Gwen was born in New York and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College and from George Washington University, where she received a master’s degree in public administration in 1983. She served in the Smithsonian Office of Development and in the early 1980s as a management intern and later Outreach Program Coordinator at the National Museum of American History. She worked for the Yale University Development Office from 1984 – 1989 prior to her appointment as Development Officer for the Smithsonian Institution Libraries in January 1994. At the Smithsonian Libraries, Gwen was instrumental in building a brand-new fund-raising program that included establishment of the SIL Board, launching of the Spencer Baird Society, and implementation of a capital campaign. During her tenure, SIL raised over $6.9 million, including endowment funds, the principal of which has now exceeded $4 million.
Gwen’s was a high-energy, ebullient personality that charged the atmosphere-a joie de vivre that refused to countenance obstacles or negativism. She nurtured an extensive group of friends, colleagues, and donors. Never content to sit still, she vigorously contributed to every organization and cause with which she was connected. We in ALADN were the lucky recipients of Gwen’s friendship and care. As one of the founding members of ALADN, Gwen participated in as many ALADN conferences as she was able, mentored many of us face to face, by telephone and via the listserv. She was especially concerned about newcomers to ALADN and went out of her way to fold them into the group.
Gwen passed away on November 6, 2005, after a four-year battle against cancer. To acknowledge the tremendous impact that Gwen had on ALADN and to celebrate her life, we have established the Gwendolen Rochester Leighty Newcomer’s Bursary to honor her memory.
This award is created in memory of Gwen R. Leighty for her significant and sustained contributions to ALADN. It is designed to reimburse the conference fee to an eligible delegate at the annual ALADN Conference; the winner can use the award to reimburse their institution for the conference fees or as a gift to the Library where they work.
The award amount varies in accordance with the fees set for each conference. One award will be presented annually, to a recently appointed Library Development Officer who has been in their current position for less than one year, and is attending their first ALADN Conference.
The award program is administered by the current ALADN Planning Committee, and will be presented at the ALADN Conference Banquet.
Traditionally the award winner in a given year serves on the following year’s ALADN Conference planning committee.
Eligible delegates must submit their business cards at the Conference registration desk no later than 1:00pm on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Include on the card your current position and the date you started.