By: Jenna Hobin
As a monthly donor to the MacOdrum Library for over 15 years, Patti Harper’s passion to support students and faculty transcends well beyond her professional role. Patti is currently the head of Research Support Services in the Library, leading the team that supports teaching, learning and research activities on campus.
She has served the community for 23 years, and felt compelled to ‘give back’ following the completion of her Master’s degree here at Carleton—an opportunity that Patti credits Carleton for providing to her through her role as a staff member. As she says, “Following graduation, I really wanted to give back to the place that allowed me to get my degree.” She continues, “My first monthly donation was $10 per pay, but that adds up over time and shows that you can make a difference by giving what you can.”
Although this experience inspired her to become a monthly donor to the Collections Fund for the MacOdrum Library and the MacOdrum Library Endowment Fund, it was Patti’s collaborative relationship with the Department of University Advancement that reinforced Carleton was the right charity of choice for her.
This partnership dates back to one of Patti’s first projects at Carleton when she was the archivist responsible for corporate records—a role that involved learning the history of Carleton. This cultivated an ongoing relationship with Advancement by working together to better connect with the alumni community by understanding the history relevant to graduates at different periods of time.
With Patti’s drive to get more involved in philanthropy and her long-time experience working in the MacOdrum Library, choosing to donate to the library was the most natural fit for her. Patti’s support to enhance the collections at the library help expand resources that provide first-hand accounts and primary source evidence, ensuring students and researchers can gain a more holistic understanding of a concept, time, place or activity.
Patti hopes that through her support she can encourage others to get involved by giving back to the causes that resonate most with them. As she says, “When you have a group of people who truly care about Carleton, it can help build our community by knowing that there are others out there who feel the same way that you do.” She continues, “Kindness, generosity and working towards a common goal is a great way to unite people.”
Behind the Donor Curtain:
Do you have a personal motto / credo / saying?
My dad always had this saying to “suck it up, buttercup”. The meaning behind that is that although things may not look good now, they will get better over time. Each of these challenges will truly build character and make you a better person.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I’m a researcher at heart, and I’m the happiest when I am looking for that needle in a haystack and looking for things that aren’t really readily available. That level of tenacity I think would make me a great researcher and investigator in cold case files. I would also love to be an archivist for the Prince archives (the artist Prince).
What person, fictional, living or dead, inspires you?
I think it would have to be Hillary Clinton as I have so many questions!
Where is your favourite spot on campus?
Besides the MacOdrum Library, my favourite place to visit is the rose garden located behind the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism building and the side of the University Centre. It’s a little courtyard area full of benches and rose bushes—it smells amazing!
What inspires you to “do good” by supporting the Carleton community?
The people who work there, and the students.