Tribute: Suzanne Cates Dodson, 1933-2014


Earl and Suzanne Dodson were longtime supporters of UBC Library.

Suzanne Cates Dodson, a longtime employee and fervent supporter of UBC Library, passed away on March 6, 2014. In tribute, the B.C. Flag at Main Mall and Agronomy Road on the Vancouver campus was lowered on Thursday, March 13.

After earning her degree in librarianship from UBC, Suzanne joined UBC Library, where she worked for 36 years before retiring in 1999.

Suzanne and her loving husband Earl Dodson, who passed away in 2009, were enthusiastic supporters of the Library. Over the years, their generosity resulted in an elevator at Koerner Library to accommodate persons with disabilities, an air conditioning system for rare materials, a microfilming project and furniture for Koerner’s rooftop patio.

In 2006, Suzanne and Earl gave $20,000 to set up a fund to provide annual support for the professional development of library assistants. Earl also served as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on the University Library.

As a sign of appreciation, in 1999 the Library dedicated the Suzanne Cates Dodson and Earl D. Dodson Reading Room in the Main Library, which remains a treasured site today within the refurbished core of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

The Dodsons also left a lasting legacy at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS); the Dodson Visiting Professorship is funded by a donation from Suzanne and Earl and is named in their honour.

Please see below for some reflections on Suzanne from UBC Library colleagues. For more, please visit this SLAIS tribute and Suzanne’s obituary. You can also view this 1999 UBC Reports article and this Summer 2009 tribute to Earl in Friends, UBC Library’s newsletter (the item appears on p. 4).

“Suzanne was one of the loveliest, more gracious people it’s ever been my pleasure to work with – a wonderful colleague, who leaves me with happy memories and much gratitude.”

– Hilde Colenbrander, cIRcle


“For those of us in UBC Library who had the privilege to work with Suzanne – she will always remain a part of us. You can never forget her smiling demeanor and her dedication to the Library. Her gentle spirit will live on. The Dodson Room and rooftop space in Koerner, which she gifted to the Library, are evidence of her good works and love for UBC Library. Her death is a great loss.”

– Jo-Anne Naslund, Education Library


“She took an active interest in all her staff and was respectful of everyone. Suzanne had a great sense of humour – I remember that she used to keep the petty cash box in a file drawer with a “RADIOACTIVE” sign on it, to keep out thieves. I also remember her love of cats – and not just her own: she used to bring in cream for the feral cats who were living under some of the huts on campus! What a lady.”

– Lynne Gamache, Borrower Services


“I worked for many years under the gracious tutelage of Suzanne. She gave me free reign to learn as much as one possibly could about the exciting world of government publications and microforms.”

– Susanne Lester, Humanities and Social Sciences


“Her passing evokes so many positive memories….She was an accomplished painter, musician and a lover of cats and of course much devoted to Earl. Fond, fond memories of an inspiring leader and warm, loving person.”

– Gordon Yusko, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre