In Remembrance: Library Colleagues Susan White and Eileen Phoel

As 2023 comes to end, SBU Libraries honor the memories of two library colleagues that passed away this year: Susan White and Eileen Phoel.

Susan White’s career at SBU Libraries spanned more than three decades, from 1985 to 2016. Known for her generosity of spirit, Susan held diverse and complex library positions on both the west and east campuses of the university. In 1985, she started in the cataloging unit, processing and providing access to a variety of materials, gradually focusing on collections for the audio-visual and music collections. She eventually transitioned to the Music Library, tasked with tackling a backlog of sheet music, which she systematically reduced to a manageable number of items. During the NOTIS to Aleph platform migration project, Susan was placed in charge of the Music Library’s daily operations while working with others in the Melville Library to map processes in both cataloging and circulation. In 2003, Susan moved to the east campus to join the Health Sciences Library (HSL), filling the much needed role of cataloger. She was also tasked with implementing the HSL acquisitions module of Aleph. During this chapter of her career, she acquired knowledge and skills associated with the shift from print to digital journal subscriptions. Within a few years, Susan was promoted to become the head of electronic resource management in the HSL, a recognition of her adaptability and leadership skills. She was also very creative, leading two exhibitions in the HSL: “Health Care Instruments – Past and Present” and “Dental Instruments – Past and Present.”  Susan was a recipient of the SBU President’s Award for Team Achievement in 2004. She retired from SBU Libraries in 2016.

Eileen Phoel had a 26 year career at SBU Libraries, and was honored within the past year for reaching this significant milestone. Eileen’s work enhanced the effectiveness of several library departments including photocopy services, interlibrary loan, acquisitions, and preservation. Her efforts in the preservation department were crucial in sustaining services throughout the pandemic. She played a key role in developing the centralized commercial bindery program, and offered mentorship to students, supporting them during challenging times. Eileen would volunteer to prepare goody bags for students to enjoy during finals week, and served on the Dorothy Award committee, an honor that recognizes excellence among library student employees. With warmth and humor, Eileen consistently supported her colleagues and student workers in our library.

Kristen Nyitray

Kristen Nyitray

Associate Librarian; Director, Special Collections and University Archives; and University Archivist at Stony Brook University Libraries
Contact her for research assistance with rare books, manuscript collections, historical maps, and SBU history. E-mail:
Kristen Nyitray
Posted in About Us, Health Sciences Library