In assuming leadership responsibility for the fundraising campaign, the Steering Committee worked with tireless dedication and all members made significant and unique contributions.
Foundation president Rupert Evans chaired the committee, joined by campaign co-chairs Kermit and Ann Harden. Foundation board member Joan Hood, retired from a career in development at the University of Illinois library, shared her considerable professional fundraising expertise. Board member Susan Stone, highly-regarded in the community, made a significant number of successful major gift solicitations. Board member Cameron Satterthwaite secured several major gifts and enlisted many community members to serve on the cabinet. Retained by the Foundation to serve as campaign director, Gerri Kirchner provided invaluable planning, public relations, and organizational support. Retired Executive Director Frederick Schlipf managed an institution with a national reputation that is beloved by library patrons. His stewardship of the library and his careful supervision of the building design and construction have insured the continued vitality of Urbana 's award-winning educational center.
Rupert Evans was president of The Urbana Free Library Foundation from its inception in 1997 until the renovated and expanded library was dedicated in May 2005. Rupert's tireless and enthusiastic commitment to the success of this endeavor preserved the size and scope of the building plan by encouraging the Foundation's promise to increase their fundraising goal from $1 million to $2 million. His enthusiastic and charismatic leadership inspired the board and the community to share his vision for the library's future and move forward to achieve it.
Retired dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois, Rupert had a distinguished career as an educator, joining the university faculty as an assistant professor of vocational and technical education and going on to serve as associate dean and then dean. He was a Fulbright lecturer in Japan , a consultant in eighteen foreign countries, and author of eleven books and nearly one hundred journal articles. He regarded his work with the Foundation as the capstone of an interesting career.
The Evans family was very generous in their support of the library. Rupert's first wife, Jean Evans, launched the library expansion with a major gift before her death in 1999. The Jean Evans Room in the Archives is named in her honor. Rupert's wife Mary K. Evans was also extremely supportive of the library expansion project and sponsored the Music Collection Area.
Kermit and Ann Harden
The Urbana Free Library Foundation gratefully recognizes longtime Urbana residents Kermit and Ann Harden for their service as co-chairs of the capital campaign for library expansion. Their dedicated leadership of the three-year fundraising effort was a large part of its success.
A WWII veteran, Kermit was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Silver Star. He earned a B.S. in math education and an Ed.D. from the University of Illinois . Kermit held many administrative positions during his career in education, including superintendent of Urbana schools and has served on the boards of Urbana Rotary, The Reading Group, the Boy Scouts, and the UI Alumni Association. Kermit devoted many years of volunteer service to the library in leadership roles on the board of trustees and the Foundation board. As liaison between both boards, he helped plan for library expansion, provided oversight of construction, and helped organize the fundraising campaign.
Ann was also employed in the field of education, teaching high school and junior high school before leaving the profession to raise their two children. Ann has been active in volunteer service for many organizations, including PTA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Children's Theatre Board, First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, PEO, and the University of Illinois President's Council. As campaign co-chair, Ann brought gracious leadership to the endeavor. She played a major role in engaging community members to support the library campaign as volunteers and donors. Ann's assistance in all aspects of the fundraising effort was significant to the campaign's success.