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$2.1 Million Bequest from Mara Dole '61LS is Largest in College's History

John Simmons Society(March 31, 2014) -- The late Mara Dole '61LS, a former cataloger at the Harvard Law School Library, generously gave $2.1 million through a bequest which has been used to establish new funds to further enhance innovation and technology at the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Dole immigrated to Boston from her native Latvia in 1949 and worked as a private music teacher while earning her bachelor's and master's degrees at the New England Conservatory of Music. As an industrious student preparing for her life's work, she took a job in the Simmons library in 1959 while completing the library science program.

N. Laurence Koch '14LS

GSLIS Dean's Fellow for Technology Support N. Laurence Koch '14LS


Cutting-edge Experiences Prepare Students for Life's Work

To help students succeed in the classroom and beyond, Simmons utilizes a wide variety of cutting-edge spaces and technologies – and those offerings will soon be expanded, thanks to the bequest from Mara Dole '61LS.

"I am excited to explore how this new technology can be used to enhance and perhaps alter the ways that we, as students, work and communicate with our peers and with our teachers," says N. Laurence Koch '14LS, the GSLIS Dean's Fellow for Technology Support.

GSLIS Manager of Technology Linnea Johnson '01, '04LS, '14SM echoes the importance of innovation and technology, saying, "When students graduate, they will take all they have learned from these hands-on experiences in classes and workshops, and they'll become the technology innovators in their workplaces."

Along with her late husband Alexander, Mara Dole was an active philanthropist throughout her life. Her transformative gift to GSLIS is enhancing the School's experiential learning environment for both face-to-face and virtual students. The Mara Dole Innovation Fund will support excellence in teaching and research – pillars of Simmons's Strategy 2015. Each year, GSLIS Dean Eileen Abels and an advisory committee will select proposals from GSLIS faculty and students that support innovative teaching and research projects.

In addition, the Dole bequest has been used to upgrade the cataloging library and transform it into the GSLIS Collaboratory. This involved expanding the space and upgrading technology for teaching. The Collaboratory, which officially opened in March with a ribbon cutting ceremony, is being used by faculty and students in the library science degree program, in the archives concentration, and in the M.A. and M.F.A. programs in children’s literature.

"We will be able to teach in ways that we have not been able to teach before," says Donna Webber, associate professor of practice in GSLIS.

The bequest will also create the Mara Dole Innovation Lab, a collaborative space with new and emerging technologies that will transform information services and deliveries through new technologies like the campus's first 3-D printer.


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