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Multi-million dollar gift to Aurora Public Library will enhance technology

Multi-million dollar gift to Aurora Public Library will enhance technology
AURORA – Aurora Public Library will become The Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora when it opens its doors in spring, 2015. The late Richard Santori
 Dr. Gina Santori
Aurora Public Library Board of Directors President John Savage announced today that the Richard and Gina Santori Charitable Foundation is making a donation of $3 million to the Aurora Public Library Foundation to establish a technology endowment.Santori Library
This endowment will ensure that the downtown library and its branches will have the financial ability to provide the latest technology into the future. Services throughout the library system will be enhanced, including the new library’s Teen Center, which will be able to provide tablets, educational software, music and broadcasting equipment and other emerging devices that will inspire creativity and give teens the tools they need to be successful in school and life.
The LIFE (Learning in an Informal and Fun Environment) Development Center will be able to provide technology tools to partner with educational institutions to teach about careers in science, math and more in an interactive way.
Every service area within the new library will be improved and patrons at each library location will benefit from laptops, research databases and other modern and advanced technologies.
“There are not adequate words to describe how grateful we are to Dr. Santori,” said Aurora Public Library Board of Directors President Savage.
Foundation Board President Todd Drafall added that the donation will transform many lives. “The impact of her investment into Aurora is truly immeasurable,” he said.
Dr. Santori said her late husband, Richard, was dedicated to lifelong learning. Richard Santori passed away in 2010. He was the owner of several auto dealerships both in and around Aurora, including Valley Honda, Valley Imports and Valley Mazda Volkswagen.
He served on committees for the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, Community Counseling Center and the New York Street Business Association. He was an active member of the Chicago Area Automotive Dealers Association and served on the board of the University of Chicago Foundation.
Richard Santori also served in the Army and Air Force Reserves as a pilot. Throughout his life, he was known to be very generous, helping his family, friends and employees with their rent, utilities, groceries and more, often anonymously.
Gina Santori of Lisle, a physician and surgeon who is on staff at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, now practices only on a pro bono basis caring for diabetic and renal patients. She began her career in medicine by earning her R.N. Degree from Truman College in Chicago. After caring for patients as a nurse, Dr. Santori returned to school and received her M.D. degree from the University of Illinois and her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from the College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago. Dr. Santori is currently seeking a master’s degree in Bioethics. This will be her third master’s degree.
Dr. Santori is the national black belt champion in Shotokan Karate 11 times over and is graded third in the world. She also ice skates competitively, is an accomplished ballroom dancer and has a commercial pilot’s license for both sea and land. She established the charitable foundation in memory and honor of her late husband to support educational opportunities at The Santori School in Prey Veng, Cambodia (founded by the Santoris in 2008), and for scholarships for college and university candidates in the United States in the field of aviation, medicine and science.
“Dr. Santori is truly one of the most kind and inspiring people I have ever met,” said Library Director Eva Luckinbill. “She has an energy about her that is contagious and just makes you want to do more. We are truly grateful for what she is doing for our community.”
Dr. Santori donated $1.25 million in May, 2011, to Rush-Copley Medical Center in her husband’s memory and as a tribute to his concern for the Aurora community.
“My husband, a self-taught man, was never afforded the education that he held so dear,” Dr. Santori said. “He studied each morning with the reading of encyclopedias to act as his curriculum. It served him well in his life and he mentored others with his generosity of knowledge and time.”
The current Main Library opened in 1904 and was built with a $50,000 grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The building, located on Stolp Island, was expanded in 1969.
The new Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora is under construction at the corner of River and Benton streets. It has a projected opening date of May, 2015.

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