News 2013: Claire T. Carney Library dedication marks campus transformation

News 2013: Claire T. Carney Library dedication marks campus transformation
Claire T. Carney Library dedication marks campus transformation

Ceremony ends three-year, $48 million renovation; celebrates Inauguration Week

A crowd of several hundred came together on Tuesday night to celebrate the official dedication of the Claire T. Carney Library in a ceremony marked with fireworks, speeches, poetry and music. Local, state and University officials joined students, faculty and community members to celebrate the Library's new addition to the Library and campus "living room," with its fifty-foot-tall windows, coffee tables, low bookcases and even two working fireplaces. 

Held in the new addition - which earlier that day hosted the annoucement of the Barney Frank Archive Project with the SouthCoast's former congressman, as part of the weeklong celebration marking the Inauguration of Chancellor Divina Grossman - the celebration marked the final end of a major three-year, $48 million renovation involving state government, DesignLAB, Austin Architects and Consigli Construction. 

The renewed Library has refocused on a broader understanding of the needs of students - keeping the books and periodicals, but also including new computer and technology, as well as places to study, meet, and relax. 

Patrick Carney, son of Claire, speaking on her behalf of and that of her family, called it a "fitting tribute to name the intellectual heart of this great University" after a child of immigrants, raised in the Depression on the SouthCoast, the first in her family to graduate from high school, and who believed so strongly in the "importance of constant learning and education." 

Noting that Paul Rudolph designed UMass Dartmouth with "a library at the very center of campus," Chancellor Divina Grossman lauded the end of renovation as completing the Library's transformation "into the modern and vibrant nexus of teach, learning and scholarship for the twenty-first century, into the educational asset our students need and deserve." 

"Today we celebrate another milestone in the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to building world class public higher education facilities," said Carole Cornelison, Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAM). "For the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, it means a state-of-the-art collegiate library to meet growing student demand." 

DCAM funded the project, which is the largest construction project on campus since Woodland Commons was built in 2005.   

Senator Mark Montigny '84 (D-New Bedford) called the new Library "fabulous," and shared stories of his long friendship with Claire Carney and her family, including the 1,146 books on human rights donated to the Library through the Claire T. Carney Human Rights Fund.   

Representative Chris Markey '95 (D-Dartmouth) congratulated both the Carney and Karam families for their generosity, and called it fitting that the Library was named after Claire T. Carney, for her example of "sacrifice, devotion, loyalty, love and commitment" to the community. 

The ceremony and reception were sponsored by James Karam '71 '01Hon. and his wife Janis Karam in honor of Claire T. Carney '73 '90Hon.   

About Claire T. Carney '73 '90Hon. 

As a student, alumna, mother, and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth trustee, Claire T. Carney is an enduring example of the power of education to transform the lives of individuals and families. 

Widowed in 1962 with children ages 10, 12, 13, and 15, Mrs. Carney went to work at Morse Twist and Drill to support her family. Six years later, she invested her savings, her unparalleled work ethic, her talent, and her trust in starting a real estate rehabilitation business with her eldest son, Patrick. The company, now known as the Claremont Companies, has grown into a very successful national real estate development and management firm. 

Just as the company was starting, Mrs. Carney decided to go to college, continuing a lifelong commitment to learning that endures today. She graduated from Southeastern Massachusetts University with a degree in English in 1973 - just one year after the current UMass Dartmouth library opened. 

In 1981, Mrs. Carney was appointed to the university's Board of Trustees by Governor Ed King. She was reappointed to the board by Governor Michael Dukakis in 1984. She has volunteered her services to the board of SHARE, the rehabilitative engineering organization based at the university, and she was past president of the university's Library Associates and remains an active member. 

She received the SMU Alumni Association Service Award in 1982, the Distinguished Service Award from the University's Student Senate in 1989, the Centennial Award in 1997, and an honorary degree in 1990. 

In recognition of her extraordinary devotion, commitment and generosity to the University in general and Library in particular, the Library was named in her honor in 2006.