The late Dr. Karin J. Duran served as the Director of the Teacher Curriculum Center (TCC) in CSUN’s Oviatt Library for 32 years. Considering this accomplishment alone, it is easy to understand why Karin’s husband, Rick Nupoll, and TCC Librarian, Mara Houdyshell, were moved to have the TCC’s collection named in Duran’s honor. “Karin was amazing,” says Mara. “She talked me down out of more trees than I can count. To me, she was a life coach, a mentor, a mom, and a confidant. Most importantly, she was a gift.” Karin’s three decades of service in the TCC, however, are only a small part of her extraordinary career at CSUN; one that touched and inspired the countless number of students, staff, and faculty who were fortunate enough to cross paths with the much-loved and respected educator.
Karin and Rick met in the late 1960s at a volleyball game organized by library student assistants at what was then the San Fernando Valley State College (SFVSC). The two were married in 1971, the same year that SFVSC officially became California State University, Northridge (CSUN). “The library meant everything to Karin. It’s where we met as student assistants and where we fell in love,” says Rick. Both Karin and Rick went on to obtain multiple degrees and subsequently found success in their chosen fields. Karin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, from CSUN, and later a Master of Library Science and her PhD., both from the University of Southern California (USC). Karin began her career as a reference librarian in the Oviatt Library in 1972, where she served as the subject specialist for Chicano Studies, Spanish language and literature, and Children’s literature. In 1978, Karin was named as the Director of the Instructional Materials Laboratory (now the TCC).
During her long and impressive tenure at CSUN, Karin also worked as an instructor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, where she developed a required course in library research. Karin acted as the Oviatt Library’s Interim Associate Dean in 2005 and served as occasional Acting Department Chair during the earthquake recovery period. In addition, she received a number of awards and recognitions for her significant contributions and unwavering commitment to CSUN’s campus and community, including: the Extraordinary Service Award from the CSUN Faculty Senate; an Outstanding Achievement Award from La Raza Alumni Association; and a Service to Society Award from CSUN’s Alumni Association.
Karin’s many accomplishments and well-deserved accolades are undeniably reflective of the deep love that she had for CSUN and the Oviatt. “While we chose not to have children, the TCC was definitely her baby,” says Rick. “She took really good care of it. She loved working there, loved the student assistants and the staff. The library, the TCC, being a librarian, the campus - they were all her passion.” While her presence is sadly missed, thanks to Rick Nupoll and Mara Houdyshell, Karin Duran’s powerful spirit, admirable passion, and enduring legacy will continue to inspire and support the students, the campus, and the community that she loved so much.
Watch our tribute video to Dr. Karin J. Duran below.