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Family of Hartnell College Employee Makes First Major Gift to Campus' New Library

May 8th, 2006

The family and a friend of Sze Soo, a former Hartnell College librarian, have made the first major contribution - a gift of $100,000 - to the college's new library/learning resource center.

Soo was a technical services/reference librarian for Hartnell for 23 years from 1974 to 1997. She passed away in 1999.

She is remembered and honored by the naming of the technical services room in the new library as the Sze Soo Technical Services Center.

Commenting on the gift, Hartnell President Edward J. Valeau said, "The gift named in honor of Sze Soo is a tremendous statement on the value of what we do and will contribute significantly to the support of the new learning resource center."

As a technical services librarian, Soo supervised the operations of the library's technical services department. During her tenure, the library was transformed from a traditional library into automated, technology-oriented resource facility.

She also worked on the reference desk as a respected and knowledgeable reference librarian, according to Gary Hughes, associate vice president of educational technology and library services.

Soo earned masters' degrees in statistics, computer science, and library science; she also had teaching credentials in physics and mathematics, and was fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. She was very objective about issues and made a point of considering all sides of a question - both the pros and cons - in a way that a good scientist approaches important issues, according to Jesse Cude, Hartnell physics instructor. "Sze combined this philosophy and a commitment to lifelong learning with a warm cheerfulness that made her a delightful person to know," he said.

The library staff speaks of Soo as very sensitive to people's needs and a generous and willing mentor and teacher. According to Teresita Lydon, library services specialist, "Sze embraced better ways of working and was dedicated to learning new methods and sharing the knowledge and expertise with us. Her commitment to excellence was inspiring to her fellow staff members and raised the standards of the entire library. She did this with respect and courtesy, listening and counseling those around her. Sze Soo was always there to give others a helping hand with her joy of life and laughter."

The family and friend of Soo are the first individuals to step forward and name a room in the new library, according to Beverly Grova, Hartnell's dean of advancement and development. "This also is the first time that Hartnell College is offering naming opportunities throughout an entire building," Grova said. "The naming levels range from $25,000 up to $3 million to name the library itself."

For more information on the Sze Soo gift and naming opportunities, contact Beverly Grova at (831) 755-6810.