Growing up in southeast Raleigh, Tim Edelen spent many hours in Wake County public libraries developing his love of books. He brings that passion to his role as assistant director for annual giving and donor relations for the University Libraries, which he began on August 31. Edelen focuses on the Library’s annual fund, securing unrestricted dollars that support areas of greatest need.
“The annual fund is especially important during the pandemic when we need funding to bulk up the digital learning platforms, which are helping students during this time,” says Edelen. “Donors provide the foundation for the annual fund which is the building block for development. I want to make sure that foundation is treated well.”
“I speak for the University Libraries development team when I say we are fortunate to have Tim join us,” says L. Blue Dean, executive director of Library development. “He jumped right in and brings excitement and enthusiasm to his work and to our team.”
The pillars of the Library resonate with Edelen, especially the tenet that the Library provides spaces and opportunities for teaching and learning, both in support of and alongside the curriculum. “The Library offers so many things that aren’t taught in the classroom which are important for students to be successful,” he says.
School success hits close to home for Edelen, father to a first-grader. “I always emphasize to my son the importance of reading and that learning is cool,” he says. “Having my son when I was a sophomore in college helped me get a new level of focus and gave me something else to work hard for.”
To that end, Edelen is pursuing a doctoral degree in education, focusing on organizational leadership. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University where he received a master of public administration degree in 2019 and a bachelor of science in mass communications in 2017.
Edelen became interested in development work during a summer 2018 internship with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a global non-profit association dedicated to educational advancement. “As one of only three Black men in that internship cohort, I am aware of how important representation is,” says Edelen.
“With the world right now facing issues of social injustice and the pandemic, I think it’s important that we lean in towards each other and reckon with some of the problems in our past. My generation is trying to make this a better world for my son and the generations who come after.”
“I’m happy to be at UNC and ready to work hard,” he says. “I want donors and colleagues to know that I’m always listening and available.”
Story by Michele Lynn
This story originally appeared in the fall/winter 2020 issue of Windows, the magazine of the Friends of the Library at the University Libraries.