Donor gives Wilson library $1.1 million

April 07, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Wilson College has received its second $1 million donation of the year, this one from an anonymous donor who insists that only the college librarian can spend the money.

The gift, a $1.1 million endowment that should net the college about $50,000 a year in interest, brings to about $32 million the amount of money Wilson has received in donations since it launched a major fund-raising campaign five years ago, Wilson President Gwendolyn Jensen said Thursday.

"The librarian - and only the librarian - will decide how the net income is to be spent," the donor is quoted as saying in a Wilson news release.

"The money will be devoted to collection development, which is particularly challenging to any library," Jensen said. "This may not mean just buying books."


Kathleen Murphy, library director for Wilson, said the donor made it clear that the money is to be used to help the library in its purchase of the written word in whatever form it is being disseminated. Today that could mean compact discs, DVDs or other technology.

"Who knows what the future will bring in technology?" Jensen asked. "The donor is being very farsighted. This is a gift forever."

"As technology continually develops and redefines the boundaries of the written word the librarian will be challenged to keep the donor's spirit alive," Wilson spokeswoman Lori Janning said in a prepared statement announcing the gift.

Murphy said the endowment will give her and her successors the freedom to build up the collection according to their own vision.

She said the money will enable the librarians to study the collection, find out what is missing and add to it as needed. "This donation makes the beginning of the collection process possible," she said.

In February, Susan Fulton, widow of Richard Fulton, a Mercersburg-area farmer, pledged a $1 million donation to the college in her husband's name. That money is going to the college's Center for Sustainable Living, an organic farming experiment on the campus. It was renamed in Richard Fulton's honor.

The Fultons came to Franklin County in 1972, bought a run-down 300-acre farm and restored it to a viable operation over the years. Fulton, who was committed to conserving the land, raise rare Wiltshire sheep on his farm. He died in 1996.

Fulton's gift and that of the anonymous donor are part of a fund-raising campaign launched by Wilson five years ago to pay for capital improvements and program enhancement. It began with a goal of $25 million and has surpassed $32 million, Jensen said.

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