Scholarship created to honor former dean of libraries

Emily DeLetter

Former Dean of Libraries Connie Foster is being honored with a scholarship endowment in her name to benefit students employed as library student assistants.

The Connie Foster Student Scholarship Endowment was unanimously approved by the WKU Library Advisory Council. This award is an expansion of the Margie Helm Award, which gives qualifying students a $1,000 award for the year, or $500 per semester. WKU Friends of Libraries gave a matching gift of $5,000 to start the fund, with a $10,000 goal to classify the award as endowed through the College Heights Foundation.

When a fund is endowed through the College Heights Foundation, it is invested with the overall endowment which includes more than 1,200 funds. This endowed fund would also be awarded forever in Foster’s name, according to Jessica Carver, vice president of the College Heights Foundation.

“The hope is that it will grow as people continue to give to it,” Carver said.

To ensure that the endowment will last forever, four percent will be spent each year, awarding a student $400 dollars total, or $200 a semester, Carver said.

Communications Coordinator for the WKU Libraries Jennifer Wilson said Foster deserved to have an endowment in her name.

“She was a wonderful dean, highly respected by her peers within the state in different library systems and highly respected within our campus,” Wilson said. “She always felt very strongly about helping all students succeed.”

Foster was contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

Foster helped start the existing student scholarship for library assistants, according to Wilson, but it was current Dean of Libraries Susann deVries’ idea to create a sustainable scholarship in Foster’s name.

This is deVries’ first year as dean of libraries, starting July 1 after Foster retired earlier this year.

“The whole intent was to both honor Connie and make a scholarship that was sustainable for the future,” deVries said.

Priority will be given to students employed as library student assistants. The Library Advisory Council is looking to expand the qualifications and open it to other related fields, but the details have not been finalized, Wilson said.

Library student assistants have many different jobs spread out over the libraries on the Bowling Green, Glasgow and Owensboro campuses. Wilson said more than 70 students are employed by the libraries, working at the circulation desk, archives and special collections, as well as in various other positions. She estimated that the libraries are in the top five employers for students on campus.

The new scholarship endowment will be available through TopDollar. This is WKU’s system for awarding scholarships from private funds established by alumni and friends, academic departments or programs throughout the University or by community organizations and professional associations, according to their website.

An additional $5,000 is still needed to set up the scholarship as an endowment. A website has been set up where those interested can go and make a donation to the endowment.

“[Foster] worked at the libraries for 41 years and made a lot of connections in her time here,” Wilson said. “We’re also trying to get the word out to the campus community and contacting supporters from previous years. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who wants to support our students.”

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.