August 1, 2013 was Michele Christian’s last day here in the Special Collections Department at the Iowa State University Library. Collections Archivist and University Records Analyst while at Iowa State, she recently accepted the position of University Archivist at South Dakota State University. As is usual for Michele, her last day was not an uneventful one. She worked with dedication up until the very end! Even with the possibility of a little less excitement here in the department, she will be sorely missed. Last week was a hard one for everyone who had worked closely with her here!
We had hoped to put together a blog post before she left, and we can completely blame her for this sorely belated post. Since she did so much here in the department, we had to make sure that we learned as much as possible before she left. As a result, we have all felt her loss with the additional duties we have taken on! And, as usual, she was generous and tried to help us to have enough time to quiz her about all that she did (and, of course, to create a blog post before her departure!) by unselfishly extending the amount of time before leaving Iowa State (she had only a three day weekend before starting her new job on August 5th). However, not yet as skilled as Michele in juggling all of her duties, we were unable to take advantage of her generosity. We hope that we can repay her a at least a little with the following blog post for our departed colleague!
Before working at Iowa State, Michele was the labor archivist at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City (October 1999-September 2000). She was also an archivist at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (September 1998-August 1999). Coming to Iowa State in the fall of 2000, she began as University Records Analyst and was later promoted to Collections Archivist. She received her MA in history and her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. In addition to her dedication to Iowa State, one has a hard time forgetting about her passion for the University of Northern Iowa (where she met her husband and received her BA in history) since she could almost always be found wearing purple on Fridays (and the rest of us in the department tried to make sure that our purple attire remained at home on that particular day of the week!).
Michele did so much for our department, it is hard to summarize everything she did during her thirteen years here. She tirelessly helped both donors and researchers alike, in addition to being an advocate for the archives and giving numerous tours and presentations to classes, researchers and visitors. In addition to managing the team that worked with the University Archives which includes the books, archival collections, audio-visual materials, photographs, and artifacts, she also worked to make our resources more readily available on the web by setting up many of our Web 2.0 sites such as YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. And, as readers may notice, she was the unofficial photographer for our department. As a result, much to our dismay while putting together this post, few of the photographs of our department include Michele! In addition to her duties here in the department, she also produced papers and presentations as a faculty member. To see a selection of Michele’s publications, please visit her SelectedWorks page.
Besides taking on multiple projects and responsibilities, Michele’s door was always open to colleagues, co-workers and students alike both for advice and encouragement. It goes without saying that Michele has been missed, and will continue to be. We wish her all the very best in her future endeavors at South Dakota State University!