Richard G Schwartz oral history interview

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Richard G Schwartz oral history interview

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Title:
Richard G Schwartz oral history interview
Creator:
Aragona, Mary
University of South Florida -- Library -- Digital Scholarship Services - Digital Collections -- Oral History Program
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English

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Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

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Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Mary Aragona.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
U46-00013 ( USFLDC DOI )
u46.13 ( USFLDC Handle )

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subfield code a U46-000132 USFLDC DOI0 245 Richard G Schwartz oral history interviewh [electronic resource] /c interviewed by Mary Aragona.500 Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.1 600 Schwartz, Richard G650 Holocaust survivorsz Florida.Holocaust survivorsv Interviews.Genocide.Crimes against humanity.7 655 Oral history.localOnline audio.local700 Aragona, Mary710 University of South Florida Libraries.b Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center.University of South Florida.Library.Digital Scholarship Services Digital Collections.Oral History Program.730 Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects.773 t USF Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders 50th Anniversary Oral History Project4 856 u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?u46.13


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text Mary Aragona (MA): Hi, Dr. Schwartz?
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Richard Schwartz (RS): (inaudible)
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MA: Hi. This is Mary Aragona with USF Oral History Project. How are you?
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RS: Im fine.
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MA: Good. Are you ready to start?
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RS: Sure.
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MA: Okay. I have a few questions that Id like to ask you if thats okay, and it will be recorded if thats also okay.
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RS: Yes.
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MA: Okay. Good. Would you mind stating both your name and your current position?
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RS: Richard G. Schwartz and Im (inaudible) professor in the PhD program in the speech, language, hearing sciences [program] at the graduate center of the City University of New York.
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MA: Cool. And could you also tell me what years were you a part of CSD at USF?
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RS: I think, and I dont remember the starting date, but I believe it was 1970 to 1974. I graduated in December of 74.
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MA: And um, what was your role there, and if you were a student then what was your major?
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RS: I transferred as an undergraduate student from psychology before I finished my bachelors degree. At that time there was a five-year direct masters program. And I was a masters student. Again, initially I took prerequisite courses and then at some point I was a masters student.
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MA: Yeah, Ive heard a little bit about that from some of the other people Ive interviewed. Its changed quite a bit.
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RS: (reduced volume; inaudible)
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MA: And uh, why did you choose USF?
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RS: I had dropped out of school and had been working some blue collar kind of jobs, driving a cab in New York. I couldnt get student loans in New York because my parents had moved to Florida. And the reason I chose USF was because friends of mine told me that I would hate Gainesville because it was a real jock school. (MA laughs) Which really wasnt true, you know, but thats okay.
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And for that reason I picked USF. It wasnt a very carefullynone of this was based on any carefully made decision.
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MA: Yeah. I know what thats like, for sure. What did the facilities and the surrounding area look like?
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RS: So I always get Fletcher and Fowler confused, but there were some dorms I think on Fletcher. And then this apartment, if Ive got the street right, and then the department was within these low-rise, two-story buildings. This low-rise, story-buildings that I think had been apartments at some point. What I remember most about the program is that the therapy rooms had been constructed not out of real wall but just out of sheets of paneling.
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MA: Out of sheets of um what?
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RS: (reduced volume; inaudible) basements.
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MA: Oh, yeah, yeah.
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RS: So thats what the clinic was like over there. And again, there were some classrooms over there too, and we had a few classes somewhere on the main campus. This was long before the behavioral science building that you have now.
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MA: And can you tell me anything about the atmosphere at the time while you were there?
