The Susan and William Yarmuth Jewish Studies Reading Room Opens in Ekstrom Library

To honor the local Jewish community and provide special presentation, reflection and quiet study space for the UofL campus, The Susan and William Yarmuth Jewish Studies Reading Room officially opened on Ekstrom Library’s 3rd Floor with a ceremony on March 20. 

The new space showcases the Libraries’ Jewish Studies collection, and features the Deborah and Rabbi Robert Slosberg Collection, which consists of the personal library the couple amassed over decades of serving and leading Jewish congregations.

Shown are Libraries Dean Bob Fox, UofL President Lori Gonzalez, William Yarmuth, Sue Yarmuth, Deborah Slosberg and Rabbi Slossberg standing before a red ribbon prior to cutting it at a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new Jewish Studies Reading Room.

Libraries Dean Bob Fox, UofL President Lori Gonzalez, William Yarmuth, Sue Yarmuth, Deborah Slosberg and Rabbi Slossberg at a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new Jewish Studies Reading Room.

“We are excited to open the new Jewish Studies Reading Room and are grateful for the generous donations that allowed us to fully complete the room and open it to the public,” said Libraries Dean Bob Fox. “We hope that the room will serve to inspire future generations of scholars to greater success.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony and room dedication included remarks from Interim President Lori Gonzalez, William and Susan Yarmuth, Rabbi Slosberg and Libraries Dean Fox before closing with a mezuzah dedication. A mezuzah is a small scroll inscribed with prayers and verses from the Torah and attached in a case near the opening of a home or building as a sign of faith as a constant reminder of God’s presence. As instructed in the Torah, Jews will often touch the mezuzah as they go through the door. In the Yarmuth Reading Room, it is located on the wall to the right upon entry. 

The 2,600-square-foot space features floor-to-ceiling windows and offers one of the most scenic views on campus. Along with the Deborah and Rabbi Robert Slosberg Collection, the space features a drop-down screen, a built-in projection and sound system and Wi-Fi. It also includes a glass wall, which includes display cases for UofL’s Jewish Studies Program, part of the Department of Comparative Humanities, to use to highlight its collections.

The Susan and William Yarmuth Jewish Studies Reading Room will be used for reflection, study space, public events and guest speakers. The newly designed room can seat up to 42.


Louisville Businesswoman and Community Activist named UofL Alumni Fellow

The University Libraries is pleased to celebrate long-time community activist and social justice advocate Jessica Loving as an Alumni Fellow for this year’s University of Louisville Alumni Awards.

Loving was named an Alumni Fellow from UofL’s schools and colleges as well as Libraries and Student Affairs along with 13 other graduates. This year is a virtual celebration featuring video interviews with the honorees as they discuss their time at UofL and the impact of their careers.

“I’m so happy that Jessica Loving is the 2020 recipient of the UofL Alumni Award on behalf of the University Libraries,” said Libraries Dean Bob Fox. “She has done so much for Louisville and for Kentucky through her work with community organizations and as a tireless advocate for social justice.”

“We are especially fortunate in the libraries that Jessica shares a vision of transforming one of our spaces in Ekstrom Library into a Jewish Studies Reading Room that would bring our Jewish studies collection into a space shared by scholars in quiet reflective study, as well as providing facilities to host noted lectures and speakers,” Fox added.

Loving is currently a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and the Jewish Community Relations Council. She previously served on the boards of the Louisville Ballet, the National ACLU, and the Center for Women & Families.  She is also a founding member of the Jewish Family & Career Service’s MOSAIC Award Committee.

Jessica Loving received her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the University of Louisville in 1968 and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi and Woodcock honor societies. She has been president of Jessica Loving & Associates, a public relations and marketing consulting business in Louisville, for a number of years.

Loving formerly was vice president of corporate communications at PNC Bank, executive director of the KY Commission on Women, and executive director of the ACLU of KY. Loving’s public relations and marketing clients have included banks, law firms, nonprofit groups, real estate developers, bourbon distillers, unions and a meatpacking plant. She has also provided pro bono campaign planning and management for several local judges.

Loving was a member of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees from 1996 through 2008 and was Board chair from 2001 to 2003. She has also served on the University’s Board of Overseers, College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Committee, and Athletic Advisory Commission.

“I would urge my fellow graduates of the UofL to be mindful of how we can help the university be the sort of place that can nurture young 17- and 18-year olds freshman and give them the kind of education that most of us got and help them make this world a better place,” said Loving. “We have a lot of work to do and the University is the place that nurtures the people that can make a difference.”

Jessica and her husband, Sheryl G. Snyder, a Louisville attorney, have a blended family of five children and seven grandchildren.

“We are so grateful to Jessica for her support of the Libraries, for her support and commitment to UofL, and her passion for social justice,” said Dean Fox.