Dec. 8, 2006
Albertans Don and Ruth Taylor announced today a donation of $25 million to the new Taylor Family Digital Library at the University of Calgary. The gift will be used to create a new learning hub in the heart of campus.
The Taylor gift will also be used to create the Taylor Quadrangle, an outdoor public space running east/west across campus.
“I wanted to have a legacy for my grandchildren, and I think supporting the community where they’ve been born and grown up is the way to do it,” said Don Taylor, a well-known Calgary entrepreneur who took over Engineered Air in 1967, a company that specializes in the design and manufacture of heating, ventilating and air conditioning units.
His wife, Ruth Taylor, is an educator and consultant with a master of arts degree in education from San Diego State University and a doctorate in education from the University of Alberta. She sits on the Alberta Mental Health Board, and has a special interest in counselling, and in working with people with disabilities.
“We are quite excited about the new library because it will serve not only Calgary, but also students from across the province. I spent a lot of time in libraries as a student and I have a special place in my heart for them,” said Ruth Taylor.
“Today’s generous gift will ensure that our students and our community have access to the most sophisticated information resources in the country,” said University of Calgary President Harvey Weingarten. “Don and Ruth Taylor are longtime friends of the U of C, and this most recent donation underlines the commitment they have to this university and to the quality of the student experience.”
In choosing where to allocate their donation, the Taylors wanted to support a landmark in the heart of the campus, and chose a visionary new library, formerly known as the Campus Calgary Digital Library. The couple, who work and reside in Alberta, support wide access to information, especially for the disabled. A second marriage for both, Don and Ruth Taylor share five children, and three grandchildren.
The donation is the Taylors’ fourth significant gift to the U of C. In 2003, Don Taylor created the Engineered Air Chair in Cancer Research at the U of C through the Alberta Cancer Foundation with a lead gift of $2 million. It is held by R. Susan Lees-Miller in the Faculty of Medicine.
Don Taylor’s company, Engineered Air, also gave $2 million to the Faculty of Kinesiology in 1997 to create the Engineered Air Gait Laboratory, a research program that focuses on mobility and longevity factors in health and human performance. The company donated another $500,000 in 2005 to enhance its commitment to health and wellness research.
The Taylor Family Digital Library is the cornerstone of the University of Calgary’s single largest expansion in its history. The four major capital projects—the Taylor Family Digital Library, a new building for the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, the Experiential Learning Centre and the Urban Campus Partnership—will permit the university to enrol 7,000 more students by 2010.
The Province of Alberta has committed substantial funding to the U of C’s capital expansion, including $113 million in base funding to the digital library. An additional $99 million in funding for the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Child Development Centre was announced in November.
The Taylor Family Digital Library will open in the fall of 2009. The complex, which will incorporate a renovated Mackimmie Library and which had its official groundbreaking March 31, 2006, will total approximately 42,000 square metres. In addition to creating a focal point for students and community members in terms of available services and resources, the physical design of the digital library will create a central, public hub on the main campus.
“This gift is central to the ability of the university to realize this new vision, establishing a new heart of the campus and which will shape the university for decades to come,” said Thomas Hickerson, vice provost (libraries and cultural resources) and university librarian at the University of Calgary. “By supporting this new structure and the underlying concept, the generous donors have enabled a new model for learning and research at U of C.”
The Taylor Family Library is being designed by Saucier + Perrotte of Montreal and Kasian Architecture, Interior Design and Planning of Calgary. Conceptual drawings are available for download at www.ucalgary.ca/news/december2006/dec8images