Carnegie celebrates centennial

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The itinerary for Pacific’s 2012 homecoming celebration both welcomes the newcomers and commemorates the old on campus. One of the oldest members of Pacific University, Carnegie Hall, adds its centennial celebration to the weekend’s festivities.

After spending more than half a century without a campus library, Andrew Carnegie gifted $20,000 to Pacific University in 1905 as part of his campaign to supply communities and academic institutions with libraries. The need for a building on Pacific to house a library and Carnegie’s personal dedication to education were not the only reasons for the donation. It is believed that some influence was given by former Pacific President Thomas McClelland, who was also a founding member of the Carnegie Foundation Board.

The new library was opened to students in the fall of 1912 but a dilemma arose. With no crew designated to move the collection of books, which were previously being held in a room in upper-level Marsh Hall, the task was a difficult one.

Initially, students were offered 15 cents an hour to help the moving process. But after little to no interest was shown in the job opportunity, Pacific switched gears to a campus service day in which all men were called to help move the library to its new home. The members of the Phi Lambda Omicron and Alpha Kappa Delta sororities provided refreshments on moving day.

Finding laborers was not the only issue during the construction of the Carnegie library. At the time, the university President William Ferrin voiced great opposition to using local materials rather than imported to build Carnegie. In the end, Ferrin resigned.

Pacific is currently the only institution in the state of Oregon that is home to a Carnegie library. The state houses 31 public Carnegie libraries.

Several of the events taking place during homecoming weekend will be centered around Carnegie’s 100th birthday.

A reception will be held at Carnegie Hall on Friday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. Cake will be served for the birthday reception following an address by President Hallick.

All are invited to register for the event under the date listed on Pacific’s calendar.

However, this event will be most special for alumni who utilized Carnegie for its original use as a library. Event organizers hope to hear some of the guests’ stories and experiences with Carnegie Library in its younger days.


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