[Currents header graphic]

December 16, 1996

Horticulture endowment established in honor of longtime library volunteer

Two sons colluded in a self-described conspiracy involving their mother, and before they were done they had inveigled respectable members of the local community, top campus administrators, and three former chancellors to join in the scheme.

The sons, Mark Engel of Santa Cruz and Charlie Engel of Beverly Hills, plotted to surprise their mother, Ruth, by establishing a UCSC library endowment in her honor. The endowment was announced on Friday, December 13, at the annual Dickens holiday gathering at the McHenry Library (photo).

Close to 200 friends, family, and colleagues came to the event to honor Mrs. Engel, who was working at the event as a volunteer. She listened in surprise as her sons announced the establishment of the Ruth Franklin Engel Horticulture Collection. The collection was established through the library's subject endowment program. Library subject endowments, created with a contribution of $10,000 or more, are an important means of expanding the library collection. The private funds provide a source of ongoing support for acquisitions in a specific area of interest. A special bookplate designed with a beautiful hand-drawn rose will bear the endowment name on all books purchased through this fund.

"Mom has always been utterly opposed to such flagrantly un-anonymous donations," Mark Engel observed before the ceremony. But her sons proceeded anyway, eager to acknowledge Mrs. Engel's dedication as a longtime UCSC volunteer. The sons chose horticulture for the library endowment, tying together Mrs. Engel's twin interests of gardening and the library.

Both Mrs. Engel and her son Mark are members of the Friends of the UCSC Library. Before resigning earlier this year, Mrs. Engel had served as chair of the Friends' Membership Committee for more than a decade. In addition, she is an active member of the Garden Club of the UCSC Women's Club, a member and former board member of the Friends of the UCSC Farm and Garden, and a member of the Arboretum Associates.

"It's a real pleasure to see Ruth receive this well-deserved recognition," said University Librarian Allan Dyson. "Ruth is a devoted volunteer who has served the Friends of the UCSC Library in one capacity or another for more years than either she or I would care to remember."

Additional donations to the Ruth Franklin Engel Horticulture Collection may be made to the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, 1156 High Street, Carriage House, Santa Cruz, CA, 95064-1077.

--Barbara McKenna

Return to the Currents home page.

Go to UCSC's home page.