Call it nostalgia or persistent school spirit. The longing to return to a place full of meaning and accomplishment is characteristically human. Greg Edwards, the current President of the Friends of Steely Library (FoSL) Board of Directors, is no stranger to this desire. "Professionally, I truly don't know where I would be without Northern Kentucky University," he says.
Edwards shares that his connection to NKU has been instrumental in his professional career. Earning both a bachelor's and master's degree from NKU, he has led a successful career working many years as a library administrator and most notably as the deputy director of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Shortly before his retirement, Edwards was asked to join the FoSL Board of Directors, and he was eager for the opportunity to return to campus and get involved again.
Apart from investing his time on behalf of the Steely Library, Greg and his wife, Sheila Edwards, have a long history of giving to the university. Recognizing the significant impact that NKU has had on their lives, the pair decided to develop a plan with long-term goals for their philanthropic giving. From this thoughtful consideration came the recent establishment of the Greg and Sheila Edwards Fund for Excellence, supporting the FoSL, the Steely Library itself and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Thanks to their generous donation, the Steely Library will transform into a technologically enhanced and inclusive space that houses unique print collections, advanced research services and a variety of study spaces. A building feature that is already up and running is the Steely Library's makerspace, appropriately named Stego Studio. The makerspace provides students with high-quality prototyping and fabrication equipment in support of project-based learning and research. The Dean of Steely Library, Andrea Falcone, shares, "Stego Studio is one of many innovations at Steely. With Greg and Sheila's generous gift, we will continue to serve as the heart of our campus and as a catalyst for our next generation of students."
Edwards knows the importance of a university library and believes it must continue to progress with the advancing world to fulfill the needs of students. "It's rewarding to know we are contributing to an institution that is continuously evolving and discovering ways to serve students better," he says. "Libraries are a critical part of the university. Everyone that's gone to college has been impacted by the library. I'm not sure how you could make it through four years and not have benefitted from the space or resources at Steely."
The couple's most recent gift to the university reflects their philanthropic mindset and dedication to NKU. "When you have discretionary dollars, you want to spend them where they are impactful. If you believe in higher education like Sheila and I do, specifically at an institution like NKU, you can see the clear return on your dollars by just walking around campus. It's the students," he says. "For the donors out there searching for an impactful place to support, NKU is that place."