MORGANTOWN , W.Va.Two West Virginia University Honors College graduates are the first to be named Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars.


Chelsea Leigh Derlan, who earned degrees in psychology and Spanish, and Theodora Kelly Trimble, who earned her degree in Slavic and East European Studies, received their awards at a ceremony in the Charles C. Wise Library during WVU s Commencement Weekend on May 15-17.


These students did remarkable work. There is a tremendous amount of scholarship in these theses,said Keith Garbutt, dean of the Honors College.This award recognizes and rewards it.


WVU Libraries and Honors College established the Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars Award to honor Dr. Robert F. Munn, dean of library services from 1957-86.


The Munn award goes to a graduating honors student or students for outstanding research in the humanities or social sciences performed in the WVU Libraries, which results in an exceptional thesis. Along with receiving a $1,000 award, the Munn scholars name is added to a plaque in the downtown campus library.


I was really honored that everyone found my thesis worthy of the award,Trimble said.Im very grateful.


Along with a full schedule of classes, she spent the past academic year researching and writing her winning paper, titledWomens Conflict Journals: World War II through the Yugoslav Wars.


It wouldnt have been possible to have done all the research without this library,she said.


Derlan said she was amazed and honored to learn that her research efforts were recognized. Her paper is titledThe Significance of Parenting Stress, Substance Abuse, Intimate Partner Violence, and Other Potential Risk Factors on Treatment Outcomes and Adherence for Child Maltreatment.


She began preliminary work on her thesis upon entering the McNair Scholars Program, the summer after her sophomore year, and also spent a lot of time at the WVU Libraries. Derlan believes being named a Munn Scholar will help her as she makes the transition into graduate school.


Its going to help me so much to be able to demonstrate that I can do research,she said.Professors in graduate school dont expect a lot of undergraduates to do research, so having this opportunity has been amazing.


Trimble heads to the University of Michigan this fall to pursue a masters degree in Russian and Eastern European studies and eventually aims to become a professor.


Derlan is still considering her graduate school options but hopes to study in an urban area. Her goal is to become a professor and educate students about ethnic minority issues concerning children and families.


Arriving at WVU in 1952, Dr. Robert F. Munn rose to head the library in 1957. Over the next three decades, he directed the expansion of the library from a modest centralized facility into a campus-wide system of libraries with holdings in excess of a million volumes.


Munn also had a profound impact on the University as a whole. He served as provost under three presidents and as an advisor and confidant to several more. A scholar and author of numerous articles and several books relating to various topics including Appalachia and the coal industry, Munn was dedicated to promoting scholarship and literature especially regarding West Virginia subjects. As a vehicle to publish manuscripts of merit chiefly of state and regional interest, he founded the WVU Press in 1981.


Several alumni and current and former faculty who knew Munn have voiced their appreciation of the libraries for establishing an award in his name.


We now have an honor that is appropriate for someone who devoted his life to the University and to the libraries,said Myra Lowe, associate dean of libraries.