The Norman Transcript


January 26, 2013

Richard Luce drawn to OU teamwork



“Libraries have the ability to transform lives. I have seen it over and over again in all walks of life, so I feel very passionate about how the right information at the right time can benefit people, and how libraries protect and preserve access to that information,” Luce said. “Working in an academic library is an opportunity to be at the center of how information shapes and molds people’s careers while also being on the cutting edge of the transformation going on in the world of scholarly communications.”

Luce assumed the role of dean of libraries in summer 2012, succeeding Sul Lee — the university’s longest-serving dean, who retired in June after serving OU for more than 30 years.

Lee’s retirement and the subsequent search for his replacement came at what Senior Vice President and Provost Nancy Mergler called a bellwether moment for both OU Libraries and libraries themselves.

“I’ve been provost for 18 years, and this was the first time I’d ever had the opportunity to seek a new dean of OU Libraries, since Sul Lee had been here for so long — every employee in OU Libraries was hired by him — so it was a bellwether moment for the university,” Mergler said. “Additionally, it’s a bellwether moment for libraries across the globe in terms of technology disruption and the world of book publishing, distribution, access to information, copyright law and what future libraries are going to look like.

“So I felt a heavy sense of responsibility to get it right and get the kind of individual who is well-connected in the national and international arena, someone who can address the interesting dilemmas and opportunities presenting themselves to librarians and particularly university librarians.”

According to Vice President for Research Kelvin Droegemeier, the university’s choice for a new dean also was critical in advancing the university and its library’s distinction as a national research hub, a major reason for Luce’s additional title as a vice president for research.

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