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Penn Libraries News

Penn Libraries Establishes Lecture Series on Global Subjects

The pavilion in the Kislak Center has a full audience, with some people clapping.

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries will launch a lecture series to amplify its global impact thanks to a generous gift from William C. Park ('89) and Jung Choi.  

The newly endowed Park-Choi Lecture Series supports the Penn Libraries’ ongoing commitment to meaningful engagement with individuals, institutions, and communities through scholarship support and programming, as outlined in the Libraries’ Strategic Plan 2020-2025.  

“This new annual lecture will bring distinguished scholars to campus to engage with our distinctive collections in ways that advance scholarship across the field of global studies,” says Constantia Constantinou, H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost and Director of the Penn Libraries. “Bill Park, along with his wife Jung Choi, has been a devoted champion for the Libraries and our strategic initiatives in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility. With this gift, they further amplify their philanthropic impact on critical issues in global diversity. I am deeply grateful for their continuing support elevating the Penn Libraries values related to global awareness.” 

“The Park-Choi Lecture Series will reflect the diversity of our world, featuring speakers on topics in line with the focus of the Penn Libraries’ Center for Global Collections,” says Brigitte Weinsteiger, the Gershwind & Bennett Family Associate Vice Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communications. The Center concentrates broadly on the histories, perspectives, personal narratives, and cultural contributions of populations around the world, many of whom have historically been overlooked or underrepresented.  

“The lecture series will expand on the strengths of our global collections model, which brings together students, faculty, scholars, and members of the community with library experts and our rich collections. I look forward to this new opportunity to amplify global voices and cross borders both physical and metaphorical,” Weinsteiger says.   

Park, who along with his wife established a related lecture series focused on topics pertaining to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, says support is more important than ever for both DEIA-specific topics as well as all topics that help people better understand those they see as “other”: “People are becoming more divided. We need a better understanding of other cultures, societies, and other constituents. That scholarship starts with the library.” He also looks forward to the new series “being able to reach people beyond the boundaries of the traditional Penn campus.” 

The gift also includes a contribution to the Penn Libraries Fund, which supports all aspects of the Libraries’ world-class offerings, from collections to programming to expertise. The Fund is a key source of unrestricted income that allows the Libraries the flexibility to rise to the occasion when unforeseen challenges and exciting opportunities arise. 

Park and Choi’s generosity positions the Penn Libraries for success in achieving its ambitious goals for global impact and global diversity. The upcoming academic year will bring exciting developments to the Libraries’ global collections — including new staff positions and renovated spaces for collaboration — all made possible by the continued support of generous donors and friends.