NORMAN — University of Oklahoma Dean of Libraries Richard Luce likes to compare his recent arrival to the university to that of David Ross Boyd when he came to Norman in 1892.
Often cited by President David Boren, the story goes that Boyd (the first president of OU) stepped off the train, surveyed the blank, open prairie where he was to build a university and expressed great excitement at the endless possibilities to be realized in this uncultivated place.
Where Norman’s sparse landscape was Boyd’s blank canvas, the open-minded enthusiasm and trust of OU administrators and staff is Luce’s.
“I arrived here, and when I looked at the library landscape and at the university, I had very much the same experience of OU’s first president getting off the train and saying ‘what possibilities.’ This is in part because people are really willing to engage in what I’d like to do and where we’d like to go,” Luce said.
“Where other environments are fixed and have an outlook of ‘been there done that’ or being so good they’re arrogant, there’s a real spirit here of ‘let’s try that,’ and I find that very refreshing.”
Like Boyd, Luce is something of a pioneer and innovator.
His career in university library administration has established him as one of the premier experts — on the national and international stage — for digital resources and special collections, a true visionary for the future of libraries and research.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Luce was at the forefront of open access and open archive initiatives in the United States, Berlin and Brazil. He has served as senior advisor, external reviewer or consultant for information centers, research organizations and government agencies around the world.
His 15-year tenure as research library director at Los Alamos National Laboratory earned him the 2005 Fellows’ Prize for Leadership — the first ever awarded to a non-scientist.