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RS: It was pretty relaxed. I dont know. As far asI mean for me, you know, what I remember most of all was there were pretty good relationships among the students. Although the students were sort of divided a bit by whether, you know, they were sort of the early students, Id say first and second year of the program. And, you know, we werewe had good relationships with most of the faculty, particularly for me with Stuart Ritterman, and Tony Benner, and Dale Grenhaws (inaudible) great. And things worked out pretty well. But the students were pretty cohesive. You know, we hung out together a fair amount. And there were, I remember, the senior students being very helpful when we started. When the newer students started classa lot of help from a couple of more advanced students.
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MA: Yeah. Its still a lot like that I think here. And um, can you tell me about who the major community partners were?
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RS: (reduced volume; inaudible) idea except that I remember going to the VA in St. Pete at some point. And I went somewhere for a placement at a school in Zephry Countyin Zephyrhills I think.
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MA: Oh yeah. Now we work with the VA across the street. I didnt know that we worked with one at St. Pete.
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RS: Yeah, I think I remember (inaudible) very honestly. It was a long trip. (inaudible) Yeah, I remember (inaudible) that I havent done anything like this since then. I mean, one of the things that I ended up doing in my last year there was running a laryngectomy group. And somehow, I vaguely remember that that was connected to going over to the VA. I mean it wasnt like something I did every week, but I do know I made at least a few trips over there.
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MA: Well thats cool. So you got to run a laryngectomy group as a grad student?
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RS: Yeah. (volume reduced; inaudible) These people were fine. At that point they needed to learn esophageal speech, trying to (inaudible) because there werent any vowels or anything. So, you know, people to vibrate the things (inaudible) language (inaudible) now but I havent thought about this like since the 1970s. But thesethose electrode talkers, whatever theyre called.
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MA: Yeah.
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RS: And then the basic goal of the group was, you know, to get everybody working on their esophageal speech, and people went out for smoke breaks. (RS and MA laugh) Yeah, so that was one of the memories I have of my clinical work there.
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MA: Thats really neat. Can you tell me who else was a part of the department, like how many students and programs there were?
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RS: You knowso there was one student that I ended up seeing pretty frequently, you know, later in my career was one student named (inaudible), and we were pretty good friends. I dont remember too many other people there by name. The faculty I remember really well. Dave Shepherd in audiology, Connie Kuffel, I think was her name, was also an audiologist. Stuart Ritterman was my thesis advisor and became a really good friend as well as mentor. Tony Benner as a really great teacher and Dale Grenhaws was there sort ofI remember when (inaudible). He didnt do language disorders but he taught that course, Language Disorders in Children. He taught that course.
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(volume reduced; inaudible)but I dont remember his name. I dont really remember who was department chair.
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MA: Right. Well, that was a long time ago.
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible)
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MA: What was your thesis about, if you dont mind me asking?
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RS: It was on (phone breaking in and out; inaudible) a narrow like, sort of hot topic. We used this multiwe got a computer program of how things run, multifunctional scaling of peoples judgements, the similarity and dissimilarity of consonants.
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MA: Oh cool. So kind of like a speech perception thing?
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) computer modeling. It was like we got a big (inaudible) sense cards or a big map taped [to the wall], but you know, in the days when computers were the sizes of large rooms and had less power than your phone does.
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MA: Yeah, it is probably cutting edge for the time.
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) I got interested in that, you know, because I sort of, you know I had no hesitation about writing to people and so, you know I wrote a letter to somebody who was doing his work at I forget where at Ohio State or something. They were just very generous in sharing stuff, so yeah it was good.
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MA: Yeah, thats neat.
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RS: Stu was a particularly good advisor. He was never really [an] active researcher, but he was a really good thesis advisor. So he was the one who sort of recruited me into the department. I was a little bored with psychology because they were doing a lot of animal conditioning in the 70s, and I had taken a linguistics course. My advisor in psychology, a guy named Charles Hawkins, said, you should go talk to these people in speech pathology. And so, I went over and talked to Stu Ritterman, and he was very enthusiastic about the field. And I didnt think about it too much, and I changed majors. And then Stu was real, a really important influence. I mean, I always knew I was going on for a PhD, and knew the masters [degree] wasnt terminal. But Stu was the one who was very encouraging about, you know, the possibilities of research in the field.
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MA: Wow thats interesting. So, because psychology was more animal behaviorally focused back then, that was how you ended up switching?
