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La Jolla couple gives $1 million to SDSU Library

Longtime La Jolla residents Christopher and Karen Sickels have donated $1 million to the San Diego State University Library to fund an endowment and visiting scholar fellowships in children’s literature.

The Sickels, both SDSU alumni, are former teachers who said their gifts would be used to meet two primary objectives of serving all students and benefitting teachers and students, according to an SDSU news release.

Kit Sickels, who left teaching to become a real estate developer, owns a nearly complete first-edition collection of Dr. Seuss books that he began collecting when the couple lived next door to Theodor Geisel.

The Christopher D. and Karen Sickels Endowment for Special Collection in Children’s Literature will support the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, which is one of the oldest and largest programs of its kind in the country.

The university is preparing to offer the first humanities doctorate in the California State University system.

The donation will be used to support scholars with research materials and to expand its collection of children’s literature.

Kit Sickels said in the release that they liked supporting the library because it serves the campus and larger community.

“Helping SDSU purchase rare and unique books for children’s literature also reflects our love of children and those who devote their lives to educating and inspiring them,” he added.