A $1 million gift from Andrew H. Neilly and his wife, Janet Dayton Neilly, of Weston, Conn., has established a named endowed deanship in the libraries at the University of Rochester. The Neilly gift represents the single largest gift from an individual in the University libraries' history. The Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries Endowment will be used by the dean to enhance library collections related to academic programs in arts, science, and engineering as well as to support library initiatives such as lectures and seminars that add to the overall intellectual climate at the University.
The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees has made formal approval of the establishment of the position. Current Dean of River Campus Libraries, Ronald F. Dow, was appointed as the first holder of the new position. Provost Charles E. Phelps noted that the creation of this position "places the University of Rochester among a small group of the nation's top colleges and universities with named endowed library deanships." He added, "there are no people more fitting than Andy and Janet Neilly for whom to name our library deanship."
A 1947 graduate of the University, Andrew Neilly went on to a distinguished career in the field of publishing, serving as president, CEO, and vice chairman of the board of John Wiley & Sons in New York City before his retirement in 1995. Neilly has served as a member of the University's Board of Trustees since 1976 and is now a Life Trustee.
Both he and his wife grew up in Rochester, and Janet attended William Smith College and Northwestern University. In Connecticut, Mrs. Neilly has been active in community affairs, having served on the Weston Board of Education and was a founder of Connecticut Hospice. For Wiley, they traveled widely and were well known in international publishing circles through Mr. Neilly's four-year term as president of the International Publishers' Association.
Over the past 25 years, he has been the chair (or co-chair) of the Library Trustee Visiting Committee, known since 1997 as the Libraries' Advisory Council. The council plays a key role in advocating for the needs of the libraries and in spearheading fund-raising efforts. During the University's most recently completed capital campaign, he and co-chair Jack Keil successfully raised $10 million in support of the libraries.
Commenting on his appointment, Neilly Dean Ronald Dow said: "It is my great honor to be the first holder of the Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries position. Andy and Janet Neilly are wonderful people who place very high importance on a quality library system as the key to a great university. They have made many generous gifts over the years and this most recent gift sets a new standard for philanthropy to our libraries." Dow is the 15th leader of the libraries since the University's founding in 1850. He was recently presented with a Goergen Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Learning. He has been the Dean of River Campus Libraries since 1996, and previously served as Associate Dean of Libraries at Penn State University.
Some of the other named dean or director positions at college or university libraries around the country include: the Joukowsky Family University Librarian at Brown University, the Carl A. Kroch Director of Libraries at Cornell University, the Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, the R. Champlin and Debbie Sheridan Director of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University, the Ruth E. Lilly Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University, and the Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian at Northwestern University.