Library study honors Interim President Hunter Rawlings

The Hunter R. Rawlings III Research Study, a bright office space overlooking the Arts Quad and Goldwin Smith Hall on the sixth floor of Olin Library, was dedicated March 3.

“I really do love libraries, and I love this one the most,” Rawlings told a small group gathered in Olin for the dedication about five weeks before the end of his third term as president of Cornell (two of those in an interim role).

To mark the occasion, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian Anne R. Kenney praised Rawlings’ love of and support for libraries. As president he has been a frequent library patron, and Kenney noted that his “commitment to liberal education is well known.”

Kenney added that Rawlings has worked in various capacities to make sure that research is “accessible, discoverable and reusable,” and said that she hopes “those who have the privilege in the future of using the Rawlings Study will have minds as inquisitive and thoughtful as his.”

Martha Coultrap ’71, former chair of the President’s Council of Cornell Women (PCCW), thanked Rawlings for his “unmatched devotion to Cornell, its mission and the ideals of the founders.” Among his contributions to Cornell, Coultrap said, Rawlings transformed residential living on North Campus and finally dismantled temporary World War II housing on West Campus, making way for the current residential colleges.

Rawlings has supported the mission of PCCW to increase the number of female faculty members and women in senior leadership positions, Coultrap said.

“What better way to thank and recognize Hunter for his priceless contributions and loyalty to Cornell,” she said, than to “provide a spot for research and reflection, looking to history to inform the challenges of today?”

When Rawlings took the podium, he quipped that he still has 15 of Olin’s books in his office in Day Hall. He said to the group of classics faculty, librarians and others gathered: “Having colleagues like you all is an honor.”

Glenn Altschuler, the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies and dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, added, “I’ve been associated with many [university] presidents. Hunter Rawlings is a faculty member’s president,” because he is interested in ideas, books and the “intellectual life of the institution.”

Prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the door to Room 623, Coultrap offered a toast to Rawlings and his wife, Elizabeth, and Kenney jovially asked Rawlings to remember to return the library books before his presidential term ends.

Amanda Bosworth, a Cornell doctoral student in history, is a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle.

This story originally appeared in the  Cornell Chronicle.

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