The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Yvenson Bernard Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

September 12, 2014


“Sonje Ayiti: The Improbable Life of an OSU Legend”  September 12, 2014  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Bernard describes his upbringing in Florida, including his parents' struggles as Haitian immigrants and the impact that Haitian culture made upon him and his brother as youths. From there Bernard reflects on his early development as an athlete, his mother's death, and the major impact that her passing made on his family, both emotionally and financially.

Bernard then discusses the circumstances by which he decided to attend Oregon State University and shares his memories of adjusting to life in a very different part of the country. A detailed review of his college experience follows, including Bernard's insights on influential coaches and teammates, memorable games, social life, and academic work at OSU. He also notes his father and brother's continuing struggles back home in Florida during this time, and his efforts to assist them throughout this period of difficulty.

The remainder of the session is devoted to Bernard's life after his OSU playing days. Major points of discussion include the disappointments that he faced in pursuing a career in the NFL, the four years that he spent in the Canadian Football League, and his leadership of a major relief effort following the Haiti earthquake of January 2010. Bernard also expresses his pride in his brother's achievements as an NFL player, the good fortunes that have since blessed the Bernard family, his and his brother's continuing outreach work, and his return to OSU as a coaching intern.