The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Winter 2023

Holman Library Starts a New Chapter

Feature by Tina (Napper) Tebbe ‘08

From the hushed corners of the basement to the quiet bustle on the main floor and the silent studying spots upstairs, Holman Library has stood as a beacon for Bearcats looking for a place to quietly study, find important resources and do their research since 1969. Now, following the completion of the second floor’s renovations, the library has become one of the best places for everyone in the campus community to study, learn and grow.




A Labor of Love from the Campus Community

Holman’s renovations began in November 2021 when students and staff began the process of moving the second floor’s books, shelves and furniture into the library’s basement. Construction began in March with Daryl Hancock, vice president of operations, acting as McKendree’s liaison and overall orchestrator of the affair. Finally, the furniture was delivered and a great majority of the technology was installed just in time for the start of the fall 2022 semester. Renovations for this 6,100 square foot space were made possible through the generous contributions from our donors to the FORWARD Campaign.

“We wanted to transform the library into a modern, technology-rich space, and the best place to approach that was the upper floor with its beautiful lighting and minimally-used space,” Daryl said. “We saw that many students shifted away from doing research through books and chose sources on the Internet instead. The idea was to make this space more flexible and student friendly, and our campus community helped us achieve this goal.”

During the renovation process, students, faculty and staff were invited to take a look at the prospective furnishings, carpeting and color schemes and give their opinions. Their voices were heard when a poll was set up in Ames Dining Hall, allowing everyone to pick their favorites. Visitors can see the result of this vote whenever they stop by the second floor of Holman: new slate-colored carpet, plenty of versatile seating options, movable furniture, canned lighting and, of course, beautiful plum chairs.




From Hush-Hush to Bustling and Robust

If you were to venture upstairs prior to the renovations, you might find a student or two perusing the storied shelves for a book or huddled in a quiet corner to study or draft outlines for their papers. Now, the upstairs, while still holding the typical hushed tones of any library, has seen a huge increase in foot traffic during the fall semester, according to Debbie (Miller) Houk ’91, director of Holman Library. “After we reopened the second floor, everyone has been using the area. Our numbers are what we were pre-COVID. We have not been busy like this since 2020!”

In addition to providing a quiet, comfortable space for studying and researching, the second floor has played host to a myriad of events on campus. Already in the fall semester, faculty members presented their research in the campus’s second annual faculty showcase, and students from the Honors Program have given their presentations to a captivated audience. Faculty members have also elected to hold some classes in the new and updated Dilliard-Dorris Family Conference & Learning Center, which houses a 169-inch television, a podium with outlets for power and several USB outlets.

“The upper floor of the library was just used for studying or conducting research in the past. Now, you can hold meetings, conferences, in-person and remote classes and committee meetings. It has truly become a much more accessible and productive space for the campus community.” - Daryl Hancock

In addition to the learning center, Holman now has four unique spaces that the campus community can use. The Allison Cassens Learning & Conference Center Annex was a gift made in memory of Allison Cassens, an educator and daughter of former Board member, Allen Cassens, and current Board member, Linda Cassens. This room will soon be outfitted with microphones, cameras and computers that will control interface for virtual meetings.

“I really enjoy the Presidential Leadership Gallery. I love seeing the portraits on the wall – it’s probably my favorite space on the second floor!” - Debbie (Miller) Houk '91

The education and technology office, which is located in the northeast corner of the second floor, serves as an excellent resource for faculty and staff to ask questions about IT and more. The Lucille Sudol Study Area & Lounge was made possible by an estate gift made through the Trust of long-time library benefactor and friend to the University, Lucille Sudol. Finally, the Presidential Portrait Gallery, a space by the stained-glass window, recognizes and honors the University’s past presidents and shares their stories.



Irving Dilliard and Mary Sue Schusky

Honoring the Past, Investing in the Future

Mary Sue Schusky is a devoted friend of McKendree, and her personal connection to the University spans almost four decades. Her professional career as a teacher and librarian provided her the opportunity to spend many hours in the library, which is what connected her to McKendree and Holman Library. However, her family history goes back to more than 100 years ago when her grandparents, Charles Dorris and Susie May Peach Dorris, attended McKendree, graduating in 1892 and 1893, respectively.

The family connection continues and even strengthens the McKendree relationship with her father, Irving Dilliard, a University of Illinois graduate who always held small, private liberal arts schools in high esteem. An editorial page editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Irving strongly supported the Bill of Rights and was a defender against social injustices. His expertise in the U.S. Supreme Court was legendary, and his personal library contained one of the finest collections of books on the Court in the country. He retired in 1960, but then went on to a 10-year career as a professor at Princeton University, during which he lectured at universities throughout the United States and in Europe, including teaching one-month courses at McKendree. He had a great love for libraries, which is what connected him to McKendree.

Like her father did before her, Mary Sue carried forward her campaign support of the renovation of Holman Library with outright gifts herself. One of the areas benefiting from the philanthropy of the Dilliard and Schusky families is the recently dedicated Dilliard-Dorris Learning and Conference Center. This beautiful, expansive, and technology-rich space, which is located in the southwest corner on the second floor in Holman Library, features a 169-inch television, a podium with outlets for power and plenty of USB outlets, making it a useful, intuitive and modern space that students, faculty and staff alike can employ throughout the academic year. Because of these gifts, the campus community now has a space in which they may hold in-person and virtual conferences, teach classes in an updated setting, and assist McKendree students to learn and grow.

“My family and I are so pleased with the recent additions and enhancements to the second floor of Holman Library. The Dilliard – Dorris Family Learning and Conference Center is truly a wonderful tribute to my McKendree alumni grandpar ents and my father. I know they all would be proud of their investment in the current and future students of the University.” - Mary Sue Schusky