Couple’s Gift Will Expand Vasché Library’s Agricultural Focus

August 31, 2020

Rendering of Vasché Library’s renovated foyerArtist's conceptual rendering of the remodeled J. Burton Vasché Library Building foyer, set to be completed summer 2021

John and Jeani Ferraris' passion for agriculture, a sustainable future, art and libraries have come together with the couple’s generous gift of $250,000 to Stan State’s remodeled J. Burton Vasché Library Building.

Beyond the naming of the Library’s main foyer in the couple’s honor and a two-story agriculture-themed mural to be painted alongside the Library’s Grand Staircase, the gift will provide long-term benefits to the University and the Turlock community.

The couple’s goal is to strengthen the University’s connection with the community in raising awareness and acting on the importance of farmland preservation and the region’s sustainable resources. They seek to develop programming that will help define and strengthen collaboration between the University and Turlock Library with author talks, book signings and other events. And, using art, vignettes, photos, stories, furnishings and other creative media, they look to express the community’s and University’s commitment to the preservation of the region’s most fertile farmland and important natural resources.

“The University always has recognized the value of agriculture in our region, in our community, and as a part of the lives of many of our students,” President Ellen Junn said. “We are so grateful for this generous gift from the Ferraris. It will allow us to further explore this vital industry through programming and exhibits. And it will bring people together to strengthen the bond the University has with the community.”

The gift stems, in part, from the Ferraris’ shared commitment to libraries. Jeani Ferrari was serving on Stan State’s University Library Renovation Committee while John was serving on the Turlock Library Committee, organized by the Friends of the Turlock Library to explore the feasibility of remodeling and re-purposing the current library or building a new library.

“We saw the opportunity for a community platform for lectures and programming; the connecting point being the Stan State Library and Turlock Library,” the Ferraris said in announcing their donation. “We hope the gift we are making to Stan State will bring our community together to learn about our natural landscape and our region’s man-made landscape, which is agriculture. We hope that programs, lectures and the arts can educate and illustrate the importance of agriculture to our region, state and world and the urgency of preserving it.”

“We hope that programs, lectures and the arts can educate and illustrate the importance of agriculture to our region, state and world and the urgency of preserving it.” - Jeani Ferrari

The theme of the refurbished Vasché Library is agriculture — from its design to use of sustainable furniture — and part of the Ferrari gift will go toward an agriculture-themed two-story mural that will greet visitors as they enter the refurbished building scheduled to open in summer 2021. Proposals for the Grand Staircase Mural are currently being accepted.

The mural is the final piece that addresses one of the passions of Jeani Ferrari, who also serves on the board of the Carnegie Arts Center.

“Ultimately, John and I view the University as a conduit for learning,” she said. “Vasché Library is the platform that will bring people together. Partnering with the Turlock Library and the Carnegie Arts Center is such a logical approach to community engagement.”