Retirement Reception Honors Veterinary Medical Librarian Gretchen Stephens

July 8, 2016

Dean Willie Reed presents a framed picture of the Continuum Sculpture to Veterinary Medical Librarian Gretchen Stephens in honor of her retirement.

Dean Willie Reed presents a framed picture of the Continuum Sculpture to Veterinary Medical Librarian Gretchen Stephens in honor of her retirement.

A crowd of well-wishers gathered in the Veterinary Medical Library in Lynn Hall to recognize Gretchen Stephens on the occasion of her retirement as veterinary medical librarian and associate professor of library science after a nearly 40 year career at Purdue University. During the reception on June 28, Purdue Veterinary Medicine Dean Willie Reed recalled first meeting Gretchen just a year after she started at Purdue, when he arrived as a graduate student in 1978. "It's hard to think of Purdue Veterinary Medicine without Gretchen," Dean Reed commented. Remembering the arduous task of conducting literature reviews in those earlier years, Dean Reed recalled the many trips he made as a graduate student to the library in Lynn Hall, and how helpful Gretchen was. "What I remember the most was, what we see today, this beautiful smile and the kindness she always exuded and the professionalism she always brought to her job. On behalf of the faculty, staff and students, thank you for many hours, days, weeks, months, and years that you have given to our college, we are grateful." Dean Reed then presented Gretchen with a framed picture of the Continuum sculpture.

The reception also featured remarks from representatives of the Purdue Libraries. Vicki Killion, associate professor of library science and head of the Health and Life Sciences Division, praised Gretchen for her influence beyond Purdue. Vicki noted that Gretchen had attended every annual meeting of the Medical Library Association (MLA) since 1977, and served with dedication in the organization's veterinary medical library section, including as section chair, chair of the bylaws committee and section archivist. "Through her work in the veterinary medical library section, and with their many and varied projects to preserve the literature and history of veterinary medicine, Gretchen has shown how a small group of dedicated and committed librarians can influence a profession through cooperation and collaboration," Vicki said.

Purdue Libraries Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Tomalee Doan also spoke, commending Gretchen for her longstanding commitment to developing an outstanding collection in veterinary medicine at Purdue. She also noted Gretchen's service on Purdue Libraries teams and committees, her work in developing web resources for the applications and integrations courses, and her most recent role in developing the bibliographic library for HABRI Central, the online resource hub for information and research on the human-animal bond. Tomalee also read a statement from Dean of Libraries James Mullins, who was not able to attend. "When I think of vet med and the library, one person comes to mind, Gretchen Stephens," Dean Mullins wrote. "For nearly 40 years Gretchen has been the face of the Libraries that our colleagues in vet med knew, appreciated, and loved. Her persistence and attention to detail was appreciated by all; everyone knew that no stone would be left unturned until the appropriate bit of information to assist answering a research problem or integrating into a paper was identified." Dean Mullins also congratulated Gretchen on being named Professor Emerita by the provost and president of Purdue.

Gretchen thanked everyone who attended, as well as those who had sent cards and e-mails. She is staying on through the end of the month, continuing in her archivist role for the MLA's veterinary medical library section, receiving materials from other veterinary medical librarians, and organizing them to be permanently housed at Texas A&M.

(Left-right): Vicki Killion, associate professor of library science, with Gretchen Stephens, Tomalee Doan, Purdue Libraries associate dean for academic affairs, and PVM Dean Willie Reed.

(Left-right): Vicki Killion, associate professor of library science, with Gretchen Stephens, Tomalee Doan, Purdue Libraries associate dean for academic affairs, and PVM Dean Willie Reed.

Writer: Kevin Doerr, pvmnews@purdue.edu


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