Jay & Eileen Walker to Lead Library Campaign

Contact: Jennifer Sawyer
Phone:  (607) 255-9568
E-mail:  jds367[at]cornell.edu

Jay & Eileen Walker to Lead Campaign for Cornell University Library

ITHACA, N.Y. (May 30, 2013) — Alumni Jay and Eileen Walker will co-chair Cornell University Library’s Campaign for Collections, which aims to raise $15 million by the end of 2015.

Jay (’77) and Eileen (’76, ’78) Walker both attended Cornell, and both of their children were Cornell students as well. Eileen Walker serves on Cornell’s Board of Trustees and eCornell’s Board of Directors.

“The quality of an institution's library speaks volumes about the values of the institution,” Eileen Walker said. “This campaign is not solely about buying more books, though books may be part of the story. This is about having the tools, paper or electronic, that a 21st-century research university should have available to scholars. That would reflect an alignment of the library with Cornell’s institutional values.”

The campaign will support the future of the Library’s print and digital collections, which determine the future of scholarship at Cornell. The Library’s campaign is already $7.4 million on its way to its fundraising goal.

All 10 colleges and schools at Cornell share a piece of the fundraising goal, and the Library’s efforts are part of the University-wide Cornell Now Campaign.

“The Library is the heart of our University, and schools all across Cornell support our campaign and the development of our collections,” said Anne R. Kenney, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. “The Walkers are passionate about libraries and their irreplaceable role in fostering imagination and innovation in society. We’re thrilled about their support, which will help the Library remain responsive to the needs of faculty and students.”

In June 2012, the Library staged a major exhibition of treasures from Jay Walker’s library, including original Sputnik and Vanguard satellites, an Enigma machine and an original copy of Robert Hook’s “Micrographia.” The exhibition marked the first time an extensive selection of objects from his unique private collection were ever shown publicly.

“Libraries are our vehicle for preserving our collective knowledge,” Eileen Walker said. “They have been part of civilized society for so long that we forget what it takes to create and maintain them. If we don't maintain them we lose our stories, our history and our collective knowledge.”

Jay Walker is the chairman and curator of TEDMED, LLC, the world’s leading multi-disciplinary conference on the future of health and medicine. One of America's best-known business inventors and entrepreneurs, he has founded multiple successful startup companies, including Priceline.com. He is also the chairman of Walker Digital.

Eileen Walker was elected to Cornell’s Board of Trustees in 2009, and she serves on multiple committees and task forces. She is also a member of the Cornell University Council, a member of the President's Council of Cornell Women, and president of the Class of 1976. She held several senior management positions during her 18-year career with IBM, and since leaving, she has worked with an array of nonprofit health and education organizations.

About Cornell University Library
To learn more about the Library and its Campaign for Collections, visit now.cornell.edu/library. Visit the Library online at library.cornell.edu, and find out more about alumni resources at alumni.library.cornell.edu.


Alumni Jay and Eileen Walker will co-chair Cornell University Library’s Campaign for Collections, which aims to raise $15 million by the end of 2015