Both Cynthia Shelton and her husband, Gary Nash, spent their careers at UCLA. Professor Nash arrived at the Department of History in 1966. He worked closely with library specialists to build collections in early American history, and he has long felt indebted to the UCLA Library for supporting his teaching and scholarship, areas in which he has achieved great distinction. Dr. Shelton worked in the UCLA Library for twenty years after earning two advanced degrees on campus. As a graduate student and then as a librarian in charge of building, providing, and preserving scholarly resources, she thrived in the environment of a great research library. Establishing a collection endowment to support future students and scholars resonated strongly with the couple and, because of Dr. Shelton’s direct responsibilities for the Library’s collection development enterprise, they particularly appreciated the growing need for non-state funding for library materials and information resources. The occasion of her retirement in 2007 seemed a perfect opportunity to “give back” to the UCLA Library.
The decision to create an endowment to help ensure the strength of UCLA’s future research resources was easy, as was the decision to define an area of research and teaching at UCLA that was close to both their hearts—the culture and history of the Southwest. Professor Nash moved from the East Coast to Southern California more than forty years ago and still marvels at the complex history and rich cultures that define the Southwest. Dr. Shelton is a second-generation Californian whose father instilled in her a deep appreciation of the early cultures and arts of the area as well as its wilderness and wildlife. They derive immense satisfaction from the ability to make a lasting impact on the UCLA Library’s purpose of preserving and providing access to scholarly resources in an area for which they share a passion.