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UNT History Professor Wraps Up Potential Record-Breaking Lecture

UNT History Professor Wraps Up Potential Record-Breaking Lecture

UNT History Professor Wraps Up Potential Record-Breaking Lecture
August 25
17:06 2018

With the help of over 100 volunteers, professional observers and a constant audience, UNT history professor Andrew Torget completed a Guinness Book of World Records-breaking lecture that lasted more than 26 hours Saturday in support of UNT’s Portal to Texas History.

Torget’s lecture, which began at 9 a.m. Friday, detailed the history of Texas from prehistoric times up to present day. The talk, which had a run-time of 26 hours and 33 minutes, aimed to raise money for the Portal to Texas History, an internet research archive maintained by UNT Libraries.

“[Torget] came to me a little over a year ago and said, ‘I’ve got this crazy idea for a fundraiser,’” Dreanna Belden, assistant dean for external relations, said. “He told me his idea about wanting to set a new world record. We were 100 percent behind it.”

Belden said pulling off the fundraiser took extensive logistics. The Guinness Book of World Records required multiple video feeds and impartial witnesses to verify the event’s legitimacy. The witnesses observed the event procedures from start to finish, taking breaks every four hours.

Torget is a member of the UNT Library Advocacy Board, which helps raise funds for library resources, like the Portal to Texas History. Torget’s endeavor aimed to raise funds specifically for the Portal, and to help reach the Advocacy Board’s $1.5 million fundraising goal.

At the start of Torget’s lecture, the library board had raised $427,000 of that goal.

Andrew Torget stands on his chair as he gives his record setting 24 hour history lecture. Will Baldwin

A federal education initiative called the National Endowment for the Humanities to donate an additional $500,000 to the portal if the libraries reach their eventual goal.

“So basically [the fundraiser exists] to support a number of things,” Belden said. “It could be used for technology purchases, infrastructure, new content or to support general humanities activities.”

Among the audience members was english and political science junior Marshall Richardson, who took Torget’s Texas History class in spring 2017.

“He is probably one of the most energetic and fun professors I’ve ever had,”  Richardson said. “He really cares about what he’s talking about. He knows a lot. I’ve never seen him not know the answer to a question.”

In addition to come-and-go audience members like Richardson, several volunteers attended the full duration of the lecture to fulfill a requirement set by Guinness. Without at least ten full-time listeners, Guinness would consider the project illegitimate.

Rodriguez Middle School Texas history teacher and UNT alumnus Charles Linn said the event would be something he could share with his students this coming school year.

“It’s a cool experience to hear [the lecture] all in one sitting,” Linn said. “Texas is a unique state; we’ve got a unique history, it’s a worthwhile study…to know the history, where we’ve come, who we are and why we’re here.”

Footage of the lecture, which was live-streamed via YouTube, will be analyzed by Guinness in order to confirm Torget’s world record.

Featured Image: The crowd looks towards Andrew Torget as he attempts to set the Guinness World Records for the longest history lecture.  Jessika Hardy

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Ally Zarate

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