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Fowler family gift helps Linderman renovation

The central portion of the Linderman Library reading room will be named the Fowler Family Reference Room in recognition of the generosity of Marlene O. Fowler ’03H and W. Beall Fowler ’59 ’84P, ’89P, ’01P.

“We love Bethlehem and we love Lehigh. This project enhances both,” say Marlene and Beall Fowler. “The community and the university have been critical elements in our lives and in the lives of our family.”

The Fowlers have given a leadership gift to the renovation of the university’s first library, which is located in the heart of the historic Asa Packer Campus. The original Linderman Library opened in 1878 and since the completion of the 1929 addition, there have been no structural modifications to Linderman until the renovation project currently underway.

“With the support of the Fowlers, Lehigh’s Linderman Library is being transformed into a dynamic intellectual center for the campus at large, with a focus on humanities collections and programs,” says Gregory C. Farrington, university president. “Their gift will ensure the library continues to meet the research and study needs of today’s and tomorrow’s students. We are absolutely delighted that they have elected to lend their support to this key project for Lehigh.”

Renovations include new classroom and seminar rooms, a café commons, new computer technology, wired and wireless networking spaces, climate control systems, and enhanced building access and navigation.

Throughout the Lehigh Valley, the Fowler name is synonymous with service and philanthropy as a result of their advocacy of education and the arts.

Marlene “Linny” Fowler has served on numerous Lehigh Valley boards for more than 30 years, with special emphasis on advancing the missions of education, children and youth at risk, and the Latino community. She belongs to countless organizations and has won numerous awards for her community service. In 2003, she was awarded an honorary degree from Lehigh University.

Linny Fowler earned a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Skidmore College. She and Octavio Pẽna operate Fowler & Pẽna Creations, a stained glass business creating both commercial work and pieces for private collections, churches and other institutions. She is also a studio artist at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem.

W. Beall Fowler is professor emeritus of physics at Lehigh University. He graduated from Lehigh with a degree in engineering physics in 1959, earned the Ph.D. in physics at the University of Rochester, and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois. He joined the Lehigh faculty as associate professor of physics in 1966. During his years at Lehigh, he served twice as chairperson of the physics department as well as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1994-95. Fowler is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Beall Fowler is currently president of the Historic Bethlehem Partnership and a board member of the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Association and the Bethlehem Historic District Association.

The Fowlers have supported Lehigh for many years through their generosity and service. They are members of the Tower Society and the Asa Packer Society.

--Joanne C. Anderson

Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2006

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