Lee College making 190 recorded oral histories digitally accessible via the Internet

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College is bringing the voices and stories of Texas veterans to new life as part of a special project to digitize and securely archive 120 oral histories of former military service members, as well as approximately 70 oral histories that cover the history of Baytown.

Developed by the Lee College Library, the Baytown Veteran/Local Oral History Project is being funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services through a grant to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The TexTreasures Grant aims to increase accessibility to library treasures by helping member libraries make their special collections more accessible to researchers in Texas and beyond. Lee College is one of 13 libraries, colleges and universities across the state awarded a TexTreasures Grant for fiscal year 2017.

As part of its digitization project, the Lee College Library will make about 96 hours of recorded veteran oral histories available for listening online. Once converted, the files will be sent to the Portal to Texas History at the University of North Texas for preservation storage, metadata creation and Internet access.

“This project allowed Lee College to migrate valuable oral information interview from obsolete audio cassette tapes to digital MP3 files. This will help preserve them for a longer period of time,” said Paul Arrigo, library director. “Since they are now in digital format, the library can also share these oral histories to the entire world, whereas previously people had to come to the Lee College Library to listen to them.”

Members of the community can hear the oral histories for themselves – including 35 hours on the history of Baytown – at the fourth annual Veteran’s Appreciation Day to be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, June 10, at VFW Post 912 on North Main Street in Baytown. Attendees can climb aboard the Lee College Mobile Go Center to listen to the stories and learn more about the digitization process from Lee College librarians, and enjoy family activities like helicopter rides and memorabilia displays at the event.

For more information about the Baytown Veteran/Local Oral History Project at Lee College, contact the library at 281.425.6379 or library@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College handed $50,000 Fluor Foundation grant

Lee College was awarded this month a $50,000 grant from The Fluor Foundation to support industrial training programs, and provide college scholarships to Goose Creek and Barbers Hill students interested in pursuing industrial careers.

Representatives from Fluor Corp. and The Fluor Foundation presented the $50,000 check at the December meeting of the Lee College Board of Regents. In addition to scholarships, the grant money will be used to purchase training equipment that enhances hands-on learning in the classroom.

Fluor reached out to Lee College in 2013 to forge a partnership that would address the growing demand for the next generation of skilled workers. Since that time, the company has helped recruit students for industrial training, offered valuable insight about how to improve and update program curricula, and given job opportunities to graduates.

“Fluor has truly proved to be a great industry partner for us,” said Debi Jordan, executive director of the Center for Workforce and Community Development. “They came to the table with not just challenges and problems, but solutions and support. They are very engaged.”

Torrence Robinson, president of The Fluor Foundation and senior director of Global Community Affairs, told the regents that Fluor is dedicated to developing the workforce that industry needs to be successful. Supporting quality educational initiatives is an essential part of that effort, he said.

“We are committed to helping provide the resources that you need to do your job even better, and we look forward to our continued partnership with Lee College,” Robinson said.

Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown and Board of Regents Vice Chairman Ron Haddox thanked Fluor and The Fluor Foundation for their generosity on behalf of the entire campus community.

“I can’t tell you how much this means to us, and more importantly, how much it means for our students,” Brown said.