Three very special award recipients honored in San Diego

If you were one of the 1600+ archivist colleagues in San Diego last week, I hope you agree with me that it was a pretty fantastic conference. Speaking as a diehard cheerleader for my home state of California, I’ll admit that the location wasn’t the only reason that it was so great. 🙂 The Host Committee, led by the fabulous Ardys Kozbial of the University of California at San Diego, did an incredible job providing us all with a terrific experience, as did everyone else involved. (By the way, I’m sometimes known for my hyperbolic ways, especially when flinging around compliments, but those above are all totally deserved!)

There’s so much I could report on, but today I’d like to highlight three of the many awards presented in San Diego. Our Society has an extensive awards program that honors students, authors, practitioners, and archival supporters, and every single person and organization who was in the limelight was deeply deserving. Those that I’m going to highlight here are merely three of my personal favorites.

The SAA Council chose to honor two individuals and one group for their extraordinary service by awarding them the Council Exemplary Service Award. This honor is given very selectively to those who have contributed to our Society in some way that isn’t covered by any of our other award categories.

First and foremost, Nancy Perkin Beaumont, SAA’s extraordinary Executive Director, was honored for her accomplishments since joining SAA in 2003. Ask any of her staff whether Nancy deserves this special honor, and I’m confident they’ll all respond with a resounding YES! Her leadership, wisdom, warmth, and overall excellence provide the continuity that a professional organization such as ours needs in order to thrive and grow. Those of us who serve in elected and appointed positions are temporary window dressing (don’t tell my colleagues I said that!). She’s the one who keeps everything going, and it’s a joy to work with her. Congratulations and thank you, Nancy!

Michael J. Fox was honored for his decades of service to SAA and the international archival profession for his unparalleled contributions to the field of archival descriptive standards. You’ll see the full recitation of his accomplishments elsewhere soon enough, so I’ll only say that without Michael, I’m not sure that any of our descriptive standards would be half as good as they are. He’s brilliant! Clear thinking. Self sacrificing. Passionate. Utterly obsessed with making this little corner of our world as good as it can possibly be. EAD, DACS, ISAD(G), MARC … the acronyms hardly describe the importance and range of his work. He’s my personal hero.

Finally, the members of the group that developed and fostered the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials were honored for their years of passionate effort to bring attention to the importance of appropriately respecting the ethical and legal rights that Native American people should have with regard to the physical artifacts that document their culture and traditions. These dedicated archivists performed an exceptional service by highlighting a complex–and, in some respects, controversial–set of issues that is shared by indigenous people worldwide. I deeply admire and respect their contribution to our field.

Watch for further news about our full array of awardees in the usual SAA news outlets. Congratulations to them all!

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