Stankards’ generosity establishes Contemporary Glass Resource Center

Paul and Patricia Stankard’s commitment to inspiring and educating young artists was celebrated with the opening of the Contemporary Glass Resource Center (CGRC) at Salem Community College. 

A 1963 graduate in Scientific Glasssblowing, Paul Stankard donated his personal library of over 650 books along with the couple’s collection of contemporary glass art to acknowledge the significant role SCC played in his career.  Stankard credits his instructors with inspiring him to pursue lifelong learning as an important counterpoint to the glassblowing skills he was taught. 

Considered the father of modern glass paperweights, Stankard has gained international respect for interpreting nature in glass.   A Salem Community College Distinguished Alumnus, he has combined the foundation skills learned at SCC with his passion for lifelong learning.   The author of two books and many articles, Stankard has recently published Spark the Creative Flame -- Making the Journey from Craft to Artto encourage glass artists to pursue their personal best. 

“This Contemporary Glass Resource Center gives reality to a favorite saying that I share with students: If you want to do excellent work, you have to know what excellence is,” Stankard told the audience at the dedication ceremony in the SCC Michael S. Cettei Memorial Library in December.   “Educate yourself to the things you care about.” 

The CGRC features an outstanding retrospective collection of Stankard’s artwork from 1970 to 2013 along with books documenting his long interest in contemporary glass, art history, and historical decorative art with a focus on glass and North American native flowers.  The CGRC also includes videos of featured artists’ demonstrations from the International Flameworking Conference from 2001 to 2013.  In addition to the Stankards’ donations, the CGRC includes books and other materials donated by Corning Museum of Glass, Habatat Galleries, The Robert Minkoff Foundation, Schiffer Publishing, and Arlene and Norman Silvers.  

“Paul has pointed out that while the Samuel H. Jones Glass Education Center nurtures our students’ skills, the Resource Center will nurture their intellectual curiosity and artistry,” said President Joan M. Baillie.

President Emeritus Peter B. Contini recalled meeting Stankard in 1997 when planning for the Glass Center.  “Paul has given immeasurable resources to Salem Community College,” said Contini.  “Clearly, his biggest gift is his interest in students.” 

Representing the faculty at the ceremony, glass art instructor Jenna Efrein explained how she and her colleagues plan to use the CGRC with students.  “The faculty will emphasize research and will highlight certain books for particular assignments,” she said.  “We expect to make the CGRC an interactive experience.” 

President Baillie ended the ceremony with a few surprises for Stankard.  She announced a new title - Senior Advisor to the College President – and presented him business cards.  Baillie also unveiled a bas-relief bronze plaque to honor Stankard’s many contributions to his alma mater, including establishing the CGRC, serving as artist in residence and chairing the International Flameworking Conference. 

The Contemporary Glass Resource Center is open during normal library operating hours.  Contact the library at (856) 351-2681 for hours.   Individuals and organizations interested in donating funds to the CGRC should contact Bill Clark at (856) 351-2602.