NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma Libraries dedicated the Zarrow Family Faculty and Graduate Student Center today in the Bizzell Memorial Library at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on the Norman campus. A $500,000 gift from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, created the collaborative work space that supports interdisciplinary research, teaching, consultation and data analytics.
“The university deeply appreciates the generosity of the Zarrow family over many years,” said OU President David L. Boren. “They have helped provide important learning opportunities for our students.”
The nearly 21,000-square-foot renovation of the Neustadt Wing in Lower Level 2 of the Bizzell Library features both individual and collaborative work spaces. It provides meeting rooms, large research spaces where materials can be spread out, reservable bookshelves for scholars to temporarily store research materials, as well as educational technology and a multidisciplinary collaborative data center that supports data visualization, data analysis, and data management.
“The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation has long been a supporter of the educational efforts at the University of Oklahoma, especially during the leadership of President David Boren,” said Judy Zarrow Kishner, president of the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation. “We are pleased to be a part of the renovation of the library where education, research, and student and faculty interaction come together. The University of Oklahoma will continue to provide essential education opportunities for those who need it most to excel in life, and we are glad to be a part.”
The center opened in October 2017 and has quickly become a hub for academic collaboration.
“The Zarrow Family Faculty and Graduate Student Center represents a continuation of OU Libraries support for the evolving research, teaching and learning needs of our scholars,” said OU Libraries Dean Rick Luce. “The Zarrow Center is designed to build community for our faculty and graduate students as well as provide amenities to support research and teaching. Its location, just one floor below our award-winning Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center, illustrates the impact of the generosity and support that fuels our faculty and students’ success. The Helmerich and Zarrow families are great philanthropists and friends who do much in tandem to support their communities. These centers are yet another example of this wonderful symmetry.”
Replacing the traditional study carrels that were once assigned for an entire academic year, the Zarrow Family Faculty and Graduate Student Center includes reservable personal study spaces and several small meeting and consultation rooms for graduate students and faculty to hold office hours or to meet and collaborate with students or colleagues.
“I have come to see the Zarrow Center as a message of support, a love-letter from the University and Library to the faculty and graduate students,” said Scott Johnson, associate professor of classics and letters from the OU College of Arts and Sciences. “My own work has already benefitted immensely from this space. Having burrowed deeply into the best libraries in the world – the Bodleian, Widener, the Library of Congress – I have yet to come across a single working space as conducive to scholarship as this one.”
OU College of Law graduate student Michael Kaseca said, “The new space challenges me to get out and be a part of the community, and I find myself enjoying the learning material more. I would have never gotten this experience anywhere other than at the University of Oklahoma.”
The Scholars Lounge, a central common area designed for social interaction, is highlighted by large windows and provides a stunning view of the Oklahoma Canyon Garden, which previously was renovated through a gift from OU President David L. Boren and First Lady Molly Shi Boren. Public pathways from the central lobby on Lower Level 2 feature comfortable seating and provide public access to the garden.