Arriving with his wife, the incoming president of Stetson, Richard Libby, PhD, knew the situation precisely: One doesn’t show up and immediately ask the university about building something for personal use.
He laughs at the thought today, more than a decade later.
Libby, once a college president himself, wanted — actually needed— an addition to the family’s home, across the street from campus. The house was without a basement, and he simply had “too much stuff.”
So, Libby took matters into his own hands. He designed a second garage, mapping out every square foot, and with Stetson’s blessing, funded its construction with his own money.
On Sept. 26, the standalone structure, at the back of the house, was dedicated with a naming in his honor, “Richard’s Garage.” The dedication was approved by the Stetson University Board of Trustees in May.
“Richard has enjoyed the use of the building now for 10 years,” commented Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, PhD, at a small midday celebration held adjacent to the garage.
Moments later, with a smile, she described the building as place for him “to putter and store things.”
As the Libbys prepare to depart next spring, with the president’s retirement, the garage will remain the property of Stetson, essentially making the garage a donation to the university.
Architected to fit seamlessly into its surroundings, the building features, among other amenities, air conditioning and ample cabinetry and shelving, along with a kennel — the Libbys have had three dogs during their time at Stetson.
Mostly, according to Richard Libby, the garage is a place of endearment for both his activities inside the building and for his gratitude toward a Stetson community of help.
With evident emotion, he said: “It gives me a lot of pride that so many people put so much into getting this [building] done. And it’s brought a lot of joy to me.”
– Michael Candelaria