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October 17, 2016

15 Years Later: Thanks Again, Mr. Golisano

In 2001, B. Thomas Golisano was approached by President William Crothers regarding a possible contribution to the College’s “Faith in Our Future Campaign.” President Crothers was encouraged to explore a big-picture long-term contribution opportunity that eventually gave birth to the idea of a new library at Roberts Wesleyan College. Official announcement of the $5 million gift came on October 17, 2001 and was met with jubilation from library staff, campus administrators, faculty, and students.

At the time, this generous contribution represented the largest in the history of the College and the second largest in Golisano’s career of philanthropic giving. The news gave hope to the staff of the Ora A. Sprague Library, now serving nearly 1,800 students in a library meant for 1,000. Continued growth of the library’s physical collections combined with the development of electronic resources and computer technology created a need for space. Study rooms and other spaces were reallocated for various services that administrators could never have imagined when that library was constructed in the 1960s. Mr. Golisano’s gift came at a time when library services were rapidly and drastically changing.

The pathway towards a new library was viewed as a commitment to excellence at Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary; a pledge to the continued support of student growth and development. While the library was still committed to the development of physical collections, the foresight of our librarians was ever-present. Plans for the new facility included foreshadowing of RWC’s commitment to growing programs for non-traditional students and distant learners through the expansion of library technology and the increasing implementation of electronic resources in place of physical collections.

Construction of the new building began in 2006 and continued into the spring of 2007. The completed library welcomed its staff in July of 2007 and on August 20th the building was opened to the campus. The $11.5 million, 43,000 square-foot, 2 story facility was built with geothermal heating and cooling features, utilizing rapid-renewal resources, as well as natural and efficient lighting; the library received a LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its use of efficient resources. Most importantly, the library was designed to foster change and development in the ever-growing fields of higher education and librarianship.

The B. Thomas Golisano Library was formally dedicated on September 10, 2007. President John A. Martin remarked to Mr. Golisano during the dedicatory address, “…I told the entire student body at our first gathering this fall that having your name on this library is like sending you a thank-you note every day for the part you have played in the education of our students at Roberts Wesleyan College and our sister institution, Northeastern Seminary. We are truly grateful.”

Fifteen years later, we remain grateful to Mr. Golisano for his investment in our beautiful campus and more importantly, for his investment in the future of our students at Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary.

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