The Powell Library on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.
The Powell Library on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.

UCLA announced Thursday that alumnus Norman Powell has donated $5 million to create an endowment to support the university’s librarian.

Powell — who graduated in 1959 with a degree in earth physics — is the son of UCLA’s former University Librarian Lawrence Clark Powell, in whose honor Powell Library was named in 1966.

“As an alumnus and son of our longtime university librarian, Norman knows first-hand that a gift to the UCLA library is like giving a scholarship to every student and a fellowship to every researcher,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “We thank him for his generosity, which will ensure that the library continues to play an essential role in the intellectual journeys of every student, faculty and staff member.”

The university librarian is a dean-level position in charge of UCLA’s eight campus libraries and special collections. Ginny Steel will be the inaugural Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian and has been UCLA’s librarian since 2013.

Powell’s donation will “support the library’s unparalleled collections, innovative services that fuel teaching and research across campus and ongoing efforts to ensure that its physical spaces and online resources can evolve to meet the needs of UCLA’s students and faculty,” the university said.

During his career Powell worked as a field engineer on geophysical surveys, as a research physicist for Chevron, as a executive consultant with British Petroleum, in technical service and exploration consulting, and after retiring in 1990 became an environmental activist, the university said.

The gift is part of the UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is an effort by the university to raise $4.2 billion by December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.

“I hope my gift inspires others to make similar gifts; the UCLA library cannot sustain its standing as a premier institution and grow without support from people like you and me,” Powell said. “I encourage everyone to be as generous as they can during the Centennial Campaign so years from now we can all look back and be proud of the impact we had.”

–City News Service 

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