Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library Dedication

On Friday, July 11th, family, friends and distinguished guests gathered in the library at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a special dedication ceremony to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Stephen B. Thacker and to rename the library as the Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library. Stories were shared about Dr. Thacker’s love for books and the joy he found in scientific inquiry. Fond memories and experiences were recounted about Dr. Thacker’s unwavering commitment to CDC and its mission, as well as his passion for helping people. He passed away in February 2013.

Dr. Stephanie Zaza, director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health at CDC, expressed gratitude for Dr. Thacker’s constant mentorship from the time she arrived at CDC as a 22-year-old medical student.

“Steve could always see the values of things that others had not yet realized,” Zaza said. “He often described the CDC library as his sanctuary and the rows of books as a world of ideas. He treasured the pursuit of knowledge and the quiet act of discovery.”

Maria Thacker Goethe, daughter of Dr. Thacker, spoke on behalf of the Thacker family about Dr. Thacker’s personal and professional interests in the CDC library and what the library’s resources meant to him as a scientist. “The mission of the Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library is to advance science, public health and safety through information,” she said. “My father’s own career is a glowing example of this.”

A plaque honoring Dr. Thacker was unveiled by Mrs. Luz Fortes Thacker, widow of Dr. Thacker, and Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, former CDC director. Attendees were invited to walk through the permanent Thacker Legacy Exhibit in the library, which includes free-standing glass cases full of significant artifacts from Dr. Thacker’s personal life and professional ties to CDC.

Dr. Thacker's legacy of leadership and service lives on through the Stephen B. Thacker Fund at the CDC Foundation. Established by the Thacker family, the fund supports the CDC Disease Detective Camp for children, where young students explore concepts in epidemiology and public health each summer.

For those who did not have a chance to know Dr. Thacker during his lifetime, the library will serve as a continuation of his legacy of learning and scientific excellence.

“We honor Steve with the naming of this library today,” Koplan said. “But we honor CDC by naming this library after one of our most illustrious leaders.”


Natalie Duggan is a communications specialist for the CDC Foundation.