: Save the dates and join the fun for Rebel reunion: the rebels return October 18-22! Among the many events is the annual Alumni Awards Dinner, which recognizes outstanding individuals who represent the ideals of higher education and rebel pride. Here is one of this year’s winners.
’85 BA English, ’88 MA English
Former Library Student of the Year
If anyone wrote a book detailing Flora Mason’s passion and commitment to UNLV and the greater Las Vegas community, it would be so long it could take. War and peace read like a brochure.
Before, during and since obtaining her two UNLV degrees, Mason has been a guest speaker and part-time instructor in the English department; coordinated the Clark County Library District volunteer program; spent two decades (and more) sitting on the UNLV Libraries Advisory board; founded (with her late husband, Stuart) the Las Vegas chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in 1970; became the first woman to be elected by the full membership of Temple Beth Sholom to serve on its board of directors; and has won countless awards for his volunteer service.
Then there is the Mason Undergraduate Peer Research Coach Program, which Stuart and Flora Mason founded and endowed in 2007. The program provides employment, mentorship and counseling to first-generation undergraduates, as well as those from under-represented racial and ethnic groups and those who have financial needs. Program participants work part-time during the academic year and the summer as library ambassadors “mentoring” freshmen and supporting library initiatives.
All of this, of course, only scratches the surface of Mason’s continued community contributions. And to think that it almost didn’t happen: In 1964, Stuart Mason left Florida to help build Caesars Palace, and a year later Flora and their three children joined him for what was supposed to be a stay. temporary in the desert.
“The West in general, and Las Vegas in particular, has offered us dry weather with defined seasons, a welcoming population, and plenty of opportunities for growth – professionally, personally and as a family,” Mason said. “It was (and still is) an exciting destination, but it also offered a family and family atmosphere. So we changed our plans and made it our home.
You have had a boundless passion for libraries throughout your life. How did it develop?
Books were my mother’s great love, and she passed it on to me. I remember going to the local library near our house – it was in a chalet, and the children’s section was on the lower level and looked out onto a garden. The floor was reserved for “grown-ups”, but the librarian let me go through all the piles. My method of selecting books was very sophisticated: I stood in front of a promising bookshelf, closed my eyes, and pointed to a book. Type in, there you are! ”I’ve been introduced to many authors and topics this way.
There is a direct line between your passion for libraries and your decades-long connection to UNLV. Can you explain?
When the Clark County Library District built their main branch near us on Flamingo Road, it was a big celebration because a library signaled that we were a real town. And of course, I called my mom to tell her about the event. Years later, I would be working at this library to coordinate a new volunteer program, so I met the director of the library, Charles Hunsberger. At one point, I told Charles that I never graduated from Miami University undergraduate degree, and he pointed out that I could never advance to the library without a degree: “So get down Maryland. Parkway, Flora, and get this piece of paper. ”
I took this walk, got this degree, then my Masters in English, and continued to teach Composition, Literature, and Critical Thinking in the English Department and Honors Program at UNLV.
What is your message to the younger generation who are so dependent on technology and who might not believe that libraries are that important?
Although libraries have radically transformed from that small library I knew as a child to the technological and architectural wonder of the UNLV Lied library, they remain exciting treasures of not only books, but digital media as well. Libraries are learning catalysts and trusted sources of information. Librarians can help you navigate the waters of our ever-expanding knowledge base, guiding you to new sources, helping you assess those sources, and even pointing out leads not previously considered.
Based on your experience, of what three attributes should every student strive for to have an unlimited supply?
Positivity. My personal mantra from a small sign at a donut store across from the Miami Public Library: “As you move through life, brother (or sister), whatever your goal, keep an eye out for the donut.” , and not on the hole. “
Adaptability. As you continue your education, learn to think and acquire multiple skills. Today’s world is constantly changing. Rare is the person who has a job in life.
Humility. You are not the center of the universe, although you are a very important part of it. Balance these two concepts.