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Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center Honors $1 Million Donor
Written by Kelly Kalb Correspondent

Jerry Heebner, Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center board president, speaks during the unveiling of a painted portrait of Dr. Webster Schultz Stover by descendant of Schultz and honorary board member Pennsylvania Senator Dave Argall (29th District). 

                In an effort to formally thank the generosity of so many, staff of the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center held a donor appreciation reception Sun., July 19 at its Seminary Street, Pennsburg location.

                The Library and Heritage Center is known for its collections, exhibits, and interpretations of materials related to the Schwenkfelders, the people of southeastern Pennsylvania and the Perkiomen Valley and nearby regions.          

                The center operates primarily off of monetary donations from Schwenkfelder church members and descendants, explained Candace Perry, curator of collections.

                The center's executive director, Dave Luz, and board of directors took the time to thank all donors through the event that provided music, food and access to newly opened exhibits.

                "This event has brought 125 people with Schwenfelder heritage to the library," said Rachel Osborn, development officer for the center. Osborn also noted that an additional 100 donors, also invited, contacted her stating their  appreciation for the event.

                The reception also paid special attention to an anonymous $1 million donation by a family member of Dr. Webster Schultz Stover (1902-1984). Stover was a Schwenkfelder descendant and lifelong educator, having served as headmaster of the Perkiomen School in Pennsburg from 1932 to 1934.

                "Dr. Stover took pride in his Schwenkfelder ancestry and love of books as he had a personal library filled with over 5,000 volumes," said Jerry Heebner, board president.

                Stover authored three books in his lifetime with two available at the center's library, Heebner added. 

                In order to pay homage to Dr. Stover and the generous donation of his family member, a painting was unveiled in the library section of the building with the help of honorary board member Pennsylvania Senator Dave Argall, 29th District.

                The painting was created from a photograph of Dr. Stover and, although the $1 million donation came to the center in February 2014, the painting was not completed until recently.

                The amount of the donation is above and beyond what is typically given to the library and heritage center, and came with no restrictions on its use, Luz said. 

                He said he couldn't comment on what the money will be used for but noted typical donations coming in are used for the annual obligations incurred in operating such a facility.

                For the time being, the donation rests in an endowment fund.

                In closing, Heebner read remarks from the anonymous donor which said, "Dr. Stover cherished his Schwenkfelder family heritage, valued his tenure in Pennsburg as headmaster of The Perkiomen School, and relished a lifetime of devotion to books. As I considered his work of the Heritage Center and its future, I felt this would be the most fitting repository for such a memorial gift...I hope this gift will inspire the next $1 million to come to the heritage center." 






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