Murray, Ky., May 10—When Lana Porter returned to her alma mater in March as the guest speaker of Murray State University's Celebrate Women conference, a tour of the Waterfield Library prompted her to donate library management software estimated at approximately $98,000.
A 1965 and 1972 MSU graduate and a 2002 MSU Distinguished Alumnus, Porter is the president and chief executive officer of epixtech, inc., a privately-held Utah-based company that is the world leader in library information management systems. Crediting MSU with providing the essential foundation for her successful career, she wanted to give something back to the University. Porter approached the other members of the epixtech board of directors for a donation of the company's Horizon Sunrise library management software to be implemented in MSU's libraries. And the other members of the board agreed.
As a result, the new Horizon Sunrise system will be implemented in the near future through collaborative efforts between epixtech and the Murray State University Libraries. The software will offer new functions and greater accessibility to MSU's 9,648 students, 411 faculty members and the 924 staff.
Porter said the software's open architecture, flexibility, and robust functionality provide almost unlimited capabilities to customize features and services for MSU's academic community. In addition, registered students, faculty and staff can perform web-based searches from the dorm, home or office.
Murray State University houses the Waterfield Library and the Pogue Library which offer MSU students access to approximately one million items, including a circulating collection of approximately 400,000 volumes.
Porter believes that students need high-availability library access and faculty needs access to highly specialized resources to conduct their research. "The library is such a critical tool to maximize learning and teaching opportunities in the academic community," she said. "Our Horizon Sunrise system, the most technologically advanced in the market today, will support MSU faculty and students as they widen their learning opportunities through more accessible channels. I am very pleased to donate this gift to support the mission of education at MSU," Porter said.
Dr. Coy Harmon, Dean of MSU Libraries, said the new system's key component, iPac, will increase access to library resources for students and faculty. "The Horizon Sunrise system represents state-of-the art technology in library systems software and is compatible with other library systems. Its functionality and opportunities for customization for local options will enable us to further enhance the range of our library services."
Harmon said Porter's fondness for her alma mater has provided MSU's libraries with a significant gift. "She is offering the leading library management software to Murray State University and to the library," Harmon said. "She's not only giving a gift to the University, but giving back to the whole library field."
Dr. F. King Alexander, MSU president, said this gift is a major contribution to the future education of MSU's students. "We are extremely honored for this significant gift to the students, faculty and staff members," he said. "Lana Porter's generosity through epixtech and the gratitude she feels for her alma mater will continue to help future generations of students, faculty and, ultimately, the entire region."
During her tenure at epixtech, Porter has directed the company as it extended its software and services to more than 10,000 libraries in 42 countries. She serves on the boards of directors for Leadership America and the University of Detroit Mercy. She is the in-coming president of Friends of the Library USA (FOLUSA), an organization that helps focus a national message about the importance of libraries.