE Life Fellows in the IEEE Pikes Peak Section and Region 5. Read the life story of IEEE Life Fellow Sadaoki Furui (1945-2022), pictured, told through his oral history collected by Mary Ann Hellrigel. He is an eminent member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society and a pillar in the speech processing community. 

The History Center continues working closely with 2018 IEEE President Jim Jeffries and IEEE Life Member Maxine Cohen, the volunteer lead on this project. The History Center appreciates help from the IEEE members who volunteer to participate and to serve as ambassadors. For more information, to volunteer or to recommend an IEEE Life Fellow, please contact Mary Ann Hellrigel

The IEEE History Center relies on donor support to preserve, research and promote the legacy of electrical engineering and computing and benefits from your donations.

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