The Alfred and Dorothy Panameroff Russian Studies Endowment for the Libraries supports the acquisition of library resources in Russian Studies, which include language, the arts, social studies, and other topics in the humanities. Founded in 2008 by the Panameroff’s daughter, Karole McKalip, MEd ’81, and her husband, Diehl McKalip, the endowment commemorates two lifelong readers’ commitment to self-education.
Alfred and Dorothy Panameroff came from Russian families that immigrated to the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. Both grew up in large families, snatching what quiet moments they could to read, even, in Alfred’s case, seeking refuge in the chicken coop. Alfred loved to read about the great operas; perhaps in those accounts of intrigue and heroism, alliances and treachery, he found refrains of the politics and history that he also studied eagerly. Dorothy too studied history and politics, mostly the history of old Russia and the Soviet Union.
Neither Dorothy nor Alfred were able to finish high school, but they didn’t believe that their education must be renounced for lack of formal schooling; they read avidly, through years of work at General Electric and the public library. As Karole McKalip recalls, in her family educating oneself was a way of contributing to the welfare of the larger community. Thanks to a worldview broadened by reading, the Panameroffs made considered, farsighted decisions about their home and the education of their children.
Alfred and Dorothy sent their daughters to college in an era when many thought postsecondary education was wasted on women, who were more likely to get married than find a job. The Panameroff sisters continued the family tradition of public service, with Karole working for 22 years in Mason’s advising program and her sister serving as a public school librarian. Today, Dorothy’s granddaughter too works as a public librarian.
Through the Panameroff Russian Studies Endowment, Dorothy and Alfred will continue to share their love of learning and their pride in the contributions of Russian culture to America, with many generations to come.