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Chico State

Meriam Library Secures $1 Million Planned Gift to Support Its Amenities, Facilities and Opportunities for Decades to Come

The entrance to the Meriam Library is filled with students walking to and from class or the library itself.
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Meriam Library has long been the heart of the Chico State campus and a pivotal component of the educational experience for tens of thousands of students. Now, with a $1 million donation of a planned gift by an impassioned alumnus, a new endowment will support its operations and offerings for generations to come.

The donor, who wants to remain anonymous, acknowledged the wealth of impacts he has witnessed from libraries at all levels through his life and credits Meriam Library and its staff as the most useful resource in earning his degree and achieving other academic goals. At a university, he noted, the library is often the common denominator—one which supports student success for the duration through its many resources and dedicated staff.

Today, under the leadership of Dean Zheng (John) Wang, Meriam Library is poised for even greater service and programs that support student success. It continues to support Chico State in our path to prominence by ensuring students have access to information, knowledge and culture and are supported in their development, learning and creativity. Through a new strategic plan, innovation and partnership, it is integrating information literacy into teaching and learning and becoming the center of campus intellectual pursuits and the celebration of scholarly achievements.

The endowment established by this donor’s gift will further that mission by providing annual disbursements to support program expenses, facility maintenance and enhancements, collections acquisitions and maintenance, guest speakers and educational programming.

“We are so grateful for this donor’s vision and dedication to his alma mater in making a transformational gift,” said President Gayle Hutchinson. “This endowment will support the University’s expertise in helping the communities we serve connect to, engage with and contribute to the world of knowledge and new ideas for decades to come.”

Wang, who has previously worked at several other academic libraries, noted that at other institutions, endowments often have strict parameters that can make them limiting and lessen their impact. The scope of work allowed for in the endowment agreement creates latitude for the library to truly take action on areas that will impact students most.

“[The donor] understands the library business and that it’s important for the person making decisions to have appropriate resources,” Wang said. “I deeply appreciate his trust in me and future deans to use our discretion to make the best decisions on behalf of the library and our community.”

Libraries epitomize a university experience, Wang said. They are where students learn to polish their research skills, the source of countless memories and, perhaps more than anything, they reflect accessibility to learning in the most equitable way—centrally located, open to everyone and offering extended operating hours to ensure a safe, comfortable place for students and faculty to complete their work.

“The learning starts in the classroom, but it truly continues in the library,” he said. “I cannot describe my gratitude and excitement for this gift. With this funding, we will be able to act on the growth areas we have not been able to consider and we will be able to polish our collection, update our facility and put out programs to help our students we could not previously.”