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Guide to the Independent study oral history project on New School history, 2013

Collection Overview


New School Collections

Collection Identifier


Creator - Interviewee

Banu, Beatrice

Creator - Interviewee

Dunne, Linda

Creator - Interviewee

Farganis, Sondra

Creator - Teacher

Foulkes, Julia L.

Creator - Interviewee

Golfo, Ernesto

Creator - Interviewer

Hemmerle, Gerard O.

Creator - Interviewee

Hendershott, Carmen

Creator - Interviewee

Markowitz, Michael I.


New School (New York, N.Y.). New School Archives and Special Collections.


Independent study oral history project on New School history


4.34 gb: 26 Wave files; 06:45:50 duration; 6 PDF transcripts


This oral history project consists of six audio interviews conducted by New School for Public Engagement student Gerard O. Hemmerle as an independent study under the supervision of Professor Julia L. Foulkes. Interviewees consist of long-serving university faculty and staff, primarily those associated with what was known as the New School for Public Engagement. Hemmerle conducted the interviews during the Spring 2013 semester. Recordings are all in English.

Preferred Citation note

Audio interview with [interviewee name] by Gerard O. Hemmerle, [date], Independent Study Oral History Project on The New School History, NS.07.01.02, The New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, NY.

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Biographical and Historical Note

The New School was founded in 1919 as the New School for Social Research. It originally served as an institution exclusively serving adult learners and did not grant degrees. Over time, the school grew into a university, and, by 2013, the adult education program was a division of the school named the New School for Public Engagement (in 2016, the program is called the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students, one of the Schools of Public Engagement). Interviewees often refer to the adult education program as "the founding division" or the "Adult Division." Other divisions within the university include Eugene Lang College, the New School for Social Research (formerly, the Graduate Faculty), Parsons School of Design, and the College of Performing Arts (which in 2015 combined Jazz, Drama, and the Mannes School of Music).

Participant Biographies

Bea Banu
Bea Banu has served in multiple roles at The New School, from administrative to faculty positions, and at Parsons School of Design, Eugene Lang College, and the School of Public Engagement. After graduating from City College, City University of New York, Banu came to The New School in 1966 to take continuing education courses. Ten years later, in 1976, she joined the faculty of Parsons as a part-time professor teaching Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics. At Parsons, she held various administrative roles including academic advisor, chair of Liberal Studies, associate dean, and assistant provost. She was appointed the second dean of Eugene Lang College in 1993, and helped secure its growth and longevity. After ten years as dean, Banu became a faculty member in the undergraduate program of the New School for Public Engagement (often referred to as the "founding division") and, eventually, dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies in the division of Public Engagement.
Linda Dunne
Linda Dunne is a professor of literature at the New School for Public Engagement. She has been at The New School since September 1991, when she was recruited by Dean Elizabeth Dickey to serve as director of the Bachelor's Program (1991-1998), then as associate dean for academic affairs (1998-2005), and dean of the New School for General Studies (2005-2009). She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a PhD in English from the City University of New York. Prior to her employment at The New School, she worked at Monterey Peninsula College in California, Antioch College in Ohio, and the City University of New York.
Sondra Farganis
Sondra Farganis is director emeritus of both the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and the Wolfson Center at The New School. She holds a BA from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, an MA from The New School and a PhD from the Australian National University. Her first academic job was teaching political science at Brooklyn College for four years, during which time she also completed post-doctoral study in phenomenology at The New School. She has taught social and political theory as well as American politics and public policy at Vassar College and Hamilton College, both in New York State. She has served as president of both the New York State Political Science Association and the Northeast Political Science Association, and has chaired the Theory Prize section of the American Sociological Association. In January 1988, Farganis was appointed chair of social sciences and head of the Vera List Center at The New School.
Ernesto Golfo
Since January 1969, Ernesto Golfo has been employed with The New School, first working as cleaner, and then maintenance man, handyman, and locksmith. In 1984, Facilities Director Murray Schlifkin appointed him superintendent of 66 West 12 Street (the university's flagship building, designed by Joseph Urban), including the university president’s residence at 21 West 11th Street, the position he still held in 2013, when this oral history interview was conducted. The New School Free Press called Golfo the “New School Unofficial Historian” in the May 10, 2012 edition.
Gerard O. Hemmerle
Gerard O. Hemmerle attended The New School in 1970 as a non-matriculated student in the Adult Division (now the New School for Public Engagement). He went on to a career in civil service and retired from the New York City Department of Correction, where he had served in the position of Warden Level 1. In private enterprise, as an entrepreneur, Hemmerle owned and operated a sales and marketing franchise (a private buying club) in the home furnishings industry for ten years. Hemmerle attended Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn College, St. Francis College, and New York University at various times on a part-time basis. As of 2013, he was a full-time matriculated undergraduate in the New School for Public Engagement (now, the Bacherlor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students, School of Public Engagement) when he undertook this oral history project as an independent study. Hemmerle was also studying American literature, writing, and psychology, with an interest in world mythology and religion.
Carmen Hendershott
Carmen Hendershott has been employed in the New School Libraries and Archives since August 31, 1970. She has served in various library capacities, including cataloguing (1970-February 1974); reference (March 1974-present); interlibrary loan (intermittently from March 1974-present); collection development (January 1997-December 2003); and archival reference (late 1990s-present). Previously, she was a serials librarian at Pace University in New York City and a library clerk at the University of Pittsburgh and the State Library of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. She also served as a volunteer librarian for the Gypsy Lore Society from 1979 until 2012. Her degrees include a Master of Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh (1964, cum laude), an MA in philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (1972), MAs in anthropology and sociology from The New School (1977 and 1979, respectively), a PhD in anthropology from The New School in 1989, and a Certificate in Archival Management from Queens College, City University of New York in 2012. She has been a book reviewer for Choice: A Magazine for College Libraries since 1990 and a columnist for the Gypsy Lore Society Newsletter since 2005.
Michael Markowitz
Michael Markowitz began working at The New School in 1979 as the first director of human resources. A decade later, Dean Allen Austill appointed him director of the Institute for Retired Professionals (IRP), succeeding Henry Lipman. The IRP began in 1962 as part of the Adult Division with the purpose of providing peer-to-peer continuing education for retired professionals.


