Celebrating the legacy of Bee McLeod: W&M alumna receives posthumous library award

William & Mary Libraries is proud to announce H. Elizabeth “Bee” McLeod ’83, MBA ’91 as the recipient of the Nancy H. Marshall Award. The award recognizes an individual’s commitment and exceptional contribution to the university libraries.

The award was established in 1997 by the Friends of the Library. McLeod is the eighth winner of the award since its inception. McLeod passed away in December 2019. Michael Rawlings ‘82, former library board member and classmate of McLeod, presented the award to McLeod’s husband, Goody Tyler HON ’11, at the library board dinner on April 1.

“William & Mary always remained close to Bee’s heart, and she had a special love for Swem Library,” said Rawlings. “From the first time I met her, she was one of those rare people who would make your heart smile when she was around. She was wise-smart, compassionate, enthusiastic, a force!”

McLeod entered William & Mary at 16 years old and went on to earn a B.B.A. in 1983 and an M.B.A. in 1991. She later became an active alumna and philanthropist to the university along with Tyler.

From 2009-15, she served on the W&M Libraries Board of Directors, and was the chair of the board from 2012 to 2015. During her time on the board, the libraries experienced a leadership transition as the dean of university libraries retired and the search for a new dean commenced. 

“Bee was thrilled with the new opportunity to connect, serve, and bring her business acumen to support the University Libraries in what was a challenging transition time following the retirement of Dean Connie McCarthy. Bee was instrumental in bridging that gap. She played a critical role in the selection process for the new dean of university libraries, Carrie Cooper,” said Rawlings.

McLeod used her experience with board membership and management as an opportunity to help transform the library’s board into a more active, advisory role to the dean. Specifically, she championed a review of the by-laws for long-term change and led efforts to fully engage emeritus board members, which has helped with fundraising and ongoing active engagement. McLeod also served as an advocate for both the Reeder Media Center and the Special Collections Research Center.

“As board chair, Bee partnered with me to examine and address important issues facing the library,” said Dean of University Libraries Carrie Cooper. “She was a strong leader and a wise mentor, and I will always be grateful for the time I spent with her.”

McLeod and her husband have been generous to the Libraries for many years. A 2008 gift to Swem supported a library position named in honor of McLeod's parents, the Marian and Alan McLeod Director of the Special Collections Research Center. The couple also established an endowment to fund the purchase of library materials that support the research needs of McLeod Tyler Professors in Integrative Health Sciences.

McLeod’s commitment to William & Mary extended beyond the libraries. She was dedicated to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of current and future W&M students. The McLeod Tyler Wellness Center and Bee McLeod Recreation Center represent her legacy and serve as primary assets for supporting the well-being of students.

“Another heartwarming legacy is that Goody Tyler and Mariel McLeod ‘15 will soon be both serving on the University Libraries Board of Directors when Mariel begins her term on July 1st,” said Rawlings.

The Marshall award was named in honor of its first recipient, Nancy H. Marshall, who served as the first dean of University Libraries from 1986 to 1997. Marshall’s leadership as dean was critical to the growth and modernization of Swem Library and played an essential role in planning and fundraising for the 1988 and 2005 renovations of Swem Library.

“Bee McLeod was a force of nature who brought energy, passion, vision, and fun to all who knew her, and especially to those of us who are blessed to call her our friend,” said Rawlings. “Bee left us way too soon, yet her indomitable spirit will live on through her gifts and her legacy. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Nancy Marshall Award.”