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For Etext Center Endowment

$200,000 Gift To U.Va. Library Completes NEH Challenge Grant Two Years Early

Aug. 6, 2001-- University of Virginia alumni Matthew and Nancy Walker of McLean, Va., have pledged $200,000 to the University’s Electronic Text Center endowment, a gift that completes a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) challenge nearly two years ahead of schedule.

"After visiting the Etext Center last year, Nancy and I were pleased to have this opportunity to support work at the forefront of library information technology," said Matthew Walker. "We are particularly interested in the resources the Etext Center's online holdings provide to students and teachers around the world."

Income from the Matthew and Nancy Walker Library Fund for Technology will provide rapid text digitizing for faculty and library projects, train and support graduate students, and maintain computer hardware and software.

In 1999, the NEH awarded the U.Va. library a $200,000 challenge grant to create a $1 million endowment to expand one of the world's most respected online cultural and research sites. With the Walkers' gift, along with support from many friends and alumni throughout the nation, the library now has the resources it needs to release the federal challenge grant well ahead of its 2003 deadline.

"It is gratifying to have the Walkers' support in building our humanities collections online," University Librarian Karin Wittenborg said. "We have discovered the general public is hungry for e-books, and the Walkers' gift will allow us continue to provide enhanced digital resources in diverse fields, from Japanese literature to American history, from Apache folktales to Greek philosophy."

Matthew Walker, who graduated in 1983 with a B.S. in engineering and economics, is CEO of Iconnix, a leading Internet development and consulting firm. Nancy Walker, a 1983 graduate of the U.Va. Nursing School, volunteers at Trinity Presbyterian Church, manages the household and their two children (Phillip, 13, and Nicholas, 8), and is involved in the local arts community.

The University Library Electronic Text Center, founded in 1992, provides Internet access to humanities-related texts and e-books. For more information, visit its Web site at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu or contact director David Seaman at (434) 924-3230.

Contact: Melissa Cox Norris, (434) 924-4254

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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