I marked the day’s end by going to a great event at the Stauffer Library, the dedication of the Alan Green Reading Room on the 2nd floor. Prof Green, who died about 10 months ago, was a long-serving Economics professor at Queen’s, and a highly regarded economic historian. But above all, he was the champion who caused the Stauffer Library to be built and the Douglas Library to be renovated. He did this in the late 80s and early 90s on top of his ‘day job’ in the Economics department, where he was a very popular instructor.
The depth of respect he attracted was evident in the room; apart from many colleagues in the Economics department, the Faculty of Arts and Science and the library, several members of his extended family including his wife and children were there (son David, also an economist, spoke very eloquently of what the project had meant to his father). The evening was capped by a rare performance by internationally renowned soprano Edith Wiens, sister of former University Librarian Paul Wiens. Ms Wiens is now retired as a full time singer so it was a special treat to hear her.
The library, as a staff member observed to me during the reception, is one of those places on campus that really binds us together. I think of it as in some ways housing the soul of the university, a place where the line between student and faculty blurs: we all use the same books, articles and computer terminals.
It was great also to see again Mr Denny Jordan, of the Stauffer Foundation, who worked with Prof Green to secure from the Foundation one of the biggest gifts the university had at that point seen. As Martha Whitehead, University Librarian, noted the library was a product of Prof Green’s vision and determination, and the Foundation (along with other generous donors) helped turn that into reality.
One just has to walk out of the building and see the desks and terminals filled with students to see what an impact the combination of vision and philanthropy can have.