Alumna’s gift will make lasting impact

Mercyhurst College has established an endowed book fund in memory of a 1938 alumna who worked for Yale University until age 85 and, upon her death, bequeathed to Mercyhurst $465,000.

The gift from Frances C. Malaney, ’38, has not only funded a $100,000 endowed book fund for Mercyhurst’s Hammermill Library, it also funded a $266,000 endowed scholarship at Mercyhurst North East and added $90,000 to the Old Main Renovation Fund at the college.

Malaney died in February 2003. A short time later, Mercyhurst Vice President of Advancement Gary Bukowski ’73 learned that the catalog librarian at Yale’s Sterling Library had designated Mercyhurst the beneficiary of her TIAA-CREF retirement fund.

“Ms. Malaney’s gift was a beautiful act,” Bukowski said. “It shows the kind of lifelong affection that so many of our alumni have for Mercyhurst. 

“We had no idea her gift would be so large. Because it was, our challenge was to make the fullest possible use of it while still honoring her memory. And the decision to honor her was ours alone. Miss Malaney never asked that we attach her name to anything, but we felt it was the right thing to do.”

Nevertheless, the college put the bulk of her gift with the endowed scholarship for students at Mercyhurst North East. There, it was used as part of the match to the $1 million gift made by the Robert S. and Janet L. Miller Family Foundation. The $266,000 from Malaney was effectively doubled. In the 2004-05 academic year, the first year it was used, the fund provided scholarship assistance to 15 students at Mercyhurst North East.

At the Erie campus, the $100,000 for an endowed books and materials fund will have lasting impact.

College library directors have a large set of requirements to fill in keeping a library properly stocked. Today, the need goes beyond books and journals. Colleges also needDVDs, CDs, online databases and electronic journal subscriptions. 

The electronic journal subscriptions have been hit by double digit inflation in recent years, according to Ken Brundage, Mercyhurst director of libraries.

The Malaney fund, he said, fund “will help to ensure that we continue to collect books and other resources, such as audiovisual materials, at an appropriate level.

“Ms. Malaney's gift to the students of the college enables us to continue to provide the best tools possible – no matter the format – to support their academic endeavors," Brundage said.

Bukowski noted Malaney’s passion for books and college libraries.

“With that in mind, it was a obvious that we should use a major portion of her gift for the library, especially for books,” Bukowski said.

The $90,000 designated to Old Main helped with needed renovation work at that venerable building.
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