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Undergraduates will be able to enjoy a renovated Lamont Library in the future, thanks in part to a recent donation from a task force of female alumnae--some of whom were excluded from the library as students.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences Women and Leadership Task Force's donation, matched by the Harvard University Women's Matching Fund, provided $1.3 million toward the upcoming renovation of Lamont's entry area, according to the Harvard News Office.
Twenty-four members of the task force contributed money to the group donation. One donor, Joan M. Hutchins '61, explained that "we wanted to make a contribution on behalf of women."
Hutchins said the donation also funds a plaque in the library to commemorate the admission of women into Lamont in 1967.
The donors participated in a dedication ceremony with Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles in the library on May 7.
"On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Lamont Library, the Women and Leadership Task Force generously contributed funds for the Library's renovation," reads the plaque, which rests in the Lamont entryway. "In commemorating the opening of the library's doors to women undergraduates in 1967, the alumnae of the Task Force look confidently to Lamont as a place of learning and scholarship for the entire Harvard College community for generations to come."
Hutchins recalls not being permitted into Lamont during her time at Radcliffe College, but said it did not let the situation affect her.
"We didn't think about it. We just weren't allowed in...We enjoyed being in Widener," she said.
Hutchins said the group decided to make a donation to Lamont last spring after reviewing several options.
"We're just in the planning stages [for Lamont's renovation]," said Beth S. Brainard, spokesperson for the Harvard College Library.
She added that these renovations must wait until the recently-begun renovations to Widener's stacks are finished.
Hutchins notes that the early stage of planning means that "we can plan with the architect."
She also said that the donation has no relation to the recent merger between Harvard and Radcliffe. --Gregory S. Krauss '00 contributed to the reporting of this story.
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