University Librarian Robert Sivigny to retire at the end of July

Bob is not only a gentleman but a gentle man as well. His love for Christ can be felt through his servant spirit in his daily contacts with his students, colleagues and supervisors.
—Albert Liu, Dean of the University Library, 2001-2005

At the end of July a living institution of the Library and University will retire after 29 years of dedicated service. Divinity and Special Collections librarian Bob Sivigny began his career at then CBN University in July 1983. Prior to coming to Virginia Beach, Bob served four years in the United Baptist Pastorate of New Brunswick, Canada, where he was ordained to the ministry in 1973. His pastoral duties included ministering to a circuit of six churches. In 1976, Bob began his library studies at Simmons College, Boston, where he completed a Master’s degree in Library Science in 1977. Bob then began his career as a librarian at Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, California, where he worked from 1978 to 1983.

Bob’s tenure at Regent included posts in nearly every department of the Library, including Cataloging, Serials, Reference, and Special Collections. However, it was principally in his role as Divinity Librarian that Bob has become such a beloved figure by more than a generation of theology students. No doubt Sally Jo Shelton, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Divinity speaks for hundreds of alumnae in her tribute to Bob on the Library’s Facebook page: “I consider Bob a true gentleman. His gentle spirit communicates compassion and caring that all the new theological students need when they are floundering to find the resources they need. Irreplaceable is the word that comes to mind.”

As Divinity Librarian, Bob built the Library’s tiny collection of fewer than 7,000 theology books when he arrived to more than 87,000 today. As Special Collections Librarian, Bob coordinated the donations of important special collections to the University, including the Rev. John Wimber Papers, the Fr. Dennis Bennett Collection, the Dr. J. Rodman Williams Collection, and the Rev. Larry Christenson Collection, to name only a few. Bob’s career also included several published articles and bibliographies, including “The Librarian as Missionary,”1 which had its genesis in Bob’s trip in 1986 to Cameroon, West Africa.

In 2011, Distinguished Professor of New Testament Dr. Graham Twelftree paid tribute to Bob’s contributions to theological scholarship in the dedication of The Cambridge Companion to Miracles: “To Bob Sivigny and all the other librarians who support our work.”

Although the faculty and staff of the Library will miss our colleague and friend upon his retirement, we rejoice with Bob as he begins this new chapter in his life. Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

A reception honoring Bob will be held this Thursday (July 12) from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. on the Library Balcony on the second floor.

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1 Robert Sivigny, “The Librarian as Missionary,” Christian Librarian 31 (August 1988), pp. 89-90.