Investiture of Hotchkiss

Professor Valerie Hotchkiss, director of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois, will be honored as the second Andrew S.G. Turyn Endowed Professor at an Investiture ceremony hosted by Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian Paula T. Kaufman on April 27, 2012.

The Andrew S.G. Turyn Endowed Professorship was established through a generous gift from the estate of alumnus, former librarian, and longtime Library Friend Andrew S.G. Turyn.  Offered on a five-year rotating basis, it is open to full professors of library administration at the Urbana campus who are pursuing innovative research in any scholarly area, including library/information science, the humanities, the sciences, the social sciences, area studies, the arts, or other fields.  The professorship enhances the Library’s services, programs, and reputation by recognizing and fostering significant research contributions of Library faculty.

At Illinois, Valerie Hotchkiss has focused on making its collections more accessible through archival processing and cataloging projects.  She is deeply committed to furthering the profession and training new special collections librarians through the Midwest Book & Manuscript Studies program, which she founded and directs as part of the Graduate School of Library Science.  Hotchkiss is also passionate about public programming in special collections libraries and has organized lecture series, workshops, international exhibitions, friends groups, book collecting contests, and other cultural events to attract visitors, students, and researchers to special collections libraries.

“I am thrilled to receive this honor, and I intend to use the support to bring more students into the world of special collections and to inspire them to use primary resources in their research,” said Hotchkiss.  “The Rare Book & Manuscript Library already plays an important role in the undergraduate curriculum of the University of Illinois—and through our digitization efforts and value-added e-books, we hope to broaden our reach to the wider world of education.”

In addition to leading The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Hotchkiss serves as professor of medieval studies, religious studies, and library science.  She has a B.A. in Classics, the M.L.S. degree, and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale University.  She is the author of numerous books and articles on medieval cultural history, theology, and topics in the history of books and printing.

Jane Block, head librarian of the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art at Illinois, was the inaugural recipient of the Turyn Endowed Professorship in 2007.

Andrew Turyn (1928-2004) was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1941.  His mother, a professional librarian, worked at the University Library as a cataloger and his father, a professor of classics, conducted research in the Library as a Byzantine scholar.  Turyn earned an accounting degree from Illinois in 1952, and returned to earn a master’s degree in library science in 1962.  He went on to become an academic librarian at the University of Rhode Island, but returned to Urbana after retiring.

The Turyn family legacy is documented at Illinois.  The papers of Andrew Turyn’s parents, Felicia L. Turyn and Alexander Turyn, are located in the University Archives.

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