NORMAN – The University Libraries’ Books that Inspire exhibit and internationally acclaimed History of Science Collections will be made even stronger with the establishment of a $500,000 endowment by OU’s Athletics Department.
More than a decade ago, Joe Castiglione, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics at OU, established a partnership with Sul H. Lee, then dean of University Libraries, to launch the Books That Inspire exhibit. The exhibit coincides with National Library Week each year and promotes reading across campus.
“We are proud that our Athletics Department provides financial support to the academic mission of the University. Here, we are truly one University with a close relationship between academics and athletics,” said OU President David L. Boren.
“In establishing this endowment several years ago, we sought a significant way to serve our entire campus community and assist in enhancing a university treasure,” said Castiglione.
As an outgrowth of that partnership, the newly established endowment will continue to fund the exhibit and support the growth of the History of Science Collections, considered by many to be one of the crown jewels of Oklahoma. The collection includes nearly 100,000 volumes representing every field and subject area of science, technology and medicine. Holdings include complete sets of first editions of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and other major scientists as well as other hard-to-find materials that throw light on the growth and development of science throughout its history.
“I thank Joe Castiglione and the Athletics Department for the continued support of the annual Books that Inspire exhibit and for this wonderful new gift to the University Libraries,” said Lee, now dean emeritus. “This partnership will have an enormous impact on students and scholars at the university for generations to come.”
Castiglione added, “As with our other academic-athletics partnerships, we continually seek a way to be an extension of the university mission. We salute Dean Sul Lee on his wonderful career of leadership and look forward to continuing our support of the University Libraries in the years to come. We embrace our responsibility to encourage and inspire our student-athletes to academic achievement. We also take pride in assisting with the funding of academic programs and in a shared vision with our entire university community.”
OU’s Athletics Department is one of the few self-sustaining programs of its kind nationally. During the past nine years, the Athletics Department has provided $11 million to academic programs on the campus.
“Having worked at several institutions of higher education, I know firsthand how truly unique the relationship between the library and athletics at OU is,” said Dean of Libraries Rick Luce. “I look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with Athletics.”
The History of Science Collections are located on the fifth floor of Bizzell Memorial Library and are open to the public during normal business hours. Visit libraries.ou.edu or call (405)325-2741 for hours and information about the current exhibit.