Celebration of Learning is Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year and one of the most anticipated evenings on the city’s cultural calendar.

Book-ended by cocktails and seated dinner in the Nationwide Foundation Grand Atrium, this year’s program features award-winning author Candice Millard, writer of three New York Times bestsellers including The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey and Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President. The program also features the presentation of the Julian Sinclair Smith Award for Lifelong Learning

We hope you will join us on Friday, Nov. 1 at Main Library for an evening celebrating literature, libraries and the people who love them! Click here to register today.

Event Schedule:

6:00 p.m.   Celebration of Learning Society and Sponsor Reception
7:15 p.m.   Program
8:30 p.m.   Dinner
9:00 p.m.   Book Signing
11:00 p.m.   Event Concludes


2019 Celebration of Learning Committee

  • John Behal 
  • DeeDee Glimcher
Committee Members:  
  • Lauren Bonfield
  • Barbara Brandt
  • Darci Congrove
  • Sue Cooper
  • Melanie DeAscentis
  • Barbara Derrow
  • Sandy Doyle-Ahern
  • Marjorie Duffy
  • Diane Garland
  • Mary Jo Green
  • Charlotte Kessler
  • Gale V. King
  • Patrick King
  • Wayne Lawson
  • Trip Lawson
  • Vicki Linville
  • Victoria Losinski
  • Jennifer McNally
  • Antoinette Mongillo
  • Shannon Morgan
  • Cindy Rasmussen
  • Lynne Redgrave
  • Corde Westwater Robinson
  • Renée Shumate
  • Barbara Siemer
  • Sheila Smith
  • Benita Smoot
  • Catherine Strauss
  • Hope Wolman
  • Ed Yen
  • Ellen Yen

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Corporate Sponsor or a member of the Celebration of Learning Society! For more information on the benefits you will receive by registering for our annual fundraiser, please click here for sponsors or here for individuals. Please contact us at col@columbuslibrary.org or 614.849.1051 with any additional questions.

General admission registration will open on Monday, Oct. 14, space permitting.

2018 Honorary Chairs

Lou Von Thaer and Jennifer Massanova

Lewis “Lou” Von Thaer and Jennifer Massanova may be new to central Ohio, but their contributions to the region and Columbus Metropolitan Library are already being felt. Lou was named president and CEO of Battelle in 2017 after previously serving as CEO of DynCorp International. In addition to his board service for several defense-industry organizations, he also is a Kansas State University Foundation trustee.

Jennifer’s career includes more than 20 years’ experience in HR and operations, networking and telecom manufacturing, medical devices manufacturing, and management consulting. She currently serves on the board of trustees of the Kansas State University and Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation and has volunteered in various capacities for animal rescue groups for the past 18 years.


2018 Julian Sinclair Smith Award for Lifelong Learning Honorees

Donna and Larry James

Larry and Donna James have been at the heart of the central Ohio business, legal, civic, and political scene for the last three decades. Larry, a respected litigator and advisor to both local and national clients, serves as managing partner at Crabbe Brown & James, LLP. His work includes his role as lead counsel for Ohio State athletes being investigated by the NCAA and general counsel of the National Fraternal Order of Police.

Donna is a trusted advisor to private- and public-sector leaders, ranging from entrepreneurs to C-suite Fortune 500 executives. Before starting her own firm, Lardon & Associates, she was president of Nationwide Strategic Investments, a division of Nationwide Mutual Insurance. She also serves on the board of directors for L Brands, Marathon Petroleum, Boston Scientific and the privately held FIS Group.

In addition to their myriad business and corporate accomplishments, Larry and Donna have a remarkable record of civic service. Donna is the co-founder and former board chair of the Center for Healthy Families. She also is a board trustee for OhioHealth, North Carolina A&T State University, executive director for the African-American Leadership Academy and co-chair for the Columbus CelebrateOne initiative. Since 1987, Larry has served as a board member or director for more than 20 different city, county, and statewide organizations, in addition to co-founding the African-American Leadership Academy. Currently, he serves as a member of the board of trustees of Kenyon College, and is the president of the board of both the King Arts Complex and the Lincoln Theatre.


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