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Bob Fleming’s Top 10 Favorite Memories

By Nancy Howell

Emerson College’s Library Director Bob Fleming is retiring at the end of June after 36 years of service at the College. Here he shares his top 10 favorite memories:

10. Walking into 150 Beacon Street, a former governor’s mansion in the Back Bay, in April 1983 to apply for a job as a library assistant. Looking around at the beautiful Victorian interiors and thinking, “I hope I get to work in this special place!”

Bob Fleming helps clean-up the Majestic Theatre with another person
Majestic Clean-Up Day

9. Participating in the Majestic Clean-Up Day in 1986, where faculty, staff, and administrators rolled up their sleeves and worked together to clear out decades of trash and debris, so that this worn-out old movie theater could be returned to its original use as a legitimate theater.

8. Feeling proud to work at Emerson in the early 1990s, when it was one of the first colleges in Boston to extend healthcare benefits to the same-sex partners of gay and lesbian staff and faculty.

7. Volunteering as an usher at the Majestic and seeing many great performances sponsored by Boston Lyric Opera and Dance Umbrella for free!

Staff who moved the library to 120 Boylston Street in 1999.
Staff who moved the library to 120 Boylston Street in 1999.

6. Working with Library staff and Emerson’s first-rate construction and facilities crews to move the library to a new location at 120 Boylston in the summer of 1999, just six short months after we first got the news that we would be moving.

A photo of a man with oil on his face
David Burnett exhibit he curated at Huret & Spector Gallery.
A promotional poster for the Jeff MacNelly exhibit
Jeff MacNelly exhibit he curated at Huret & Spector Gallery.

5. Serving as curator of the Huret & Spector Gallery and working with alumni (Judy Huret, Iris Burnett, and Susie McNally) and faculty (Lauren Shaw, Cher Knight, Mirta Tocci, Craig Freeman, and Tim Jozwick) to present exhibitions there. Having the exhibition that I created with artist Karen Finley reviewed in Artforum in 2007.

Bob Fleming with his husband and actress Betty White meet at the American Comedy Archives project.
Fleming and his husband met Betty White during the American Comedy Archives project.

4. Visiting the homes of comedy greats like Jonathan Winters, Bea Arthur, and Dick Van Dyke with Bill Dana and Jenni Matz to record oral history interviews for Emerson’s American Comedy Archives.

3. Working with Walker 10 and Library staff to build bridges to Emerson’s neighboring communities and organizations through Alternative Spring Break Boston and other civic engagement activities.

2. Working with the Library’s collection development and technology teams to expand the Library’s collection beyond books and DVDs to include databases, online journals, streaming media, and ebooks that are available to students no matter where in the world they may be studying.

1. Exiting the Boylston T station each morning, looking around and feeling so grateful that I work at a dynamic college located in the heart of a great city.

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