Ron Becker to Retire after 43 Years with the Libraries

  • Ron with Paul Stellhorn, New Jersey Committee for the Humanities.

Ron Becker will retire from the Libraries at the end of the semester after 43 years of service, the last 25 of which were spent as head of Special Collections and University Archives. During this time, Ron oversaw a period of unprecedented growth for the library and helped it become the largest repository of New Jersey history and culture and one of the largest regional history collections in the nation.

Ron is a “loyal son” of Rutgers who has spent almost the entirety of his career at the Libraries, bridging several generations of students, scholars, donors, and the public. Throughout this time, he has been heavily invested in library and faculty governance as well as fundraising, having procured millions of dollars in grants and donations for the university.

“More than any other that I had been affiliated with or knew about at the time, Rutgers struck me from day one as a unique library whose stacks were open to everyone and whose Special Collections and University Archives encouraged younger students and the public to use and become engaged with its materials,” he recalls. “I am so happy that now nearly all archival repositories have become like Rutgers and that I have played a small role in that coming about.”

Ron has also been a tireless champion for New Jersey history through lobbying efforts including testimony at legislative hearings and meetings with New Jersey’s congressional delegation.

“Rutgers has given me the opportunity to meet and engage with an incredibly diverse group of individuals and organizations to help document all of the unique contributions that New Jersey has made to our nation and the world. Hopefully, the materials that we have collected and made available to the public have an impact in bringing these contributions to light.”

Ron has held offices in over a dozen professional, state and county government, and historical organizations; is a frequent speaker at historical and archival conferences; and has won numerous awards for his contributions. But all things considered, he notes that three things above all else have given him the most pride.

“One is working with so many distinguished and caring colleagues throughout the Libraries and the university; another is that so many young people that we have mentored as students in the field have gone on to professional careers and significant accomplishments; and finally is that we have encouraged and helped develop K-12 students’ appreciation and use of historical materials, which I know will result in a better informed citizenry in the future.”

Ron will miss the day-to-day activities and comradery at the Libraries but eagerly anticipates spending more time with his family and at his second home in Florida “with the goal of never seeing ice and snow in person again.” He also looks forward to completing publication projects and engaging in new historical and community endeavors that have long been planned but have yet to be acted on.

Ron has enrolled in Rutgers’ faculty transition to retirement program and will be present often during the summer and fall semesters in 2017 and 2018.

Please join us in thanking Ron for his service and wishing him all the best in his next chapter!

Matt Badessa