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) human research but it was, I dont know. And I wanted to do something applied. I mean, Id always been interested in research that had some application to something, you know. So yeah, once I took the linguistics course, I got interested in language. Nobody in psychology was doing anything with language really.
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MA: Oh.
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) the program. So whats interesting about it also is that when it came time to apply for PhD programs, I was in this odd situation of graduating in the middle of year. And one of Stu Rittermans former masters assistant (inaudible) was a guy named Larry Leonard. And Larry had graduatedhe was like three or four years older than me. And he had just started a job at what they called Memphis State. Now its called the University of Memphis. And basically what happened was I had gone over to Stu Rittermans house one night and said, so where should I apply to the PhD programs? And Stu thought about it a bit and said, Well I know, you should go work with Larry. Then I will have a student of a student. It will be like being a grandparent. (MA laughs)
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So I said, Lets call him. So Stu called information in Memphis, got Larrys number. And think he hadnt been in touch with him in a long time. And basically Stu talked to him for a few minutes and then he said in the phone, Larry Leonard, [this is] Richard Schwartz. And handed me the phone. And that turned out to be great. I ended up going to Memphis. They gave me an assistantship at the end of the year. And, I did my PhD with Larry Leonard as my advisor, really at the beginning of his career.
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MA: Oh thats neat. Yeah, there was no PhD program at USF at that point, if I remember correctly.
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) it was just these thin pieces of, you know, wooden panels or maybe even fake wood paneling. I dont know if it was real wood, and you could hear people next door.
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MA: Wow. How have you seen CSD change over the course of your career?
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RS: Change?
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MA: Just communication sciences.
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RS: Its just huge. I mean, now um the journals have changed, the expansion of the field. There were 17 thousand people at the ASHA convention this year. You know, I think when I first went in 1975, there were maybe 6 thousand. I dont know for sure. And the expansion of research, particularly in child language disorders is just huge. I mean Im just now editing through a second edition of a handbook on child language disorders. And when I got the final manuscript inin July, I did a Google search for specific language impairments and something like one million five hundred thousand hits.
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MA: Wow.
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RS: And thats just, you know, specific language impairment, its not autism or hearing impairment in children or cochlear implants or phlegm (inaudible). Its just specific language impairment, and the so the field has expanded tremendously. I mean, we have federalthere was a time when there was a lot of funding, Department of Education funding for students. I think I got some of that money when I was a masters student. And now we dont have as much of the training money, but we have a fair amount of research money. Not enough still, but we have a fair amount.
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So thats really grown the field. I mean thats thethat thing is the biggest change, the size of the profession. The expansion of the database, you know the research database, the field and the research activity.
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MA: Yeah. Have you been keeping an eye on the way USFs communication sciences has been developing at all?
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RS: Well, not much except for the fact that one of our former doctoral students, Nathan Maxfield, is a professor there. So no, and I only comeI still have this (inaudible) who lives in Florida, but other than that, I dont really come to Florida, and certainly not to Tampa. Theres no real reason to go there.
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MA: Yeah. Dr. Maxfield, he does stuttering I think. So he was your student you said?
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) but he [was] already Schaeffers student, and Valerie is my colleague at the graduate center but also a former postdoc trainee of mine.
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MA: Cool.
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) wasnt on his dissertation committee or wasnt his advisor. But yeah, I certainly helped him. But no, so Im prettyyou know, back home in New York after many years of being away.
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MA: Right.
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RS: And so, I pay a little more attention to my home institution, my home state.
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MA: Yeah, Im sure. What would you say your favorite memories during your time at USF were?
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RS: I dont know. Well, certainly working with Stu Ritterman and being staff, you know we did help finance the program also. We didnt have whatI dont remember any department parties or anything like that or ever going out with friends from the program periodically. For me, it was a little odd because I actually worked so much fulltime, all the time I was a student. I was working at a clothing store onwhere, which street is the mall on? Theres a big mall right on Fowler or Fletcher?
