Hundreds of friends, family members, and Washington University faculty and staff gathered on December 21, 2016, in Crowder Courtyard at Anheuser-Busch Hall to celebrate the retirement of Virginia Dowsing Toliver, associate university librarian for Washington University Libraries.
Toliver has worked at the University Libraries for more than 35 years and has been involved in two multi-year renovations of John M. Olin Library. She handles facilities, human resources, and the budget for the Libraries.
“In the four years I’ve been here there are a few people that I’ve always felt were the go-to people, the people who always knew what was going on,” said Provost Holden Thorp in his remarks at the celebration. “At the top of that list has always been Virginia Toliver. She is somebody who knows all the people you need to know to do what you want to do. She is somebody who has the intellect and experience to advise people on how to get things done. And she is the heart and soul of the University Libraries.”
Toliver has also been involved in several WashU groups, including the Danforth University Management Council, the James E. McLeod Honors and Awards Program Planning Committee, the Chancellor’s Roundtable on African American Student Recruitment, and the Human Resources Advisory Committee.
Among her community work, she was the first African American and the first woman to chair Eden Theological Seminary’s board of trustees in 2010; she is active in her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta; she is a former board member of Food Outreach Inc., and she is a certified HIV/AIDS educator for the American Red Cross. In 2012, she received the Gerry & Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award for her service to the St. Louis region.
“She is, to put it in a word, indispensable,” said Marion Crain, vice provost and leader of the Libraries.
Photos of the event: