$1.5 Million Donation to UA Foundation will support SIRLS

UA News Services
May 16, 2003

A gift commitment in the amount of $1.5 million to the University of Arizona Foundation has been established through the estate plans of Duane and Linda Whitaker. The funds will create three endowed professorships in the UA School of Information Resources and Library Sciences (SIRLS).

"My husband and I knew that we wanted the University of Arizona to be a beneficiary of our estate, but we hadn't decided where we wanted the money to go," Linda Whitaker said. "We wanted to put our money where it would have the greatest impact. We realized that our gift would show tangible external support for SIRLS."

Linda Whitaker graduated from SIRLS in December 2002 and is a project archivist in Special Collections at the Main Library. She also earned a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Arizona in 1974.

Dr. Duane Whitaker graduated from the UA Medical School in 1979. He is a faculty member at the University of Iowa College of Medicine and a strong supporter of the University of Arizona.

"I am thrilled by the Whitakers' incredibly generous gift. It will ensure that we are able to bring people who are at the top of the library and information sciences field to the University of Arizona," said SIRLS Director Brooke Sheldon.

SIRLS is one of only three American Library Association accredited schools in the western United States. The School offers a masters program that educates students to become information professionals capable of serving in a wide variety of information environments, including libraries, archives, the corporate sector and specialized profit and non-profit agencies of all types.

"The Whitakers generosity helps us to continue to build an important component of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at a time of diminishing state funding," said SBS Dean Ed Donnerstein. "Their commitment to excellence at the University is greatly appreciated."

University President Pete Likins said, "I am deeply gratified by the Whitakers' very thoughtful gift, which proves once again that good things happen to good people doing good work."

As with most private gifts, the Whitaker contribution will be used to strengthen an important academic program. The gift is part of Campaign Arizona, the University's $1 billion fund-raising effort.