Giving Back to Support the Libraries

UC San Diego Psychiatrist Joel Dimsdale Names Group Study Room in Geisel Library

Joel and Nancy Dimsdale at the dedication for the Dimsdale Family Group Study Room in the Geisel Library

Joel Dimsdale, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego, and his wife Nancy, are longtime devotees of libraries. They recently donated $15,000 to name a group study room in Geisel Library, where the demand for group study facilities continues to increase. The room will be named in memory of Dimsdale’s mother, Phyllis Green Dimsdale, who died last year at the age of 91.

Joel and Nancy Dimsdale were joined by more than 50 friends and colleagues at a January 26 ceremony to celebrate the naming of the Geisel Library space.

“My mother was a life-long learner who taught me to treasure libraries,” said Dimsdale. “She would have been captivated by the architecture and scope of the Geisel Library, and would have loved to eavesdrop on future generations of students as they studied together. Given her love of books and interest in education, we are naming a study room in her memory in the hope that UCSD students will build a future shaped by an appreciation and knowledge of the past.”

Dimsdale, a former chair of UC San Diego’s Academic Senate and a current member of the University Librarian’s Advisory Board, said that while technological changes and budgetary challenges are reshaping how academic libraries are serving their users, they continue to be an essential resource for researchers, students, and others.

“Academic libraries are indispensable in helping researchers stay in touch with the world of scholarship,” said Dimsdale. “Great libraries like the Geisel and Biomedical libraries really function as the intellectual heart of the campus, providing students, faculty, and other users with the scholarly resources and the physical space they need to excel.”

In addition to supporting group study in Geisel Library, in 2007, the Dimsdales donated funds to name a group study room in the Biomedical Library building in memory of Joel Dimsdale’s father, Dr. Lewis Dimsdale, and his uncle, William Dimsdale.

“We greatly appreciate Joel’s and Nancy’s support,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, UC San Diego’s Audrey Geisel University Librarian. “In this fiscally challenging time, gifts from faculty members are especially meaningful, as they convey an affirmation of the value of the Libraries in the academic community.”

Dimsdale, who retired in 2010, joined the UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty in 1985, where he specialized in consultation psychiatry, focusing on the nervous system physiology, cultural, and psychosomatic factors that are involved in illness and quality of life. Prior to joining UC San Diego, Dimsdale served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School for nine years. The author of more than 500 publications and editor of four books, he was formerly president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, the American Psychosomatic Society, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Dimsdale has also been a consultant to the President’s Commission on Mental Health and the Institute of Medicine, and is a long-time reviewer for the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Funds from the Dimsdale gift will support the purchase of materials in the social sciences and humanities, areas of study that were of particular interest to Phyllis Green Dimsdale.

The Dimsdales said they hoped that other faculty members would join them in showing their support for the Libraries and leave a tangible legacy on campus. To further leverage support, University Librarian Brian E. C. Schottlaender has agreed to match $5000 for every naming gift within the $15,000 – $20,000 range from a discretionary fund made possible through a bequest by Alice Goldfarb Marquis. For more information about naming and other gift opportunities to support the UC San Diego Libraries, please contact Barbara Brink at 858-822-4554 or

Exhibits & Events

So There Will Be No Forgetting: Images from the Spanish Civil War

  • Jan. 23 – May 11
  • Geisel Library exhibit
  • Geisel Library
  • Call (858) 534-2533 for more information

The Magic Lantern: Early Window on the African Diaspora

  • Feb. 1 – March 16
  • Black History Month exhibit
  • Geisel Library
  • Call (858) 534-8074 for more information

Stitching Memories: The Story of African American Quilting

  • Feb. 1 – March 31
  • Black History Month exhibit
  • Geisel Library
  • Call (858) 822-0450 for more information

Holocaust Living History Workshop "Witnessing History" Events

  • March 7 & March 12
  • Various times
  • Geisel Library, Seuss Room
  • Call (858) 534-7661 for more information

Dr. Seuss Birthday Party

  • March 2, 12 p.m.
  • Geisel Library entrance
  • Call (858) 534-2533 for more information

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

  • Feb. 23 – March 9
  • Geisel Library exhibit
  • Geisel Library
  • Call (858) 534-2533 for more information

Domain Editor

Dolores Davies

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