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|February 16, 2007
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Bank of America Gives $1 Million Gift to Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center at 25th Anniversary Celebration
ATLANTA - The Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) today received a $1 million donation from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. The gift was presented by Bank of America Corporation chairman and chief executive officer Kenneth D. Lewis during a celebration marking the Library’s 25th anniversary.
The contribution will be used to upgrade the Archives & Special Collections reading room, which supports scholarly access to the many manuscripts, books and artifacts housed within the Woodruff Library of the AUC. Currently, the Archives & Special Collections is home to a number of historically significant items, including its most recent addition, the books and writings of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection.
On hand for the presentation were Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Woodruff Library CEO and Director Loretta Parham, the Library’s Board of Trustees, the four AUC Presidents, and Bank of America’s Georgia President Eugene J. Godbold, Jr. Bank of America’s donation is the first major contribution the Library has received toward a comprehensive building renovation plan designed to transform the Woodruff Library of the AUC into a 21st Century teaching and learning environment. Lewis discussed the significance of the grant in transforming the Library and driving economic development in the city.
“With the addition of the Morehouse King Collection, the Woodruff Library will serve an increasingly important role in its West End community, attracting visitors and spurring economic and cultural growth,” said Lewis. “We are pleased to help the Library renovate the reading room and update its capabilities to house and display the King papers and its impressive collection of historical holdings for students, the community and visitors from across the country.”
The grant will help fund physical improvements within the Library, such as enhancing the aesthetics of the reading room and staff areas and expanding and improving the climate control capabilities and size of the archival storage facilities. Additionally, the Special Collections staff will receive training in current digitization processes and technology, further increasing public access to Library holdings.
“The information seeking behaviors of the 21st century student require different resources and spaces for instruction and research,” said Loretta Parham. “This generous gift from Bank of America will allow us to start improving Library spaces, specifically the Archives and Special Collections reading room. Historically, the Atlanta University Center and the institutions it represents, have served as a touchstone for social, intellectual and economic progress within the City of Atlanta. It is fitting that Bank of America’s contribution will support enhancements to the Archives & Special Collections reading room that makes historical records and artifacts chronicling those activities more accessible to the public.”
The Library’s Archives & Special Collections dates back 81 years to the Negro Collection of the Trevor Arnett Library of Atlanta University, the oldest among the separate and special collections of AUC member schools that were combined and relocated to the Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. Materials within the Woodruff Library Archives & Special Collections are regularly referenced in articles, books, exhibits, films, Web sites and other scholarly works and used daily by students, faculty, authors, journalists, curators and other researchers nationally and internationally.
“The partnership between Bank of America and the Woodruff Library of the AUC serves as a model for creating change in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Franklin. “One of Atlanta’s greatest assets is our corporate partners, such as Bank of America, that willingly support our local institutions of historical and cultural importance.”
Woodruff Library of the AUC provides collaborative library services for the exclusive benefit of its four member institutions - Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. With a combined enrollment of nearly 10,000 students, these colleges and university represent the world’s largest consortium of historically Black institutions of higher learning. Before the Library’s construction in 1982, each AUC institution provided information and research services separately through campus libraries.
25th Year of Service Celebrations
“Preserving the Past for the Future” is Woodruff Library of the AUC’s theme for the yearlong 25th anniversary celebration. On April 23, 2007 - 25 years to the day the Woodruff Library of AUC was dedicated - the Library will sponsor a celebration designed to encourage the faculty and students of the AUC community to share in commemorating this 25-year collaboration of the member schools. Other anniversary activities will allow current staff present throughout the Library’s 25-year history to share their memories of Woodruff yesterday and today. The Library hopes to develop an oral history project featuring staff remembrances and those of past and present AUC faculty and staff. The Woodruff Library will further preserve the heritages of the Library and AUC by partnering with its member institutions to map out a strategic future for the Library’s Archives & Special Collections, and how they will safeguard the documents and artifacts of these historically black institutions for future generations.
About Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy
Bank of America has embarked on an unprecedented 10-year goal to give $1.5 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the quality and vitality of their neighborhoods. The bank will give more than $200 million in 2007, making it one of the most generous corporate donors in the world. Bank of America approaches giving through a national strategy called "neighborhood excellence" under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities. Through Team Bank of America, bank associate volunteers contribute more than 500,000 hours each year to improve the quality of life in their communities nationwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit: www.bankofamerica.com/foundation
About the Library
Constructed in 1982, the Robert W. Woodruff Library is an independent entity organized and operated for the exclusive benefit of its member institutions - Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. These colleges and universities represent the world’s largest consortium of historically black institutions of higher learning. The Library serves a combined student body of more than 10,000.