Reflections Magazine Issue #54 - Fall 2000 - Page 32

32 Library Receives Major Gift ibraries have been a cherished part of Connie Farver’s life since she was a child in St. Augustine, Florida. “Growing up, my mother took us to the library Saturday mornings. Every week, I took out six books; that was the limit. Going to the library was a ritual for my sister and me,” Connie recalls. “Books were our eyes to the world.” Years later, as a wife and mother finishing her bachelor’s degree, going to the library became a ritual of another sort. “I loved studying in Siena’s library. It was peaceful and quiet, just the right atmosphere for learning,” Connie says. A 1983 alumna with a degree in business administration and management, Connie has been a Siena Heights Trustee since 1997. She and her husband, Herb, longtime Lenawee County residents, have been fans and supporters of Siena Heights for years. With the University entering a capital campaign, the Farvers wanted to make a substantial gift. Remembering Connie’s love of libraries, they decided to designate their $500,000 donation in support of the library at Siena Heights. University leaders and the library staff were thrilled. “This is a wonderfully generous gift,” President Rick Artman said. “Having been a non-traditional student at Siena Heights, Connie understands firsthand how important the library is to our mission,” he added. And the gift was needed. “We are proud of our library staff and their skills,” the President said, “but for years, our collection and database resources have not kept pace with the need to access information quickly and comprehensively.” The Farvers’ gift includes $200,000 for the endowment, to provide annual funding for the library for years to come; and $300,000 for immediate use on computer stations, the teacher education curriculum collection and research databases. When the Board of Trustees began planning the new campaign, “We knew we wanted to do something,” Herb says. “Connie and I were both brought up to give back and help others. Not all giving has to be monetary, of course, but we’ve been very fortunate. It’s humbling.” As they reveiwed the University’s needs, Herb says, they looked for just the right project. “We wanted to support something we felt comfortable with, something that would touch everyone at the University and benefit everyone.” They found that “something” in the Siena Heights library. Although not Catholic themselves, the Farvers are enthusiastic about Siena’s heritage and values. “The Adrian Dominican Sisters lend something special to the school,” Connie says. “They add a lot of depth and seem to focus on the big picture.” “It’s outstanding to have a university of this quality in our community,” Herb adds, “and to have this kind of education available to people of all means.” Herb and Connie met when they were 17 and 15. She was a Florida high school student; he was a Michigan recruit at the local Navy base. By the time they married, Connie had finished two years at Florida College of Women (now Florida State University). They moved north to Lenawee County and Herb began work in the family business. Thirty years and three children later, Connie decided to finish her college degree. “It was something I’d left undone,” she says. “My family was excited. Herb was especially supportive. I had excellent instructors and the traditional students were so nice to me. And it was good to know I could still learn! “Education enriches your life in so many ways—the friendships you form, the knowledge you gain. You may not even be aware of it when it’s happening,” Connie adds, “but loo