Thursday, March 29, 2001

UK library adds $62 million gift

Total endowment among tops in U.S.

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — A $62 million gift to the W.T. Young Library at the University of Kentucky puts the library's total endowment among the top 5 percent of public and private universities in the country.

        Mr. Young, 83, a Lexington businessman, has led a group of UK supporters that have pulled together nearly $40 million for the library. Another $20 million is coming from the state's Bucks for Brains program.

        The Association of Research Libraries in Washington, D.C. said that puts the Young Library among the nation's elite.

        It also puts UK closer to its quest for Top 20 status among public universities, Mr. Young said. He would like to see the endowment grow to $120 million, which would make it one of the two or three biggest library endowments in the country.

        “If we have the most significant library endowment in America, a lot of prestige goes with that and a lot can be done with that,” he said.

        Mr. Young donated $5 million for the building's construction. It was completed three years ago.

        He pledged to work on the library's book endowment, and turned to people and companies that have been generous in the past, including Toyota, Humana and Ashland Inc. A host of individuals gave $1 million or more.

        Mr. Young also calls the library a legacy of President Charles Wethington, who retires in June. Wethington started fund raising for the $60 million library in the early 1990s, and came up with the idea of using the city of Lexington's bonding authority to sell bonds, which are now being paid off by the university's athletics association.

        The library can spend about 5 percent of the endowment income a year. If all goes well with the stock market, that means as much as $3 million a year in the library's budget, Mr. Wethington said.

        Library Director Paul Willis said most of UK's library endowment funds are being spent on journals and databases on science, technology and medicine. Those fields are supposed to be emphasized under the state Bucks for Brains program.

        Mr. Willis said the library also has worked on its collection of Kentucky historical documents, original archives that provide research materials for students.

        “What I hope will happen is that if a student needs any scholarly book or journal or database, we would have it, and that hasn't always been true in the past,” Mr. Willis said.


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- UK library adds $62 million gift
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