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Scope and Content of Collection

In 2012, New School faculty members Julia L. Foulkes (Associate Professor of History, School for Undergraduate Studies) and Mark Larrimore (Associate Professor of Religion, Eugene Lang College) co-taught an undergraduate course on the history of The New School titled, "The New School Century." Gerard O. Hemmerle, a student enrolled in the class, grew interested in conducting a series of oral histories to document the experiences of individuals connected with the school throughout its history. The following semester, he carried out an independent study under the supervision of Professor Foulkes, identifying and approaching interview participants in cooperation with librarian Carmen Hendershott, whom he also interviewed.

Hemmerle wrote the following Statement of Aim for the project:

The New School Oral History Interview Project [sic], undertaken by New School librarian Carmen Hendershott and NSPE undergraduate, Gerard O. Hemmerle, for the New School Archives, aims to supplement the often-incomplete written institutional records of the New School by recording the oral reminiscences of members of the New School community, especially longtime faculty, staff, and administrators. In this way, accounts of histories of positions, departments, divisions, institutes and centers, and memorable persons of the New School will be documented, preserved and made available to the public.

Hemmerle primarily conducted the sound interviews in participants' offices on The New School's New York City campus. With the exception of Sondra Farganis, all interviewees were employed by the university at the time of the recording. The interviews were originally recorded as digital audio files (Broadcast Wave) and transferred to MP3 files for access purposes. The original Broadcast Wave files are maintained by the New School Archives and Special Collections as preservation files.

Additionally, the New School Archives and Special Collections funded the professional transcription of all interviews. Archives staff members then reviewed the transcripts for accuracy and to identify personal names and organizations that the transcriber could not identify. Neither recordings nor transcripts have been edited for content.


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Organization and Arrangement

Recordings are arranged alphabetically by name of interviewee.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

New School Collections - 2016-05-04

66 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

Audio interview with [interviewee name] by Gerard O. Hemmerle, [date], Independent Study Oral History Project on The New School History, NS.07.01.02, The New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, NY.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Researchers must use digital access copies. Access to audiocassettes is restricted for reasons of preservation.

Use Restrictions

To publish all or part of any recording or transcription from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Interviewer Gerard O. Hemmerle conducted the interviews in collaboration with the New School Archives and Special Collections. Hemmerle recorded the interviews on equipment provided by the Archives, and files were accessioned immediately upon download, 2013.

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Related Materials

A concurrent, ongoing oral history program undertaken by the New School Archives and Special Collections staff members and faculty partners (NS.07.01.01) includes additional audio interviews with administrators, faculty, and staff.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • Institute for Retired Professionals.
  • New School (New York, N.Y.).
  • Vera List Center for Art and Politics.


  • Audiocassettes.
  • Interviews.
  • Oral histories (document genres).
  • Transcripts.


  • Educators.
  • Librarians.
  • Maintenance men.

Personal Name(s)

  • Dickey, Elizabeth Dunbar, 1946-
  • El-Erian, Tahany Said, 1939-
  • Everett, John Rutherford, 1918-1992
  • Fanton, Jonathan F., 1943-
  • Kerrey, Robert, 1943-
  • Van Zandt, David E., 1953-


  • Adult education.
  • College administrators -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century.
  • College buildings.
  • Labor unions -- Organizing.
  • Libraries -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Universities and colleges -- Administration.
  • Universities and colleges -- New York (State) -- New York.

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Other Finding Aids note

For item-level description and sound files from the Independent study oral history project on New School history, see The New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/NS070102.

