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Dedication of The Donovan Center for Learning takes place on September 29th

Meredith Berry-Toon

The David C. Copley '70 Library, always an active hub of studying and student collaboration, is now additionally well-equipped to serve the evolving needs of Canterbury students through the newly dedicated Donovan Center for Learning. Positioned along the back width of the Library and separated by a light-filled glass wall, "Everything that a student could need to be academically successful is located here." As noted by Alison Bailey, the Director of the Center. "Tutors for writing, math, and standardized testing prep...Academic Counselors...the latest in-classroom technology such as JTouch touchscreen - it's all in the Donovan Center. Even food and refreshments to stay focused!"

The Donovan Center for Learning provides a space for students, faculty, and student groups to meet in a collaborative setting. In addition to the space along the back wall of the Library, The Donovan Center includes a new classroom, marked by a large conference table and the most advanced classroom technology. This new room is already on many students' schedules as their primary classroom for their English course or their New Student Seminar. With its home in a student-oriented space, the Donovan Center is a part of the daily routine of many students, already an "integral and central part of the day-to-day pattern of community life," as Head of School Rachel Stone noted at Friday's School Meeting. It fills the demand of a much needed physical space for students to ask a quick math question, receive SAT prep, and build executive functioning strategies to enhance their academic performance.

The Center is able to accommodate all types of students - those who drop-in during their unscheduled blocks to receive help on a homework assignment or those who make arrangements to visit a tutor in advance for an upcoming test. "One of the missions of the Donovan Center for Learning is to work with students to teach them how to learn," remarked Sue Roberts, Associate Head for Academics. In alignment with Canterbury's five values, "The dedicated space allows students to work closely with tutors and receive the organizational support they need to become self-reliant learners and self-advocates in their next academic venture."

While the Center has been open to students since the academic year began, the dedication took place this Friday, September 29th in the presence of the Center's benefactors, John '59 and Dana Donovan. Each of the dedication speakers remarked how completely student-centric the Donovans are in their philanthropy, both within and outside of the Canterbury classroom. Avid outdoors enthusiasts and travelers themselves, the Donovans have been active supporters of Canterbury students in both their academic and extracurricular pursuits. John '59 and Dana encourage students to explore the world and learn through experience, evidenced by the Montana Leadership Trip that they have spearheaded since 2005.

John '59, the Vice-President of the Board of Trustees since 2007, matriculated to Harvard College upon his graduation from Canterbury and soon after attended Fordham Law School. He practiced corporate litigation, both in New York and Los Angeles, ultimately becoming head of the West Coast Litigation practice of Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher, & Flom. While John '59 has served as Vice-President of the Board for the last ten years, he first joined in 2002 as an active member of both the Finance and Strategic Planning Committees. He and Dana, a native of the Rocky Mountain region and world traveler in her own right, were married in 2005.

Bob Steers '71, Chair of the Board of Trustees, noted in his dedication remarks, "The deliberate choice of the word 'learning' as an active and ongoing aspect of our student work typifies the Donovan spirit." This sentiment was shared by faculty members who have had the chance to work with the Donovans during their endless years of commitment to the School. Sue Roberts recalled an earlier conversation with John '59 in which he remarked, "At Canterbury, I learned how to learn." The faculty and educational resources that were provided through his Canterbury education had a tangible impact on his future academic success and led to the Center being named - and being used - as a space for learning.

In closing remarks at the Dedication, Head of School Rachel Stone noted that the commitment and love John '59 and Dana exhibit toward the School is truly special; "It is a win for the entire community." As incredibly loyal and generous supporters, the Canterbury community extends many thanks to the Donovans and celebrates their support of current and future generations of students.

To see further pictures of the Dedication, please follow our Flickr account through the link here: