Bishop Foundation Announces $1.5 Million Gift to Revitalize Vernon and Doris Bishop Library

President Lewis E. Thayne poses with Kathy Bishop

Lebanon Valley College today announced that it has received a $1.5 million gift from The Bishop Foundation for a dramatic upgrade to the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library. The gift is one of the largest in the College’s nearly 150 years of existence. 

“This generous gift enables Lebanon Valley College to reimagine completely what a college library looks and feels like in a 21st century learning community,” said President Lewis E. Thayne, Ph.D. “We’re grateful to The Bishop Foundation for this endorsement of our vision and investment in our students.”

The Bishop Foundation gift will enable the College to transform the first floor of the Bishop Library beginning in the summer of 2016. The reimagined space will provide a greater number of collaborative group study spaces that are equipped with digital technology and wall surfaces for sharing and generating ideas. It will provide the perfect setting to engage in interdisciplinary problem solving and to leverage the latest technologies. The revitalized Bishop Library will become an open and flexible space that can evolve as quickly as the ways in which information is accessed. The renovation will also positively impact many of the strategic priorities in the College’s new strategic plan—Envision 2020.

“This is a project that is possible only because people such as Kathy, Tom, and Trudie Bishop believe in Lebanon Valley College and the power of LVC to transform the lives of young men and women,” Thayne said. “Libraries are the academic heart and soul of a college; we are incredibly excited to begin this important work, and our students, faculty, and staff join me in expressing gratitude to the Bishop family and Foundation.”

“Technology and the digital age are transforming our world in ways that we could not have imagined 20 years ago when the Bishop Library was built,” Kathy Bishop commented. “Higher education has not been immune to these changes, which are making obsolete the hard copy textbooks, lecture formats, and traditional classrooms that most of us experienced. Today's college student expects flexible scheduling, digitized resources, and collaborative learning experiences. My family is proud to facilitate the transformation of the Bishop Library to support this new learning environment.” 

Bishop, daughter of Vernon and Doris Bishop, is vice chair of the College’s Board of Trustees and chief executive officer, president, and chairperson of Lebanon Seaboard Corporation. She received her B.A. in physics from Wellesley College and M.S. in management from the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She also pursued additional studies at Harvard, the Sorbonne, and University of Madrid. After graduating from MIT, Bishop moved to California, and later Australia for a decade, holding several executive positions. In 1987, she returned to Lebanon to take a leadership role at Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, the company founded by her father, Vernon, as the Lebanon Chemical Corporation in 1947. She worked in various roles before promotion to CEO in 2004. Bishop has been a member of the College’s Board of Trustees since 1998. 

Her father, the late Vernon Bishop (d. 2004), graduated from the University of Michigan where he earned a B.S. in chemical engineering. He married Doris Hoyt in 1939 then served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. A philanthropist, industrialist, and entrepreneur, Bishop was the College’s second-ever recipient of the prestigious Founders Day Award in 1981. In 1995, Vernon and Doris were the lead donors on the project that created the Bishop Library in their honor. The couple also established the Vernon and Doris Bishop Distinguished Professorship of Chemistry at LVC.

Thomas C. Bishop, son of Vernon and Doris Bishop, graduated from Cornell University with an M.B.A. in finance, where he began developing a stock ranking system—the BI Ranking System. After more than a decade of active investment in the stock market, Bishop became editor and publisher of BI Research, an investment newsletter, in 1981. More than three decades later, he continues to be the sole researcher and his achievements have been written about in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune, Money, Barron’s, Business Week, and countless newspapers, including the Miami Herald. 

Trudie Bishop, along with her late husband, Vernon, provided the most generous gift that Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon had ever received. Their beneficence led to the establishment of the Good Samaritan Health System Cardiac & Vascular Center, which enables Lebanon County residents in need of diagnostic and interventional cardiac care to receive comprehensive treatment closer to home. 


Vernon and Doris Bishop Library

Built in 1995, the Bishop Library serves as the academic center of the College. Containing more than 225,000 books, CDs, DVDs, videocassettes, and microfilm, and more than 4,700 print and electronic journal subscriptions, the Bishop Library also features an online library catalog, wireless access to the campus network, group study rooms, faculty and student study areas, a computer classroom, and numerous private reading alcoves. In-house materials are supplemented by access to more than 130 online databases and online access to more than 48,000 full-text journals and newspapers.