1989 College graduate William Park contributed to a $100,000 donation to the Penn Libraries to fund a new lecture series that will take place over the course of five years and focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
The Park-Choi DEIA Lecture Series Fund will help implement the goals of the Penn Libraries’ 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, which includes a “commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion,” Penn Libraries News reported.
“As we move forward with our strategic plan, this generous gift bolsters our commitment to create and sustain a living and learning environment that is truly transformative, safe, and welcoming for all,” Director of the Penn Libraries Constantia Constantinou told Penn Libraries News.
Park said his work as the chief executive officer of DeepDyve, a digital library for research institutions, inspired him to give back to the Penn Libraries.
“We work with a lot of publishers, who in turn work with a lot of libraries, so we are very familiar with [libraries’] needs and challenges,” Park said. “My interest as an [alumnus] was to give back to the University because of the positive experiences I had as an undergraduate.”
Park, who majored in Anthropology at Penn, previously donated to the Anthropology department and to Penn Museum. After joining the Orrery Society, a group that helps fund new resources and promotes the importance of Penn Libraries, he became interested in giving back to the Penn Libraries, he said.
Park said that he wanted his donation to support the objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan and also had a personal interest in promoting a DEIA lecture series as an Asian American. He added that the Black Lives Matter protests and increased violence against Asian Americans in the past year inspired his decision to direct funds towards spreading awareness about racial injustices.
He said he hopes that the lecture series will be a valuable resource not only for the Penn community, but for the greater Philadelphia community, too.
“Universities are not just these stand-alone towers of education. They’re part of the community; they’re part of the public realm,” Park said. “To be able to spread that knowledge and that awareness and that information as broadly as possible, I think [it’s] just a wonderful example of Penn giving back to its community.”