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Peter Nycum

September 10, 2011


Associate Dean of Boley Law Library

Years of Service: 32

I arrived at Lewis & Clark Law School some 33 years ago, in what may be described by that old cliché of being in the right place at the right time. The law school, particularly the dean, Fred Fagg, was looking for someone with some computer experience to not only head the law library, but also a related computer project. So 33 years ago, on April 1 (yes, April Fools Day), I officially started not only my Lewis & Clark career but I also began a love affair that continues today.

I feel very spoiled. After all the years, it still has been fun to come to work and dive into whatever the day might bring, whether I would be wearing my administrator’s or professor’s hat.

It is an interesting phenomenon. When people hear you are retiring, they begin to ask all sorts of questions, questions that make you start thinking about all those years and what transpired. It turns out to be rather fun.

There were the obvious questions that dealt with change. Yes, there was the new Wood Hall building, although “new” might not be the right term since it is 10 years old, but it is still new to me. The biggest change to me is the onslaught of technology, as exemplified by the question, “Will there still be books?” Stay tuned.

One question, however that really had me searching was whether I could come up with a most memorable moment. When I first heard that question, I thought, “Wow, after 33 years, could I narrow that question down to several moments?” “No way,” I thought. But the more I did think about it, I realized I could.

There were two moments. The first one was the dedication reception of the Peter S. Nycum Rare Book Room. Thank you, Dean Huffman, for that honor. The next moment took place during the formal dedication ceremonies for Wood Hall. I was chosen to give the charge. Not only was that a singular honor, but it was even more special to be sharing the stage with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Now, of course, there is one question that is even more obvious than the one about change. Sure you know it. “What are you going to be doing?” Well, I’m not really certain, but I know somewhere on the list will be travel, accompanied by golf. Then there is volunteering, reading, and whatever might come along. There is no “bucket list.”

One thing I do know is that I will miss the daily contact with my “family,” the Boley Law Library staff. I will also miss looking out from the second floor of Wood Hall as the sun is setting.

One thing that I will not be missing, however, is the pride I feel for being part of the qualitative growth of Lewis & Clark Law School. Thanks for the memories.

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