The grand structure nestled in the heart of Lehigh’s hillside campus was celebrating a milestone event—her 125th birthday—and more than a hundred Lehigh students, staff and faculty members turned out to mark the occasion.
"Every student has put his or her handprints or footprints all over this building," said Ron Yoshida, provost, in addressing the crowd. "It’s not only a happy birthday for Linderman, the library, but also a happy birthday for all of you who are part of the history of Linderman."
Yoshida’s wife, Sharon, who heads up Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries, drew attention to some of the well-wishes expressed by members of the Lehigh community, and finished with, "Let’s party!"
`A real jewel’
Master of ceremonies for the event was Bruce Taggart, vice provost for library and technology services, who noted Linderman’s rich history and the key role the library plays in the lives of Lehigh students.
Three massive "birthday cards" on display offered sentiments about Linderman written by those who have appreciated the library’s handsome architecture and welcoming atmosphere over the years.
"You’re a real jewel," said one.
"You have great window ledges," offered another.
Some of the celebrants were more poetic with their praise.
"Lehigh is a national treasure, but the biggest treasure is the library staff, who have served our university with elegance and dedication," said former library director Berry Richards, who retired from Lehigh in 1995, but returned on this day to mark the historic occasion.
"It’s just a beautiful building, and I’m thrilled to be able to be here today," added Richards, who is credited with leading the restoration of Linderman’s famed rotunda, a multi-level repository of books and periodicals that is bathed in the golden light of a stained glass dome.
Dina Wills, director of faculty development in the journalism and communication department, recalled her initial impression of Linderman.
"I thought it was the most beautiful academic building when I came to Lehigh for the first time back in 1985," she said. "And I still do. It was one of the main selling points for Lehigh."
"It’s the best library ever," added Maeva Ghonda ’03, a chemistry major who sampled a piece of the gigantic birthday cake emblazoned with "Happy 125th Birthday, Linderman."
Sue Cady, director of administration and planning for Lehigh’s library and technological services, said that she and other staff members were "overwhelmed with the wonderful support we’ve received and, in particular, the way the campus responded to the birthday card."
"It’s a great occasion, and a great way to commemorate this event," she said.