At the Fierce for the Future Campaign community celebration, the LSU Libraries’ T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History recorded firsthand accounts of the LSU experience from generations of Tigers. The celebration was a lively outdoor event, so please excuse the background activity while you enjoy the recordings. To learn more about the Williams Center, which is the largest and most comprehensive oral history repository in the state of Louisiana, please visit lib.lsu.edu/oralhistory.
Elijah Alfred is a Lafayette, La., native studying screen arts. He was excited to begin studying at LSU because he knew that the local movie studio, Celtic Studios, often works with students. He has enjoyed his time at LSU working on science fiction projects, writing novels, creating animated stories, and honing his screenwriting and producing skills. In his spare time, he is developing a YouTube channel to share original content. Above all, Alfred truly enjoys the kinship he formed with his peers. When asked about his time with his peers, he said, “I really appreciate the community here, everyone is so nice, it’s so diverse, so many different races and ethnicities, so many different backgrounds, I love seeing that.”
After completing undergraduate studies in his mother country, Iran, Misagh Naderi decided to continue his education in the U.S. and turned to LSU. Ultimately, he earned two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from LSU. Naderi has been a part of the LSU family for more than a decade and considers it a second home. He credits the lessons he learned outside of the classroom with shaping him as a well-rounded individual. “At LSU, the most important thing I learned was the importance of networking and giving back to those who are serving you. It’s important to help create the community that you want to live in, not just be a passive part of it,” he shared.
Cecil Phillips’ first experience on the LSU campus was a serene moonlit drive under stately oaks. Soon after that, he began the exciting journey of building philanthropy on campus. In 1992, he was recruited to be the president and CEO of the LSU Foundation and lead LSU’s first fundraising campaign. Phillips and his team set a standard for philanthropy and raised $279 million by the time he retired in 2004. He was excited to participate in the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History interactive because he cultivated one of his most memorable gifts by using an oral history project. Phillips spent over six hours helping the donor leave his legacy with LSU Libraries, and over a few years, the donor gave over $20 million to the university.
Exquisite Williams knew she wanted to attend a university with a lot of school spirit, and nobody has more school spirit than LSU. While she was raised in Georgia, both of her parents are Louisiana natives, and neither of them got the chance to attend college. She is studying communications in the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College and feels she has flourished, often delving into the background of her favorite topics. Williams is working to be admitted to law school, but she has enjoyed experiencing quintessential college milestones like laughing around campus with her new best friend. “It felt like a college movie experience. I thought, ‘I’m really going to like it here! I think I love it,’” she recounted fondly.
Streisand Zeno is a Class of 2020 graduate and Houston native who came to LSU to study theatre, her life’s passion. While she has always enjoyed performing, one of her professors gave her the confidence to pursue theatre full-time. Zeno considered it eye-opening to learn that she could impact her community by sharing her experience through art. When she was an upperclassman, Zeno thought a lot about her student legacy. She took participating in the oral history project as a unique opportunity to leave a special message for her future descendants, who she hopes also attend LSU. She loves that the university is a communal entity that Tigers of all races, genders, ages, and locations across the country come together to support.