On June 8, 2012, Dean Emeritus of Ohio University Libraries Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee received an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy during the commencement ceremonies at Ohio University’s Athens Campus.
Upon receipt of the award Dr. Lee said, “I am humbled and deeply grateful to President Emeritus Dr. Vernon Alden, President Emeritus Dr. Charles Ping, Vice President Emeritus Jack Ellis, Dean Scott Seaman, and many distinguished alumni for nominating me. The honor that I receive today, I attribute to the teamwork of the entire library staff.”
Nominators also included Dr. Daniel Shao, a recipient of the Founder’s Citation, the highest honor awarded by the Ohio University Board of Trustees, and Haipeng Li, executive director of the Chinese American Librarians Association.
Dr. Lee went on to thank President Emeritus Charles Ping especially for hiring him stating that, “Under his leadership and guidance, I had 21 years of the most rewarding experience in my library career.”
Although he contributes his success to the Libraries and its staff, much of the reputation that Ohio University Libraries has today is due to the hard work and dedication of Dr. Lee.
Through his leadership, Ohio University Libraries was advanced to new heights. It became one of the founding members of OhioLink, endowments grew to over $8 million, a regional annex was built, digitization of the collections began and the Libraries exceeded the three-million volume mark.
“It was a great challenge and an exciting time during my years at Ohio University. With the teamwork of a most dedicated group of library staff, together with the strong support of university administration and faculty members, the Vernon Alden Library was able to make a remarkable transformation, changing from a traditional library to a state-of-the art library with a national and international reputation,” said. Dr. Lee.
“Lee actively promoted international exchange and cooperation for overseas Chinese studies and librarianship by hosting dozens of Asian librarians in Alden Library and by organizing several international conferences,” explained Scott Seaman, the current dean of Ohio University Libraries. “The impact of Dr. Lee’s work has been felt worldwide…”
“Dr. Lee has become a legendary figure in the library profession, particularly among Chinese and Chinese American librarians,” said Haipeng Li.
After his retirement from OHIO in 1999, Dr. Lee became chief of the Asian Division of the Library of Congress. Dr. Lee’s worldwide impact was reflected by the stature and number of attendees at the symposium that was held in Shenzhen, China this past November in his honor.
Dr. Lee’s fond memories of OHIO extend beyond his time at the Libraries in that five of his six children are alumni. He is proud to say that with the receipt of this degree he is now officially a Bobcat too. Dr. Lee continues to be an active member of the Ohio University community serving as a member of the Libraries’ Capital Campaign Committee.
Along with his pride, Dr. Lee also offered words of wisdom and encouragement to the graduating seniors saying, “…Regardless of whatever path each of you takes, Ohio University Libraries is always here to support and [to] serve you with your information needs. Please stay in touch with Ohio University and with the Alden Library.”
Watch a video of Dr. Lee’s Honorary Doctorate Conferral.