Chancellor Unveils New Name and Fund
for Special Collections & University Archives,
Honoring the Late Rob Cox
In October, while celebrating at the 22nd Annual Fall Reception in the company of more than 150 donors and friends of the Libraries, Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy announced a new name for the University’s Special Collections and University Archives:
“In acknowledgment of its growth and development, today we are announcing a new era,” said the chancellor. “To ensure its mission is aligned with a continued focus on building innovative programming around its exceptional collections, SCUA will now be recognized as a UMass research center, the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center.”
The chancellor said the new name recognizes the center as a unique hub for research: it has become internationally known as a repository and resource for understanding global social change movements and the activists that drive them; for exploring innovation and entrepreneurship; and for better understanding the life and culture of New England.
In being named for Rob Cox, who passed away in May 2020 at age 61, the center highlights the value of intellectual exploration and its potential to improve lives, and the continuing growth of its unique collections, which support such exploration and action.
Under Cox’s leadership from 2004 to 2020, the department expanded the archives, with 75 percent of its current materials acquired during Cox’s tenure. Cox began by building on the papers of W. E. B. Du Bois, one of the department’s most distinguished collections. Guided by the ability of Du Bois to see the interconnections that underlie social change movements, and inspired by the long life of Du Bois and the evolving philosophy represented in the collection, Cox put into practice two approaches to collecting: acknowledging and documenting the overlap of social change movements; and collecting whole lives and whole communities.
Aaron Rubinstein, head of the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center said, “[H]igh-profile collections that came to the university under Rob’s leadership position the research center for future success as we continue building upon his groundbreaking vision and approach.”
The chancellor also announced the creation of the Robert S. Cox Special Collections Fund, which will allow the research center to channel additional resources into projects and collections that advance both the mission of the center and Cox’s legacy. The university’s goal is to create a one-million-dollar endowment, ensuring the department can continue to innovate and champion the histories of those activists and groundbreakers whose stories have been marginalized.
To donate to the Robert S. Cox Special Collections Fund visit: bit.ly/robertcoxfund