The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Natalie Dollar Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

August 5, 2015


“Looking Back on a Leap of Faith”  August 5, 2015  Location: Graduate and Research Center, OSU-Cascades, Bend, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Dollar describes her family background and upbringing in Mississippi, her schooling at Mississippi State, Arizona State, and the University of Washington, and the development of her interests in communication theory and cultural communication. As part of this discussion, Dollar reflects on her encounters with social and racial prejudice, the impact that these experiences made upon her, and the broadening of her perspective that occurred as she moved to different parts of the country and confronted new types of discrimination. She likewise outlines her first interactions with communities of houseless youths in Seattle and the ways in which these contacts influenced her academic work while a doctoral student.

From there, Dollar details her move to OSU, her impressions of the mid-Willamette Valley, and the important contacts that she made while in Corvallis. She then shares her memories of the "leap of faith" that took her to Bend as an early faculty member at the fledgling OSU-Cascades campus.

The remainder of the session focuses primarily on Dollar's life and work in central Oregon. In this, she provides her perspective on the early years of OSU-Cascades, the evolution of its leadership, and the challenges that it has faced during her years of association. She also discusses the history of the Community Dialogue Project that she initiated in 2002, details her years of research on the community of fans surrounding the Grateful Dead musical group, and examines the means by which "Deadheads" have communicated over the course of multiple decades. The interview concludes with Dollar's thoughts on the unique opportunities presented by OSU-Cascades as it moves forward as a four-year university.