Nieman fellows and alumni from around the world have raised more than $22,000 for the newly named Kovach Library at Lippmann House. The donations honoring former Curator Bill Kovach will be used to improve and expand the collection of books and other materials devoted to journalism.
A plaque now hangs in the library area of the Nieman offices at Lippmann House, describing Kovach as “the conscience of journalism.”
The spontaneous outpouring of donations far exceeded the expectations of fellows who launched the library effort, said Class of ’00 fellow Jerry Zremski, Washington, D.C., correspondent for the Buffalo News. Zremski, the main fundraising coordinator, said that many donations came from the classes of 1989-2000, when Kovach served as curator.
Kovach notified Harvard University officials in the summer of 1999 that he would step down this past June. A former Nieman Fellow himself, he spent 18 years as reporter and editor at The New York Times and was also editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He and his wife, Lynne Kovach, have moved from Cambridge to the Washington, D.C., area, where he is focusing on his work as chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and his own writing projects. He said in a telephone interview in July that he is honored by the library project.
“Nothing the Nieman fellows could have done for me could have had more meaning, and both Lynne and I were very moved by this act,” he said.
Fellows publicly announced the fund and presented the plaque to Kovach at the final dinner of the April 28-30 Nieman Fellows Reunion.
The plaque now hangs over the back door of the library and kitchen area on the first floor of Lippmann House, a simple white wood-frame building at 1 Francis Ave. Kovach chose the location and personally installed the plaque on June 30, his last official day as curator.
Donations can be made by check payable to the Nieman Foundation, with “Kovach Library Fund” written in the lower left-hand corner, sent to: The Nieman Foundation, c/o Elizabeth Tibbitts, 1 Francis Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02138.