Appreciating the Connections

Lenore MaruyamaIn 1959, Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state and a young Lenore Maruyama (’61 B.A. L&S, ’62 M.A. L&S) left the islands for the relative unknown at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After two years at the University of Hawaii, Maruyama was attracted by the UW’s cost, its size and its graduate program in Library and Information Studies accredited by the American Library Association.

“It wasn’t entirely a random choice. I didn’t want to go to a school on the West Coast, and the East Coast was turning out to be more expensive,” she said. “At that time, as far as tuition and enrollment, UW was one of the smaller of the Big Ten universities.”

Looking back on a career during which she helped lead innovation at the Library of Congress, among other highlights, Maruyama is sure she made the right choice. “I certainly enjoyed my time there,” she said.

The financial aid she received at the UW is one reason she has made student support a priority in her giving. For Maruyama, charitable gift annuities have proven a sound vehicle for her philanthropy on behalf of the UW-Madison.

“This was my way on a relatively small scale of giving back to the University,” she said. “For my latest gift, it was the right time. The charitable gift annuity has many advantages. The fact that there is some income coming back during my lifetime helps. The payout and tax advantages fit my situation.”

“In terms of the education, Wisconsin got me to see what the rest of the world was talking about and doing.”

Lenore Maruyama

When Maruyama arrived in Madison, “it was the first time I had lived away from home, and it was the first time I had been on the continental United States,” she said. “It was the first time I lived through winter, which I wound up mostly enjoying.

“In terms of the education, Wisconsin got me to see what the rest of the world was talking about and doing,” she said. Her studies prepared her well for her fulfilling work at the Library of Congress. After spending time as a serials cataloger, Maruyama moved into an area that would blaze trails.

“I joined the fledgling automation program,” she said. “I was actively involved in a lot of the things we now take for granted. The Library of Congress at the time was able to get into a lot of the heavy work getting library automation started.

“In the late 1960s, people had to use punch cards in computer programming,” she said. “Once microprocessors came in, that was a big step in automating libraries. The work we were doing in the late ’60s and early ’70s really set the groundwork for almost every digital catalog that exists now.”

Maruyama spent 21 years at the Library of Congress and freelanced in Washington, D.C., into the mid-’90s, when home called.

“In July ’96, I came back to Hawaii,” she said. “That was mostly for family reasons. I got a job as a librarian at the Leeward Community College library in Pearl City, part of central Oahu.” She retired in 2007 and enjoys her time on “the most isolated land mass in the world.”

“I do like to get away at least once every year,” she said. “I was in Madison last summer, and there were so many changes since 1999, the first time I was there after graduating except for short visits in the mid-1960s. One thing that has changed almost completely is the [Howard Temin] Lakeshore Path. When I was an undergraduate, I lived in the dorms that used to be called the Elm Drive Dorms. When it was stormy, the water was basically up to the path. I guess two people could get by then, but it wasn’t terribly wide.”

Maruyama said she appreciates the UW and the Wisconsin Alumni Association more since returning to Hawaii. “Once I started working in an academic setting again, it was beneficial having those ties,” she said.

Those connections are major factors in her decision to support the university and its students.

“Everybody has his or her own criteria,” she said. “If the time is right, a charitable gift annuity is a great way to make a gift.”