Meet the Director Hilde Lens

Leuven University Press is a mature academic press that has developed and earned its place in the publishing world. I dare to hope that the future for Leuven University Press will remain just as enriching, challenging and interesting!

Hilde Lens, Director from 1982 until April 2006

Hilde Lens

How did you come to work at Leuven UP?
After my return from the US in 1973, where I had been living with my husband, I started working as an executive secretary for Mr Guido Declercq, then KU Leuven General Manager. In August 1971, Mr Guido Declercq had taken the initiative to start a university press. Apart from our General Management duties, we - a colleague and I - also performed all press-related tasks. One moment I would be acting as a secretary and the next moment I was negotiating with printers or handling distribution problems. At that time, authors were still received by the General Administrator.

Hilde en Marike

In 1982, Mr Guido Declercq left the university and was succeeded by Professor Karel Tavernier. The latter then proposed that I should henceforth occupy myself solely and full-time with Leuven University Press. And so it happened. I obtained my publishing degree in the Netherlands and I stayed on as Leuven University Press managing director until my retirement in April 2006.

Which moment, project or book at Leuven University Press will you always remember and why?
The textbook Inleiding tot de economie [Introduction to Economics], published in 1977, was our bestseller. It was our first textbook and by holding it up as an example, we were able to convince more authors to also publish their textbooks with Leuven University Press. I will always remember the great efforts made to retain Introduction to Economics within our portfolio, since various competing publishers were keenly interested in this particular book.

Which projects/activities are you particularly proud of?
I look back with pride on every title we published, but of course there are a few very remarkable ones, such as the bilingual edition of the University's Jubilee Book [on the occasion of KU Leuven 575th anniversary]; the book Sporen in België" - 175 jaar spoorwegen, 75 jaar NMBS [Tracks in Belgium – 175 Years of Railways, 75 Years of National Railway Company of Belgium], which was a successful project; De universiteitsbibliotheek van Leuven [The University Library of Leuven]; various fine series etc.

Where do you see the future of Leuven University Press?
Leuven University Press is a mature academic press that has developed and earned its place in the publishing world. I dare to hope that the future for Leuven University Press will remain just as enriching, challenging and interesting!

_______
Pictures: Hilde Lens at her retirement reception in 2006 // Marike Schipper and Hilde Lens at Leuven University Press's 40th anniversary reception in 2011

 


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