Alumni Reunion Weekend


At the end of December, 2008, Dr. Marilyn B. Ogilvie retired from the University of Oklahoma as Curator of the History of Science Collections and Professor in the History of Science Department.  In addition to her prolific scholarship, as Curator Marilyn increased the Collections’ holdings from 79,000 to 94,000 volumes, inaugurated a support group – the OU Academy of the Lynx – and expanded access to the Collections under an Andrew W. Mellon Travel Fellowship Program.  Marilyn served on numerous masters and doctoral committees and inspired students for over four decades, receiving several undergraduate teaching awards.  Alumni from the last five decades treasure memories of Marilyn as a fellow graduate student, teacher and mentor, for no other person has been involved in the OU history of science program over as many years in as many roles.

On January 22-24, the OU history of science program combined an alumni reunion with a celebration of Marilyn’s career.  The well-attended events kicked off with a public lecture by Kenneth L. Taylor exploring “Volcanology before Darwin”; this lecture also inaugurated a year-long series of special events at OU to celebrate the Darwin year. 

At a round-table discussion the next afternoon, panel participants offered reflections on the historiography of women and science and Marilyn’s contributions to the field.  Speakers were Joy Harvey, Sally Gregory Kohlstedt and Margaret W. Rossiter.  JoAnn Palmeri, the new Acting Librarian of the Collections, moderated the discussion.  Although Marilyn’s six published books received frequent mention over the weekend, the most memorable reference was Sally Gregory Kohlstedt’s suggestion that the title of Marilyn’s biography of Alice Boring, an American geneticist in Beijing, most aptly describes Marilyn herself as “A Dame Full of Vim and Vigor.”


Another major event was a Saturday Luncheon featuring tributes to Marilyn Ogilvie offered by Robert Henry (Chief Justice, Federal Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit), Kerry Magruder (former Librarian and the new Curator of the Collections), Martha Ogilvie (daughter), Marcia Goodman (former Librarian), JoAnn Palmeri (alumna and Acting Librarian) and Kenneth L. Taylor (Professor emeritus).  Steven J. Livesey, Chair of the Department, announced that the Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie Alumni Graduate Fellowship had already reached the halfway mark toward its goal of $100,000 to provide student scholarships.

The weekend concluded with an open house in the History of Science Collections featuring some of the significant acquisitions of Marilyn’s tenure as Curator.  These included works by Maria Merian, Hildegard of Bingen, Paracelsus, the Salusbury English translation of Galileo, the natural history of Mexico by Hernandez, Darwin’s Zoology of the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle, the Epitome by Regiomontanus of Ptolemy’s Almagest and works by Tycho, Adrian Metius, Guidobaldo Monti and members of the Accademia dei Lincei.  In recognition of Marilyn’s distinguished efforts in building the Collections and of her acclaimed scholarship in the history of women and science, Sul Lee, Dean of University Libraries, placed the Urania Propitia (1650) of Maria Cunitz in the Collections.

Celebration of Marilyn B. Ogilvie