The renovation of Wilson College’s John Stewart Memorial Library has received a boost, thanks to a gift of up to $3.6 million from Marguerite Lenfest of Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Wilson College President Barbara K. Mistick announced the gift with its matching elements at a meeting of the college’s board of trustees at its meeting in late February.
“This gift is significant because libraries are the heart of a college and representative of quality academics,” Mistick said. “We are excited about the plans for a progressive, modern library with a learning commons that will become the center of our academic community.”
The college has embarked on a $12 million fundraising effort to repair and restore the original 1923 library building, while razing a 1961 addition and replacing it with a learning commons equipped to meet the changing needs of today’s educators and students. Prior to the Lenfest gift, Wilson had raised $2.4 million for the project.
“I am excited about the transformation recently put in motion at Wilson College,” said Marguerite Lenfest, a 1955 graduate of Wilson. “I am proud to be able to demonstrate my support and to help address the college's most urgent need—the renovation of the John Stewart Memorial Library into a learning commons for the 21st century. It is my hope that this gift shows the strength of my commitment to Wilson today and inspires others to support the library project, which is essential to the academic core of the college and of great importance to both current and prospective students.”
Originally founded as a women’s college in 1869, Wilson College is taking a number of bold steps to transform itself into a thriving liberal arts institution, including adding programs, improving infrastructure and expanding coeducation. An updated library will be an important component of Wilson’s revitalization.