Victoria Swinney, director of Dulaney-Browne Library, is a well-known and loved icon on the OCU campus, but few students know much about her life outside of the library.
Q: How did you come to OCU?
A: For a long time, I described my career goals as being director of a liberal arts university library like OCU. As soon as I got my PhD at Texas Women’s University in 2004, this job opened up, and it seemed perfect.
Q: What is your greatest passion?
A: I’m not a very passionate person. Teaching, I suppose. Mostly, I teach Sunday school. On the one hand, I love teaching, but I hate grading papers. You don’t have to grade papers in Sunday school.
Q: What was the most defining moment of your childhood?
A: This is a classic story. I don’t remember this, but when I was three days old, Mom was just out of her hospital. Before she took me home, she took me to the library. The library thing has been there all along.
Q: What inspires your fashion choices?
A: Not having to make decisions. Anybody who has seen what I wear recognizes that it’s all the same. I do actually own more than one blouse, I promise. The skirts are all off the same pattern, but I pick out patterns, and my mother makes them for me.
Q: What is your favorite book ever?
A: The Bible. That’s the one I read every year. Anne of Green Gables is my non-biblical answer.
Q: What book are you embarrassed to admit that you love?
A: I should be embarrassed, but I’m not. I’m a big mystery novel fan. I mostly read mystery novels that are not particularly intellectual.
Q: When were you the happiest you’ve ever been?
A: Strangely enough, the moment I found out that I had this job, I felt like I was walking around on air for a day or too. It really was an amazing feeling.
Q: What is your ultimate life dream, if there are no boundaries?
A: One of the things I really want to do is a fairly long horseback tour of the Rocky Mountains. I have to get back in horseback shape.
Q: What is the best advice someone ever told you?
A: I’ll see if I can express this. My father said that you are responsible for your emotions. You can’t blame someone else for how you feel.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
A: I talk too much, so most people know a lot. Okay, this one is kind of crazy. When I was in high school, I won a regional award for sidesaddle riding. It was an award for the most events participated in. I did mostly parades.
Q: Describe your idea of the perfect dinner.
A: I’m not a restaurant eater. I don’t really think much about the food. It’s the people. I love Sunday dinner with the family. Usually, it’s roast beef and vegetables and bread. You know, kind of basic. In the old days, it was roast goat.
Q: What is your favorite after-work activity?
A: It’s not so much after work except in the winter, but bicycling. I ride my bike on weekends and in the middle of the day when it’s cooler.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: That’s tough. Have I mellowed out enough that I don’t have any anymore? Inaccurate statements in the media – when somebody says something that’s just obviously not true. Like people that said Houston is a Republican stronghold or something. Didn’t you check anything before you said that? I do yell at the radio.
Q: What is something you love about OCU?
A: The people care about each other.
Q: What is something you don’t love about OCU?
A: The budget. If I had an unlimited budget, I’d double the amount we’re spending on resources. Then, I’d finish the renovations, so we’d have all the furniture we need for students. I’d also hire more staff so we could be open longer.
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