The Directors’ Scholarship
The RBS Directors’ Scholarship, initiated in 2009 to honor Founding Director, Terry Belanger, and his successor, Michael F. Suarez, S.J., is an award given to approximately 20 first-time RBS students each year. RBS invites applications from those whose work is centered in the book, its materials and history. Scholarship recipients are awarded full tuition for an RBS course. Each year, RBS receives more than 100 applications for this scholarship from highly qualified applicants. Individuals for whom tuition funding is a financial hardship are especially encouraged to apply. Special consideration will be given to individuals who represent under-served communities (or whose institutions do so).
Origin of the Directors’ Scholarship Fund
When about to make a retirement gift in early 2009, Terry Belanger suggested that it take the form of contributions to an RBS Directors’ Scholarship Fund, established in order to help get the school—and its various student constituencies—through the next couple of years, which are bound to be tough financially. The money in the Fund would be spent out in scholarship awards, rather than added to the RBS endowment. Contributions would thus be immediately useful, and Terry’s successor would be able to focus on other matters before turning to the fundraising that will inevitably be part of the job.
At the end of April 2009, letters soliciting contributions to the Fund went out: to the Friends of RBS; to present and former RBS faculty and staff members; to RBS attendees; to members of scholarly and professional organizations like the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the Association of College & Research Libraries; and to scholarly societies like the American Printing History Association, the Bibliographical Society of America, and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing. Among the letter writers were John Bidwell (Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings, Morgan Library & Museum); William T. Buice III (Chair, RBS Board of Directors); Lynda Corey Claassen (Director, Mandeville Special Collections Library, University of California, San Diego); Ellen S. Dunlap (President, American Antiquarian Society); Joan Friedman (Treasurer, RBS Board of Directors); Robin Halwas (Robin Halwas Ltd, London); Melissa S. Mead(Digital and Visual Resources Librarian, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester); Paul Needham (Scheide Curator, Firestone Library, Princeton University), Kenneth W. Rendell (Kenneth W. Rendell Gallery, South Natick, MA); Richard Noble (Rare Book Cataloger, John Hay Library, Brown University); Alice Schreyer (Assistant Director for Special Collections & Preservation, and Director, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library); Hans Tausig (Past Chair, RBS Board of Directors); Andie Tucher (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University), and Karin Wittenborg (University Librarian, UVA).
The letters shared the same subject, but their authors’ writing styles varied considerably. See a sample of the letters.
By the end of June 2009, more than 500 donors had contributed more than $110,000 to the Directors’ Scholarship Fund.