Our journey to Laupus Library beganin 2010 shortly before my dad, Bernard Sandick, died. It was his profound wish that my husband George and I include in our estate plan one of the two universities where he received his degrees. He received his master's degree in psychology from East Carolina University, and was working towards his doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of South Carolina before his illness from Alzheimer's prevented him from completion.
I grew up in Greenville and East Carolina College as I knew it then had always been a part of my family's life. So my decision was easy. I just didn't know the "how" and the "where" to keep the promise that I had made to my dad.
As a young boy growing up in Chicago during the depression, most of my dad's free time was spent in the public library. He would tell me that the library saved him from the streets and propelled him to graduate from two universities and into the field of economics and psychology. Thus began a life-long love of reading and discovery for him. Later, he would tell the story of taking me with him to the library in my stroller when I was 10 months old, often checking out as many as 10 books at one time.
It wasn't until I accidently ran into a Kiwanian friend, Dr. Dorothy Spencer, then director of Laupus Library, that I realized Laupus was a serious consideration for keeping my promise. After our thoughtful discussion with Mr. Greg Abeyonuis, assistant vice chancellor for development, we contacted our attorney and drew up our estate plans. The final signing took place at Laupus Library, where we toured this gem of a library with Dr. Richard Eakin, associate vice chancellor and Laupus Health Sciences Library director (interim), and Mr. Dwain Teague, director of major gifts, at East Carolina University.
Nestled in the heart of the medical community of the university, is this powerhouse of digital technology. I thought of the students that entered these doors and the impact that these future heath professionals would make in the medical field. I also realized that Laupus must be ready to meet the needs of these students! One thing became critically apparent: Laupus would need financial support, not only from the university level, but also from the private funding sector.
Two things my father made me promise him. Number one, he wanted a Jewish funeral. Number two, because I had no children of my own, he requested that a portion of his estate be shared in such a way that many children could benefit. He often stated, "Education is the key to everything. It allows you to dream to be what you want to be."
As I left Laupus the day of the final signing, I thought about the connection of the young boy in Chicago, sitting in a quiet nook in a library, and the final signing at Laupus Library. My husband and I kept our promise to my dad, and in doing so, we honored his memory. I am very happy that the library that was so important at the outset of his life will now be perpetuated in his memory, for all the young adults and professionals who enter through those doors.
The Sandy and George Reel Endowed Fund is earmarked primarily for collections and materials in the Health Sciences field.