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MC receives $10 million gift for Learning and Library Resource Center

October 24, 2005
Library Relationships (021.001)

Laura Baudo Sillerman refers to her long-time friend Robert Dyson as her partner in crime.

"He's also my partner in doing good things for Marietta College," said Baudo Sillerman, who along with Dyson, is a 1968 graduate of MC.

That special bond has once again fueled their philanthropic enthusiasm toward Marietta College with yet another combined $10 million gift ($5 million each) to fund a new Learning and Library Resource Center. The Resource Center should cost the College approximately $20 million, which will include an endowment, according to Lori Lewis, Marietta College's Vice President of Advancement.

"The Learning and Library Resource Center is essential to the creation of the culture of learning at Marietta College envisioned in our Strategic Plan," said Dr. Jean Scott, Marietta College's President. "It will serve as the intellectual center of the campus and a symbol of our mission and aspirations."

The Learning and Library Resource Center will replace Dawes Memorial Library as the centerpiece of campus and should be completed by Fall 2008. A design is being developed as the College has been working with Burgess & Niple Architects on a three-story, 62,600 square foot, facility that would include a learning teaching center, reference and library collections, archives and special collections, student study space, exhibition gallery, performance spaces, classrooms and a café. MC officials promise the new center will be consistent with the College's historical architecture.

"The Learning and Library Resource Center will provide the latest technology for instructional and research purposes," said Dr. Sue DeWine, MC's Provost. "It will provide the space students need for group study and individual research. It will be more than a library in that it will include a learning center where experimental classrooms will allow faculty to test the latest instructional technology. Most importantly, this new library will make a powerful statement about the importance of academics and learning on this campus. It will say to prospective students that learning will be an exciting and engaging process when they attend Marietta College."

The Resource Center will blend traditional methods of research with cutting-edge technology. For example, an experimental classroom would allow for the demonstration of the latest instructional technology, and group study spaces would include computers and projectors so students could practice group presentations and complete other collaborative assignments. Also, display areas would showcase the College's historical collections, and the attractive informal spaces should become a place where students meet up with friends or relax between classes.

"We're both committed to the College. We both think that Marietta College played a major role in our lives," Dyson said. "We have been fortunate to prosper in our lives and we believe that it all began from the base that we got at Marietta College. We saw the library as a need for the College and just felt the time was right."

Baudo Sillerman and Dyson have each played key roles in Marietta College's fundraising efforts over the years. The recently completed comprehensive campaign, the Tomorrow Foundation, headed by Baudo Sillerman, and the eponymous Dyson Foundation, each made $5 million grants for the Recreation Center that bears their names.

The Dyson Baudo Recreation Center includes the renovated Ban Johnson Arena and Fenton Court as well as a 200-meter indoor track facility with multipurpose courts in the infield, a crew training facility, and a performance court for varsity basketball and volleyball.

"Rob and I knew that we had just begun the work of realizing Marietta's potential with the building of the Recreation Center. We understood if that building had the type of impact that we hoped it would, there would be things to follow up," said Baudo Sillerman, who was on campus Saturday, presenting Barbara Berman Dobkin '65 for induction into the Marietta College Hall of Honor. "The Learning and Library Resource Center is the building that will enhance and celebrate the true legacy of Marietta College, which is to teach and to create wisdom in future generations," Baudo Sillerman said.

Marietta College's landscape has been transformed over the past five years with the construction of the Rickey Science Center, McCoy Hall, new softball and soccer fields and the recreation center, along with recent renovations of Fayerweather Hall, Don Drumm Stadium, Mills Hall and the current work being completed at the Brown Petroleum Building.

"Two returning alumni, Rob Dyson and Laura Baudo Sillerman not only came back to campus, they launched a significant transformation of it at the same time," Lewis said. "Their generous gift is a wonderful affirmation of their belief in the value of a Marietta College education, it is an enduring investment in the journey of learning that accompanies each and every student on their way to graduation and on to the world of their life's work."

Baudo Sillerman and Dyson are proud to remain associated with Marietta College more than 30 years after their friendship blossomed on campus.

"It is obviously a friendship that Rob and I have, but it is also a celebration of an era and Marietta College itself," Baudo Sillerman said. "The bonds that were formed during the '60s when we were at Marietta were so strong. We're the lucky ones that get to write the checks, but we are in essence the people whom you see at the head of the line of an incredible connection, and incredible belief in Marietta College. I'm sure we facilitate each other's giving and it's a lot of fun."

Laura Baudo Sillerman '68 and Robert Dyson '68 are donating $5 million each for a new Learning and Library Resource Center.