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Pat May’s retirement: the end of an era

Today is the beginning of the end of an era for ALA’s Washington Office: it is the last day that our beloved Director of Administration Pat May plays a full-time role on our team. Pat has been with ALA for almost 30 years.

Four women in front of a green screen
Pat May at her retirement party with the past three director’s of ALA’s Washington Office. Left to right: Kathi Kromer (2017-present), Carol Henderson (1994-1999), Pat May and Emily Sheketoff (2000-2017).

The trajectory of Pat’s career has been extraordinary – and it didn’t start in administration. Commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1972, Pat’s first duty station was at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where she was one of the first three women instructors at the Academy which, at that time, had an all-male student body. By the time Pat retired from the Navy 21 years later, she held the rank of Commander and had completed a Master of Science degree in Organizational Psychology.

When she left the Navy, Pat saw an advertisement for a position available at ALA. Since that time, she has worked in three ALA office buildings, been to countless ALA conferences and gathered an impressive collection of photos and memories of ALA.

Outside of ALA, Pat is active in the International Association of Administrative Professionals, where she has held numerous leadership positions. Pat is also active in her church community, where she sings in the choir – thank goodness for us. If it weren’t for Pat, our office’s rendition of “Happy Birthday” during staff birthday celebrations would be unbearable!

Pat models professionalism for everyone here on our team. And it’s not a show: it’s who she is, whether that’s in a staff meeting, in an executive board meeting or on the phone with an ALA member.

Pat is a very accomplished woman and has many reasons to be proud.  However, the accomplishment Pat is most fiercely proud of is her daughter, Regina. She has demonstrated incredible grace in parenting and inspires us all when she talks about the challenges and joys of raising a daughter on her own after the passing of her husband.

Last month ALA’s Washington Office team hosted a retirement celebration for Pat. People from the many vibrant strands of her life joined to honor her: family (including her librarian sister), church friends and former coworkers, including my two distinguished predecessors, who (like me) relied on Pat throughout their tenures as directors of ALA’s Washington Office.

Though we will feel the loss of Pat on a full-time basis, we are grateful that she will continue with us on a part-time basis for a few more months before we let the rest of the world reap the benefits of her full-time attention.

We appreciate all she has done for us and for ALA over the past 30 years and salute her as she transitions out of ALA’s Washington Office!

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Kathi Kromer

Kathi Kromer is the Associate Executive Director of the American Library Association's Washington Office.

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One Comment

  1. Dorothy S. Robinson Dorothy S. Robinson

    May I too share in my sister-in-law’s retirement and offer my congratulations from her late husband’s family in Louisville, Ky. We as her family are so happy to see the above resume of her journey with ALA and we are so proud of her and her accomplishments . We add our accolades to yours and wish her well. She will still be busy in activities even though RETIRED, just ask her what her plans are for the rest of the year. Best Wishes, Pat.

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