Reimagining the Library

Reimagining the Library Logo web

Libraries are the heart of a college campus. They are places for solitary study and group debate, quiet contemplation and social gathering. They are an extension of the intellectual and social life of the college.

    The Wilson community has been without the John Stewart Memorial Library since a heating system failure forced its closure in spring 2011. The shutdown of the library has caused a ripple effect on campus. Library services and makeshift book stacks have been relocated to Sarah’s Coffeehouse. The space, while adequate, is not properly suited to the task and deprives students of the use of the coffeehouse. The need to reimagine and rebuild the library is critical.

Giving is a personal decision. Take the time to read the profiles below to see if it is the right decision for you.


Amy Ensley

Fall Convocation

   "I’ve always loved books. When I was a young girl, I would visit the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s main branch in Oakland. Books represented the world to me. I went on to earn my undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University, not far from that branch.
   My grandparents were immigrants who grew up in Pittsburgh. Books were important to their education and mine. They overflow the shelves in my office and my home now. That’s why the John Stewart Memorial Library project – the revitalization of Wilson’s library – is so important to me. The Stewart library’s architecture is extraordinary. We have to bring it back, preserve it and make it a better space for students.   
   When I heard about the Lenfest match for the library, I thought, “How exciting!” What an incentive to make our library a really stellar learning environment. I wanted to domy part in helping this happen. I can’t wait to see the reimagined library.                                                 
    -Amy Ensley Director of the Hankey Center for the Education and Advancement of Women at Wilson College.

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Donald F. Bletz

   I am excited about the comprehensive plan the Board of Trustees approved in January to position Wilson College to thrive in the coming years. In my 20 years at Wilson, I gained a great respect for the rigorous academic experience fostered by the dedicated faculty who mentor our students, bringing out their incredible potential. I witnessed firsthand the transformation in my own granddaughter, Caitlin Kennell Kim ’04, who benefitted tremendously from the personalized attention provided from her professors and advisers. That is, in part, why I continue to offer philanthropic support to Wilson.
   Inspired by the Lenfest Challenge for the John Stewart Memorial Library, I made another gift (my first was in memory of my late wife, Pat). I learned that I could direct the Required Minimum Distribution from my IRA to make a donation to the College and not include the distribution as part of my taxable income. I was aware of the tax advantages of gifting through my IRA, and an extra incentive for me was the fact my gift was matched by Marguerite Lenfest ’55. This is certainly a tax-efficient way for me to support Wilson College.
   -Donald F. Bletz Wilson College Interm President (1979-1981), Former Trustee, Professor Emeritus.

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Joan Thuebel '52

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   I’m a lifelong learner. Wilson instilled that in me. I was an English major at Wilson, took graduate courses at Rutgers and M.B.A. courses at Pace University, but science sparked my curiosity and I got involved with Earthwatch in 1980. You assist with all kinds of scientific projects from A to Z, archaeology to zoology. I’ve been on 27 trips – Australia, Borneo, Sri Lanka. I’ve had such a good time and learned so much (that) I wanted to share that with the faculty and students at Wilson.
   Earthwatch opened up a whole area of new knowledge for me, just like my town library, which I use all the time. We have to get the (John Stewart Memorial Library) updated. The sooner it is up and running again, the better. I wanted to move things along with my gift. The students need the library as much as they need one-on-one learning.
   Wilson is a college where students learn, but also have good working relationships with the faculty. That’s what makes Wilson truly unique.
    -Joan Thuebel ’52 Retired AT&T human resources manager, Alumnae Association Distinguished, Alumna award winner ’00, Wilson honorary degree recipient, Joan M. Thuebel ’52 Global Citzenship, Endowment Joan M. Thuebel ’52 Earthwatch Prize.