Graduation is nearly upon us, and it will soon be time for you to leave Durham. I frequently meet former Durham students, and their stories give me every confidence that you will have had a transformative time here, and will be leaving with a world-class education and the best of memories.
As graduates I wanted to be in touch to tell you about a unique way of commemorating this rite of passage. Parents and guardians of the graduating class of 2011 are unlike any other; they have the opportunity to contribute to a special project at the University’s historic Palace Green Library and to have their child’s name permanently inscribed on the list of the Library’s benefactors. I expect you have come to appreciate how significant Durham is to those who have studied here. Part of that special appeal is the UNESCO World Heritage Site which has Palace Green Library at its heart.
Over the course of their lives, our graduates return often with their friends, partners, children and grandchildren. They come to show their loved ones where and who they once were, to share their memories, and to reflect on what they have since become. What more fitting a focal point could there be during these visits than to locate their names inscribed on the wall of this beautiful listed building, and to recall the support they received from their parents and guardians while students here?
This unique opportunity exists as we embark on the next phase of the redevelopment of Palace Green Library to create an international research resource for students and scholars. Our plans include a world-class exhibition space to display the University’s treasures and attract visiting exhibitions of international significance. Already the gallery which we will be constructing later this year has been chosen to host the Lindisfarne Gospels for a three-month exhibition in 2013. Created on Holy Island in Northumberland more than 1200 years ago, the manuscript is among our greatest artistic and religious treasures. Its return to the North East will attract tens of thousands of visitors to Durham and will be the focal point for a programme of creative and celebratory events across the North East.
As you will see from the enclosed leaflet, for a gift of £100 or more the names of donors or those they wish to honour will be permanently inscribed on a wall adjacent to the new exhibition gallery. I hope that when you come to Durham for the graduation ceremony in the Cathedral, you will be able to use this opportunity to visit the Library and see where those names will be celebrated. The leaflet details the various ways in which a gift can be made. Would you please give this your consideration?
My team and I will be available on the day in the Marquee on Palace Green as well as within the Library itself. Please do look for us, as we will be very keen to welcome you to Durham this summer, to explain more about our exciting plans for Palace Green Library and to thank you personally for your gift.
I sincerely hope we see each other.
With all best wishes,
The Director, Development and Alumni Relations Office
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