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Message from the Dean: The Sacrifice of Giving

Several years ago I had the privilege of hosting a refugee family. What started off as an offer of temporary housing turned into a three-year sojourn and eventually a lifetime friendship. From an outsider’s perspective, this may have seemed like a sacrifice on my part, and on some level it was. There were relatively minor sacrifices of time, finances, and privacy.

In retrospect, however, I received so much more than I gave. My new friends, displaced from their country of birth, could not reciprocate with money, but they more than “evened the score” with their gifts of love, thankfulness, cultural interchange, and loyalty.

Our charitable gifts, whether they are through volunteering or financial donations, often return a “blessing” to us in unexpected ways. This happened to the Library’s 2016 Volunteer of the year, Marilee Wheaton. As the We Would Like You to Meet article in this issue of the eNews reveals, Marilee has given much to CSUN. Even though the gift of her time was sacrificial, Marilee has been blessed through seeing CSUN students and CSUN alumni benefit from her mentoring wisdom and her leadership in encouraging women to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

Dean Mark Stover
Dean Mark Stover

Ardis Flenniken is also profiled in this issue of the eNews. In Thanks and Recognition you can read about what prompted Ardis to take part in a different form of giving. Each year, Ardis donates money for a Library student assistant scholarship, and she has included the Oviatt Library and CSUN in her estate plans. Giving from our pocketbooks is often sacrificial, since most of us are not independently wealthy.  Nevertheless, like many other donors to the Oviatt Library, Ardis gives toward the greater good despite having other options for her savings.

Marilee and Ardis are profiled in two of the five stories in this newsletter. I hope you will find interest and inspiration in all of the articles. I’ll end this message with a short quote from scientist and statesman Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, which to me sums up the overriding theme of this issue, the prevailing sentiment of the season, and the benevolent attitudes of both Marilee and Ardis:  “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”