by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)
Patricia A. Wand, Pat to her hosts of friends and associates across planet earth, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia from 1963 to 1965 after graduating cum laude in history from Seattle University’s Honors Program. As a rural community development and health education volunteer she taught nutrition, sewing, knitting, and public health and worked with local juntas to build three schools and a bridge. In 1969, she was on Peace Corps staff in the Eastern Caribbean. Thereafter, writing about and detailing her professional career at home and abroad is an exhausting task—as Pat somehow discovered how to get more than 24 hours out of a work day and seven days out of a week!
In Pat’s own words, this is how she described her Peace Corps experience.
A half century ago, service as a Peace Corps Volunteer introduced me to a culture totally different than the one I knew. Within that different culture I came to see individual women and men whose needs for water, food, shelter and good health were the same as mine. Those individuals aspired to a peaceful, joyful life with productive work, education for their children and ways to fulfill their own potential. They became unique individuals to me and affected my life in profound ways. I left Peace Corps with a deep loyalty to Colombia, and a commitment to individuals living in different cultures globally. That loyalty and commitment motivated me to work for peace through education and by developing libraries and information centers in communities around the world.
And — my, did Pat live that commitment in her professional life following Peace Corps! After teaching over a period of four years, in 1967 she found a career as a libraryian, first as staff in Wittenberg University Library in Springfield, Ohio. She moved on in 1972 to be reference librarian at the College of Staten Island, City University at New York, followed in 1977 by becoming Head, Access Services, at Columbia University Libraries in New York. In 1982, Pat was the Assistant University Librarian for Public Service, University of Oregon, and in 1989, she became University Librarian and Professor, American University, Washington, D. C.
This experience across major libraries in the U. S. was central to her appointment in 2006 as Dean of Library and Learning Resources and Professor, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates. Here, during 2006-2010, Pat contributed to the development of the information infrastructure for an emerging nation, starting the first consortium of academic libraries in the UAE. For the new campus in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Pat’s team designed state-of-art libraries to support students preparing for success in a knowledge-based economy.
From her Dubai apartment, Pat witnessed the rise from the desert of Burj Khalifa to its full height as the tallest building in the world. At the same time, she took advantage of her location to learn about the principles of Islam and the rich history of the peoples in the Arabian Gulf.
Within these commitments, Pat managed to publish 34 articles, 44 book reviews, and deliver 52 papers at professional conferences and serve on several editorial boards. In 1998, 1999 and 2000, she testified to the U. S. House Appropriation Subcommittee in support of budgets for the Library of Congress and Superintendent of Documents on behalf of the American Library Association and four other national library associations.
While at American University, she managed to find time to attract collections that form the nucleus of the Peace Corps Community Archive. Now, there is a centralized archive maintained by a highly respected University where researchers and students from around the world can delve into records — correspondence, reports, photos, film, and archival memorabilia — deposited by Peace Corps volunteers and former staff from their years of service.
Not satisfied with these professional responsibilities, Pat still found time to serve on the Board of the National Peace Corps Association, the Friends of Colombia, West Cascade Peace Corps Association (Eugene OR), and the Association of College and Research Libraries. She chaired the Committee on Legislation, American Library Association, 1997-98, and served as President of the District of Columbia Library Association, 1996–97. In 2021 she completed six years as an Endowment Trustee for the American Library Association, being named in 2019 the first woman to serve as Senior Trustee.
Pat’s latest activity involves her not surprisingly key role in extending the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience from its roots in Portland OR to a permanent presence in the Nation’s Capital. The Museum’s vision focuses on connecting people around the world to inspire service and peace, showing that our common humanity is more fundamental than the cultures and ideas that separate us. Its mission is to collect and preserve stories and objects of material culture donated by volunteers who served in communities around the globe. The Museum fosters cultural understanding through education and promotes research on the impact of Peace Corps, encouraging visitors to serve — wherever they live, however they can.
Pat has been listed since 1993 in “Who’s Who in the World,” “Who’s Who in America,” and “Who’s Who of American Women.” She has earned awards from Antioch University New England; University of Michigan School of Information; Association of College and Research Libraries; and the Fulbright Senior Lecturer Award to Ecuador. Thus, in consideration of a professional life exemplarily lived in service to others through Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal, there is more than ample justification for Pat to have a well-earned Profile in Citizenship.