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Collection Inventory

Audio interview with Bea Banu 2013 Feb 11   875 mb: 3 Broadcast Wave files; 01:18:47 duration; includes PDF transcript
Audio interview with Bea Banu  

In this audio interview with Gerard Hemmerle, Bea Banu discusses the development of the New School's divisions, spanning the presidencies of John ("Jack") Everett, Jonathan Fanton, Bob Kerrey, and David E. Van Zandt, and what each president contributed to the university's evolution. She discusses how she progressed from teaching in Parsons School of Design's Liberal Studies program into an administrative role. She also describes the function of the university's Office of the Provost, and how the provost's responsibilities have greatly expanded during recent years as university governance has changed. The final portion of the interview examines the difficulties Bob Kerrey encountered as president.

Audio interview with Linda Dunne 2013 Feb 27   1011 mb: 4 Broadcast Wave files; 01:32:10 duration; includes PDF transcript
Audio interview with Linda Dunne  

In this audio interview with her former student Gerard Hemmerle, Linda Dunne discusses her connections to the New School through Antioch College administrators William Birenbaum and Elizabeth Dickey, who invited her to work at the New School. She talks about how, in 1993, she helped establish an early New School on-line learning program, then known as distance learning, called DIAL. That same year, when the head of the Media Studies program left, Dunne was appointed acting chair of Media Studies, which continued for two years. She was succeeded by Carol Wilder. Dunne provides her assessment of past programs, such as the Computer Instruction Center and the Culinary Program (eventually revived in radically different form as Food Studies). She discusses the changing landscape of continuing education programs in New York that she believes forced the New School to reconsider its primary identity and influenced the school's transition to become a more traditionally-structured university in the 1990s. Dunne critiques this evolved structure, which included the introduction of faculty tenure for the first time in the university's history. Dunne recalls former students, faculty, and administrators, and describes the 1997 hunger strike and hostage-taking episode commonly referred to as the “Mobilization" that erupted when a member of the faculty was denied tenure.

Audio interview with Sondra Farganis 2013 Apr 9   1070 mb: 4 Broadcast Wave files; 01:37:32 duration; includes PDF transcript
Audio interview with Sondra Farganis  

In this audio interview with Gerard Hemmerle, Sondra Farganis outlines her intellectual development, including her time in Australia, her marriage to fellow Brooklyn College professor James Farganis, and the thinkers who have shaped her understanding of phenomenology. She speaks of her relationships with New School presidents Jonathan Fanton and Bob Kerrey. She addresses her involvement in the anti-Vietnam War movement, including the counseling of draft resistors, and how these experiences resonated with Bob Kerry and contributed to their close working relationship. She also mentions a host of faculty, including members of the Graduate Faculty (now, the New School for Social Research), and some memorable students and classes. She discusses her friendship with Vera List and describes public programs she directed at the Wolfson Center.

Audio interview with Ernesto Golfo 2013 Mar 5   388.3 mb: 2 Broadcast Wave files; 01:37:32 duration; includes PDF transcript
Audio interview with Ernesto Golfo  

In this audio interview with Gerard Hemmerle, Ernesto Golfo reflects upon how he came to work at the New School, his responsibilities and the buildings in which he has worked over the past four decades, as well as his work philosophy. Golfo describes the changes that have occurred through the years in the New School's Facilities Division, such as the use of outside management, Madison Cleaner and FRM. He reminisces about his past and present fellow staff members and the university presidents under whom he has worked, as well as the student occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue during the administration of President Bob Kerrey. He briefly mentions Facilities' relationships to artworks in the university's 66 West 12th Street building, including the Orozco Room.

Audio interview with Carmen Hendershott 2013 Jun 6   442.1 mb: 10 Wave files; 00:41:34 duration; includes PDF transcript
Audio interview with Carmen Hendershott  

In this audio interview with Gerard Hemmerle, librarian Carmen Hendershott recalls how she was hired to work in the New School's Raymond Fogelman Library in 1970 and her subsequent studies in the New School's Anthropology and Sociology Departments. She describes the differences between the Sociology and Anthropology Departments during the 1970s. Also covered is the evolution of the New School Libraries and Archives, including the consortial arrangement with New York University, as well as major figures in library administration, particularly her mentor, Tahany El-Erian. Hendershott expresses her views on the dynamics of a partially unionized library workforce and her own role as a member of the Archives and Special Collections staff.

Audio interview with Michael Markowitz 2013 Mar 7   662.3 mb: 3 Broadcast Wave files; 01:00:23 duration; includes PDF transcript
Audio interview with Michael Markowitz  

In this audio interview with Gerard Hemmerle, Michael Markowitz discusses the culture of and sketches the history of the Institute for Retired Professionals (IRP), as well the the concept of aging and how it has changed in the early twenty-first century. He describes the relationship between the IRP and the New School, the IRP curriculum, and elaborates on the IRP publication, Voices. Markowitz also talks with appreciation of administrative staff, students, and teachers with whom he has associated through the years. Of particular note are his remembrances of David Worley as the head of circulation during the development of the consortium library with the New School, New York University and the Cooper Union, as well as the New School's acquisition of the Brotherhood-in-Action building at 560 Seventh Avenue, which became the home for Parsons School of Design's School of Fashion. Markowitz also discusses unionization at the university from the perspective of a human resources director, the position he held during that period.

Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

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