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Alumna to donate $1 million to SU’s School of Information Studies; high-tech learning center named for her mother
Alumna to donate $1 million to SU’s School of Information Studies; high-tech learning center named for her motherOctober 27, 2006Margaret Costello Spillettmcostell@syr.edu
Today, thanks to the Internet and digital archives, library and information science is virtually boundless. So the students studying to become information professionals in the 21st century must branch out from traditional librarianship into the technologically evolving world of digital librarianship, information management, and network and telecommunications management. To ensure that this new breed of information managers has access to the latest technology and resources, alumna and former librarian Estelle K. Wilhelm ’38, G’39 (above) is donating $1 million to Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies.
Wilhelm will present the check to Dean Raymond F. von Dran during a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30, in Room 347 of Hinds Hall. Chancellor Nancy Cantor will acknowledge the gift through a plaque and membership into the Chancellor’s Council, a special designation given to high-level supporters of the University.
In recognition of the gift — the largest in the school’s history — a collaborative classroom and adjoining computer lab in Hinds Hall will be named in honor of Wilhelm’s mother. The Katherine Katchmar Learning Center will feature a 1,210-foot classroom that seats 50 students and an adjoining 790-foot computer lab with 24 learning stations. It will be located on the ground floor next to the three-story atrium and student lounge. The classroom is designed around a theory of student-focused, interactive learning that changes the classroom process into a collaborative search for solutions based on a case.
The naming gift supports the school’s Technology Endowment Campaign for Hinds Hall (TECHH), which funds the maintenance of technology equipment within the school’s classrooms and labs. Money raised for the TECHH fund will ensure that the school is properly equipped with the latest advances in technology and related learning tools.
At Syracuse University, Wilhelm received a bachelor’s degree in Latin and a master’s degree in library science. Over the course of her career, she worked as a librarian in locations as varied as Endicott (N.Y.), Philadelphia, New York City and, most memorably, Cape Lookout, a part of the National Seashore in North Carolina. There, she was given a $500-a-month allowance to purchase new books for the government post library, although she recalls her accommodations at the time had no running water or electricity.
Wilhelm says she sees the gift as a way to pay tribute to her mother, “a great believer in education,” and to the institution that set her on an enjoyable career path as a librarian. She will travel from her home in Gillette, N.J., to be part of the celebration.