Gift will support Department of Geography, library collection
By Josh Chapin, assistant director editorial services, university advancement
Ruth McConnell '46 made an estate gift of $2.3 million to benefit both the Department of Geography and University Libraries.
OXFORD, Ohio — Miami University today announced an estate gift of more than $2.3 million to benefit both the Department of Geography and University Libraries. The gift will support the Walter Havighurst Special Collections housed at King Library, as well as enhance the teaching and research programs for the Department of Geography.
The gift was made by the late Ruth McConnell ’46, who graduated from Miami with a bachelor’s degree in literature and later obtained her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. She retired as an administrative assistant from Stanford University in 1985. The gift is part of the Wallace and Della McConnell Memorial Fund, established by Ruth to honor her parents. Wallace McConnell was the geography chair at Miami from 1946-52 and taught and researched at the university starting in 1918.
“The McConnell family has a deep connection to Miami University, and Ms. McConnell’s gift will help allow the continued growth of the Department of Geography,” said department chair Bruce D’Arcus. “We have already seen the renovation of Shideler Hall, which has increased opportunities to prepare our students for 21st-century scientific, social and environmental challenges with more direct and real-world learning experiences.”
The Walter Havighurst Special Collections are named for a writer and professor of English at Miami from 1928-69. The Havighurst Special Collections preserve and make accessible volumes and documents covering a variety of subject areas and historical periods, ranging from rare collections of Russian history and English literature to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s Myaamia Collection and an extensive postcard collection.
“The Walter Havighurst Special Collections and our archival collections are laboratories for the humanities, offering our students hands-on experiences with records and treasures from the past,” said Jerome Conley, dean and university librarian. “Ms. McConnell’s gift joins the support of a long line of alumni and friends whose generosity allows us to preserve and enhance these rare and important collections that advance the liberal arts and help inspire informed citizens and lifelong learners.”
Nationally recognized as one of the most outstanding undergraduate institutions, Miami University is a public university in Oxford, Ohio, with a student body of 16,000. Miami effectively combines a wide range of strong academic programs with the personal attention ordinarily found only at much smaller institutions.
Ruth McConnell '46 made an estate gift of $2.3 million to benefit both the Department of Geography and University Libraries. Part of the gift will support the Walter Havighurst Special Collections housed at King Library.