Libraries' $5.1 Million Gifts to Result in Endowments and Named Spaces

The University Libraries are making history thanks to a $5.1 million gift.
Photo by Chieko Hara

The University Libraries are making history thanks to a $5.1 million gift.

Two anonymous gifts totaling more than $5 million will make history and create new opportunities for students and faculty in the University Libraries.

The majority of the contributions will come from a planned commitment and will establish two endowed faculty positions in the University Libraries, with $3 million allocated for an Endowed Dean’s Chair and $1.5 million reserved for an Endowed Professorship in Special Collections. Another $600,000 will support Phase II of the Mullins Library renovation and will create a materials and preservation area in Special Collections and an office suite for Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts, a program of the University Libraries.

The combined total of the gifts makes it the single largest contribution given by individuals to the University Libraries.

“It gives us great pleasure to choose the University of Arkansas for our charitable contributions,” the donors said. “We are both from Northwest Arkansas and are graduates of the U of A. As lifelong Razorback fans, we enjoy attending numerous events on campus. We have served on several committees over the years, which has helped us to realize the importance of continued financial support, and through our donations, we are able to designate to areas of need that are of special interest to us.”

The positions, which will be endowed in the future through an estate gift, mark an important step for the university. They will be the first endowed faculty positions for the University Libraries, adding them to a short list of SEC schools that have received similar support for their libraries faculty.

The purpose of the Endowed Dean’s Chair will be to attract and recruit highly qualified individuals to the position of dean; provide the holder of the position with the resources to further scholarly contributions to teaching, research and public service; and afford resources to address various challenges and opportunities that may arise throughout the academic year.

"This gift is transformational, and we’re incredibly grateful to be the recipient of such generosity,” said Jason J. Battles, dean of the University Libraries. “Endowing these two key positions is critical for the libraries’ aspirations to grow our collections, expertise and recruitment as we strive to keep pace with the university’s growing research endeavors. The Phase II gifts come at the perfect time as we commence on the design and planning stage of the final part of the Mullins renovation project."

The Endowed Professorship in Special Collections will provide similar funding for the associate dean for the Special Collections division, which supports the research, teaching and learning mission of the U of A by collecting, preserving and providing access to unique and rare materials.

“This endowment will enable the Special Collections Division to amplify many of its existing programs, including collection development, paid student internships, public exhibitions and programming, as well as emerging needs such as multi-modal learning and digital preservation,” said Lori Birrell, associate dean for Special Collections.

The capital support afforded by the donors will enhance the work being done to Mullins Library. Preparation for Phase II of the Mullins renewal project is underway, with architectural planning commencing in the spring semester of 2022.

The donors noted, “A strong university library can benefit all students and all faculty across all colleges in the university system. We have an interest and relationship with multiple colleges at the U of A, so by investing in the University Libraries, we can help support all of them.”

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

Contacts

Kelsey Lovewell Lippard, director of public relations
University Libraries
479-575-7311, klovewel@uark.edu

John Thomas, manager of university communications
University Relations
479-575-7430, jfthomas@uark.edu

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