QUAST (continued), cont.


. . . as an occasion that required quick and thorough work: “With a team of planners and designers, Debra spearheaded the library renovation in June 2010, completing it in two and a half short months, just in time for classes to begin in a totally new space. She concurrently made some strategic staffing, policy, collection, and technology changes to catapult the library to a state-of-the-art facility. She centered all academic services on the main floor learning commons: Research Help Desk, IT Help Desk, Writers’ Corner, computer lab, and technology rooms to make the Learning Commons a world class study and research center.” The library liaison program expanded substantially during Debra’s years at Westmont, and has become a critical resource for many departments.

The students’ experience has always been an important priority for her. Debra recalls her first year at Westmont, when she rarely saw students in the library. Yet, over the past six years, she has seen students not only coming to the library more often but also building relationships with librarians and joining various events held by the library. What once was the least preferred space on campus is now one of the busiest places on campus, open until late for students to spend their time. Reed Sheard observes that "Debra loves students and she loves them being in the library. She is the person most responsible for making the library a destination point for our students. Her joy and passion are infectious and it was a privilege to partner with her in the remodeling of the library. I think we have one of the best libraries among liberal arts colleges and Debra is a big reason why.”

According to Sarah Stanley, Debra is creative, with a gift for hospitality. Lauren Kelly adds how Debra’s creativity motivated and encouraged the library staff: “When we all rewrote our library policies, she made it fun by painting a tree on her office window and supplying us with apples and leaves with our policy names on them. As each policy was completed, a leaf or apple was added to the tree, and there were prizes!” The staff members also recall "Director's Donuts" during finals week, her stress-relieving Labrador visitors, her contagious sense of fun, and the free ranch eggs from Debra’s new hobby of raising chickens.

“I have enjoyed working with Debra these past six years,” Ruth states. “She is an extroverted, intelligent, talented, creative, friendly, and fun mentor and friend. We have much in common, and have shared our lives, dreams, and prayers. She has a gift for clarifying her vision and implementing it. She is able to see both the global view and the detailed view, a great asset for a director.”

After retiring, Debra plans to move to the Sierra foothills in Auberry, a small town of 1,900 people where she will be closer to her two sons and grandchildren. Along with her husband Jon, who is retiring in January, she bought a five-acre ranch, and Debra is excited to have more room for her six Labradors and to expand her chicken population. She plans to continue exhibiting her Labradors in AKC (American Kennel Club) competitions and participating in field events (Debra and Jon’s story with Labradors can be found on their website: www.journeymanlabs.com). Despite the excitement of a new adventure, she is going to miss the library space, the Westmont campus, the beauty of the Central Coast, and, most of all, the staff she has watched reach many laudable goals.

Bill Wright will be chairing the search committee that has started its work on the recruitment of a new director.