Category Archives: Advisory council

Celebrating the Benson Centennial kickoff. From left, LLILAS Benson Director Virginia Garrard, Adriana Pacheco, Fernando Macías, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe, and Consul of Mexico Carlos González Gutiérrez. Photo: Daniel Hublein.

The Benson Centennial Endowment: An Invitation from Adriana Pacheco

“The first time I walked into the fourth floor of the Nettie Lee Benson library, as a recently admitted PhD student, tears ran down my cheeks. I remember that moment, when I was there, alone, looking at that iconic corridor with hundreds of shelves and thousands of books. My tears were for excitement because I understood that that place was going to be a second home for me for many years to come.”

Celebrating the Benson Centennial kickoff. From left, LLILAS Benson Director Virginia Garrard, Adriana Pacheco, Fernando Macías, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe, and Consul of Mexico Carlos González Gutiérrez.
Celebrating the Benson Centennial kickoff. From left, LLILAS Benson Director Virginia Garrard, Adriana Pacheco, Fernando Macías, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe, and Consul of Mexico Carlos González Gutiérrez. Photo: Daniel Hublein.

With these heartfelt words, spoken at a September 6 dinner announcing the centennial campaign for the Benson Latin American Collection, Adriana Pacheco Roldán exhorted assembled guests to join her in a project involving both the heart and the preservation of memory. Pacheco is chair of the International Board of Advisors established by University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves. She and her husband, Fernando Macías Garza, both hold doctorates from Texas. The couple has donated $50,000 to establish the Benson Centennial Endowment, which officially kicks off the countdown to the collection’s 2021 Centennial.

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Pacheco was a keynote speaker at An Evening of Discovery, a gala dinner hosted by the University of Texas Libraries and the Provost’s Office to officially kick off the Benson Centennial campaign. As is fitting for a PhD in literature, she began her speech by evoking Aureliano Buendía, the patriarch of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, who “fought against the plague of memory loss suffered by all inhabitants of Macondo” by labeling every object he could. “For almost 100 years, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection has been a place to keep our memories and our heritage,” said Pacheco.

From left: Lorraine Haricombe, Univision news anchor Enrique Acevedo, and Benson Collection Director Melissa Guy. Photo: Daniel Hublein.
From left: Lorraine Haricombe, Univision news anchor Enrique Acevedo, and Benson Collection Director Melissa Guy. Photo: Daniel Hublein.

Yet the recent tragic loss at Brazil’s National Museum of virtually all of its contents means that we must take responsibility for protecting the treasures of the Benson, Pacheco continued. Again invoking family and generational ties, she laid out a challenge to the assembled guests:  “As we say in Spanish, you are the padrinos, the godfathers and godmothers, of the Benson Centennial Endowment launch, and I invite you to join our efforts: Give now, give today, give later, find somebody willing to give, promote, spread the word, come and visit, join the events, make the Benson Collection part of your lives.”

Distinguished Author Dinner Recap

Earlier this month, the Libraries hosted a Pulitzer Prize finalist for its third annual Distinguished Author Dinner.

Jacqueline Jones — who has earned accolades for her book A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America, — spent the evening before a rapt full house of University of Texas Libraries supporters discussing her ideas on race as a social construct.

“The effects of this fiction have been devastating throughout history,” Jones recently told The Daily Texan. “The idea here is that this myth or idea has been a very powerful one in justifying the exploitation of [people of] African descent and other people as well.”

The thought-provoking talk provided attendees with ample fodder for discussion after Jones exited the dais.

Jones is Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas and Mastin Gentry White Professor of Southern History at the University of Texas at Austin. She’s also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Bancroft Prize for American History, among many other awards and distinctions. She’s author of Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow (Basic Books, 1985) and Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War (Vintage, 2009).

The Distinguished Author Dinner is an invitation-only event to acknowledge and thank major donors, advisory council members and friends for their support and interest in the Libraries.

In addition, it provides an opportunity to reinforce the Libraries role in teaching, learning and research, and to promote the outstanding research of world-class faculty on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin.

Past events have featured Hamilton Book Award winner for Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite Dr. L. Michael White, and acclaimed author, library advocate and Texas favorite, Sarah Bird.

To become a Libraries donor and receive invitations to events like this one, please visit our online giving page.

Libraries Salutes Award Winners

Andrés Tijerina with Anthony Grafton.

Congratulations to Dr. Andrés Tijerina, University of Texas Libraries Advisory Council Member and UT alum, for receiving the American Historical Association’s Individual Equity Award.  Dr. Tijerina is a renowned scholar of Texas history and a professor at Austin Community College.  His latest publication is a chapter in Still the Arena of Civil War: Violence and Turmoil in Reconstruction Texas, 1865-1874, edited by Kenneth W. Howell.

Frank Andre Guridy

Additionally we congratulate Dr. Frank Guridy for receiving the American Historical Association and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s Wesley-Logan Prize for his first book, Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow.  Dr. Guridy is an associate professor of history and director of the Warfield Center for African and African-American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Benefits of Membership

Literary Longhorns reception.

Last night, the University of Texas Libraries launched a new initiative called Literary Longhorns. The initiative recognizes donors who have given or pledged $25,000 or more to the University of Texas Libraries.

A select group of alumni, donors and friends were invited to the launch reception at the home of Ted and Melba Whatley.  Ted serves on the Libraries Advisory Council.

The reception featured presentations from Dr. David Hunter on the Fine Arts Library and its Historical Music Recordings Collection, and from Adán Benavides on the Benson Latin American Collection.

In addition, guests were treated to a special presentation by Robert Faires, Arts Editor for the Austin Chronicle and Libraries Advisory Council member, on the making of his one-man show, Henry V.

It was a special evening for guests to learn more about the University of Texas Libraries collections and ideas for future acquisitions of unique and rare items.

L–R: Dr. Mark Hayward, Tony Budet and Jim Estrada.

In Memoriam

Hal Box, one of our Libraries Advisory Council members and a former Dean of the School of Architecture has passed away.  The University of Texas Libraries has lost a dear friend and advocate, and we join with our colleagues across the University in mourning his passing.

Among his many honors and awards, Hal was also recognized by the University of Texas; The Hal Box Endowed Chair in Urbanism was established at the university in 1999 and the Texas Exes Alumni Association bestowed on Box its highest honor, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, in 2003.

Memorial services are pending. Visit Box’s online memorial page.

Plonsky Scores Trailblazer Award

plonsky_chris_2009_mugUT Women’s Athletic Director and incoming Libraries Advisory Council President Chris Plonsky is the recipient of the College Sports Information Directors of America’s (CoSIDA) 2010 Trailblazer Award.

According to the CoSIDA website, the Trailblazer Award is given “to an individual who is a pioneer in the field of sports information who has mentored and helped improve the level of ethnic and gender diversity within CoSIDA.”

Plonsky will receive her award at the CoSIDA convention in San Francisco on July 6.

Chris has served on the Libraries Advisory Council since 2006, assuming the role of Vice-President in 2007. She will take up the role of President in fall 2010 and will continue to advise the Libraries in their marketing, outreach and fundraising efforts.

You can read more about Plonsky’s award here, where you’ll find a great profile of her by former Longhorn Assistant Athletics Director and current sports broadcaster Bill Little.

Our congratulations to Chris on this much deserved honor.