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Society of American Archivists Honors Alumni

Two alumni from the Texas iSchool have been inducted as Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.

Brenda Gunn, director of research and collections at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, and John H. Slate, city archivist of Dallas, were among six fellows honored during a ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore., in late July.

The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Slate earned his master’s degree in library and information science with a concentration in archival enterprise at the Texas iSchool. Since assuming the position of city archivist in March 2000, his advocacy efforts have propelled the Dallas Municipal Archives to be among the best models of municipal archives nationally, according to the SAA. 

“(Slate’s) commitment and passion is unparalleled,” one nominator wrote. “He has been involved in virtually every effort to address the nearly intractable problem of local records preservation in the United States.”

Gunn holds master’s degrees in both archival enterprise and English literature and is pursuing a PhD in American history at UT Austin. At the iSchool, she was a founding member of one of the SAA’s first student chapters.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Gunn founded the Emergency Disaster Assistance Recovery Fund for Archives to help with the immediate preservation costs of the region’s archival repositories. In 2009, she received SSA’s Distinguished Service Award for her collaborative archival recovery work during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Gunn’s ongoing contributions to the development and sustainability of the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) have influenced hundreds of archivists who have been through the program.

“Gunn has the great skill of actively listening to all members to see where there are ways to move forward,” one nominator said. Another supporter added: “She has been a force in advancing the archival enterprise nationally.” 

Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists is North America’s oldest and largest national archival professional association.