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Honoring Two of Our Finest


Floyd O’ Neil (left) and Greg Thompson (right) celebrate the new award.

September 30th marked the first-ever Marriott Library “Appreciation Celebration,” honoring the library’s many volunteers, board members, and supporters. Held in the library’s Grand Reading Room on level 3, the event provided Library Dean Alberta Comer the opportunity to announce a new award and to present it to the first recipient! Named for Associate Dean for Special Collections, the Gregory C. Thompson, Ph.D. Award, will be bestowed to an individual who has made significant contributions of time, talent, and/or resources toward the advancement of the library.

The award is named for Greg Thompson in recognition of his 30 (plus) years of service to the library and his dedication to building an extraordinarily rich and robust Special Collections. Under Greg’s leadership, the manuscripts holdings have grown to roughly 3,000 separate collections and the multimedia photograph, motion image, and audio collections have increased to 4,000. The rare book collection has grown from 3,000 to more than 80,000 unique and unusual monograph and periodical holdings. And, during Greg’s tenure, the Book Arts Program took seed and it now offers a certificate and minor degree under the Art and Art History Department.

This year’s recipient of the Gregory C. Thompson Award was long-time friend and devoted supporter Floyd O’Neil, Ph.D. Floyd was director emeritus of the U’s American West Center from 1986 to 1996 and associate adjunct professor of history. A longtime donor, member of the “Friends” board, and liaison to the broader academic community, Floyd has been a part of our library family for many years now.

A steadfast advocate, Floyd has significantly shaped Special Collections through his tireless outreach, philanthropy, research, and vision. He was a leader in theFloyd O'Neil July 2012 (2) U’s portion of the Doris Duke Indian Oral History Project, a national initiative that captured the language, ceremonies, customs, social conditions, and philosophies of Native American tribes in the U.S. Floyd’s work resulted in one of the largest Native American archives in the west, which is held in Special Collections. To recognize Floyd’s contributions, the Native American archives were named in his honor. Additionally, Floyd initiated oral history projects for several ethnic groups residing in Utah.

The author of numerous articles and the editor of several books, Floyd currently serves on the William R. and Erlyn J. Gould Distinguished Lectureship on Technology and the Quality of Life, sponsored annually by the Marriott Library. Floyd and his wife Shauna are also generous donors to the American West Center. Additionally, the Floyd A. O’Neil Scholarship provides graduate scholarships for research on western issues.

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