Steve Marine announced recently he would be retiring next year after spending his entire adult life on college campuses. The associate dean of UC Libraries and executive director of the Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions has been with the University of Cincinnati for the last 25 years. He has held several diverse positions while at the UC -- from software development to library special collections Ė mostly on the universityís medical campus.
Where were you before arriving at the University of Cincinnati in 1990 and what were you doing?
I was accused of being a professional student and avoiding work (probably true), accumulating degrees from Ohio State, University of Nebraska and University of Wisconsin over the course of 10 years. I was just following the money. I began my professional career at the College of William and Mary, spent formative and fun years at Virginia Commonwealth University, and landed at UC just in time to make sure my children were raised to speak with the Cincinaaaaati flat "aĒ.
What attracted you to the University of Cincinnati?
Size, reputation, location. As a student I was raised in large comprehensive research universities. Professionally, I wanted the wide range of possibilities such institutions offer, and UC held a solid position among its peers. And my wife and I both being born-and-bred Buckeyes with most of our families in central Ohio, Cincinnati seemed perfect Ė just close enough, just far enough away.
Describe the varied positions youíve held during your time at UC.
Iíve had seven different titles over these 25 years, and have been called many other things. I like the current title best: associate dean. My loyalty to and affection for UC are largely because of the many varied and interesting jobs Iíve had. I canít imagine being able to build the kind of portfolio I have accumulated anywhere else. Software development, digital initiatives, archives and special collections, medical history, consumer health, grantsmanship, library technical and public services, and preservation of physical and digital records have kept my learning curve steep the entire time.
What are some of your favorite achievements while here at the University of Cincinnati?
Iíve had the good fortune to be a part of many strategic and forward-looking initiatives. Iíll mention just a few.
Creating NetWellness, one of the first consumer health web sites, in 1994 and sustaining it for 15 years was a thrill. My role was on three fronts: negotiating the participation of UC faculty in "ask an expert,Ē sustaining a partnership with medical schools at Ohio State and Case, and securing external funding. The last of these required many trips to Columbus and Washington, D.C., giving testimony before Assembly and Congressional committees and pleading my case to people who I initially thought were from another planet but who in fact were pretty much like the rest of us.
With the support of many people throughout the university and outside, we created a new home for the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions. Once hidden in the basement of Wherry Hall, it now has a beautiful home near Kresge Auditorium in the MSB, reflecting the importance of UC in the history of medical advances since the early 19th century. The opportunity to call people like Jack McDonough, Marianne Ivey and President Emeritus Henry Winkler himself both colleagues and friends has enriched my professional and personal life.
Over the past year the UC Libraries and UCit, with the Office of Research, have embarked on a number of initiatives to support UC researchers. The one Iím most closely involved with is Scholar@UC, an institutional digital repository designed to make accessible and preserve for the long-term the scholarly and historical output of the university. Working with an exceedingly talented team of developers, librarians, IT specialists, administrators and faculty has been a remarkable experience both for its university-wide diversity and the exceptional commitment the entire team has shown.
Tell us one thing that your UC colleagues donít know about you.
My incomplete doctoral dissertation was a poetic, theological and historical analysis and comparison of the prayers in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiodís Theogony. Now you understand why no one knows about this.
What outside interests do you pursue?
Some of the usual, like travel, mostly to Europe. Our last trip was to Portugal where we discovered the finest cheap wine in the world and a dozen ways to make potatoes tasteless, but also in tiny mountain villages the most fascinating and intact old world culture weíve experienced. My pidgin Portuguese got us out of tight spots a couple of times, but more often made matters worse!
Any new interests youíll take on when you retire and have more free time?
One, finish my novel, which is about very little. Two, read every Latin American novel ever written and weep that I will never achieve such artistic heights. And three, pull my drum set out of mothballs and finally learn to execute an Art Blakey press roll. Oh, and spend a lot of quality time with my first grandchild, who is due in March. As I did with my own kids, I intend to initiate the child into Cincinnatiís lesser known cultural wonders, like admiring the Mill Creek Valley with Chicago gyros in the Bellevue Park pavilion; appreciating the incredible array of humanity that comes and goes from Tuckerís Restaurant on OTR; and hiking the trails of nearly every city park looking for trilobites and snails and learning the hard way, probably, to recognize poison ivy.
What are some of the biggest changes youíve seen in the university since you started working here?
Attitude. Under UCís (and for me, UC Librariesí especially) current leadership, many of us seem to have shed the inferiority complex that UC was renowned for. In my 25 years, these are the most exciting times Iíve known.
What or who will you miss most about working at UC?
At the risk of sounding cliché, of course my colleagues and advisors. Iíve accomplished nothing by myself. Any achievement I can point to has been successful because of the passion and commitment of the people I work with and inspirational bosses who have helped me broaden my perspectives. Also, Birsen Kayaís homemade hummus.