The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library, the state’s flagship academic library, is the recipient of a $5 million contribution from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.

The gift will be distributed in $1 million increments annually over the next five years. The first two years of funding will create spaces for students and faculty to engage in learning and research in new and innovative ways and will provide other critical facility improvements. The remaining $3 million will create an endowed fund to support future needs.

“We can’t thank the Marriott family enough,” said Alberta Comer, dean of the Marriott Library and university librarian. “This very generous gift will be transformational for our students, both with the facility enhancements and with the funding provided by the endowment. Our entire campus is so fortunate to have the continued extraordinary support of the Marriott family.

J. Willard Marriott, Sr. at re-dedication of the library in 1969.

The J. Willard Marriott Library was named for John Willard Marriott, Sr. in 1969, when he made a gift of $1 million for the purchase of books for the new library, constructed just one year prior. At that time, Marriott’s gift was the single largest gift made to the U. The books purchased included research materials and rare books.

“The original gift from the Marriotts allowed us to build a library capable of fueling a first-rate, research-one university,” said Gregory Thompson, associate dean for Special Collections. “Their contribution also provided an excellent foundation for what is now a superb collection of more than 80,000 rare books.”

Examples of first editions include Euclid, Galileo and early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints imprints.

Since that first gift, the Marriotts have provided several generous gifts to the library, ranging from endowed funds to facility improvements. In 2005 the library broke ground on a major renovation to meet seismic safety standards and other building codes. The Marriott family was the single largest private contributor to that $79 million renovation.

“Once again the Marriotts’ generosity has touched our library. We are delighted that we have the opportunity to create more student-oriented spaces and provide the latest technologies that are needed by our campus community,” said Comer.

The Marriott Library will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with a public event on March 2. Speakers include Richard Marriott, Comer and President David W. Pershing.


50th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, March 2, 2018, 11 a.m. – Noon, refreshments to follow program
J. Willard Marriott Library Atrium, level 3
Free and open to the public
More info HERE

Media Contacts

Heidi Brettmarketing and public relations director, J. Willard Marriott Library
Office: 801-661-6764

Jana Cunninghamcommunications director, College of Humanities
Office: 801-213-0866

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