Congratulations to Troy Reeves – Distinguished Oral Historian!

April 16, 2024

Congratulations to Troy Reeves for being awarded distinguished status for his role at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Reeves is now the Distinguished Oral Historian at the UW-Madison Archives & Records Management

With nearly 17 years on campus, Reeves’s expertise, leadership, and influence have strengthened the relationship between the university, the Libraries, the city of Madison, and a global network of Badgers. 

“I was thrilled that Troy was awarded the Distinguished Status title! Troy’s dedication to and passion for the Oral History Program and everything he’s been involved with in the oral history profession is something we can all be in awe of and aspire to learn from,” says Katie Nash, University Archivist and Head of UW Archives. This status and recognition are well deserved and long overdue, and I couldn’t be more proud and honored to have Troy as a colleague.” 

In his time, Reeves advanced the Oral History Program through the “prism of the 4 Cs”: Collecting, Curating, Communicating, and Collaborating. 

His efforts, since 2007, have resulted in collecting 28 current or extant oral history projects, leading to over 1,500 new interviews. For example, Reeves started working with campus & community members on the LGBTQ+ Oral History Project in 2008. The project then expanded to become the nationally recognized, award-winning LGBTQ+ Archive.

While oral histories are the cornerstone of Reeves’s work, he has collaborated closely with local & national organizations. Notably, in 2010, he teamed up with the Wisconsin Story Project to gather nearly 100 stories from individuals impacted by the 1970 Sterling Hall Bombing. He also was a critical leader in gathering interviews for the Archives’ Documenting COVID-19 Project to ensure the campus would chronicle aspects of the university community’s extraordinary experiences during the pandemic. 

He also co-led, with faculty and staff from 4 other UW schools, the expansive, award-winning Wisconsin Farm Oral History Project and its offshoot, the Lands We Share Community Engagement Initiative.

His expertise and leadership were called on for UW’s nationally known and extensive Public History Project, now the Center for Campus History. This massive effort was created to “give voice” to the histories of discrimination and resistance at UW-Madison. Reeves used his interview training skills to help their students and staff collect oral histories of many previously unknown members of our campus community and history. 

“Troy is deeply passionate about the field of oral history, kind and generous, hardworking and Pragmatic,” says Kacie Lucchini Butcher, Director of the Rebecca M. Blank Center for Campus History. “He is the type of campus figure whose impact is not often recognized widely but is no less deeply felt.”

Above all, Reeves is an exceptional collaborator. He has helped lead projects that have required extensive collaboration with colleagues across campus and beyond. From working with UWDC to enter over 600 oral histories into UW’s digital collections to submitting nearly 1,100 interviews to MINDS@UW to organizing and creating partnerships, including with the George L. Mosse Program in History, working with others is one of Reeves’ greatest strengths. 

When not working directly with materials, Reeves also communicates worldwide about the power of oral history. He has presented nearly 400 lectures and workshops from campus, Wisconsin, and the US to Finland and virtually to Taiwan. Reeves’ expertise and reputation make him a sought-after figure with whom to consult. In addition to this work, Reeves currently serves as the vice president of the Oral History Association

Reeves’s deeply accomplished career includes awards, publications, projects, and leadership roles—all of which have bolstered the impact and importance of work in archives and oral history. His distinguished status is one more testament to his exceptional work and dedication to his field.