The Cooper Library at Clemson University receives an average of 8,000 visitors a day. It houses media collections, printed materials, audio/visual recordings and thousands of journals and books, making it an excellent resource for faculty, staff and students.
As a student, Robin Richards — a vibrant, compassionate woman — could be found spending long hours in the Cooper Library studying for exams, completing homework assignments or simply curled up with a good novel. Robin graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree followed by a Master of Education degree in 1996. Because the Cooper Library was her favorite thing about the University, she made a bequest in her will to the Clemson library before she passed away in May 2012.
In 2014, the Robin Richards Memorial Library Quasi-Endowment was established.“Our father believed in education, and he set the example for supporting your college. He annually gave to Georgia Tech, and before his death he made a large unrestricted contribution. That set an example,” said Robin’s sister, Kathleen Ginestra. “Robin wanted to leave a substantial gift specifically to the library because it was the place where she was the happiest.”
Once you met Robin, you were her friend for life. She was a woman who could find the good in everything and many, including Joey Mancino whom she met during her time in the Clemson Players, would say that was her biggest asset. Joey was one of Robin’s best friends and witnessed her love for reading and the Cooper Library firsthand.
“I have never known anyone who read a book the way she did. She could go through two or three in a day. The grammar, the structure, the story — it was interesting — the way she would get inside of a book,” said Joey.
Robin was a charter member of Alpha Delta Pi and remained lifelong friends with her “little sister,” Susie Pringle Ingles. “The library was a safe-haven for Robin. She loved to immerse herself in a book,” said Susie Ingles.
Not only did Robin spend time in the library reading and writing, but it also served as a place for her to escape and spend time with her close friends. There was something about being in the heart of campus that Robin enjoyed, and her gift will help to ensure that heart continues to be strong.
After graduation, Robin pursued a successful career in banking and later assumed the role of manager of a bookstore. It was a risky position as the store’s sales were declining. However, her outgoing personality and passion for books benefitted the store in multiple ways.
“If customers asked for a recommendation, Robin could give them not one but 10. She completely turned the bookstore around. People returned to the store because she knew the books so well,” said Joey.
As the years passed by, Robin fulfilled her lifelong dream of having a home in North Carolina. She purchased a 1920s Victorian house in Asheville where she proudly built her own immaculate library full of books — many of which she collected during her travels. “She had hundreds of books at her house and not just any books, but good, quality books,” said Joey. Certainly her love for the Cooper Library had a large influence on her lifelong love for reading.
Clemson University and the Cooper Library could not be more thankful for Robin Richards’ thoughtfulness and generosity. Clemson’s dean of libraries, Maggie Farrell, states, “Ms. Richards’ gift to the Clemson University Libraries will honor her memory of the Cooper Library being a central space for students. The Cooper Library continues to be the heart of the campus providing an environment that facilitates the exchange of knowledge, and her generous gift will be directed toward enhancing student study spaces.”
The Robin Richards Memorial Library Quasi-Endowment also benefits the expansion of the library’s academic and leisure materials, something that would not be possible without such funding. Such major gifts allow the library to fund both materials and positions. Overall, Robin’s bequest has ensured that the Cooper Library is able to offer the best services and support to the Clemson community.
Robin Richards will be remembered not only as a passionate reader and lover of books, but also a caring, intuitive woman who always stood behind her friends. The University is grateful for her support and confident that her endowment will continue to grow and benefit Clemson students, faculty and staff throughout the years.