McElroy at the Helm

For the 50th anniversary, June Schlueter, Dana Professor Emerita of English and former provost, and her husband, Paul Schlueter, established an endowment for an award honoring Neil McElroy, dean of libraries, and his wife, Marilyn Kann, reference librarian. It will be presented annually to a member of the library’s support staff. June Schlueter made these remarks at the announcement Oct. 9.

McElroy at the HelmNeil McElroy was previously honored during ceremonies in April 2005 celebrating the expansion and renovation of the library, with the announcement that the director’s suite had been named the McElroy Director’s Suite.

Neil and Marilyn both have master’s degrees in library science. Marilyn has another in Russian literature; Neil has one in religious studies (from Harvard) and another in philosophy. Marilyn’s linguistic prowess is an asset in her position, as is her commitment to working with novice students and veteran scholars in pursuing hard-to-find answers. Like all our reference librarians, she has a bristling intellect and a strong sense of service. Our endowment honors her individually and as a representative of the professional staff—assembled over the years by a man of discerning taste.

Neil became Lafayette’s director of libraries 24 years ago, continuing his ascent from what some may call “lesser” libraries: MIT, Cornell, and Stanford. Over the years, he has kept watch over Skillman’s half-million volumes and Kirby’s government and law collection, and for two decades he has overseen dozens of digital initiatives, deftly shepherding the library and the faculty into the 21st century. Along the way, he also managed the physical renovation of the library, a commitment that culminated in this nation’s most prestigious award for interior architecture— and we are now enjoying a building that perfectly serves our teaching and learning needs.

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