The Park Square History Project

An Invitation from the ad hoc committee for the Park Sq. Years History Project

September of 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the start of classes at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB). UMB, now widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s leading Universities, is also an important part of the civic and academic life of Boston and Massachusetts.

The cliché, “humble origins”, perfectly describes UMB’s beginnings in Park Square during 1965-1974. For the students, faculty and staff of UMB the “Park Square years”, coinciding with the tumultuous “60s”, was an unforgettable time in their lives. The “Park Square” years were also an exciting and influential part of the University’s history. Many features of the current UMB, e.g., Afro-American studies, Women’s studies, Veteran’s programs etc., had their origins in this period.

PROJECT DEFINITION

Construct a representative history of the first years of UMB, from its inception until its relocation to Columbia point aka the Park Square years (1965-1974), utilizing recollections of “UMBeings”* members of the UMB community-students, faculty, staff, along with documents and photos.

*Thanks to Prof. Duncan Nelson

PROJECT GOALS

  • Collect written memories/recollections and related material (documents, photos) from a representative set of members of the UMB community, e.g., students, professors and staff, from 1965-1974
  • Recollections/memories and materials from the Park Sq. years will provide a set of resources which can be drawn on by professors, staff, and students as a resource for their on-going dialogue on how to enrich the educational experience at UMass Boston.

RATIONALE

  • The establishment of UMB coincided with one of the most volatile periods of social unrest in the nation’s history. There is probably no other major University in the country whose formative first years were shaped by the anti-war, civil rights, feminist, political, and cultural revolutions that defined the 60’s.
  • Many persons credit their experience at the “Park Square” UMB with having made a profound impact on their personal and professional development. The personal and professional development of the Park Square alums was heavily influenced by the combination of a new University; a mix of traditional/non-traditional students; campus in downtown Boston; the zeitgeist of the 60s.
  • A truly representative history of UMB during this period does not exist.
  • The members of the Park Square UMB community are aging, some more gracefully than others, and the window of opportunity to reach out and capture their recollections/memories is rapidly closing.
  • The Park Square Years History Project can make an important, lasting contribution to both UMB’s 50th anniversary celebration and to UMB’s institutional history.

PROJECT COMMITTEE

In 2010 UMB’s William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences hosted an exhibit on the student led “Strike” at UMB in 1970. Former students and faculty who attended began discussing the Park Sq. Years project at that time and eventually formed a volunteer committee to organize the Project as part of UMB’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

As we discussed the Project it was agreed that the most authentic and truly representative history of the Park Sq. Years would come from the collective memories of the incredibly diverse group of people who were there.

Ad Hoc Committee Members

  • Esther Kingston-Mann-Retired Professor, 1968-2012-Committee Chair
  • John Clifford, Alum 1967-1972? Assistant Chair
  • Joe Szocik, Alum 1966-1971-Secretary
  • Senior Lecturer/Alum Paul Atwood-1969-Present
  • David Vitale-Alum. 1969-1973
  • Joe Carpenito
  • Igor Webb-Former Professor
  • Doug Clifford Alum 1968-1973
  • Walter MacDonald- Former Staff member

HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE

  1. Write up your Memories of the Park Sq. years. For helpful suggestions see Writing Your Memories of the Park Square Years
  2. Send in any significant documents and photos from the Park Sq. years
  3. Contact other UMBeings and ask them to participate

Material should be sent to library.archives@umb.edu

Photographs of the Park Square years in the University Archives

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