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Title: Interview with Charles Odegaard - #11
Original format: Betacam
Item Id.: spl_ds_codegaard_01_11
Description: This is part 11 of 38 of an interview with Charles Odegaard. This interview was conducted during several sessions from June to September of 1984.
Dr. Charles Odegaard (1911-1999) served as the president of the University of Washington from 1958 to 1973. Odegaard was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois. He attended Dartmouth College as an undergraduate and Harvard as a graduate student. After obtaining his PhD from Harvard, Odegaard worked as a history professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Odegaard served in the Navy during World War II. from scholar, educator and University president about his life and work. In 1953 he became dean of the University of Michigan’s College of Arts and Sciences. During his time as president at the University of Washington, the school saw unprecedented growth, going from 16,000 to 34,000 students and adding 35 new buildings to the campus.
In the interviews, Odegaard discusses his childhood and family, his early education in Chicago, his college career at Dartmouth and Harvard, and his early teaching jobs at the University of Illinois. Odegaard discusses his time in Germany in the 1930s prior to the outbreak of World War II and his time serving in the United States Navy once the war started. He talks about his role as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Michigan and his role as President at the University of Washington.
During Part 11 of the interview, Odegaard discusses his time in the United States Navy during World War II, including his campaigns in the South Pacific and the attack on the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. He discusses his leadership philosophy commanding young men in the service and discusses the end of the war and how his release was delayed despite his eligibility because he was deemed a military necessity.
This interview is part of the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection. Don Schmechel, who was a member of the Seattle Public Library Foundation board, began this project with Seattle Public Library in 1984, with the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) brought on board as a partner in early 1985. Schmechel himself worked to raise the funding for the project, and volunteered his time to manage the project, and to conduct interviews along with a crew of volunteers. Originally titled the Videotaping Historic Figures (VHF) Program, the project interviewed 91 people, with a portion of the interviews entering the collections of the Seattle Public Library and a portion of them going to MOHAI.The interviews conducted with these Seattle civic, business and cultural leaders are valuable first-hand accounts that provide insight into developments taking place in the mid-twentieth century.
Digitization of this videotape material has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.