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Illuminant & Annual Report | 2020

The Illuminant is a production of the Miami University Libraries' Office of Strategic Communications.

Tenacity, humor, and passion: the career of Susan Hurst

A portrait of Susan HurstAfter 35 years at Miami University — 22 of them as business librarian — Susan Hurst retired on September 8, 2020. She leaves a reputation for excellence that was honored by the board of trustees with the rank of Administrator Emerita.

Like many, Hurst’s relationship with Miami is long and storied. After graduating in 1984, she joined the food service team. She fondly remembers working in the bakery at Shriver Center; however, her career trajectory took a turn when she secured a position in the University Libraries. Hurst developed a unique perspective and deep affection for the library system after holding multiple positions from working in the stacks, to a position in special collections, to time in technical services. Seeing her future with the library community, she took a leave of absence in 1998 to earn a master of library science degree at Indiana University. Hurst returned to her alma mater as the business librarian, and the rest is history.

Hurst quickly earned a reputation of excellence with her students.

“They line up for her office hours year after year,” remarked Kevin Messner, head of the Advise & Instruct department. He described the view of Hurst’s office as a “constant march of marketing students.” The Farmer School of Business is the largest cohort of students on campus, with entry-level courses usually consisting of 14 sections of 60 students. Hurst was up to the challenge.

A male Miami University graduate student holds up his cell phone to take a group selfie photo with Susan Hurst and two other graduate students.

“She makes it less overwhelming for the students —she lets them start at second — if not third —base.” said Gillian Oakenfull, professor and faculty director of diversity and inclusion. “She is tenacious about her resource compiling. She doesn’t just put together a guide to the databases for marketing in general — she dives deep into resources that are company-specific or country-specific.”

Hurst makes “a long term impact on students who enter careers where they use those materials in their everyday jobs,” according to Tim Greenlee, senior associate dean and professor in the Farmer School of Business.

Hurst collaborates with both students and faculty. “She’s allowing me to do more.” said Oakenfull. Her energy and knowledge of information tools and databases across disciplines allows her to recommend sets of resources that are uniquely tailored for particular courses.” Faculty members remark that they too find new perspectives in the resources Hurst provides.

Through and through, Hurst is known for her supportive relationships with students, faculty, and staff, and it is her energy and spirit that people will fondly remember.

Elizabeth Brice, former assistant dean for technical services & special collections, describes Hurst as “one of the very few people who can make me laugh out loud.”


In 2019, Hurst earned the University Libraries' Distinguished Service Award after nomination by her colleagues.