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Realizing Potential: NSU Receives Gift to Create Holocaust Reflection and Resource Room

Reflection Room to be located in NSU’s Alvin Sherman Library

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – George Santayana.

NSU Alvin Sherman Library

Alvin Sherman Library

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That’s the sentiment behind the latest financial gift to Nova Southeastern University (NSU.) The gift, from Craig and Barbara Weiner, will benefit NSU’s Alvin Sherman Library (ASL) to create a new Holocaust Reflection and Resource Room. The gift was presented by the Weiners to NSU at the ASL Circle of Friends Annual Gala on May 14.

“We must strive to provide opportunities for our current generation and those of tomorrow to reflect on the horrific events of the Holocaust and the lessons to be learned from it,” said Craig Weiner, president of the Holocaust Learning and Education Fund, Inc. (www.holocausteducationfund.com).

The gift will fund, furnish, equip and build the new room, on the Alvin Sherman Library’s second floor. In addition, an endowed fund will be established to provide resource materials and for maintenance of the room as well as to support related special events.

“Due to the generosity of Craig and Barbara Weiner, the Alvin Sherman Library will be able to provide unique information resources for the university community including the residents of Broward County,” said Lydia Acosta, M.A., NSU vice president of information services and university librarian. “This room will serve as an educational place of serious study and reflection on this period in history. “

Set to open in the coming academic year, the room will offer NSU students and the general public a place to learn about, and to contemplate the horrendous acts that result from intolerance and hate.

One of the two rooms will house a number of computers with wireless headphones for NSU students, members of the faculty, staff, and the public at large to research and watch survivor testimonies, utilize a Holocaust encyclopedia, and research images and films linked to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. In addition, there will be a number of wall mounted images including research maps depicting the location of the major labor and extermination camps.

The larger room will house a large flat screen which will play continuous video from the Holocaust period,   many of which are actual archival films made with home movie cameras.  This room will contain comfortable seating for participants to review a number of historical newspapers from the 1930’s and 1940’s; propaganda material used by the Nazis; book cases filled with Holocaust research books, as well as display cases containing original artifact of both the Nazis as well as those of prisoners.

“It’s important that we do not forget the lessons from the past,” said NSU President Dr. George Hanbury. “With so few survivors of the Holocaust remaining, resources like this one are vital to help tomorrow’s generation avoid the atrocities of past generations. We’re pleased to receive this gift and proud that this new educational resource will be available to NSU students, members of the faculty and staff and to the community at large.”

For Craig and Barbara Weiner, their dream of creating a space in South Florida dedicated to these goals led them to the NSU Alvin Sherman Library. Their relationship with NSU began in the 1980s when Barbara earned her B.S. in Elementary Education at NSU, and their children attended NSU University School. Their son later graduated from NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. The Weiners have been generous donors to NSU ever since, and Craig is also a member of NSU’s Ambassadors Board.

Barbara and Craig co-founded the nonprofit Holocaust Learning and Education Fund, Inc. (HLEF) in 2013 to encourage the expansion of Holocaust education in the United States. Beginning in 2014, HLEF partnered with NSU to host the annual Holocaust Reflection Contest, a statewide initiative enhancing Holocaust education for middle and high school students.

Participating students study the testimonials of Holocaust survivors and reflect on what they’ve learned; they then submit original writing, art, and film projects expressing how those lessons apply to their own lives. HLEF awarded the contest’s 2014 and 2015 winning students, their teachers, and one parent per student an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and meet with national and international dignitaries.

“Barbara and I could not be happier, nor more honored than to be a partner with this outstanding university,” said Mr. Weiner. “NSU has shown unhesitating and unrivaled leadership in extending itself for the betterment of our community. NSU is a true leader in education; the growth at this university in so many ways is simply incredible. The Alvin Sherman Library will continue to be a major focal point of the university and will be here for the very long term. With that in mind, we could not have found a better partner to create this amazing project with – the Holocaust Reflection and Resource Room will be a wonderful resource for our students and the community to enjoy and learn from for many, many years.”

This financial gift from Craig and Barbara Weiner advances Realizing Potential, NSU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. The philanthropic campaign goal is $250 million with $125 million of that total to be directed towards students, $75 million for faculty and research and $50 million designated for 21st century education initiatives.

For more information on the Realizing Potential campaign, please visit: https://realizingpotential.nova.edu/