NO.55 SPRING 2000

The Library Associates

Join more than 6,000 other friends, book lovers, alumni, and faculty who recognize that the influence of a great research library reaches beyond the university it serves to the many communities of which it is a part.

Library Associates receive complimentary copies of the quarterly newsletter Bene Legere, as well as invitations to special occasions at the Library. For more information on the Library Associates program, please write or telephone: The Library Development Office, Room 188 Doe Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000; telephone (510) 642-9377. Or, check our website.


Class Campaigns:

Champions of the Library

In 1993 Joan Gruen joined the Class Campaigns unit in University Relations. With the momentum of the Keeping the Promise Campaign, her goal was to help produce class campaigns that would make a significant and long-term difference on campus. Over the last seven years, she has done just that.

Her first success came with the 40th reunion campaign for the Class of '56, when Peter Van Houten and Stu McKee decided with the gift committee to raise $400,000 in support of Library Collections. This would be the first campaign in the country to be dedicated to library preservation activities. Within a short time line of less than two years, Joan helped to structure the campaign which ultimately raised $600,000--which helped to satisfy the "match" requirement of the Library's challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. At the gala celebration dinner, Stu McKee said: "Ours started out as a Kmart campaign, but we can now proudly say that we are a Saks Fifth Avenue campaign."

Success bred more success. The Class of '52 had been working on its 45th reunion gift for the Student Athlete Academic Resource Center and decided to add the Teaching Library as a second initiative. Once again, class members stepped to the front and completed a successful campaign: the efforts of Marie Matthews (now a member of the Library Advisory Board), Eileen Galloway, Paul Andrew, and Stu Spence were especially critical.

Wife of internationally respected classical historian Erich Gruen, Joan has always been passionate about libraries and sees clearly that a strong Library is crucial to the campus' teaching and research activities. It was, therefore, easy for her to put in a good word when class committees were in the process of identifying the beneficiaries of their gifts.

The concept was fine-tuned with the Class of '49 campaign which was designated for Library Collections and Alumni Leadership Scholarships, the California Alumni Association program that awards annual scholarships to students based on their academic merit and leadership ability. This was a wonderful and serendipitous pairing which has had long-term, very positive results (see below). Led by Jay Martin, Bill Bagley, Iona (Rocky) Main (now a member of the Library Advisory Board), and Dick Erickson, the Class of '49 proudly presented Chancellor Robert Berdahl with a check for more than $1 million at a grand celebration during its reunion weekend. Theirs was the first class to raise more than $1 million in a single-year campaign.

Pairing Library Collections and Alumni Leadership Scholarships has since appealed to the classes of '50, '54, '55, and '60. As Gruen says: "What's not to like? The Library and students are the mother and apple pie of the University community." These classes have also contributed generously to other areas on campus.

  • Class of '38: The class dedicated its 60th reunion campaign to the Mark Twain Project of the Bancroft Library.
  • Class of '50: For its 40th reunion campaign, the class established an endowed chair, presently held by economics professor David Card. When they have completed their current 50th reunion campaign to raise $200,000 for Library Collections and Alumni Leadership Scholarships, their total gifts to the campus will exceed $1 million.
  • Class of '54: The class dedicated its 40th reunion gift to the campus North Gate and an endowed chair, currently held by anthropology professor Patrick Kirch. Midge Zischke, Bill Morrish, and Don Denton are leading their 45th reunion campaign for Library Collections and Alumni Leadership Scholarships.
  • Class of '55: The class has established an endowed chair, presently held by music professor Richard Taruskin. Lila Rich (a member of the Library Advisory Board) and Bill Somerville are currently leading the 45th reunion campaign to raise $55,000 for Library Collections and Alumni Leadership Scholarships.
  • Class of '60: For its 25th reunion the class created an endowed professorship, presently held by anthropology professor Meg Conkey. Suzanne Legallet and loyal committee members are currently spearheading their 40th reunion campaign to raise $60,000 for Library Collections and Alumni Leadership Scholarships.

Over the years, Joan Gruen has learned that classes are delighted to be able to give something back to their university, but that it is also important to let them know that their help is critical and how their help will be used. Regarding the Library's popularity as a beneficiary of class generosity, Gruen points to two articles published in California Alumni Magazine in February 1998, in which history professor Leon Litwack and law professor and librarian Robert Berring presented a stark picture of the Library's future if help were not forthcoming. Apparently these articles resonated with readers, for that year the number of Library donors increased dramatically, and several classes selected the Library to be a beneficiary of their class gifts.

We are deeply appreciative of Joan Gruen and the classes that she works with for their support of the Library.

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Originally published Spring 2000. Server manager: contact