A $2.5 million gift from two University of Wyoming alumni, Carol McMurry and her husband Pat Spieles, will create two programs: a campus reading program and a librarian position to work closely with the UW Honors College. Carol and Pat are are staunch supporters of UW Libraries.
UW Reads aims to broaden the shared understanding of the world through the joys of a good book, and the Endowed Librarian for Academic Excellence position will serve as a liaison between the Honors College and UW Libraries, as well as overseeing the UW Reads program.
The UW Reads program, modeled on the Big Read program of the National Endowment for the Arts, is based on the principle that larger conversations about shared ideas can transform communities.
Once the program is established, a book would be selected from a range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, which participants sign up to read. Based on the book, the program may include activities such as readers joining book discussions online or in person. Speakers, including the author of the book or subject matter experts, may be invited to visit campus. Panel discussions, film screenings and public readings also may be offered, and the number and type of events will evolve from year to year.
The Endowed Librarian for Academic Excellence position will support the mission and programming of UW’s newly established Honors College, as well as scholarship and student excellence in general. This person will serve as a liaison between the Honors College and UW Libraries, as well as the main point of contact for Honors College students and faculty for library services and resources. He or she also will promote collaborations with the Wyoming State Library, community college libraries and statewide public libraries.
The position also will teach colloquia in the Honors College; develop open educational resources for the Honors College in the libraries; and serve as a critical point person for students seeking essential library resources for their theses. The position will create exhibits and offer lectures and specialized workshops on library research or digital scholarship. He or she will assist with educational and research experiences at the American Heritage Center and will oversee undergraduate research awards.
“This amazing gift of Carol and Pat represents a major step forward in UW Libraries helping realize the strategic plan of the University of Wyoming,” UW Libraries Dean Ivan Gaetz said. “Through this endowed position, a new partnership with the Honors College will unfold on several fronts — teaching, other educational programming and student scholarly development — that intersect with a wide scope of disciplines and promote a high level of student achievement.”