This September marks the beginning of my 23rd year as Director of the Ransom Center. Throughout the years, I have been told again and again by colleagues and friends that the directorship of this wonderful place is one of the best academic jobs there is. In fact, as the years have gone by I’ve come to believe it myself. It has been 22 years of great pleasure, yet I think the time has come for me to give someone else the fine opportunities I have enjoyed at the Center. And so, last April I announced my intentions to retire as Director of the Ransom Center on August 31, 2011. I hope by announcing my plans this early that the University’s President, Provost, and a search committee will have a sufficient, if not leisurely, amount of time to appoint a successor.
The Ransom Center’s collections are unquestionably among the most distinguished in the world. And although the Center’s collection acquisitions have attracted the greatest public attention over the years, it is the professionalism of our staff and the care taken with everyday activities, from repairing the binding of a rare book to helping scholars in the reading room, from cataloging collection materials to preparing exhibitions, that has made this institution worthy of the reputation garnered by its collections. Because of its knowledge, energy, and youth, the Center’s staff is poised for the future challenges, and I assure you that the commitment and exceptional quality of our staff will continue long after I leave my position as Director.
This institution has thrived over the years not only because of its great staff and strong University support but also because of its many friends and donors. So much of the Center’s success is a direct result of the generous support of others, and we are indeed grateful.
I will conclude my tenure here by acknowledging with deep gratitude those who have made my years here so fulfilling. I will remain an enthusiastic supporter of the Ransom Center and will do anything I can to advance the Center and its mission, but from the grandstand, not the playing field. I promise you, as I promised the University’s President and Provost and the Center’s staff, there will be no diminution of my attention or my energy in my final year as the Ransom Center’s Director. Indeed, I look forward to this being one of our most memorable years yet.
—Thomas F. Staley