As a child, Frank Raines A.B. ’71, J.D. ’76 learned to appreciate the value of books while working in his junior high school library. Later, while studying at Harvard, Raines would browse the aisles at Widener Library, fascinated by the volumes upon volumes on display.
On Friday (Oct. 24), the chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae and his wife were rewarded with a permanent and prominent spot in the Kennedy School Library when the Frank and Wendy Raines Reading Room was dedicated in their honor.
About 75 people, including Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers and Kennedy School Dean Joseph S. Nye Jr., attended a luncheon and dedication ceremony at the School. Raines spoke at the ceremony, noting his lifelong interest in books and libraries, and remarking on their ability to teach and inspire students.
“There’s something about books and there’s something about learning that goes beyond the information contained in them,” Raines said. “The enthusiasm about learning and knowledge is a very profound thing.”
Calling Raines a “steady friend and tremendous supporter of the School in every way,” Nye thanked the Raineses for their donation, which will allow the library to increase its collections and remain open after hours for students. “This is at the heart of what universities do,” Nye remarked.
The director of the School library, Ellen Isenstein, termed the Raineses’ gift “one of the best things that has ever happened” during her tenure at the library, something that will allow the library’s book collection efforts to “stay healthy in difficult economic times.”
Speaking on behalf of all the Kennedy School students who will benefit by the Raineses’ gift was Peter Greer M.P.P. ’04, who is studying housing finance in Africa. “We spend a lot of time in the library and it is a crucial part of what we do here,” Greer said. “Our collective repayment will be effectively utilizing the skills that we learn here to make a difference in the world.”