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Ashford University’s campus library will be renamed The Flora S. Lowe Library to honor the person who spent the past 34 years in that facility helping students, faculty, and staff as library director.
Flora and her husband Dr. William “Curt” Lowe both began working at Mount St. Clare College (Ashford’s predecessor) in 1980. Curt is currently campus dean of Ashford’s College of Liberal Arts.
During a retirement reception in Flora Lowe’s honor in September, Dr. Charlie Minnick, Ashford University vice president and campus director, announced the library name change. “I’m utterly astounded.” Lowe said afterwards. “I really can’t remember any other time that I’ve been so surprised and humbled.”
A formal renaming ceremony is being planned for the spring of 2015. During the summer of 2014 the library underwent a complete renovation with new lighting, carpeting, furniture, reception/circulation desk, and paint.
“When I was hired to work in the library, my ‘title’ was library director. The Sisters of St. Francis (owners of the college) never seemed to insist that we use traditional library titles,” Lowe remembered. “Prior to my arrival, I was told that there were, at that time, at least five Sisters of St. Francis working in the campus library – only one of which was a librarian – and I became the first non-Sister of St. Francis to manage the library.”
After Lowe was hired, one of the Sisters developed some medical problems and resigned her library position while another Sister who had some library credentials settled in as the assistant librarian. Another part-time staff member was added to manage the 8-10 student workers. “To my knowledge, I’m not aware of any Sisters of St. Francis who were salaried workers,” Lowe said.
“The campus has always been a friendly, welcoming, and helpful place to be for students, staff, faculty, and others,” Lowe said. “Sr. Theresa Ruggle was always quite willing to show me the ropes when I had a question, and Sr. Coralita (Schwiderski) was always happy to ‘mind the store,’ as she described it. Sr. Coralita had a quite encyclopedic knowledge of the Sisters and how things worked on campus and was very willing to share information.”
During her early days as library director, Lowe was asked about her foreign language knowledge. “Quite soon after that discussion occurred, I was advised that I would be not only the library director but also the faculty member who taught our English as a Second Language courses. That situation continued for several years, and indeed, I still hear from those students now.”
The Lowes have always been very visible on the Clinton campus, regularly seen at student events: athletic matches, concerts, plays, and other activities. “Curt and I have enjoyed knowing and working with faculty, staff, students, parents of students, and many other special groups of people,” she said. “We have always enjoyed encouraging our students, whether they are campus students or online students.”
When asked what she has planned for her retirement after working in the campus library for more than three decades, Lowe said, “It will certainly take me quite a while to become accustomed to that word.”
About Ashford University
Where heritage meets innovation – that’s Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelor’s, and master’s online degree programs, while the Clinton, Iowa campus offers bachelor’s programs. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu, www.facebook.com/ashforduniversity, www.twitter.com/AshfordU, or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.