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SMU Video Archive Series

Central University Libraries


Stills from the Videos

About the Collection

Southern Methodist University's (SMU) Video Archive Series contains 72 videotaped oral histories by leading administrators, faculty, staff, and others with significant ties to the University, whose careers spanned many decades at SMU. The series was created by Central University Libraries and began in 2000 to capture the extensive knowledge base of SMU retirees.The 72 interviews were created between 2000 and 2005.

Collection Materials

Interview with Governor Bill Clements, 2005

The online version of the SMU Video Archive Series contains a sample of these interviews. In this collection, you will find 62 digitized interviews, each of which runs approximately one hour.

The guests discuss the history of SMU in great detail, often recounting times of great excitement, challenges, and/or change. They provide a rich contextual background for their stories in the form of anecdotes, opinions, and personal insights.

By watching these interviews, you will learn about the greatest developments and transformations that have led SMU to become a nationally recognized university, and find out more about the notable impact this institution has had on the growth of Dallas and its environs. You will become familiar with the actions of key SMU insiders, and find out the behind-the-scenes roles they played in the ongoing expansion that is underway at SMU.

Collection History

SMU Video Archive Series was produced by Bill Dworaczyk from Central University Libraries.

SMU History

High on the Hilltop: Chapter 1

Read about the founding of SMU in Chapter 1 of Marshall Terry's book From High on the Hilltop: A Brief History of SMU."

For more information, contact

The idea for the SMU Video Archive Series started in the late 1990s, when Dworaczyk realized there was no planned effort to systematically record SMU retirees who could add valuable information to SMU’s history. There had been a few books published on the history of SMU, and some occasional audio recordings had been done of certain individuals on SMU history. Other than a few video recordings of lectures by retired faculty and staff, there were no video recordings of interviews on the history of SMU.

Dworaczyk approached a faculty member in the TV/Film Department, David Sedman, about the possibility of using that department’s TV Studio class to record the interviews. Sedman was very enthusiastic about the idea and allowed his class to participate in the effort.

Dworaczyk also ran the idea of doing a series of such interviews by several key individuals, who all thought it was a great idea. One of those individuals was Travis Jordan, retired director of the Norwick Center for Media and Instructional Technology, who agreed to be one of the initial interviewers.

The trio conducted a pilot in the spring of 2000 to determine the feasibility of an ongoing series. The first interviewees were Robert Cooper, James Early, Mary Alice Gordon, Bishop John Wesley Hardt, Harold Jeskey, Luis Martin, and Richard Rubottom. Besides Mr. Jordan, the other interviewers for the first series were Neill McFarland and Jo Faye Godbey.

The first recordings were done in the TV studio for the TV/Film department which was, at that time, in the basement of McFarlin Auditorium. The original seven interviews were videotaped by students, who worked as camera operators, technical directors, sound engineers, and directors. With the help of the interviewers, interviewees, and David Sedman and his crew, the SMU Video Archive Series quickly became a resounding success.

The original SMU Video Archive Series recordings were made on ¾-inch Umatic video cassettes and shot with three cameras. Professor Sedman and his students created the set, including the addition of archival photos in the background. After a couple of years in that location, the TV department moved to a new studio in Umphrey Lee building. The series, which continued to take place in these updated facilities, was eventually recorded on digital video.

Related Collections

Peruna III bucking, ca. 1940s

SMU Video Archive Series is one of a growing number of digital collections on SMU History.

For more information, see:

Digital Collections Guidelines and Procedures

Items in Central University Library Digital Collections are digitized following the SMU Central University Libraries Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the nCDS Digital Collections: Filenaming, Workflow, and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.


The files in this collection are protected by copyright law. No commercial reproduction or distribution of these files is permitted without the written permission of Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. These files may be freely used for educational purposes, provided they are not altered in any way, and Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University is cited.

Contact Info

For more information about this collection, contact the Norwick Center for Digital Services at