Dr. Richard H. and Julia Rush of North Fort Myers are creating a learning legacy at Edison Collegeâ€™s Lee Campus in Fort Myers with a $2.3 million gift to endow library resources and student scholarships. In tribute, the Edison College District Board of Trustees has named the library facility the Richard H. Rush Library.
The gift coincides with a major twenty-first century-style renovation to the 38-year old library. Construction will commence in July 2007 and will include a cyber cafÃ©, study areas, classrooms and conference centers, and state-of-the-art multi-media and information technology resources.
The Rushes are long time supporters of the College, first funding the original garden flanking the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Ardent collectors of art and antiques, they added an exquisite bronze statue of Romeo and Juliet to the garden in 1994, procured from the estate of New York publisher George T. Delacorte, Jr. Always eager to assist students and advance the arts, the Rushes also provide an annual art scholarship and student art show awards. â€œIn this life, we want to do everything we can to help others,â€ said Mrs. Rush.
Their philosophy grew from harsh experience. Dr. Rush was only six years old when his father died, and there was little money for necessities, let alone to send the bright young student to college. He raised and sold chickens in order to save money, and was accepted at Dartmouth. He subsequently went to Harvard on a full scholarship, graduating in 1941 with a doctorate in commercial science.
Shaped by the school of hard knocks, he vowed to help others. â€œIn those days,â€ he said, â€œI didnâ€™t have anything and I wished somebody could have helped me. Edisonâ€™s tuition is far less than any other college. Education is the key to success and if education can be made affordable, why not help others?â€
Edison College district president Kenneth P. Walker praised the Rushes for their steadfast support and benevolence. â€œThe Rushes greatly deserve to be honored because of the way they have lived their own lives and because of their generosity to others.â€
â€œStudies show that eighty percent of recently-renovated libraries see an increase in usage,â€ said Mary Faulkner, district director of learning resources. â€œLibraries are the heart of a campus. While holding onto that tradition, the Richard H. Rush Library will also be a cultural and technological showpiece for Edison College. We could not be more excited.â€