Samuel P. Capen Award

2023 Samuel P. Capen Award winner Roberta Stevens
Roberta A. Stevens, MLS ’74, BA ’70.

Roberta A. Stevens, MLS ’74, BA ’70 

During her 38-year career, Stevens served at the highest levels of America’s library and information profession. After positions with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology and the Fairfax County Public Library system, she joined the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress.

Stevens managed several large-scale projects at the Library of Congress, including its multi-year Bicentennial Program, which included commemorative coins and stamps, exhibitions, publications, symposia and concerts. The Bicentennial celebration also included a nationwide project with members of Congress and their constituents recording local traditions and a Gifts to the Nation program, which resulted in $80 million raised for the library’s collections, and a new center for scholars. In addition, Stevens served as the project manager for the National Book Festival, a collaborative effort with First Lady Laura Bush, from its inception in 2001 until becoming president of the American Library Association in 2010.

Stevens held several leadership roles with the American Library Association (ALA), including serving on its executive board and as president. She received numerous awards during her career at the Library of Congress, including its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. In addition, she received the Ainsworth Rand Spofford Presidential Award from the District of Columbia Library Association in 2009.

She was the 2017 recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Julian Park Award, and the 2009 recipient of the Graduate School of Education’s Distinguished Alumni Award. She has served on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council since 2013, and chaired the council in 2021–2022, the first woman to serve in this capacity. In addition to two UB degrees, Stevens holds a master’s in English from SUNY Binghamton.

A generous supporter of UB, Stevens and her husband, George, have established a bequest at UB to fund research into macular degeneration and retinal diseases associated with aging, and to provide international and other experiential learning opportunities to students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Stevens are members of the university’s Boldly Buffalo campaign steering committee.

Samuel P. Capen Award

The Capen Award recognizes notable meritorious contributions from alumni to the university and its family, including those that influence the growth and improvement of UB and inspire others to give their active interest and material support to the university.