Long-time 'Berg archivists call it a career

Heidelberg’s Archives is like a window to the past, where the institution’s history and memorabilia live. For the past 14 years, Professor Emeritus of German Dr. Bob Berg and his wife, Dorothy, have been the keepers of the Archives. 

During their time as archivists, these Class of ’65 alumni made a great deal of progress in both organizing the holdings and bringing preservation processes up to date.

But, it’s time for a new chapter. Bob and Dorothy have officially retired as archivists – in Bob’s case, retired again. 

“We are grateful for the commitment and care Bob and Dorothy put forth as they safeguarded the institution’s history and memorabilia,” said interim Provost Dr. Bryan Smith in announcing the retirement.

Bob and Dorothy recall that when they took over as archivists in 2006, their annual budget was about $350. They borrowed cabinets and recycled file folders as they went about their task of organizing the Archives. Then, something wonderful happened. 

In honor of their 50th anniversary, the Class of ’60 stepped up with a reunion gift to endow the Archives. The idea was conceived at the group’s 45th reunion at the suggestion of classmate Ron Stuckey, ’60. Dave Ackroyd, ’60, who chaired his class’s 50th reunion, called the giving effort “an opportunity to put forth the past, so we don’t forget it.”

As the endowment has continued to grow, so did the Archives’ budget. Bob and Dorothy were able to purchase much-needed supplies: archival-quality folders, boxes and paper, easels for displays, and other necessities. 

In 2015, they began the painstaking process of digitizing some of the Archives’ holdings: minutes from faculty meetings dating back to 1850, minutes of Board of Trustees meetings, the alumni magazine and about 155 years of college catalogs. Additionally, they were able to improve climate control measures in the Archives.

Throughout their tenure as archivists, the Bergs frequently compiled historical displays for Alumni Weekends and other events on campus. Those displays took people back and jogged many a memory. These visual glimpses into Heidelberg’s past were always anticipated, especially by reunion classes, and very well received.

“We have appreciated Bob and Dorothy’s attention to detail and their wealth of knowledge to all things Heidelberg,” Bryan said.

While this is the end of one era – Bob joined the Heidelberg faculty in 1981 as a professor of German, retiring from full-time teaching in 2004 – it’s not good-bye. We’re certain we’ll see this beloved Heidelberg couple around their Sweet Alma Home very soon and very often.

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