Audrey Geisel Makes Historic $1 Million Gift to UC San Diego to Establish University Librarianship—A First for San Diego County

May 16, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Thanks to a $1 million gift from longtime university friend and supporter, Audrey S. Geisel, the University of California, San Diego, will establish the Audrey Geisel University Librarianship, the inaugural holder of which will be UCSD’s chief librarian, Brian E. C. Schottlaender. The librarianship represents the first of its kind in San Diego County, and one of only a few such university positions on the West Coast.

The gift will provide valuable discretionary funding to enhance and expand the resources and services of UC San Diego Libraries to accommodate the growing information and educational needs of students, faculty, campus departments and the greater San Diego community and region.

Geisel, widow of author Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, has had a longstanding relationship with UCSD, donating more than 8,000 of her late husband’s original drawings, sketches, books and other memorabilia to the university libraries. In 1995, UCSD’s Central Library was renamed Geisel Library in honor of the renowned author and his widow’s devoted support of the university.

“The UCSD Libraries are very close to my heart,” said Geisel. “They are an invaluable resource for students, faculty and the community—a place where minds are inspired and enlightened to new heights. It is a great pleasure to help in enhancing these vital resources for the future.”

The generous donation will create an endowment—a permanent fund that is invested to generate a growing stream of payout—which will be used to fund the greatest needs of the 10 individual campus libraries in perpetuity. As the Audrey Geisel University Librarian, Schottlaender will have the ability to allot needed funding to key initiatives ranging from development of new collections and cultivation of rare materials, to better retention of stellar staff members and creation of additional facilities for students, faculty and friends to enjoy.

“I am deeply honored to be named the first Audrey Geisel University Librarian,” said Schottlaender. “The generous gift will allow for unparalleled opportunities to secure valuable scholarly research materials for use by students, artists, scientists, educators and the community at large. In addition, the support will assist the UCSD Libraries in recruiting and retaining the very best staff available in a sector that is becoming increasingly competitive.”

Because UCSD is a part of the San Diego Library Circuit—a consortium of local libraries—members of many libraries throughout the county will have the opportunity to conveniently access materials either purchased or supported by Geisel’s endowment through their local library branch.

Geisel is president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, as well as president of the Dr. Seuss Foundation and Dr. Seuss Fund, which support a variety of causes, especially literacy programs. She is Honorary Co-Chair for The Campaign for UCSD, and serves on the UC San Diego University Librarian’s Advisory Board, Board of Visitors of the School of Medicine, Moores Cancer Center board and Chancellor’s Associates. A La Jolla resident, her community involvement spans numerous charities and organizations, including the Center for Family Literacy, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe Theatre and San Diego Zoological Society.

With more than 25 years experience, Schottlaender has served as UC San Diego’s University Librarian since 1999. Previously, he held positions at the California Digital Library, UCLA, University of Arizona, Indiana University and in the European booktrade. Schottlaender was recently awarded the 2007 Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). He is past-president of the Association of Research Libraries and ALCTS, in addition to serving on the boards of directors of the Center for Research Libraries and the Coalition for Networked Information. Schottlaender has served as the ALA representative to the international Joint Steering Committee for Revision of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, as well as chairing the Program for Cooperative Cataloging at the Library of Congress. Schottlaender has served as chair of the Pacific Rim Digital Alliance, and has chaired the San Diego Library Circuit consortium since 1999.

With more than 3 million volumes in its collections, the UCSD Libraries are the largest academic library south of Los Angeles. Comprised of 10 distinct libraries ranging from art and oceanography to biomedicine and special collections, UCSD ranks in the top 25 U.S. public libraries among the members of the prestigious Association of Research Libraries.


About The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next
Since its founding just 45 years ago, the University of California, San Diego has rapidly achieved the status as one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research. In order to keep UCSD at the forefront of academic and research excellence, the university launched The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next in July 2000. Donations to the comprehensive $1 billion fundraising campaign will help support students and faculty, expand academic programs, fund research endeavors and strengthen innovation funds to meet the highest priority needs. The Campaign for UCSD will conclude June 30, 2007. For more information, please visit