David Paddock, M.S. ’79, isn’t a student anymore, but that doesn’t mean he’s done learning.
The retiree follows his curiosity wherever it takes him—most recently to the archaeological history of Mexico and Peru, and through the career of a trailblazing relative who became one of the earliest female professors.
“I still have so many different interests, and I’ve found it to be quite useful,” Paddock said.
Paddock is an annual Illinois State supporter, and every year he sends a portion of his financial gift to Milner Library—one of his favorite parts of campus. Frequently described as the heart of campus, the library remains central to the teaching and research mission of the University.
“The library is oftentimes overlooked, but it’s integral to the University,” said Paddock, who lives in Georgia but recently visited campus. “I believe libraries are a source for creativity and innovation.”
Before his retirement Paddock worked in the pharmaceutical industry in sales and marketing, putting his master’s degree in biological sciences to good use. For most of Paddock’s time as a student, the library was located in what is now Williams Hall. Milner moved into its current building in 1976.
Today’s Milner is very different than the one Paddock knew. In addition to 1.6 million print volumes, Milner now has more than 81,000 electronic titles and hundreds of computers available to visitors, among other Points of Pride. One constant is the individualized attention that Paddock and today’s students receive.
All those electronic materials come at a cost. Paddock was affiliated with a natural resources nonprofit association that produced a journal, so he’s familiar with how much libraries have to pay for those titles. Those journals can make all the difference to a student or faculty member digging deep into their research.
“People need to realize that it’s an expensive endeavor to maintain a library for a University,” he said.
University libraries are more than bookshelves and study spaces, said Milner Library Dean Dane Ward. Increasingly, they are centers that provide a variety of services that support student learning.
“We are pleased that alumni and students alike continue to utilize our vast resources. Gifts like David’s play a vital role in our ability to continue providing cutting edge technology and resources in a collaborative environment,” Ward said. “We encourage our alumni to visit the library, utilize our resources and choose to support the areas that are most meaningful to them during their time on campus.”
Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.