Last Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of joining like-minded Pro-Literacy folks at the North Side Learning Center (NSLC) in Syracuse, N.Y., for a very special dedication ceremony. Representatives from the Syracuse Rotary Club, the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County, YMCA of Syracuse, ProLiteracy/New Readers Press, and of course NSLC volunteers and students gathered to honor the late Dr. Robert S. Laubach. Linda Church, a now retired longtime ProLiteracy staffer, was also in attendance.
NSLC leaders and Syracuse Rotarians honored the legacy of “Dr. Bob”—a pioneer in adult literacy education, ProLiteracy board member, and proud Syracuse Rotarian—by permanently naming the center’s library the “Dr. Robert S. Laubach Memorial Library” in his honor.
NSLC President Dr. Yusuf Soule opened the dedication ceremony with warm words of welcome and appreciation.
Syracuse Rotary Club President Rev. Robert Sherburne also spoke, recognizing Dr. Bob for his literacy initiatives and remembering him as a valued Rotary member. We learned that the Rotary Foundation recently awarded NSLC a grant to add technology to their classrooms. No wonder the room was full of Rotarians!
Then we heard from Dr. Bob himself in a touching video created by ProLiteracy that not only shared his story, but perfectly captured his passion for literacy and ended with his favorite slogan, “Keep smiling!” You can watch the video below.
The capstone of the evening was appropriately saved for last when Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS) Executive Director and NSLC Board Member Mark Cass proudly unveiled the library’s new door with a depiction of our beloved Dr. Bob on the window. The beautiful door was made by Morrow Graphics, Inc., a local digital printing business owned and operated by Syracuse Rotarians Jim and Dan Morrow. Dan has long been the Rotary champion for the cause of adult literacy.
A recipient of ProLiteracy’s National Book Fund award, NSLC will soon be filling their library shelves with new books from New Readers Press. How fitting that the library named after Dr. Bob will be full of books that are a part of his legacy.
What else can I say? The celebration and the door paid fitting tribute to a great man and I’m sure his legacy inspired those in attendance to keep serving, keep dreaming, and most importantly, keep smiling.