My first introduction to Nebraska Wesleyan was in 1982 when I enrolled in the Library Science program and studied under Jack Robson, Janet Lu and Gabrielle Cope. Their enthusiasm for teaching and care for their students soon had me loving this place.
So I jumped at the chance to apply for a library assistant job in 1985. But I thought my interview might come to an abrupt end when I mentioned I had three kids to deliver to three different places in the morning and a 25-mile commute. I didn’t think I could possibly get to work by 8 a.m. Jack just smiled and eased my fears by saying, “Oh, I think we could accommodate your schedule.” Thus was the beginning of my 23 years at Cochrane-Woods Library.
Jack was somewhat reserved but had a great sense of humor and a strong determination to improve the library. He was instrumental in forming the PICKLE group—that’s Private Independent Colleges Key Library Executives. He came up with both the name and the idea that Nebraska Wesleyan, Doane, Concordia, Midland, Dana and the College of St. Mary should work together to automate their libraries. Now it’s impossible to think of libraries without computers, but it took years of effort to get started down that road.
I remember the summer we first bar coded all the books. The roof was leaking, so there were these big sheets of plastic over some of the stacks, and the library wasn’t air conditioned when school wasn’t in session in those days. To top it all off, the first set of barcodes didn’t stick and it all had to be done again. Needless to say, it took strong leadership to get us through that task with good humor and a minimum of grumbling.
Jack’s dedication to his job, his family and his church was clearly evident every day. He was good to work for and good for Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Jane Wendt (‘87)