Naming of the Peggy Wai Chee Leong-Hochstadt Room

On 18 September, a naming ceremony was held on level 5 of Central Library at the information desk area. The Reference Room was to be renamed as the Peggy Wai Chee Leong-Hochstadt Room, in remembrance of the late Mrs Peggy Wai Chee Leong-Hochstadt who led the NUS Libraries from 1980 until her retirement in July 1991.

The invited guests include Mr Hochstadt and family, friends of Mrs Hochstadt, retired NUS administrative staff, as well as past and present staff of the NUS Libraries. NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan graced the ocassion and unveiled the plaque together with Mr Hochstadt:

After the speech by University Librarian Ms Sylvia Yap, the guests and staff went into the newly named Peggy Wai Chee Leong-Hochstadt Room, and viewed a slideshow about Mrs Hochstadt.

They also discussed and reminisced about some of the titles that were donated by the Hochstadt family, which were on display:

Here is the speech that was given by University Librarian Ms Sylvia Yap:

Good evening, Mr Hochstadt and family members, Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, President of NUS,  Prof Lim Pin, Prof Thumboo, past and present colleagues, and friends.

A very warm welcome to the Central Library.

Thank you for taking time off from your busy schedule to be with us this evening to honor a very special lady. Those of us gathered here, who knew the late Mrs Peggy Hochstadt or Big Boss (BB) as we affectionately called her, will agree that she is someone whom we were privileged to have met on our life’s journey.

She had left us with many treasured memories. We recall the jokes she shared, her tea sessions with new and junior staff, her many interactions with us in Cantonese and the efforts she took to showed us the correct way to write memos, circulars and minutes of meetings. Many colleagues in the Library still remember her honest, sincere and caring personalities very fondly. She was our BB, mentor, colleague and friend.

The Library is her legacy. Her vision was the pivotal first step that placed the NUS Libraries on our trajectory towards excellence.

The late Mrs Peggy Hochstadt joined the university library service in 1960 shortly after graduating from the University of Malaya. From the late 1970s, the planning and building of the new university campus at Kent Ridge were already underway. She contributed actively towards the planning of the new campus, including the design of the new library building; and the subsequent move of the various library collections from their many different locations to the new Kent Ridge campus. During her tenure as Chief Librarian (1978-1990), she saw the university library transform from a traditional card catalogue and print-based library to an innovative hybrid library which still remains a showcase to our Southeast Asian neighbours.

She was one of Singapore’s pioneer and outstanding librarians who had done much for the NUS Libraries and the profession. She was also well respected by all at NUS, not only by her own staff but also by faculty members and her colleagues from other administrative departments. It is therefore timely for us today to recognize a unique, dynamic and well-loved leader, her stewardship of NUS Libraries and her many contributions to building the Singapore library profession.

As a tribute to the late Mrs Peggy Hochstadt–the first Chief Librarian of NUS Libraries–for her dedication to NUS and 31 years of committed service until her retirement in 1991, the Library will be naming this reference room in the Central Library, the Peggy Wai Chee Leong-Hochstadt Room, in short, the PH Room in honour of her. PH were the initials she used on all the documents she vetted or forwarded to us for action.

The family also very generously donated a collection of 526 titles to enrich the NUS Libraries’ print collection. The gifted collection can be viewed from our Donors’ Gallery via our Library Portal. Today we have displayed some selected items on tables in the room.

It is with great pleasure that I now invite Prof Tan to unveil the Peggy Wai Chee Leong-Hochstadt Room.

Prof Tan, please.

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