University officials and students gathered Tuesday to rededicate Gelman Library in honor of the late Estelle Gelman, the philanthropist who originally donated the endowment fund to name the library.
Estelle Gelman, who passed away last October at the age of 83, gave the gift in 1978 in honor of her late husband Melvin Gelman. As part of her endowment, she stipulated that her name be added to the library upon her passing.
University President Steven Knapp spoke at the ceremony, where the “The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library” sign was unveiled. He stressed the resounding theme of the Gelman family’s kindness and philanthropy toward GW.
“This library is a testament to the Gelman family generosity,” Knapp said. “They really appreciate the significance of a library.”
University Librarian Jack Siggins said that Gelman frequently made generous contributions to D.C. and the University.
“This is a momentous occasion for part of what we wanted to do for the library,” Siggins said. “Some of her children and grandchildren attended the school; there has always been a strong connection. “
Siggins said Estelle Gelman would visit campus often and frequently attended Cafe Gelman, an open-mic event with free coffee for students during final exams.
“Mrs. Gelman would come and bring her children and grandchildren. She would sit through it all,” Siggins added.
The Gelmans’ son-in-law William Miller also provided insight into both Gelmans’ efforts to improve the community.
“Those of you who knew Melvin knew that he only liked the best,” Miller said. “And what is the best of a university if not its library?”
At the conclusion of the rededication, Knapp partook in a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Gelmans’ two daughters, Elaine Miller and Elise Lefkowitz, to commemorate the new title.
Gelman’s legacy and the appreciation of Gelman Library were felt among GW students who attended the event.
“There’s solidarity here,” sophomore Ally Bell said. “I know that none of us would be able to make it through school without Gelman.”
The article was updated on Sept. 30, 2010 to reflect the following changes:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the new name of the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library was the Marvin and Estelle Gelman Library.