Few have loved UCLA more than Ann Sumner, who earned her bachelor's degree in history in 1926. Whether as a student at the Southern Branch, the head of University Extension's Public Information Department from 1932 to 1966, or an active alumna for over fifty years, Ms. Sumner used her formidable skills as a writer, organizer, and hostess to advance the success of UCLA. During her high school and college years, Ms. Sumner worked as a journalist at the Los Angeles Evening Express, where she developed a lifelong friendship with the newspaper's publisher, Edward A. Dickson, and his wife, Wilhelmina. She witnessed every phase of the development of UCLA as Mr. Dickson, the sole Regent of the University of California from Southern California, led the campaign for a campus in Los Angeles. As a professional public relations officer for the university, Ms. Sumner used every vehicle available from newsletters to radio programs to inform the public about the resources of UCLA.
Ms. Sumner was equally proud of her volunteer work: she was a founding member and served as president of Gold Shield Alumnae of UCLA and of the UCLA Affiliates. She was also a founding member of the UCLA Art Council, the Friends of the UCLA Library, and the Friends of Music. In addition, she played a critical role in raising funds for the Faculty Center and served as president of the Faculty Women's Club in 1958-59. Ms. Sumner's many years of service were honored in 1962, when she received the first UCLA Service Award. The Ann E. Sumner Endowed Collection in Art History was inspired by the great works of art Ms. Sumner saw during visits to Europe and by Mr. Dickson's discerning observation that art history was an area within the UCLA Library that needed ongoing support, an observation that still holds true with today's curricular developments in the College of Letters and Science as well as the School of Arts and Architecture. It was Ms. Sumner's hope that future generations of library users from town and gown would gain knowledge and pleasure from the materials acquired with her legacy to the Arts Library.