Columbia University trustee Gerry Lenfest has made a leadership gift of $250,000 to Columbia University Libraries as part of a matching challenge funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a senior conservator at the Libraries.
The Mellon Foundation awarded the libraries a $1,250,000 grant to establish an endowment for a new senior conservator to join a small, highly regarded team of conservation professionals and technicians at Columbia. Mr. Lenfest is the inaugural contributor to the matching challenge.
"Gerry Lenfest has provided this generous leadership gift as we launch the fundraising campaign to raise $1 million to match the Mellon grant for a new paper and book conservator position in the Libraries,” said James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian. “We are enormously grateful for his support as we affirm the importance of preserving our special collections at Columbia."
Mr. Lenfest, a graduate of Columbia Law School ’58, is a long-time supporter of education, the arts, and the environment. He has given over $100 million to Columbia University, funding new professorships, buildings, and programs campus-wide.
"Conserving our rare and unique cultural heritage has always been one of my philanthropic interests. I urge others to join me in this important effort to save our past for the future," Mr. Lenfest said.
Over the next three years, Columbia University will look to raise an additional $750,000 to endow the position.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.