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Giving Aids Medical Library

September 10, 2010 10:45 AM
Arthur Nead

The Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences has received an endowment of more than $195,000 from the Tulane University Health Sciences Center Auxiliary.

Matas Library

The Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences will use its new endowed funds to expand services and access to health sciences literature. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

“This endowment will go a long way in further ensuring that the library can continue to provide expanded services and the necessary access to the health sciences literature in all formats — books, journal subscriptions, and databases in electronic, print, video and image media,” says Neville Prendergast, director of the Matas Library.

The auxiliary was founded in 1976 to support to the university's health sciences mission for medical education, research and clinical excellence. “The auxiliary was formed at the time the hospital was opened and championed by Dr. John Walsh,” says auxiliary board member Barbara Knill. “The original hard work in establishing the auxiliary came from medical school faculty wives.”

The organization drew its membership from both the downtown and uptown campuses, and included both men and women. “As time went on, the board saw patients and patients' families become members,” says Knill.

Auxiliary volunteers ran the hospital's gift shop and espresso bar and held fundraising events to support educational programs on the downtown health sciences campus. The group assisted with the purchase of pediatric examination tables and visits to Audubon Zoo for pediatric patients, as well as providing longstanding support for the Matas Library.

In the 34 years since its founding, the auxiliary has raised and transferred to Tulane more than $2.2 million, including $240,000 for four endowed teaching and research awards in the health sciences. Experiencing a downturn in membership following Katrina, the auxiliary's board made the decision to transfer its remaining funds to establish a permanent endowment for the Matas Library.

“We are excited about the endowment and want to continue our rich history of giving to the Tulane University School of Medicine — especially the library,” says board member Jeanette Slakey.