One for the Books

Concordia’s Head Archivist Steps Down after 45 Years of Service

Nancy Marelli will step down as Concordia’s head of archives at the end of September. Photo Laura Beeston

At the end of September, the Concordia University Archives will have some pretty big shoes to fill.

After 45 years at Concordia, Nancy Marrelli will step down from her post—but is “absolutely confident that the archives will go on” without her.

Director of Archives since 1982, Marrelli has been an integral part in preserving, chronicling and cataloguing our university’s collective history and has been an amazing resource for students and staff alike.

According to Marrelli, the proudest achievement of her tenure has been an ongoing process over the decades to “develop good relations within the university and the work [that’s been done] to further the awareness of the history of this institution. It’s important for people to know who we are and what we’ve done.”

Going back to original sources is essential in moving forward, Marelli added, explaining that the major concerns in our history reveal a cyclical pattern—from tuition increases, to transportation, to student space.

“If you go back 40 or 50 years, maybe the dates change and the clothes have changed, but the real issues are the same,” she said. “You can’t go forward always looking back, but you can avoid falling into the same holes if you know where you’ve been.”

Back in the day, Concordia’s archives consisted mainly of records. Under Marrelli’s leadership, however, the information has expanded exponentially and is now digitally catalogued and recorded, which, she said, is “still the priority at the moment.”

Though there is no word yet as to who will take over her position, the selection process is underway. Marrelli expressed excitement about the new candidates.

“It’s always interesting to see new people come in with new talents and different focuses,” she said. “That’s a good thing. I think the infrastructure is there and that it’s well developed. And we have a wonderful, wonderful staff. Things are not going to fall apart by any means.”

But Marrelli isn’t going to be leaving her post completely. She was named Archivist Emeritus of the university, an honorary position that will enable her to continue to be associated with and serve Concordia.

“I’m not going far,” she said, laughing. “I’ve been very privileged to have a job that I love, value and care about. And I love Concordia. I’ve been very lucky to actually work at a place that I care about. Not everyone has that.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 06, published September 21, 2010.