The Dedication and Opening of Meem Library

The newly-completed Meem Library (1990)

On November 10, 1990, more than 350 Santa Feans joined the College community in a public dedication ceremony for the newly-completed library. In his opening address, campus President John Agresto succinctly captured the importance of this long-anticipated day: “Now, with the addition of a central library to our campus, we have a fitting and appropriate place to house the books that are the heart of the St. John’s educational mission.”

Among the speakers that day were Werner Gundersheimer, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library; Jerome LaPides, Chairman of the Board Library Construction Committee; Thomas C. Phelps, Assistant Director for Library Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities; Student Polity President Maura Donnelly (SF’91); Vice President for Advancement Jeffrey Morgan; architect Lorn Tryk; contractor Stan Davis; and library consultant Lisa Carey. Grateful acknowledgment was made to the many individuals whose efforts had finally brought this vision into being, including tutor and chair of the Campus Planning Committee Steve Van Luchene, Acting Librarian Tracey Kimball, and campus Treasurer Bryan Valentine, who “monitored the project with scrupulous care and good humor throughout its planning, development, and construction phases.” Other individuals receiving special mention were Katherine Galvin and Florence Goutlesque; Edward Hoessler of Stan Davis & Associates, Contractor; and Board members Owen Lopez, Mara Robinson, and John Wirth.

And in poignant addition to all of these others was one particularly special guest of honor: Nancy Meem Wirth, the daughter of Faith and John Meem. Nearly thirty years had passed since the first fateful encounter between Richard Weigle and the Meems at their home in Santa Fe in late January of 1961. Now, at long last, the final essential piece of the original campus vision had fallen into place. On that brisk November day the newest building on campus was dedicated, gratefully and fittingly, the Faith and John Meem Library. Nancy Wirth cut the entrance ribbon, the doors were opened, and—in a space that very soon would come to be known for its welcoming silence—the celebration began.

Meem Library dedication on November 10, 1990
Werner Gundersheimer, the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, delivering the keynote address
Lisa Carey, library consultant and SFGI86
Builder Stan Davis
Nancy Meem Wirth, daughter of Faith and John Meem
Nancy Meem Wirth cutting the ribbon
Meem Library opening reception
Library beam artist Father Ricardo Russo (right) mingling at the reception