Chris Quinn, Ricker Librarian, 1961-2019
He was only 58 years old. Chris passed on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at 8:07 a.m. at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria, Illinois, after a valiant fight combating congestive heart failure.
The major love of Chris’s life was Ricker Library of Architecture and Art. He was serving as interim head, as he had done on several previous occasions, until illness overcame him. Chris was devoted to Ricker’s welfare and improvement since he first stepped foot through its doors in 1986. He held a myriad of positions within Ricker Library before entering the tenure track in 1995. As a native of Champaign, Illinois, and a history major, he was fascinated by history and especially local stories. So, it seemed only natural that he would explore the area in which he resided to achieve promotion to associate professor in 2001. He based his research agenda on a series of useful articles on Nathan Clifford Ricker investigating Ricker’s role at the University of Illinois as a translator and educator. In addition, he published on the history of Krannert Art Museum and analyzed the journals published by schools of architecture over the decade of 1987-1997. These articles have proven to be seminal in their explanation and interpretation of visual culture at the university. In addition he provided service to the profession, holding roles on various committees in Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS) and its Midstates chapter, as well as the Association of Architecture School Librarians.
Of greater importance to Chris, however, was his mentoring of 30 graduate assistants over the course of the years who have gone on to hold key positions in major libraries. In addition, a generation of undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Fine and Applied Arts can look back from their successful careers, wherever they may be, and remember the invaluable help Chris gave them to finish term papers and semester projects or solve research problems. Chris simply gave his all and worked with them no matter how long or complicated the problem was. Chris was equally resourceful and generous in assisting faculty, remembering their research interests and putting materials in their grateful hands. Chris simply had one of the world’s kindest and sweetest dispositions. And he was patience personified. For me, working beside him for over 35 years was a joy and a privilege. I know his loss will be felt deeply by all who knew him.
—Jane Block, Professor Emerita, Ricker Library