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MA: Oh gee. You know. I get them mixed up too. Im not from here either, so
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RS: Well. I think Fowler Street is where theres now a big mall, but there wasnt much except for a Waffle House. And then entrance, one of entrancesI guess the main entrance then to USF, but I so I worked at store I called the great pants factory. And so, I really was notI was at the program when I needed to be, but I also had this pretty full life outside the program.
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MA: Yeah.
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RS: I was working with Stu on my thesis, and some of the courses that Stu taught.
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MA: I know, juggling work and school as an undergrad. Thats hard. But
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) another set of friends that I hung out with also. So yeah, I didnt spend a lot of time in the department when I wasnt, you know, in the clinic, or seeing patients, or in class. I didnt really hang out with the department. And youre welcome to placeI dont remember that there was a place where the program was located to really hang out. Space was very, very limited I think (inaudible)interactions too much.
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MA: Right. Any last words that you would like to leave behind to USF?
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RS: Yeah, I guess. I mean, it all worked out pretty well. I mean it wasntnone of it very carefullycomposed of very carefully made decisions, like picking USF as I mentioned. And then picking what was then called communicology as a major, changing majors from psychology to that department, but it all worked out incredibly well for me. Now I dont regret any of these decisions. I mean it really led me to a terrific career in communication disorders and sciences, and that I really enjoy.
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MA: Yeah, thats so great that it all ended up well for you. I know what you mean because Ive switched majors a couple of times but its also
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible) in my life, and I agonized over things and none of thoseand I dont know that those decisions turned out any better. You know?
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MA: Yeah. For real.
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RS: Try totruly made decisions that got me into this field and got me, you know, to communication sciences and disorders at USF. I mean those were really, short you know, Ill do this, kind of decisions. And other life decisions that Ive made where Ive listed positives and negatives and agonized over, I dont know that they turned out any better. So to me theres always been a great lifes lesson about not agonizing too long over decisions because these other decisions turned great without much thought, and they all worked out pretty well.
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MA: Yeah, how did you end up in childhood language disorders? Im guessing thats something you were directed to at future colleges?
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RS: So Stewart Ritterman really was doing articulation and articulation disorders, and he had been a student (inaudible) who wrote the textbook on articulation development disorders. And thats what I was really interested in, and thats what Larry Leonard has been interested in early in his career. Sobut Larry has moved more generally into trial language disorders, and I just sort of got interested in that but just a little more broadly. I still think my early career was a lot of (inaudible). Subsequently, they were called phonological disorders. So that was my early career, was a lot of lexical development and phonological disorders. And it just sort of expanded from there.
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MA: Yeah, thats really cool. I know what thats like to go after a mentor for one thing and then you become interested in their current work, and then thats even better really.
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RS: And that was actually, you know, the mid 70s when I started. I mean that was an early point in sort of this modern era of child language disorders research. (volume reduce; inaudible) and we may not again because we have these, you know, discussions about terminology that um, yeahso it went from the articulation, articulation disordersjust more broadly, the language. And it was the linguistics courses that took a coupleand then I came back to USF for, after my first year of my doctoral program because the Linguistics Society of America had a summer institute, and it just happened to be at USF that year. So the language stuff came really from linguistics and from a mentor also.
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MA: Wow. So that was the last question, unless theres anything else that you think you might like to add?
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible)
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MA: Um, oh okay. Well, we are doing a dinner next year, I believe, in honor of the 50th anniversary, and I dont know all of the details to be completely honest, but I believe that theyre going to be displaying all of them in some way, possibly playing some them, so
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RS: (volume reduced; inaudible)
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MA: Thank you so much for taking time out of your afternoon to do this. We really appreciate it.



PAGE 1

COPYR I GHT NOT I CE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Univ ersity of South Florida. Copyright, 1995 201 7 University of South Florida. All rights, reserv ed. This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the Univ ersity of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


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