Close menu Resources for... William & Mary
W&M menu close William & Mary

Message on the passing of Nancy Marshall

Provost Michael R. Halleran sent the following message to the campus community Aug. 9, 2018. - Ed.

Dear colleagues,

I write to share the news that Nancy Marshall, former dean of university libraries at William & Mary, passed away on July 22 at her home in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  Nancy came to W&M in 1986 from the University of Wisconsin, where she served as the associate director of libraries for public services.  She served at W&M as the library director for 11 years, and was the first person to hold the title of dean of university libraries.  Nancy earned her MALS at the University of Wisconsin and her BA in English from Ohio Wesleyan University.  

Nancy’s leadership as dean was critical to the growth and modernization of Swem Library.  She played an essential role in planning and fundraising for the 1988 and 2005 renovation and expansion of the Swem Library Building Project, which added a new wing for the Special Collections Research Center, new space for general collections, reading areas, administrative offices and our 24-hour study room and café.  Nancy played a key role in the formation of the Virtual Library of Virginia – a state-wide consortium that facilitates cooperation and the collective purchase of online collections that serve higher education students across Virginia.  

Soon after Nancy announced her retirement, and in her final year at William & Mary, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  After successfully beating lung cancer, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  Nancy was a fighter!  She became a two-time survivor and went on to volunteer for many years with the Cancer Community Center in South Portland as part of the center’s lung cancer support group and as part of the Maine Buddy Program.  She also nurtured her love for libraries through volunteer work with the Thomas Memorial Library.

Even from afar, Nancy continued to support the Nancy H. Marshall “A Visit from St. Nicholas” Collection.  This extensive collection of books and memorabilia related to “The Night Before Christmas” poem was Nancy’s passion, and we delight in pulling items for display each December.  She kept in touch over the years and continued to add to the collection; her last visit to campus was in fall 2014 when we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Earl Gregg Swem Library.

She is survived by her husband of 64 years, William; four children; and seven grandchildren.  A private funeral was held.