Campus News - May 7, 2001

Ford powers library's $1 million better idea

By Carolyn Gonzales

For a decade, library Dean Robert Migneault has envisioned an Information Commons in Zimmerman Library. Ford Motor Company, the ‘better idea’ company, fuels Migneault’s plan by committing $400,000 to drive the plan forward.

“With the commitment from Ford, I am delighted to announce the coordinated sponsorship of more than $1 million to upgrade the UNM General Library with telecommunication and technology combined with traditional library resources,” says Migneault.

Ford Motor Company helped to make an online training room in Zimmerman Library a reality through the library’s portion of the $3 million Ford contributed to UNM. “Now, through stronger relationships and a greater understanding and appreciation of the services the library provides and wants to provide, Ford Motor Company Executive John Mendel is willing to commit additional funds to the UNM General Library specifically so that the Information Commons can become a reality in Zimmerman Library,” says Migneault.

Migneault says that revenue from the Student Fee Review Board (SFRB) this year, $160,000, was specifically given with the Infocommons in mind. “The students were vocal about the fee money going toward services they wanted from the library. Included in the plans for the Commons is a coffee shop the students stressed they want in the library,” he says.

The SFRB is providing other revenue for the Information Commons, as well. In 1989, the first year the library got SFRB funding, Migneault persuaded the SFRB to establish a $300,000 endowment. “We kept that money under lock and key until the day we could provide a student service with it. We have allowed the endowment to accrue interest and now $250,000 is available to put toward the Commons,” he says, adding that no additional SFRB money was ever added to the original $300,000.

Tobias Duran, director, Center for Regional Studies, has earmarked more than $500,000 specifically for the Commons, says Migneault, who adds that administrative activities involving Facilities Planning, hiring an architect and having a proposal need to be completed by December 2001 so that “visible remodeling can begin early next year — in January 2002,” he says.

This project has been accomplished thus far, says Migneault, because of “vision, tenacity and discipline coupled with active development work, philanthropy and an appreciation for ‘better ideas.’”

“The success could not have happened without student support, the spectacular fundraising achievements of Doris Rhodes, a contract agent working with Ford Motor Company, Julie Emons, the library’s outstanding development officer, who has supported this project since she came on board last summer and the Center for Regional Studies,” says Migneault.

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