A large part of the opening ceremony was devoted to thanking those who made the new Library possible, be it with their financial donations, their donations in kind, their time, their talents or simply their wholehearted support. Dr Saleem Badat, the Vice-Chancellor and Ms Gwenda Thomas, Director of the Library, in their speeches, thanked a great number of people, some of whom are mentioned below.

Dr Badat thanked the citizens of South Africa who, through the Department of Higher Education & Training’s Infrastructure and Efficiency Fund, contributed R50 million towards the new Library. This meant that, ultimately, the University had to raise R25 million. Towards this end:
• The corporate business sector contributed R10.2 million
• Local and international trusts and foundations provided R 3.4 million. This includes a Carnegie Corporation of New York grant of over $300 000 for the Research Commons and for enhancing staff capabilities in research librarianship. It also includes R5 million from the Transnet Foundation, in support of the Science section
• Local alumni contributed R2.3 million
• International alumni donated R 1.7 million
• There was R2.2 million worth of gifts in kind, for computers, artwork and the like
• R 288 000 came from individuals

All the above donors were thanked by the Vice-Chancellor on behalf of Rhodes University. He also thanked the current Rhodes SRC, who has donated, from their funds, R1.5 million towards the completion of what is known as 'ground zero' – the section below the library which is intended either as the first Learning Kaif in South Africa, or as another research commons.

In turn, Ms Thomas thanked the Governors, Council and top management of Rhodes University, for being “leaders who are dealers in hope.” She thanked the former Library Building Committee for its vigorous advocacy and lobbying throughout the planning, up to and including the project approval stage, and the Major Projects Committee, which provided high standards of financial and project management oversight resulting in this huge undertaking being completed on schedule and well within the approved budget.

Mentioned by name were Deputy Vice-Chancellors Drs Peter Clayton and Sizwe Mabizela, and Registrar of Finance and Operations, Ross Marriner.

Ms Thomas also acknowledged Project Manager Peter May of KWMH in Port Elizabeth, Building Contractors Neels Heunis and Duppie Meyer, and architects Geoff de Wet and Niell Kievit. She took the time to thank the teams of builders, artisans and workers employed across the project, “without whose hard work and skills this Library building would not be a reality.”

Rhodes University divisions which were thanked by name included the IT Division, Estates Division, Development & Alumni Relations, Communications & Marketing, the Buying Office and the staff of the Rhodes University Library, who kept the Library open throughout the project.

Last, but most certainly not least, she thanked the Library Building Planning Team, the key interface with the Library Building Project Team, QS and consultants. Special mention was made of Mrs Jeanne Berger, Deputy Library Director, for the “exceptional leadership role” that she undertook throughout the build.

Daily Dispatch, Wednesday, November 24, 2010, p.12

Feature writer: Jean Mckeown

Additional: Cathy Gush

Last Modified: Mon, 07 Dec 2015 10:56:47 SAST