From: Robert J. Zimmer, President
Subject: The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
Date: November 9, 2020
I am very pleased to announce that in honor of Hanna Holborn Gray, Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History and President Emeritus of the University, the University Library’s Special Collections Research Center will be renamed as the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center.
Hanna Gray has long been a prominent and vocal advocate for the core mission of universities, as institutions dedicated to deep intellectual inquiry and analysis, and a champion of the idea that libraries sit at the very heart of a University’s scholarly and academic life. The naming of the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center recognizes her many achievements, contributions to scholarship, the special place she holds in this University’s history, and the deep personal commitment she has to see our libraries flourish.
Since its formal establishment as the Department of Special Collections in 1953, the University’s Special Collections Research Center has, in its various incarnations, been a critical resource to students, faculty, visiting scholars, and independent researchers. It is a vibrant, interactive place to conduct research, engage in classes using original sources, and view changing exhibitions while also functioning as an important repository and steward of rare books, manuscripts and the University Archives. The Archives preserve the University’s intellectual legacy, documenting the history of the institution, the work of its faculty and students, and the life of the academic community. As a distinguished scholar of history and the University’s president from 1978 to 1993, Hanna Holborn Gray’s many achievements will occupy a place of honor within the special collections research center that will now bear her name.
The naming was announced at a virtual event held earlier today in honor of President Emeritus Gray, which included conversations on higher education featuring several university presidents, faculty, and others involved in academics and public service. Considering Hanna Gray’s profound impact on generations of students, scholars and administrators and her far-reaching contributions to the University, arts and humanities, and the Academy, these engaging discussions were an appropriate way to celebrate her 90th birthday.