Terry McDonald named director of the Bentley Historical Library


Feb 22, 2013

From Phil Hanlon, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

The Board of Regents has approved the appointment of Terrence J. McDonald as the next director of the Bentley Historical Library, effective September 1, 2013. The library is a center for the study of the history of American life with an emphasis on the period from the mid-nineteenth century to the present as revealed, especially, through its collections on the history of the state of Michigan and the University of Michigan.

Terry McDonald is dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Professor of History at the University of Michigan.  He received his B.A. degree from Marquette University and his Ph.D. from Stanford University.  After receiving his doctorate, he joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1980 as an assistant professor and was promoted through the ranks to professor in 1992.  Dean McDonald has served the University in many capacities.  He was a member of the Senate Assembly, a member of the executive committee of the Humanities Institute, and interim chair of the Department of History.  From 1995 to 2000 he was associate dean for academic affairs in the College of LSA; he assumed leadership of the College as interim dean from July 2002 through June 2003, and as dean on July 1, 2003.  

Dean McDonald has led the College of LSA through one of the most financially challenging periods that the University has ever seen.  The College has introduced important efficiencies and increased financial discipline so that it has had the resources to invest in key academic priorities.  Terry has nurtured and enhanced the College’s excellence as it has grown and strengthened along every dimension.

Terry McDonald is an award-winning historian of the United States.  The author or editor of four books and numerous articles, he has made important contributions to two fields, American urban political history and historical method.  He has received prizes for his work from the Social Science History Association and the California Historical Society, has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and received other fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the University of Michigan Humanities Institute. He has served on the editorial boards of the journals Social Science History, Historical Methods, and Studies in American Political Development. In 1991 he was the Richard Hudson Research Professor in the Department of History, and in 2001 he was a Directeur d’Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.  All of his historical research and teaching has been focused on the period of American history to which the collections of the Bentley Historical Library are devoted.

Dean McDonald is an outstanding scholar, a dedicated teacher who has won almost every teaching award offered by the University, and an accomplished administrator and fundraiser.  He has long been dedicated to the University of Michigan and its ideals.  He will serve as the responsible steward of the Bentley Library’s historical collections in the context of rapid change in the library environment, and will promote the fundamental role of archives in the work of the University and among a wide variety of external constituencies.

His deep understanding of the innovative spirit and decentralized environment of the university community will position him to increase the visibility and role of the Bentley Historical Library in teaching, learning, and scholarship.  Terry brings impressive success as an administrator and fundraiser to the role of representing the University and the Bentley Historical Library in outreach, development, and inter-institutional cooperation.

President Coleman and I are very pleased that Terry McDonald will assume the directorship of the Bentley Historical Library at a time when an understanding of the current trends in information technology are needed to strengthen the digital capacity of the Library and to engage in national leadership in archival practices and policies.  Terry has the experience, creativity, and energy to secure the Bentley Library’s continued pre-eminence and future growth.